Penis Numbing Cream For Sex: How it Works According to Science

Penis numbing cream is a treatment option that affects the nerves under the skin and may help delay ejaculation. Find out if it's the right premature ejaculation treatment for you.

Dr. Laurence Levine
By Dr. Rachel Rubin Medically reviewed by Dr. Laurence Levine Last updated 04/22/2024
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penis numbing cream premature ejaculation

Men who struggle with premature ejaculation (PE), which is thought to be as high as 40 percent, have various options when it comes to treatment.

Over-the-counter topical desensitizing products like penis numbing creams are one such option. Creams for PE work much like other topical desensitizing products.

Quick FAQs

Penis numbing cream is a topical anesthetic product that usually lidocaine based.

The main pro is that it appears to increase intravaginal ejaculatory latency time. The main con is that it can take longer to work and might not be suitable for use with latex condoms.

Lidocaine lowers the sensitivity levels in the penis, helping to prolong orgasm.

They contain ingredients that affect the nerves under the skin, which may help to delay ejaculation. But does numbing cream for sex delay ejaculation?

Let’s take a closer look at how penis numbing creams work, and whether it’s the right premature ejaculation treatment option for men.

    What Is Penis Numbing Cream?

    Penis numbing cream is a topical anesthetic product, typically lidocaine based, that is applied to the penis before sex.

    It’s designed to lower penis sensitivity levels. Lidocaine and benzocaine based creams have also been used for surgical procedures.

    One study suggested it’s useful for desensitizing the genitals enough to perform device-assisted circumcision.

    Nonetheless, another study concluded that it’s only useful for minor surgical procedures, and a different form of anesthetic should be used for circumcisions.

    How does numbing the penis treat premature ejaculation?

    According to some studies, men who suffer from premature ejaculation have increased penile sensitivity. Hypersensitivity was an issue particularly with those who have lifelong PE.

    Therefore, when sensitivity is reduced through a numbing product such as a cream, spray, or lube, a man can delay ejaculation and last longer in bed.

    Researchers found that compared to a placebo group, patients who used lidocaine cream generally saw their pre-ejaculation period increase.

    In another study, out of 11 participants, 9 of them described the results of using numbing cream for PE as excellent or better.

    When compared with patients using only sildenafil or a placebo, using a penis numbing cream was found to be the most effective. 

    As long as too much wasn’t used, men were able to last longer for their partners while still enjoying some of the feeling and pleasure of sex.

    Does Penis Numbing Cream Have Side Effects?

    Side effects of penis numbing cream are rare but possible for some individuals. Adverse reactions usually happen when the product is misused or misapplied. 

    Some potential adverse reactions of lidocaine cream for premature ejaculation include:

    • Loss of erection
    • Skin irritation in the area of application, such as itching, burning, or reddening
    • Slight edema (swelling) of the application area

    In the event of an adverse reaction to lidocaine-based products, whether that is delay spray or premature ejaculation cream, it may be best to consider an alternative.

    For example, Promescent Delay Wipes are made with benzocaine. Benzocaine is a local anesthetic similar to lidocaine but may be less likely to cause undesirable reactions, even though its effects are not as long-lasting.

    Be sure to speak with a doctor before deciding to use a numbing cream. Nonetheless, allergies to penile numbing creams that use lidocaine are extremely rare.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Penis Numbing Cream

    There are probably plenty of questions popping in your mind about sex numbing cream. Here are some of the most common ones answered.

    How do you apply numbing cream to the penis?

    Squeeze out a small amount of sexual numbing cream, and apply it to the areas of the penis that are most sensitive, such as around the glans (head) and frenulum (underside of the penis where the head and shaft meet).

    After application, the active ingredient in the cream, lidocaine, soaks through the skin and lowers the sensitivity levels of penile nerves.

    How long does it take for lidocaine cream to work?

    One study found that lidocaine cream can start to work in as little as 15 minutes. But other studies have indicated it’ll start completely working after 20 minutes.

    How long does lidocaine cream last?

    There’s no research that offers any definitive conclusions as to how long lidocaine cream will last. Exact outcomes can vary based on the ingredients in the product.

