Friday, September 08, 2006

Evolution at Work?

St. Paul Pioneer Press | 09/08/2006 | U finds test drug prolongs sex for men

While this article raises questions about whether this drug will ever be sold, it's clear that pharmaceutical companies view it, and premature ejaculation treatments in general, as the next big thing. But I have to ask: Is premature ejaculation really a sexual dysfunction?

Obviously, for the couple experiencing it, it's not something to crow about. But isn't it at least possible that calling it a dysfunction misunderstands an evolutionary strategy?

Perhaps "premature " ejaculation is one of two methods for trying to pass on genes. Call it the "Don't worry, baby, this will only take a second, you'll barely even notice" method of gene-spreading. Others opt for the "You know you want it baby--remember how good it was last time?" method. Clearly, as a civilization, we're claiming that we prefer the latter option. But does that really mean that the former is a dysfunction?

According to the article, "As many as one in three men may experience premature ejaculation." That doesn't sound like a dysfunction--it sounds like a common situation.

Then again, the numbers in the study are such that I wonder if maybe it is a dysfunction:
Roughly 2,000 men in the trials took pills and then used stopwatches to time sexual intercourse with their spouses or significant others. Intercourse increased for some men from less than one minute without medication to 3½ minutes on the highest dosage that was studied.
3½ minutes? One minute!? Never mind what I said before. Get these guys a pill. Their wives and lovers deserve better than that.

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