The neurobiological approach to premature ejaculation

J Urol. 2002 Dec;168(6):2359-67. doi: 10.1097/01.ju.0000035599.35887.8f.


Purpose: Data showing the neurobiological background of rapid ejaculation was reviewed. In addition, new hypotheses to integrate clinical symptomatology, psychopharmacotherapy and psychotherapy of rapid ejaculation with brain function are provided.

Materials and methods: A computerized MEDLINE search, and manual bibliographic review of cross-references and neurobiological animal studies were performed. These reports were analyzed, summarized and compared with the studies performed by the author.

Results: The literature on premature ejaculation published between 1887 and 2001 was reviewed. It appeared that the various psychological hypotheses and psychotherapies have not adequately been investigated. In contrast, psychopharmacological treatment studies, animal research data and stopwatch assessments in men with rapid (premature) ejaculation indicate that lifelong rapid ejaculation is a neurobiological phenomenon related to central serotonergic neurotransmission and likely influenced by hereditary factors.

Conclusions: Basic and clinical psychopharmacological studies suggest that premature ejaculation is a not a psychological disturbance but a neurobiological phenomenon.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ejaculation / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways
  • Penis / innervation
  • Receptors, Serotonin / physiology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / physiopathology*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / psychology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / therapy
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology


  • Receptors, Serotonin