    The better question may be, how long does lidocaine last? Lidocaine can last different lengths of time depending on several factors, such as:

    • What type of lidocaine product is used, and what is its precise formulation
    • How much of a lidocaine product is applied
    • Personal sensitivity to lidocaine

    Users can experiment and test to see how long the cream will last for them. We do know that lidocaine spray can last for up to an hour.

    Do Penis Numbing Creams Affect the Vagina?

    When using desensitizing cream before intercourse, there is a chance that the effects can transfer to your partner.

    However, it is possible to reduce the likelihood of transfer. For instance, always:

    • Apply only the minimal amount of product needed to achieve the desired level of desensitization
    • Wipe away excess cream after application with a damp towel once you start feeling the effects
    • Wash your hands after application to avoid transferring the cream to your partner through touch or during foreplay

    Will penis numbing cream numb her mouth?

    Wiping away any excess cream will make it less likely to numb your partner’s mouth if she decides to perform oral sex.

    Does numbing cream work for sex?

    Several studies have proven desensitizing creams work for reducing penis sensitivity and delaying premature ejaculation. 

    Is numbing cream safe?

    Numbing cream is generally considered to be safe. Be sure to only use the recommended amount.

    Which is better, numbing cream or numbing spray?

    While lidocaine cream works for premature ejaculation, delay sprays may offer an overall better experience without sacrificing performance. 

    Sprays can be easier and less messy to use than creams. They also take less time to apply and wipe off before sex.

    Numbing sprays generally only take 5 to 15 minutes to work. For best results, a numbing cream may require at least 20 minutes before it starts working.

    Numbing sprays are also just as effective as creams if not moreso. In a study of Promescent Desensitizing Spray, the average IELT increased to over 11 minutes from just 6.81 minutes while using the product.

    Alternative treatments for premature ejaculation

    Penis sensitivity is one factor that has been speculated to be the cause of premature ejaculation. 

    But studies by the International Journal of Impotence Research, Reviews in Urology Journal, and Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy have argued and concluded that penis sensitivity is not a cause of premature ejaculation.

    It is possible other factors may be a more significant contributor to ejaculating early. In these cases, alternative treatments might be worth considering. Here are a few that might be helpful in helping with delaying ejaculation.


    There are a variety of exercises that can help with treating premature ejaculation. Some of the best exercises to do include:

    Physical techniques that may be useful include the stop-start method and the squeeze technique.

    Additionally, mental exercises such as meditation and cognitive distraction can also be effective in helping you last longer in bed.


    Various medications can cause delayed ejaculation as a side effect. Other medications have also been found through research to help with treating PE. A few that might be worth trying include:

    • SSRIs
    • Pain Relievers
    • ED Pills
    • Alpha-blockers

    Be sure to consult with a physician before you start taking any new medication.

    How Does Lidocaine Prevent Premature Ejaculation?

    Lidocaine prevents premature ejaculation by lowering the sensitivity levels in the penis.

    During sex, sensitivity pushes one’s urge to reach orgasm and ejaculate.

    Lidocaine is classified as a local anesthetic, which means it offers desensitization when applied topically to that targeted area. 

    When lidocaine reaches the nerve endings beneath the skin of the penis, the medicine blocks the signals being sent. 

    Therefore, that specific point of the penis is not as sensitive when it is touched, which prolongs orgasm.


    Desensitizing cream is an over-the-counter product that may be effective for problems with premature ejaculation.

    It contains a commonly used anesthetic, lidocaine. Lidocaine-based products (including numbing creams) are effective at delaying ejaculation. 

    However, a cream can be messy to use, take a while to work, and can't be used with latex condoms.

    Other products like delay spray for men may be a better option. For more ways to enjoy sex for a longer time, be sure to take a look at the full collection of products and informational resources from Promescent.

    Related Article

    Dr. Laurence Levine

    Dr. Laurence Levine

    Dr. Laurence Levine M.D. is a Professor of Urology and is in practice seeing patients and performing clinical research at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He has focused his practice on Male Sexual Health for the past 25 years and was President of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America. Dr. Levine is a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Medicine where he received his M.D and completed his training at the Harvard Program in Urology.


    Absorption Pharmaceuticals LLC (Promescent) has strict informational citing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic or research institutions, medical associations, and medical experts. We attempt to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references and only citing trustworthy sources. Each article is reviewed, written, and updated by Medical Professionals or authoritative Experts in a specific, related field of practice. You can find out more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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    The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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