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Lidocaine Spray for Premature Ejaculation: How it Works

Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM

Reviewed by Mike Bohl, MD

Written by Vanessa Gibbs

Published 02/12/2019

Updated 01/11/2024

Premature ejaculation (PE) means ejaculation happens sooner than you’d like during sex. 

It can be embarrassing and distressing, but thankfully, there are many premature ejaculation treatments available, including lidocaine spray.

Lidocaine is a topical anesthetic that reduces sensitivity in your penis, delaying ejaculation and helping you last longer in bed. 

Below, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about lidocaine spray for premature ejaculation, including how it works, how to use it and the possible side effects (beyond becoming an absolute stud in the bedroom).

Why, oh, why does premature ejaculation happen?! Before we get into how lidocaine can help, let’s cover some background knowledge on PE. 

There are a few different definitions for premature ejaculation. The International Society for Sexual Medicine defines it as ejaculation that occurs within minute (lifelong PE) or within 3 minutes (acquired PE) of vaginal penetration and before you’d like it to happen. 

By the way, it takes men an average of five to seven minutes to reach orgasm and ejaculation during sex. So don’t believe all the bragging you hear about three-hour-long sex sessions.

PE is also defined as early ejaculation that happens 75 to 100 percent of the time you have sex — and early ejaculation that’s been going on for at least six months and that causes distress.

You might not talk about it with your guy friends, but premature ejaculation is pretty common. It’s thought to affect anywhere from 30 percent to a whopping 75 percent of men (although reports are subjective and estimates vary widely) and it’s considered the most widespread male sexual disorder.

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What Causes Premature Ejaculation?

So, why does it happen exactly? Premature ejaculation can be related to both physical and psychological factors. 

Physical risk factor of PE include: 

  • Hyperthyroidism 

  • Abnormal levels of serotonin 

  • Diabetes 

  • Inflammation or infection of the prostate or urethra (pee tube)

  • Recreational drug use 

  • Alcoholism 

  • Sleep deprivation (another reason to get your seven or more hours of shut-eye) 

Psychological risk factor of PE include: 

  • Stress

  • Anxiety 

  • Depression 

  • Relationship problems 

  • Performance anxiety 

  • Poor body image 

Check out our guide to preventing premature ejaculation to learn more.

Now let’s move on to lidocaine spray. 

Lidocaine is a topical treatment for premature ejaculation. As a local anesthetic, it reduces sensitivity in your penis, helping to increase the time before ejaculation. 

If you’ve ever had a root canal or your wisdom teeth removed, there’s a chance you’ve experienced the numbing effects of lidocaine. Although, don’t worry — with topical lidocaine for PE, you won’t go completely numb, only slightly less sensitive than usual. 

Lidocaine is available in spray, cream and gel formulations, which you can buy over the counter and online.

Simply apply it before sex and boom, you should last longer in bed.

Clinical Trials and Research on Lidocaine for PE

Want proof?

A 2022 study looked at how a lidocaine-based spray affected 150 men with self-reported PE.

The results showed that the lidocaine spray increased average ejaculation latency time (the time it takes to ejaculate) from less than one minute to more than two minutes. 

Beyond that, 80 percent of men said they were sexually satisfied, and 70 percent said they were happy with their ejaculatory control when using the product. 

A 2017 study looked at a lidocaine-prilocaine spray. (Prilocaine is another desensitizing agent.) The study found that the product was fast-acting, working within five minutes of men spraying it onto the glans (head) of their penis. 

The spray reduced penis sensitivity and delayed the time to ejaculation without adversely affecting the sensation of ejaculation or orgasm.

A 2020 study found that applying a 5% lidocaine spray 10 to 20 minutes before sex helped guys with PE last longer in bed and have more sex overall compared to those who used a placebo.

There are a few pros to using lidocaine spray for premature ejaculation: 

  • It’s available over the counter — no prescription needed.

  • You can use it whenever the need arises.

  • There are limited systemic side effects like those you can get from other PE treatments, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). 

There are a few cons as well, including: 

  • You may have to wait a little while for lidocaine to kick in before having sex, reducing spontaneity.

  • It can cause numbness in your penis and in your partner’s vagina or genital area. 

  • It can be messy (although sprays may be less messy than creams).

We’ve got a full guide on lidocaine cream versus spray, including the pros and cons of each.

It’s easy to use lidocaine spray for premature ejaculation. 

