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Premature ejaculation (PE) is one of the most common male sexual dysfunction and affects 33% of men aged 18 to 59, according to the American Urological Association (AUA) (AUA, n.d.). PE is when ejaculation happens before you or your partner would like. Occasional PE is usually not a problem, but if it is happening regularly or causing you significant distress, then you need to speak to your healthcare provider about your symptoms.
You may have premature ejaculation if (Serefoglu, 2014):
- You always or almost always ejaculate within one minute of penetration (for lifelong PE) or within three minutes of penetration (for acquired PE)
- You cannot control or delay ejaculation during sexual activities all or nearly all of the time
- You are experiencing distress, frustration, and/or avoidance of sexual intercourse because of your ejaculatory issues
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- Benzocaine wipes decrease penis sensitivity to improve ejaculation control.
- In a recent study, men who used benzocaine wipes increased their time from vaginal penetration to ejaculation from an average of 75 seconds to over five minutes.
- Benzocaine wipes are well tolerated and have minimal side effects.
What are benzocaine wipes?
Benzocaine is a topical anesthetic, a drug that makes the treated area numb. It works for PE by decreasing the sensitivity of the penis and thereby increasing ejaculation control. Benzocaine wipes are available over-the-counter; they are specially formulated to reduce penis sensitivity without causing numbness. They are usually discretely-wrapped moist towelettes that you apply to your penis before sexual intercourse.
In a small study published in The Journal of Urology, 21 men with PE received either 4% benzocaine wipes or placebo wipes to use before sex (Shabsigh, 2017). After two months, the men who used the benzocaine wipes reported significant improvement in the duration of their ejaculations after vaginal penetration compared to the men using placebo wipes. Also, compared to the placebo group, men in the benzocaine group reported that they felt a decrease in sexual frustration and a greater improvement in sexual satisfaction and control of their ejaculations.
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At the beginning of the study, the men in the treated group had an average ejaculation time of 74.3 seconds, and those in the placebo group had an average of 85 seconds (these differences were not statistically significant)(Shabsigh, 2019). This refers to the time it takes from vaginal penetration to ejaculation, also known as the intravaginal ejaculatory latency time (IELT) (Shabsigh, 2019). The IELT increased to an average of 165 seconds after one month and 330 seconds at the two-month mark in the men using the benzocaine wipes(Shabsigh, 2019). The placebo (untreated) group’s time only increased to approximately 110 seconds on average (Shabsigh, 2019). In fact, 76% of men in the treatment group had an IELT of at least two minutes at one month, and this increased to 88% at two months (Shabsigh, 2019). Only 33% of the placebo group reached the two-minute mark(Shabsigh, 2019).
Potential risks and side effects of benzocaine wipes
Overall, men in the benzocaine wipe study tolerated the treatment well, and there were no reports of their partners also having numbness or decreased sensation (also called transference). In other topical anesthetic products, like creams or sprays, there are reports of the numbing medication getting transferred to partners or numbness of the penis leading to erectile dysfunction. However, none of these have been reported with benzocaine wipes as yet. You should avoid benzocaine products if you have an allergy to benzocaine.