Premature ejaculation (PE) can be uncomfortable, unsatisfying, and embarrassing. And there are quite a few medicinal products on the market that claim to help. So what are they, how do they function, and most importantly, will they work?
PE Wipes: The Basics
- The active ingredient in most PE wipes is benzocaine, a widely available topical anesthetic also sold to dull the pain of oral ulcers, sore throat sprays and lozenges, and as part of certain brands of eardrops.
- Benzocaine has been available on the market for a century and is generally well understood medically.
- Allergic reactions are rare but possible.
- The wipes limit the sensitivity in the penis by dulling nerve responses.
Do PE Wipes Work?
That’s a difficult question to answer definitively. In the sense that PE wipes do what they say on the label, namely reduce sensitivity of the penis, they will likely be effective if used according to instructions. Benzocaine is a well-known and well-studied local anesthetic that you’ve likely used dozens of times in your life. If penile sensitivity is an issue, then research has shown they work well.
However, whether they prevent PE in all cases is another matter entirely. First of all, there’s no clear consensus over what “premature” is, precisely. While typical ejaculatory latency is four to eight minutes, that’s merely an average. Everyone is different in this regard and that should be taken into consideration.
Nor are we clear on the mechanism of PE. Many of the claimed causes, such as performance anxiety or not engaging in sex often enough, are more guess than proven. There may be neurological aspects, but those have only been found in rat models. The only consensus is there may be multiple reasons for it, from the physiological to the psychological, and an overly sensitive penis is only one cause. This makes the exact cause of PE unique to each person and difficult to diagnose without some investigation on the part of the sufferer.
Should I Use PE Wipes?
PE wipes should be viewed less as a “silver bullet” and more as one tool in a tool kit to isolate the cause. Treating PE requires more than one approach and some experimentation. If you’re dealing with PE, consider the following strategies as well.
- Medical consultation: First, make sure there’s not a strictly mechanical reason. An enlarged prostate, for example, is associated with PE, and some medications may also cause PE. Talk about your concerns with your doctor and review your medical history.
- Communication with your partner: Researchers have found that PE tends to be more distressing for the sufferer than their partner. If you’re worried about your partner’s feelings, have an open, honest conversation about your PE and how they feel. This may help with interpersonal concerns.
- Emotional health care: It’s been proven that unrelated circumstances, like work-related stress, can have adverse effects on sexual performance. Emotional health practice can help channel these stresses into more productive areas.
- Physical techniques: There are sexual techniques and positions that can help with PE, including the stop-start technique and delayed gratification, known colloquially as “edging.”
Dan is a long-time freelance writer focusing on technology, science, health, and medicine, with a lifelong interest in physics, biology, and medicine. His work has taken a particular focus on scientific studies “beyond the headlines,” reading the study to more closely examine the results.