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Guide to Finding the Best Delay Spray for Men

Our experts evaluated hundreds of brands in order to recommend the best premature ejaculation spray. Everything you need to know is in this guide!

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Nathan LeDeaux, MD
Last Updated: Aug 19, 2021

best delay spray

The home sexual health market is growing rapidly. Products and services that used to require you to go to a sketchy adult store or wait at the doctor’s office are now readily available online from reputable telehealth companies.

Premature ejaculation (PE) is quite common, but even more common is the desire of men to last longer in bed with their sexual partners. Luckily, the science of lasting longer has advanced considerably over the past decade. It is now easier than ever to find a highly effective delay spray and have it delivered discreetly to your home within a couple of days.

There are literally hundreds of delay sprays on the market. Most are OK. Some are questionable, but some are outstanding. We closely examined the sprays sold by the most popular brands in order to identify for you the outstanding options. Three brands rose to the top in 2021, and we recommend that you go with one of them. In this guide, we’ll describe them all, how they work and how much they cost, so that you can choose the best one for you.

In our opinion, the best value in 2021 – and the best choice for most men – is VigRX Delay Spray.

More details on these companies and products as you continue reading, but for those in a hurry, here is a quick summary of our findings.

Summary of our recommendations for best delay spray:

Our Top Choice

VigRX Delay Spray

Dollar for dollar, VigRX delivers much more delay spray than its competitors.

The key to VigRX’s success is fast-absorbing benzocaine. The vast majority of people can use benzocaine without any skin irritation, but the VigRX 67-day money-back guarantee protects you if you’re not satisfied.

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Why you should trust us

Innerbody Research recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary. Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.

This guide, like all health-related content on this website, is thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy. Additionally, we extensively analyze each health-related service we review. After evaluating the entire customer experience from signing up to the use of the product or service, we then offer unbiased, marketing-jargon-free analysis based on the latest scientific evidence and medical standards.

What is a delay spray, and how does it work?

They’re known by a number of names – PE spray, premature ejaculation spray, PEJ spray, delay spray. We prefer the term “delay spray” since definitions of PE vary and the spray itself has broader usefulness than some definitions would suggest.

No matter what you call them, delay sprays provide a way for men to last longer during sex. Depending on how experts choose to define it, PE affects between one-fifth and one-third of men in the United States, which makes it very common indeed. Many men would not consider themselves to have PE, yet they would appreciate being able to last longer in bed – and their partners would appreciate that as well. Men require about 5 minutes in order to reach orgasm during sex, on average, while the average required time for women during sexual activity is over three times that amount.

Delay spray is proven to help men last longer. A study from 2016 showed that men who used delay spray achieved on average a 64% increase in the duration of sexual activity.

How a delay spray works

Delay sprays, as the name suggests, delay a man’s orgasm, allowing sexual activity to continue longer. The sprays achieve their intended effect by slightly and temporarily numbing the nerves in a man’s penis. You simply follow the instructions to spray a small amount of the product onto your penis and then wait a certain number of minutes prior to sexual activity.

Don’t worry – the penis is highly sensitive, as you no doubt know, and a little numbing won’t ruin anyone’s enjoyment. (In fact, some men report more intense orgasms while using delay spray as directed because the pleasure builds more gradually over a longer period of activity.)

As long as you follow the instructions – using an acceptable amount of the delay spray and waiting the necessary amount of time afterward – then evidence, our testing experience, and ample customer accounts suggest that you can confidently expect sexual activity that lasts longer for you and your partner.

Lidocaine vs. benzocaine

Delay sprays contain a local anesthetic, which is what slightly numbs the hypersensitive nerves in your penis, allowing you to last longer while still experiencing intense enjoyment during sex. But products differ when it comes to the anesthetic they use – benzocaine or lidocaine. These actually belong to two different classes of local anesthetics: the esters and amides, respectively.

First discovered in the late 1800s and then used medicinally in the early 1900s, benzocaine is possibly the most common local anesthetic. Lidocaine is also a very common local anesthetic agent and the most common one used by dentists. You can find either of these anesthetics in many different over-the-counter products, such as cold sore gels or ointments that provide relief from sunburn or poison ivy.

The vast majority of people have no problems with either lidocaine or benzocaine, which is why delay sprays are available without a prescription. In rare cases, people have allergies to one of them. Neither of these topical anesthetics is dangerous except in rare cases or when used inappropriately; allergic reaction is not common, but irritation can happen. Studies indicate that 2.4% of the population experiences irritation from local anesthetics such as these.

People who are allergic to any anesthetic in the amide group should probably avoid lidocaine, and the same is true of benzocaine if you’re allergic to any other anesthetic in the ester group. If you have a known allergy, you definitely shouldn’t use delay sprays that contain the allergen. And you should also discuss the use of delay spray with your partner prior to sex, as the delay spray could trigger an allergic reaction in your partner.

We always recommend that you test a tiny amount of any delay spray on a small portion of your arm or leg first to make sure it doesn’t cause any skin irritation before you spray it on your penis.

What is the best delay spray?

Based on our testing and research, we feel that VigRX is the best value available right now. Our testers wish VigRX would offer a free shipping option. We also think that the spray bottle’s tubing ought to extend closer to the very bottom of the bottle because the final sprays require a little bit of careful tilting in order to utilize the product.

In terms of value, however, VigRX Delay Spray provides vastly more for your money. It’s an excellent deal in the landscape of high-quality delay sprays.

