• Pamela Stephenson Connolly

I suffer from premature ejaculation and it’s made me lose confidence in my sexual ability



I am happily married to a wonderful woman, but this recent development is making me feel inadequate. What can I do?


I am in my mid-40s and married to an amazing woman. She is smart, funny and very attractive. We have three wonderful children. Over the past 18 months I have begun to suffer from premature ejaculation and a loss of firmness in my erections. While I have always felt reasonably competent in my sexual abilities, I have now lost all confidence. When my wife and I do have sex there is usually foreplay and my wife climaxes, but when I ejaculate (prematurely) I am left feeling deflated and inadequate. I am reasonably fit and do not drink often. I have become hyper-aware of this issue and feel embarrassed to bring it up with my wife. I also feel that I have no one to confide in about this issue. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


There may be a simple reason for this; for example, having three children in the house can curtail sexual activity so it becomes hurried and unsatisfying. Try finding some relaxed time to spend with your wife without fear of interruption. However, the symptoms you are experiencing should be investigated, as they can be signs of underlying medical conditions – and there could be psychological reasons, medication effects or other causes. Early ejaculation can usually be treated quite easily by a competent sex therapist, but it is important to understand why it is occurring. Pay attention, and understand this is not a failing. You deserve to be heard and helped.


  • Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

  • If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to private.lives@theguardian.com (please don’t send attachments). Each week, Pamela chooses one problem to answer, which will be published online. She regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms.

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