It is not uncommon for men to feel embarrased about their stamina in the sack. The question, “How short is too short?” lacks an objective answer, but it is generally agreed that an intravaginal ejaculation latency time (IELT; a great acronym, though not the greatest) of less than 2 minutes leaves something to be desired. Unfortunately, Alfred Kinsey’s research in the 1950s showed that most men fail to meet this relatively generous benchmark.
Over the years, numerous therapies have been devleoped for premature ejaculation (PE). Some of these involve behavioral modification, such as the traditional Stop Start Technique. Others involve a local anesthetic like Benzocaine, though condoms containing this compound receive mixed reviews.
Though the ejaculatory reflex is mediated by neurons in the spinal cord, it is also amenable to cognitive control by brain regions such as the nucleus paragigantocellularis. A new generation of psychoactive PE medications is inspired by anti-depressants that inhibit reuptake of serotonin (SSRIs). Inibiting reuptake increases the concentration of serotonin at the synapse, which is thought to be critical for ejaculatory control.
Unlike anti-depressants, it is desireable for PE medications to be fast-acting and have a short half life. Science Daily reports on a clinical trial of dapoxetine, an SSRI with these properties. Giuliano et al. show that dapoxetine, taken only a couple hours prior to intercourse, increases mean IELT by several minutes. It’s no miracle cure, but it helps.
On the other hand, some people are proud of their..ehem..efficiency. Dave Chapelle appears to be one of them (note: adult language).
Since Sen. Joe Biden proposed his Recognizing Addiction As a Disease Act of 2007, the relation of biology and choice has been a hotbuttonissue. This South Park episode contains a searing critique of the addiction as disease model. As usual for the show, it’s over the top and controversial:
The BBC is reporting on a 59 year-old German woman who had a pencil lodged in her head since she was 4 years old. Surgeons in Berlin recently extracted the foreign object in order to relieve the woman’s headaches and nosebleeds. Thanks to the operation, which cleared her nasal passage, she will also regain her sense of smell.
Like so many other events in life, this reminds me of a Simpsons episode. Homer signs up for some scientific studies in order to earn extra cash. When the doctors scan his head, they discover a crayon lodged in his frontal lobe. They remove it and Homer becomes much smarter, but in the end he returns the crayon to his brain because he realizes that people don’t like a smart alec.
Writing utensils are not the only items that find their way into the brain. Earlier this summer, Mindhacks reported on a Croatian man with a knife lodged in his skull.
Do you know of any other incidents like these? If so, please post them in the comments section.