Here’s what to do: 

  • Spray the product onto the most sensitive areas of your penis 10 to 15 minutes before you plan on having sex.

  • Wait.

  • Wash your hands and wipe off any excess product, or take a quick shower before sexual activity.

And voila — you should last longer in bed

Use just one spray of lidocaine at first. If you don’t notice any improvement, try increasing the dose in line with the instructions provided by your lidocaine spray.

If some of the numbing effects rub off on your partner, consider using a condom next time.

You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers. 

Here’s everything else you need to know about using lidocaine for premature ejaculation.

Is Lidocaine Spray Safe?

Yes, lidocaine spray is safe. Local anesthetics like lidocaine have been used for decades to help men last longer in bed. 

Lidocaine is used in dentistry and surgery. There are plenty of studies on lidocaine spray for premature ejaculation, and the side effects appear to be mild and rare.

There’s just one caveat: If you’re allergic to lidocaine, don’t use lidocaine spray.

Does Lidocaine Spray Have Side Effects?

Yes, lidocaine spray has side effects. 

Lidocaine spray side effects include: 

  • Numbness in your penis, which could cause erectile dysfunction (ED) 

  • Irritation in your penis 

  • Numbness in your partner’s vagina or genital area

  • Irritation in your partner’s vagina or vulva 

If your partner experiences numbness, try wiping off the spray before penetration or wearing a condom to avoid transferring lidocaine to their genitals.

Topical PE treatments have also been linked to loss of pleasure, erection and orgasm. But these side effects are rare, and since you can easily stop using lidocaine spray, it may still be worth a try.

Can You Use Lidocaine Spray If Your Partner Is Pregnant?

Yes, you can use lidocaine spray if your partner is pregnant. 

The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) classifies lidocaine as a category B medication, meaning it’s typically safe for use during pregnancy in healthy people. 

That said, double-check with your healthcare provider before using lidocaine spray for PE with a pregnant partner.

Is It Safe to Use Lidocaine Spray With Viagra® and Other ED Drugs? 

Lidocaine spray is safe to use with Viagra (and generic sildenafil) and other ED drugs. 

Lidocaine is used to treat premature ejaculation, which can occur alongside of erectile dysfunction. You might be taking Viagra to help with erections. Viagra can also help PE in some cases.

Using both Viagra and lidocaine spray may not be more effective, though. One small study showed that using both Viagra and a cream containing lidocaine is equally effective at treating PE as using lidocaine cream alone.

Be sure to speak to a healthcare provider about any medication you’re taking before introducing something new into the mix.

How Long Do the Effects of Lidocaine Spray Last?

The effects of lidocaine spray can last one to three hours. Most of the time, you’ll feel the numbing effects of lidocaine spray and reduced sensitivity during sex for about an hour after applying it to your penis.

Should You Apply Lidocaine Spray While Erect or Flaccid?

You can apply lidocaine spray while erect or flaccid. Just be sure to spray the product onto your penis about 10 to 15 minutes before sex to give it some time to work its magic.

Is Lidocaine Spray Safe for Oral Sex?

Yes, lidocaine spray is safe for oral sex — as long as your partner doesn’t have a lidocaine allergy.

Wait 10 to 15 minutes after applying it and wipe off any product residue or hop in the shower before oral sex.

If your partner accidentally ingests lidocaine orally during sexual activity, you should contact the poison control center in your area immediately.

Can You Use Lidocaine Spray With a Lubricant?

Lidocaine spray is completely safe to use with a sexual lubricant. Wait 10 to 15 minutes before having sex to ensure the lidocaine spray is completely dry and effective. And wash off any remaining spray before getting started.

Can Lidocaine Spray Reduce Sensitivity for Your Partner?

Yes, unfortunately, lidocaine spray can reduce sensitivity for your partner. 

Make sure you’re waiting 10 to 15 minutes after spraying lidocaine on your penis before sexual intercourse.

If your partner is still experiencing numbness, try: 

  • Washing your hands after using lidocaine

  • Wiping off any excess product or taking a shower before sex

  • Wearing a condom (groan, we know, don’t @ us)

Does Lidocaine Spray Protect from Pregnancy or STIs?

No, lidocaine spray doesn’t protect you from pregnancy or STIs. 

Lidocaine spray is designed to delay ejaculation — but that’s about it. It’s not a form of contraception. 

Use condoms or other forms of protection and birth control to protect yourself from STIs and pregnancy. Stay safe out there.

