What’s the difference between premature ejaculation (PE) and erectile dysfunction (ED)?

PE is sometimes confused with ED but they’re very different. ED is a condition where a man cannot achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse, causing some men to rush orgasm in order to finish before their erection fails. While ED affects 5% of men, up to 31% of men are affected by some form of PE.

Here are a few key differences between PE and ED

  • Getting an Erection

    Premature ejaculation

    No problem getting an erection suitable for sexual intercourse.

    Erectile dysfunction

    Difficulty in getting or keeping an erection suitable for sexual intercourse.

  • Keeping an erection

    Premature ejaculation

    Penis remains erect until ejaculation.

    Erectile dysfunction

    Penis softens before ejaculation or before the end of intercourse.

  • Ejaculation

    Premature ejaculation

    Ejaculation occurs before the man wants it to, with low feelings of control over ejaculation, causing distress.

    Erectile dysfunction

    Men may try to ejaculate quickly before an erection is lost or may ejaculate when soft.

  • Who it affects

    Premature ejaculation

    Similar occurrence in men in a broad age range.

    Erectile dysfunction

    More common in older men.

Do note that the treatment options are different for ED and PE.

How do I treat PE?

Premature ejaculation is a defined medical condition according to the International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM), so the best person to talk to is your doctor.

Take the PE test Talking to your doctor