Is Benzocaine or Lidocaine better for premature ejaculation? Find out how the two compare to decide which PE product is best for you.
Store-bought products can make a life-changing difference for men who struggle to delay orgasm.
Delay wipes and delay spray are both effective options for premature ejaculation (PE).
However, questions usually arise about whether benzocaine or lidocaine—the two primary active ingredients in topical PE products—is better for PE.
Premature Ejaculation is when a man ejaculates too early for self or partner satisfaction during sex.
Both ingredients soak into the skin and lower sensitivity through the temporary disruption of nerve signals
Other oral medications such as SSRIs, exercise, and behavioral techniques may also help treat premature ejaculation.
So, should you go with wipes made with benzocaine vs. lidocaine spray?
Does one type of ingredient work better?
According to the American Urological Association (AUA), PE is defined simply as ejaculating too early or too early for self or partner satisfaction during sex.
Males face three primary types of sexual dysfunction:
PE is considered a sexual dysfunction, and it is one of the most common sexual function disorders among men.
Among men between 18 and 59, 1 in 3 have problems with PE.
A common assumption is PE can only be diagnosed if ejaculation occurs before a certain span of time.
It is true that a lot of professionals claim that ejaculation within one minute constitutes PE.
The true determining factor can have more to do with one’s personal feelings about when ejaculation should occur.
Premature ejaculation can have a number of underlying contributing factors, such as:
PE can be mild, moderate, or severe and can also be primary (has always occurred with sex) or secondary (the problem began later in life).
Pro Tip: Find out more about PE in this ultimate guide to premature ejaculation and learn how to help prevent PE
In reality, both lidocaine and benzocaine have similar actions, and both can possibly help with PE.
Medical professionals rely on both local anesthetic agents to lower sensitivity levels during certain procedures. For example, a dentist may use a Benzocaine-based gel to desensitize the gums before using a needle.
Likewise, a lidocaine-based cream may be prescribed to help with a burn. As for benzocaine vs. lidocaine for PE, both have similar actions.
They soak into the skin and lower sensitivity levels in the penis by temporarily disrupting nerve signals.
Benzocaine is a well-established local anesthetic that is primarily used to lessen pain short term.
Products made with benzocaine for PE include:
In formal studies, benzocaine wipes have been shown to help men with PE.
In fact, Intravaginal ejaculatory latency times (IELT) increased from an average of just over a minute to closer to two minutes when using the wipes.
Lidocaine has been in use since the 1940s in medicine and is effective for decreasing sensitivity when applied topically to different areas of the body, including the penis.
PE products made with lidocaine include desensitizing sprays like Promescent Delay Spray, and certain types of premature ejaculation condoms.
In clinical trials, lidocaine-based sprays have been shown to be highly effective in delaying ejaculation.
Men were able to increase their IELT times from a 6.81-minute average to just over 11 minutes when using the spray.
This means the effects of lidocaine may also last longer than benzocaine, but individual experiences can vary.
As the aforementioned studies show, lidocaine seems to offer better results than benzocaine in terms of time until ejaculation.
This is why a lot of men prefer lidocaine vs. benzocaine condoms or lidocaine vs. benzocaine sprays.
Research shows lidocaine takes effect in just a few minutes, but optimal effects are observed at about 35 to 40 minutes after application.
By contrast, benzocaine starts to kick in quickly (around a minute or two) and is effective for around 5 to 10 minutes.
Because benzocaine acts faster, It is often the go-to for burns or other skin injuries.
However, lidocaine offers more long-lasting effects that may be more suitable for problems with PE.
While benzocaine vs. lidocaine for numbing is something to consider as PE treatment, other options can be effective.
A few different types of prescription medication may be recommended for premature ejaculation treatment.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are typically prescribed for depression, may be prescribed off-label for PE.
While the mechanism of action of these medications balances serotonin levels in the brain, they are also known to slow ejaculation in some individuals.
Medications used for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED), such as Viagra or Cialis, may also be prescribed to help with PE.
In some cases, ED is related to PE, especially in older men.
Some studies suggest that men who are more active are less likely to have problems with PE than those who lead a mostly sedentary lifestyle.
In one study, a group of over 200 men was divided depending on whether they were regularly physically active or mostly sedentary.
Both groups were assessed for intravaginal ejaculatory latency time (IELT).
Men in the group that was regularly physically active had significantly higher IELTs than the men who did not get a lot of exercises.
Certain types of exercise may be especially beneficial for PE.
Certain behavioral techniques may help with prolonging orgasm and ejaculation during sex.
For example, edging (the start-stop method) is done by having sex until there’s an urge to orgasm but then stopping until that sensation or urge dissipates.
Then, sex resumes, and the process can be repeated.
Alternatively, some men benefit from the squeeze technique. It is a form of edging, except you squeeze the head of the penis firmly for several seconds to eliminate the urge to ejaculate.
All local anesthetics can come with a low chance of side effects, including benzocaine and lidocaine.
However, side effects are relatively rare with both ingredients as long as products are used as directed.
Most people use benzocaine with no significant adverse reactions.
However, general side effects of topical benzocaine include:
Benzocaine can also cause an allergic reaction in some people, which may include symptoms like hives, swelling of the mouth or face, and difficulty breathing.
It should be noted that benzocaine may be slightly more likely to cause an allergic reaction than lidocaine.
Over-desensitization is also a risk when using benzocaine for PE.
However, if this occurs, simply wash off the product, and the sensitivity levels should return to normal soon after.
In the event of an adverse reaction, discontinue use, and seek medical attention for signs of an allergic reaction.
Much like benzocaine, lidocaine can also lead to side effects, even though most users will never have a negative experience. Side effects of lidocaine can include:
Over-desensitization with lidocaine is a bit more possible than with benzocaine. If over-desensitization occurs, wash off the product and wait for sensitivity levels to return to normal.
Pro Tip: Find out everything you need to know about how to use delay sprays like a pro and last longer.
To determine the best product to use, consider the following questions:
Premature ejaculation impedes sexual satisfaction, but over-the-counter topical products made with benzocaine and lidocaine can help delay ejaculation.
When it comes to benzocaine vs. lidocaine for delay of ejaculation, both ingredients can be effective.
Both lidocaine and benzocaine are considered safe, and most men don't experience side effects, but side effects are possible.
Further, benzocaine may be more likely to cause an allergic reaction than lidocaine.
If neither local anesthetic is suitable, there are other options for PE treatment, including medications, exercise, and behavioral options.
Dr. Rachel S. Rubin is a board-certified Urologist with fellowship training in sexual medicine. She is an assistant clinical professor in Urology at Georgetown University and practices at IntimMedicine Specialists in Washington DC. Dr. Rubin provides comprehensive sexual medicine care to all genders. She treats issues such as pelvic pain, menopause, erectile dysfunction, and low libido. Dr. Rubin is currently the education chair for the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) and an associate editor for the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews. Dr. Rubin has fellowship designation from both ISSWSH and the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA).
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