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Are desensitizing products effective in treating premature ejaculation?

Ian Kerner, PhD
Sexual Health

Creams, gels, sprays, and others numb the head of your penis so that your sensation is dulled and you last longer. Condoms, particularly those that are thicker or contain topical numbing creams, are often also used for this purpose. Some guys may wear two or more condoms at once to blunt their arousal. Sold under names like Maintain, Prolong, and Sta-Hard, such products usually contain some sort of numbing agent like benzocaine, an anesthetic also found in many over-the-counter treatments for canker sores and ear pain.

The bottom line: Desensitization doesn’t address the underlying causes of PE, so it’s only a temporary solution. Some men (or their sexual partners) may be allergic to benzocaine or other inactive ingredients in these products. And overuse of benzocaine has been linked to a higher risk of acquired methemoglobinemia, a blood disorder that can trigger headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, and a bluish tinge to the skin. 

The Good in Bed Guide to Overcoming Premature Ejaculation

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The Good in Bed Guide to Overcoming Premature Ejaculation

From the New York Times best-selling author of She Comes First arrives the definitive guide to managing premature ejaculation – a book that could save your sex life!Do you suffer from PE? Are you...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.