Spontaneous Ejaculation: A Focused Review for the Clinicians

Sex Med Rev. 2021 Jul;9(3):406-422. doi: 10.1016/j.sxmr.2020.11.001. Epub 2020 Nov 28.


Introduction: The process of ejaculation has important meanings not only for its association with orgasm but also for the timing to ejaculate in the context of sexual activity. Spontaneous (involuntary) ejaculation (SE) without any sexual stimulation is a distressing symptom. Our understanding of SE is limited. Unfortunately, many physicians are not aware of these cases.

Objectives: The objective of this study is to describe the etiopathogenesis, clinical features, diagnosis, and treatment options for SE.

Methods: We searched the literature for publications on "SE," "spontaneous emission" or "involuntary ejaculation," and factors influencing SE in the PUBMED/MEDLINE, Scopus, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, PsycINFO, ProQuest, Academic Search Complete database, Google Scholar, and CINAHL databases from inception to August 2020.

Results: The literature search yielded 36 relevant publications reporting on 43 patients with SE. Attempts to explain the cause of pathologic SE have included 4 etiological groups (spinal cord lesions, psychological causes, rabies, and drug-induced). The underlying mechanisms responsible for induction of SE may include increased adrenergic activity, overactivity in dopaminergic system, decreased serotonergic activity, damage of descending inhibitory pathway, or penile hyperexcitability. SE may occur in the absence of an identifiable trigger or may be triggered by non-sexual circumstances (micturition, defecation, glans touch, anxiety, panic attack, or school examinations). Treatment options include psychoanalytic treatment, paroxetine, citalopram, sertraline, silodosin, and anxiolytics. In drug-induced SE, dose reduction and drug withdrawal with or without switching to another drug may relief SE.

Conclusions: SE is one of the least reported ejaculatory dysfunction. The key feature shared in common by these men is SE without any sexual thoughts or fantasies, may be triggered by non-sexual contexts, rarely associated with orgasm or erection. Treatment by psychoanalytic treatment and pharmacotherapy may be helpful. Further research might explore the definite underlying mechanisms. Abdel-Hamid IA, Ali OI. Spontaneous Ejaculation: A Focused Review for the Clinicians. Sex Med Rev 2021;9:406-422.

Keywords: Disorders of Ejaculation; Drugs; Involuntary Ejaculation; Psychogenic; Rabies; Spinal Cord; Spontaneous Ejaculation; Spontaneous Emission.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ejaculation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orgasm
  • Penile Erection
  • Penis
  • Premature Ejaculation* / etiology
  • Premature Ejaculation* / therapy