The average man lasts around five minutes during intercourse, say updated international sexual health guidelines.
Anything shorter than three minutes could be premature ejaculation (PE).
If this occurs on nearly all occasions over a number of months the man might need treatment, particularly if he is distressed or avoiding intimacy, according to the update from the International Society of Sexual Medicine.
Men with PE have significantly lower self-esteem and self-confidence than other men, says the update, which was drawn up by a 20-member committee chaired by Australian Dr Chris McMahon.
However, these men can be helped if GPs and other non-specialists understand the condition and the latest treatments. These range from drugs and creams to psychological counselling.
Importantly, GPs are urged to routinely ask patients about their sexual health as many are too embarrassed or shy to initiate a discussion.
“There are many misconceptions about premature ejaculation,” says committee spokesperson Dr Stanley Althof of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in the US.
The aim is to share the most up-to-date information about diagnosis and treatment with non specialists so they can confidently treat patients.