Take Charge of Your Climax
Approximately 1 in 3 U.S. men between ages 18 and 59 experience problems with premature ejaculation (PE), according to the Urology Care Foundation. The expulsion of semen and loss of erection sooner than desired can be embarrassing for a man and frustrating for his partner. Left untreated, PE can ruin a couple's sex life and throw a wrench into their relationship.
The looming prospect of dissatisfaction and chagrin may cause a couple to avoid sex altogether. Men trying to overcome PE may feel considerable pressure to satisfy their partner, especially if they are having sex with a woman who may take an average of 14 minutes to climax. Prolonged non-genital contact such as cuddling, caressing, full-body massage and stimulation of the nipples can help a woman orgasm sooner and is fun for partners of any gender, but extended foreplay isn't a lasting solution for a man with PE. A reliably effective response is needed.
Luckily, men have helpful options, including various means of numbing the penis to decrease sensitivity and, hopefully, delay ejaculation.
Pros and cons of solutions
Any approach to resolving premature ejaculation has pros and cons. Some solutions are simply unwieldy and impractical, but others might be right for you.
Gels and sprays use anesthetics such as lidocaine and prilocaine to temporarily numb the most sensitive parts of the penis. A study published in 2017 found that some sprays, applied five minutes before sex, gave men better control and produced a more satisfying overall sexual experience.
A growing number of manufacturers of sexual enhancement products have entered this market, and you can find personal wipes with a small dose of the local anesthetic benzocaine in drugstores. These wipes are small, convenient and can be used quickly.
Users should bear in mind that topicals may produce undesirable side effects. Deadening sensation in the penis for a prolonged period may compromise a male's ability to achieve an erection. Some users experience an unpleasant sensitive-skin reaction, including itching, burning, redness and general irritation of the shaft and head of the penis. Even worse, the user's partner may experience numbness in the vagina or a mild burning sensation.
Condoms are a logical choice for a man trying to prevent premature ejaculation. Not only do they come in different thicknesses, but some also contain a "climax control lubricant" that makes it easier to control and delay ejaculation. In some cases, men with a serious PE problem can reduce penile sensitivity by wearing more than one condom during intercourse, though that's not a recommended practice for contraception or prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Some men find wearing a condom to be uncomfortable, while others lose feeling entirely. A guy who doesn't know he has a latex allergy can get a nasty surprise in the form of a rash or hives and even experience a loss of blood pressure. A polyurethane or lambskin condom can be a safe alternative if latex isn't the answer, though lambskin condoms are not as effective at preventing STIs.
Problems for your partner
It is also important to consider the effects that numbing or desensitizing products may have on your partner. Women are more likely than men to have an allergic reaction to latex condoms, and they may experience a burning sensation when exposed to an anesthetic-based spray, gel or wipe. Ultimately, the best approach is to work together and find a solution that suits both partners.
Communication between partners is crucial, especially when a man is obsessively worried about sexual inadequacy. A sex researcher at the University of Zurich concluded that when a male is focused too intently on trying to control ejaculation, he is apt to become inattentive and overlook a partner's wishes, which can do lasting relationship damage. Remember that sex is a two-way street, and focusing on each other's needs and wants can be therapeutic.
It can be very easy to let a PE problem get out of control and drive an emotional wedge between even the most committed couple. Mutual acceptance, respect and a determination to work together can reward couples with a healthy sex life and a stronger relationship.