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Premature Ejaculation: Could Genetics Solve the Problem?

written by: •edited by: Paul Arnold•updated: 11/25/2009

It's an embarrassing problem, and one that researchers believe affects all men at some point in their lives. Psychological and environmental factors contribute to it, but there is also evidence to suggest that it may be a genetic disorder.

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    Premature Ejaculation Causes

    Various external factors have been attributed to premature ejaculation; peer pressure, intoxication, stress, nervousness, and lack of confidence. But increasingly the role of human genetics is being explored to explain why some men ejaculate early.

    In 2008 a study by scientists from Utrecht University in the Netherlands linked premature ejaculation with a serotonin transporter gene. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which regulates moods, sleep, appetite, and sexual activity. Researchers studied 89 men who suffered from the primary form of premature ejaculation, which means that have had the problem since their first sexual contact. They were compared with men who had no history of the condition. What they found was that in men who ejaculated prematurely the neurotransmitter was less active in the part of the brain that controls the physiological mechanism.

    A previously discovered gene - 5-HTTLPR - had already been linked with the amount and activity of serotonin. There are three versions of the gene - SS, LL, and SL. The Utrecht study found that men with the LL genotype ejaculated twice as rapidly as those with the SS genotype.

    Further support for the idea that premature ejaculation might be a genetic disorder came from a study by scientists in Turku, Finland in May 2009. It appeared in Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy. Scientists surveyed 3,000 males, all twins, and their older and younger brothers about the first time they had sex. The fact that so many men from such a large data sample reported problems with their first sexual encounter was seen as evidence of some kind of genetic link.

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    Stop Premature Ejaculation?

    The evidence doesn't necessarily point to genetics being the only cause of premature ejaculation. Men can't just blame poor performance solely on their genes according to psychotherapists and marriage counselors who expect that state of mind will always play a part. However, studies on the genetics of premature ejaculation open the way for a therapeutic that could possibly boost serotonin levels where and when its needed. Or perhaps gene therapy could come to the rescue and replace any faulty or problem genes that contribute to this fairly common bedroom dilemma?