Lidocaine spray is an evidence-based treatment for premature ejaculation, but it’s not your only option.

If topical lidocaine isn’t producing the effects you’d like or it causes side effects, try a different treatment. Even if it works, using multiple modalities could be more effective approach when it comes to treating PE.

Treatments for premature ejaculation include: 

  • Other topical products. Besides sexual numbing spray, you can buy other topical PE products (like wipes) that reduce sensitivity in the penis. These include benzocaine or prilocaine. Some products contain a mixture of desensitizing agents, and you can even get special condoms for premature ejaculation.

  • Behavioral techniques. Try the stop-start technique (when you hit pause on your sex session just before you’re going to climax and wait until the urge passes before starting again). You could also do the squeeze technique (essentially the same method but with the addition of gently squeezing the tip of your penis to reduce arousal). 

  • Pelvic floor exercises. Regularly doing pelvic floor exercises can strengthen those muscles. Research shows that  pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation can increase the time to ejaculation from less than one minute to over two minutes on average. 

  • Distract yourself. Think about something else during sex to get your mind off the task at hand. This can help to buy you some more time in bed. 

  • Use a condom. If you don’t already, try wearing condoms during sex to desensitize your penis further.

  • Masturbate before sex. Know you’re going to get it on? Have some “me-time” beforehand. Masturbating before sex can help you last longer the second time around due to the refractory period — a window after ejaculation when you’re less able to reach orgasm and ejaculate again.  

  • Therapy. Premature ejaculation has many psychological causes. Therapy can help get to the root of the problem if factors like performance anxiety, depression or relationship problems are contributing to PE. We offer therapy online as part of our range of mental health services, so you can connect with a healthcare professional from home.

  • PE medication. Premature ejaculation pills include off-label antidepressants and ED medication. Some of the most common are SSRIs like sertraline (the active ingredient in Zoloft®), paroxetine (Paxil®) and fluoxetine (Prozac®) and PDE5 inhibitors like sildenafil (Viagra®). Check out our guide to sertraline for PE to learn more about this treatment option. 

We’ve also covered home remedies for premature ejaculation to try.

delay spray for men

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The bottom line? Lidocaine numbing spray can help you last longer in bed, increasing everything from sexual performance to satisfaction for all parties involved. Woo! 

Here’s the summary:

  • Give it 10 to 15 minutes before having sex. Spray lidocaine onto the tip of your penis and wait 10 to 15 minutes before having sex. It’s that easy. 

  • Lidocaine numbing spray comes with potential side effects. These include irritation and numbness in your penis or your partner’s vagina.  

  • Try multiple premature ejaculation treatments. Lidocaine is effective, but you might find using multiple methods helps in the treatment of premature ejaculation. Consider the squeeze technique, therapy and PE meds like SSRIs, if needed.

Ready to up your game in the bedroom? We offer lidocaine Delay Spray for men and other topical products like our Clockstopper benzocaine wipes

Plus, you can connect with a licensed healthcare provider online through our sexual health platform to discuss the best PE treatments for you.

13 Sources

  1. Crowdis, M., Leslie, S. W., Nazir, S. (2023, May 30). Premature Ejaculation - StatPearls. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546701/
  2. Premature ejaculation: Overview. (2019). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547548/
  3. McMahon C. G. (2007). Premature ejaculation. Indian journal of urology : IJU : journal of the Urological Society of India, 23(2), 97–108. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2721550/
  4. Shariev, A., Savdie, R., & Hart, K. (2022). The Effects of Steady Freddy, a Lidocaine-Based Pump Spray for the Treatment of Premature Ejaculation (PE). American journal of men's health, 16(6), 15579883221145245. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/15579883221145245
  5. Porst, H., & Burri, A. (2017). Fortacin™ Spray for the Treatment of Premature Ejaculation. Urologia, 84(2_suppl), 1–10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6166492/
  6. Abu El-Hamd M. (2021). Effectiveness and tolerability of lidocaine 5% spray in the treatment of lifelong premature ejaculation patients: a randomized single-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. International journal of impotence research, 33(1), 96–101. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31896832/
  7. Pozzi, E., Belladelli, F., Bebi, C., Salonia, A., & Boeri, L. (2021). Topical Treatment of Premature Ejaculation: The Rise of Anesthetic Spray Formulations? Uro, 1(1), 30–38. https://www.mdpi.com/2673-4397/1/1/5
  8. Mohee, A., & Eardley, I. (2011). Medical therapy for premature ejaculation. Therapeutic advances in urology, 3(5), 211–222. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3199591/
  9. Raveendran, A. V., & Agarwal, A. (2021). Premature ejaculation - current concepts in the management: A narrative review. International journal of reproductive biomedicine, 19(1), 5–22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7851481/
  10. Trivedi, M. K., Kroumpouzos, G., & Murase, J. E. (2017). A review of the safety of cosmetic procedures during pregnancy and lactation. International journal of women's dermatology, 3(1), 6–10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5418954/
  11. Atan, A., Basar, M. M., Tuncel, A., Ferhat, M., Agras, K., & Tekdogan, U. (2006). Comparison of efficacy of sildenafil-only, sildenafil plus topical EMLA cream, and topical EMLA-cream-only in treatment of premature ejaculation. Urology, 67(2), 388–391. https://botoxclub.us/viagra%20and%20topical%20anesthetic%20for%20premature%20ejaculation.pdf
  12. Premature ejaculation: What can I do on my own? (2022). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547551/
  13. ISSM Quick Reference Guide to PE. (2015). https://www.issm.info/media/attachments/2021/08/17/03-clinical-guidelines---issm-quick-reference-guide-to-pe--vjan2015.pdf
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Mike Bohl, MD

