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J Sex Med. 2009 Sep;6(9):2376-89. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01350.x. Epub 2009 Jun 9.

Revisiting post-ejaculation refractory time-what we know and what we do not know in males and in females.

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Sexual Physiology Laboratory-Porterbrook Clinic, Sheffield, Yorkshire, UK.



The post-ejaculation refractory time (PERT), the period after a single ejaculation when further erections and ejaculations are inhibited, has been studied and well-documented in male rats. Since its first attribution in men by Masters and Johnson and its inaccurate delineation in their graphic sexual response model in 1966 it has been infrequently studied whereas scant attention has been paid to any such possible activity in women after female ejaculation.


To critically review our current knowledge about PERT in rats and humans and describe and correct shortcomings and errors in previous publications and propose corrections.


Review of published literature.


Identifying evidence-based data to support authority-based facts.


The review exposes the extremely limited evidence-based data that our knowledge of PERT is based on. The paucity of data for most aspects of human PERT is remarkable; even the generally accepted statement that the duration of PERT increases with age has no published support data.


Despite numerous studies in rats the mechanisms and site(s) of the activity are poorly understood. Dopaminergic and adrenergic pathways are thought to shorten PERT whereas serotonergic pathways lengthen its duration. Raising the brain serotonin levels in men using SSRIs helps reduce early or premature ejaculation. Rats have an absolute PERT (aPERT) during which erection and ejaculation is inhibited and a relative PERT (rPERT) when a stronger or novel stimulus can, whether such phases exist in men is unexamined. Apart from possible depressed activity in the amygdala and penile dorsal nerve and rejection of prolactin as a major factor in PERT little or no significant advance in understanding human male PERT has occurred. No evidence-based data on women's PERT after female ejaculation exists. New investigations in young and older men utilizing brain imaging and electromagnetic tomography are priority studies to accomplish.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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