A new pill could help men with premature ejaculation last nearly two minutes longer in bed, a study suggests.
The drug, made by the British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, was found to prolong their orgasm by up to 77 per cent.
It works by blocking the release of a pleasure chemical in the brain that is involved in the ejaculation process.
Researchers asked men to masturbate three hours after taking the pill and then compared them to a placebo group.
They hope the findings will translate to actual sex after a series of other promising trials in animals.
According to the NHS, the average man ejaculates after around five minutes of sex.
Up to a third of men are estimated to suffer from premature ejaculation, which sees them climax prior to or within seconds of penetration.
Men who seek treatment for the embarrassing condition are usually only prescribed counseling or self-help techniques.
A new pill could help men with premature ejaculation last nearly two minutes longer in bed, a study suggests (stock)
Researchers from the University of Verona in Italy looked at 35 men with premature ejaculation, aged between 18 and 50.
It was published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
What is premature ejaculation? How do I treat the condition?
Premature ejaculation is when a man climaxes while masturbating or during sex earlier than normal.
Studies suggest it normally takes men about five-and-a-half minutes to ejaculate during sex.
But for about one in three this occurs within three minutes — or premature ejaculation.
What causes premature ejaculation?
Scientists say that both psychological or physical factors can lead to the problem.
Stress, depression and anxiety can all lead to rapid ejaculation.
But in some cases problems with the prostate can also trigger a rapid ejaculation.
Are there any treatments?
Premature ejaculation is considered to be one of the most common sexual complaints among men.
Treatment normally revolves around advice to masturbate up to two hours before sex, take a break during sex or take a deep breath when it feels like a climax is about to happen.
But when these self-help strategies fail patients are normally offered common anti-depression medication
Participants were split into three groups — one given 3mg of the drug, one given 7mg and one given a placebo.
The medicine has not been named yet and is still known as GSK958108.
The study was double blinded, meaning neither the researchers nor men knew who was receiving the experimental or dummy drugs.
To establish a baseline, participants were asked to masturbate about a week before starting the treatment and then again after receiving either a placebo or real pill.
During the masturbation sessions, patients were initially shown 20 minutes of a natural history or geography programme.
They were then shown 10 minutes of pornography that involved vaginal and oral intercourse.
A signal instructed the subjects to start masturbating and told them to continue doing so until they reached orgasm.
The participants were asked to press a pedal at the start of masturbation and then again at the time of ejaculation.
They were asked to self-collect a semen sample and show it to an investigator sitting in an adjoining room.
Results showed those given the 3mg dose lasted 16 per cent longer than the placebo group and those given 7mg lasted 77 per cent longer.
The researchers estimate that at a population level, it would make the average man with premature ejaculation last one minute and 40 seconds longer.
GSK’s drug works by blocking uptake of serotonin, a chemical involved in mood cognition, reward, learning, memory, and numerous physical processes.
Specifically it blocks a type of serotonin known as 5-HT1A, which is released during sex and tells the body when to release semen.
Previous research has shown men with lifelong premature ejaculation often release too much of the chemical.
Some antidepressants sometimes have the knock-on effect of making people last longer in bed, due to their interaction with serotonin.
But some can also cause erectile dysfunction.
Premature ejaculation is one of the most common sexual complaints among men, likely brought on by stress, depression, relationship issues or problems with the prostate.
Men seeking help are told by the NHS to masturbate up to two hours before sex, take a break during intercourse or take a deep breath before climaxing to slow it down.