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Last updated January 7, 2021. 5 minute read

What is Promescent used for? Is it proven to work?

This over-the-counter spray uses lidocaine as its active ingredient. Lidocaine sprays and creams are part of a group of PE treatments called desensitizing agents that aim to lengthen the time between first sexual contact and ejaculation.

Linnea Zielinski Written by Linnea Zielinski
Reviewed by Yael Cooperman, MD

Despite most people’s unwillingness to talk about it, premature ejaculation (also known as PE) is the most common male sexual dysfunction. It’s estimated that 30% of men worldwide experience PE (Carson, 2006). While researchers have tried to apply a range of time frames to the condition, premature ejaculation is generally seen as orgasm and ejaculation just before or shortly after beginning sexual intercourse. 


  • Promescent is a type of topical desensitization spray used to delay the time it takes to orgasm for people who experience premature ejaculation (PE).
  • Topical duration products mostly use lidocaine and benzocaine as their active ingredients.
  • Both lidocaine and benzocaine are anesthetics that can be used topically for the treatment of PE.
  • In some cases, prescription antidepressants may be needed to treat PE.

While it may be tempting to try to define how long sex should last, there’s no real rule. Ejaculation is considered to be premature if it happens before you or your partner would like. (Crowdis, 2020). 

That’s where Promescent Delay Spray comes in. This over-the-counter spray uses lidocaine as its active ingredient (NIH, 2020). Lidocaine sprays and creams are part of a group of PE treatments called desensitizing agents that aim to lengthen the time between first sexual contact and ejaculation. 

Sprays like Promescent, which is sprayed directly onto the penis about five minutes before sexual activity, have benefits over lidocaine creams: The spray is easier to apply and works four times faster than the creams. Because the cream can transfer to a sexual partner, causing numbness for the partner, you should use a condom. Lidocaine spray works within just five minutes and can be wiped off before sex to avoid transfer to a partner. (Mohee, 2011).

Although research specifically on Promescent is limited, one study did find that the product positively improved the quality of sexual experience, lengthened the time it took to orgasm and increased the frequency of both partners having an orgasm. Participants reported the product was effective for delaying ejaculation, and the frequency of both partners reaching orgasm also increased from 44.1% to 65.6% when using this desensitizing spray. (Mark, 2016). 


Premature ejaculation treatments

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Desensitizing wipes show great promise for improving premature ejaculation. In one study, the average time to ejaculation more than doubled for participants after two months of using these wipes (Shabsigh, 2019).

How to last longer

Promescent is just the beginning of therapeutic options available for people with premature ejaculation who want to last longer in bed. Behavioral therapies have been used for decades, but researchers have only been able to show limited long-term benefit to using them. Though 45-65% of men report short-term benefits, 75% show no lasting improvement in prolonging sexual performance (Mark, 2016). 

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These strategies include the stop-start method (stopping sexual activity when ejaculation feels imminent and continuing after the feeling passes) and the squeeze technique, a variation on the stop-start strategy that includes the person or their partner squeezing the head of the penis to delay ejaculation (Avina, 2009).

Lidocaine sprays and creams

Climax control sprays and creams are readily available over-the-counter. Just as topically-applied lidocaine desensitizes your gums at the dentist, it can do the same when applied to the most sensitive parts of the penis. Promescent is one example of a lidocaine-based spray, but far from the only option. 

Fortacin is another topical spray that uses a mixture of lidocaine and prilocaine to delay the time it takes to ejaculate. It uses a metered-dose (each pump is a measured amount so that you can know how much of the product you’re using) to ensure the right amount is applied (Porst, 2017).

But lidocaine-based products such as duration spray for men do come with potential side effects. Studies on these topical sprays and creams noted headache, excessive loss of sensitivity, erectile dysfunction, and application site irritation as possible side effects for the person with PE

Partners of people who used these products prior to sex noted a burning sensation in the vagina or on the vulva (Mark, 2016). Other research has noted desensitization of the vaginal as a side effect experienced by the partner with both of these products (Mohee, 2011).

Benzocaine topical products

Like lidocaine, topical benzocaine can also be used for the treatment of PE. Products using benzocaine as the active ingredient can have concentrations of 3-7.5% (FDA, 2019). While lidocaine-based products are available as creams and sprays only, topical benzocaine products have several different forms. 

You can find these sexual wellness products as sprays, gels, creams, lubes, and wipes (more on those below). Some products you may have seen in this category are K-Y Duration Gel and K-Y Duration Spray.

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Premature ejaculation wipes

These wipes are similar to other topical treatments, such as sprays and creams. Many use benzocaine as the active ingredient, which has numbing effects similar to lidocaine. These wipes are generally used on the most sensitive parts of the penis, including the frenulum (the area that connects the underside of the rounded end of the penis to the shaft), in anticipation of sexual activity. The product is typically applied about five minutes and allowed to dry before you have sex. 

Study results are promising, though more research is needed to confirm preliminary findings. One 2019 study that included 21 participants found that time to orgasm during vaginal intercourse was under two minutes at the start of the study but increased to three minutes after one-month of use with 4% benzocaine wipes. 

By the end of the second month, time to orgasm had increased to over five minutes. The participants also reported experiencing less distress about intercourse, more control over their orgasm, and greater satisfaction with their sex lives by the end of the study (Shabsigh, 2019).

Other treatments for PE

In some cases, prescription medication may be necessary to treat PE. Some studies have been done on using PDE5 inhibitors such as sildenafil (brand name Viagra), tadalafil (brand name Cialis), and vardenafil (brand name Levitra) to treat PE instead of erectile dysfunction, but results have been mixed. 

One class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have successfully been used to treat premature ejaculation. In fact, the effects of delaying ejaculation can be seen within days of starting SSRI treatment, past studies have found (Mark, 2016). Discuss all of your options with a healthcare professional who can make recommendations based on your individual circumstances and state of health.