Dr. Mike Bohl is a licensed physician, a Medical Advisor at Hims & Hers, and the Director of Scientific & Medical Content at a stealth biotech startup, where he is involved in pharmaceutical drug development. Prior to joining Hims & Hers, Dr. Bohl spent several years working in digital health, focusing on patient education. He has also worked in medical journalism for The Dr. Oz Show (receiving recognition for contributions from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences when the show won Outstanding Informative Talk Show at the 2016–2017 Daytime Emmy® Awards) and at Sharecare. He is a Medical Expert Board Member at Eat This, Not That! and a Board Member at International Veterinary Outreach.

Dr. Bohl obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine from Brown University, his Master of Public Health from Columbia University, and his Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies—Journalism from Harvard University. He is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Healthcare Leadership at Cornell University. Dr. Bohl trained in internal medicine with a focus on community health at NYU Langone Health.

Dr. Bohl is Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners, Medical Writer Certified by the American Medical Writers Association, a certified Editor in the Life Sciences by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Coach by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and a Board Certified Medical Affairs Specialist by the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs. He has graduate certificates in Digital Storytelling and Marketing Management & Digital Strategy from Harvard Extension School and certificates in Business Law and Corporate Governance from Cornell Law School.

In addition to his written work, Dr. Bohl has experience creating medical segments for radio and producing patient education videos. He has also spent time conducting orthopedic and biomaterial research at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland and practicing clinically as a general practitioner on international medical aid projects with Medical Ministry International.

Dr. Bohl lives in Manhattan and enjoys biking, resistance training, sailing, scuba diving, skiing, tennis, and traveling. You can find Dr. Bohl on LinkedIn for more information.

Publications

  • Younesi, M., Knapik, D. M., Cumsky, J., Donmez, B. O., He, P., Islam, A., Learn, G., McClellan, P., Bohl, M., Gillespie, R. J., & Akkus, O. (2017). Effects of PDGF-BB delivery from heparinized collagen sutures on the healing of lacerated chicken flexor tendon in vivo. Acta biomaterialia, 63, 200–209. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1742706117305652?via%3Dihub

  • Gebhart, J. J., Weinberg, D. S., Bohl, M. S., & Liu, R. W. (2016). Relationship between pelvic incidence and osteoarthritis of the hip. Bone & joint research, 5(2), 66–72. https://boneandjoint.org.uk/Article/10.1302/2046-3758.52.2000552

  • Gebhart, J. J., Bohl, M. S., Weinberg, D. S., Cooperman, D. R., & Liu, R. W. (2015). Pelvic Incidence and Acetabular Version in Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis. Journal of pediatric orthopedics, 35(6), 565–570. https://journals.lww.com/pedorthopaedics/abstract/2015/09000/pelvic_incidence_and_acetabular_version_in_slipped.5.aspx

  • Islam, A., Bohl, M. S., Tsai, A. G., Younesi, M., Gillespie, R., & Akkus, O. (2015). Biomechanical evaluation of a novel suturing scheme for grafting load-bearing collagen scaffolds for rotator cuff repair. Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 30(7), 669–675. https://www.clinbiomech.com/article/S0268-0033(15)00143-6/fulltext

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