For those with benzocaine sensitivity

The benzocaine in VigRX (or Roman Swipes) won’t be irritating to most people, but it is a little more likely to be an issue; of the 2.4% of people who react poorly to local anesthetics, 45% of them react to benzocaine, while 32% react to lidocaine. If benzocaine has irritated you in the past, then Promescent is your best choice.

Below are some brief company snapshots of our recommended providers.

Company Snapshots: VigRX

VigRX may be a common name to you already due to its popular male sexual performance supplements, but the company has more recently broadened its product line to include a delay spray, putting it in direct competition with the likes of Promescent and Hims. There are major differences between VigRX’s product and those two others.

Value

vigrx delay spray

Because VigRX’s delay spray sells for $50 per bottle at the lowest end – compared to $22 for the least expensive portion of Promescent, for instance – you might think it’s not a very good value. But if you compare the volume of product, you’ll see why it costs more; VigRX includes 50 mL of its delay spray in every bottle, while Promescent’s $22 bottle contains only 2.6 mL. Depending on how often you enjoy sex and how many sprays you need each time, the 20-spray bottle of Promescent could easily not last you a month, making it (and Hims’ product, for that matter) significantly more expensive than VigRX.

Our testers confirm that one bottle of VigRX Delay Spray contains over 300 sprays, which means it can last well beyond a month. Based on testing and research, we believe many men will require only one spray per use, translating to over 300 sexual encounters using one VigRX bottle. Some men will require 2 or 3 sprays, which still means at least 100 sexual encounters per bottle – far more than you can support with Promescent or Hims. There’s just so much more volume per bottle.

We recommend that you start with the smallest possible amount targeted at your most sensitive area (the area just under the head of the penis) in order to establish your lowest effective dose. This will help you make your hard-earned money go as far as possible.

In the end, if you’re on a budget, you can get a bottle of VigRX for the effective price of $1 per mL of spray, compared to $8 per mL for Promescent. This greatly reduces your cost over time, provided that the spray works for you.

Refund policy

So, what if it doesn’t work? With either VigRX or Promescent, you’re protected from disappointment by a generous money-back guarantee. In the case of VigRX, you can get a full refund within 67 days if you’re unsatisfied with the delay spray. Promescent offers a 60-day guarantee, which is also very customer-friendly. Either way, you’re protected and have no reason not to try the products, which means that the 50 mL purchase from VigRX is the clear choice for best value.

Safety

Like Roman Swipes and a great many over-the-counter topicals, VigRX relies on benzocaine; it’s the numbing agent that helps you delay orgasm during sex. However, benzocaine also causes contact dermatitis – localized allergic reaction at the contact point – slightly more often than lidocaine.

All other things being equal, therefore, we’d slightly prefer lidocaine to benzocaine. If you’ve experienced an adverse reaction to one anesthetic, it’s possible that you will not experience any reaction to the other; benzocaine belongs to the ester group of local anesthetics, whereas lidocaine belongs to the amide group. However, in reality, the vast majority of men and their sexual partners will not experience issues with either of the topical anesthetics. Benzocaine can be found in everything from topical ointments to cough drops and oral cold sore gels. It’s considered a safe ingredient in over-the-counter products because over 97% of people have no adverse reaction to either benzocaine or lidocaine.

VigRX deserves its place at the top of this list for anyone within that 97% who needs a delay spray and wants to save significant money on an effective product.

In addition to benzocaine, VigRX ingredients include:

  • Propylene glycol
  • Water
  • Ethyl aminobenzoate
  • Glycyrrhiza glaba (licorice) root extract
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicum extract
  • Panax ginseng root extract
  • Rubus idaeus (raspberry) fruit extract
  • Ginkgo biloba leaf extract
  • Paeonia albiflora root extract
  • Dioscurea villosa (wild yam) root extract
  • Cimifuga racemosa root extract
  • Lepidium meyenii
  • Turnera aphrodisiaca extract
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Cherry flavor
  • Calcium saccharin
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Citric acid

Company Snapshots: Promescent

Promescent spray

Promescent really is the paterfamilias of modern, high-quality delay sprays. Its creator (renowned urologist Ronald Gilbert, MD) devised the innovation of changing the composition of lidocaine from a crystalline to an oil-aqueous structure that is able to absorb easily into the skin.

This allowed Promescent Delay Spray to work faster, more effectively, and (when used as directed) with little to no transfer of the numbing effect from the man to his sexual partner. Clinical studies of Promescent spray confirm its effectiveness. Over 90% of men report that using Promescent’s Delay Spray doesn’t disrupt their sexual enjoyment.

The first bottle of Promescent spray may cost you a little more than competitors like Hims – and much more than VigRX – but if the product works well for you, then Promescent’s bundling opportunities make it more economical than Hims for a high-quality, lidocaine-based delay spray supply.

Also Great

Promescent Delay Spray

Promescent’s Delay Spray is quick to absorb and very effective when used as directed.

This delay spray was very innovative when it was introduced, paving the way for other modern delay sprays. It remains a product that we highly recommend, but buy larger quantities to get the most value.

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You should never use more than 10 sprays, focusing on the most sensitive areas of the penis. We recommend that you heed Promescent’s own advice and start off with 1-3 sprays to see how little of the product you need. This is smart for a couple of reasons:

  • Many men find that they only need 1 or 2 sprays; some men only need one spray on the frenulum, which is the ultra-sensitive v-shaped flap of skin on the underside of the penis, just under the head. Three is enough for the vast majority of men.
  • The less you need to use, the longer your supply will last, saving you money over time.

Promescent sells its spray in single bottles of different sizes that range in price from $20 (for a 10-spray bottle) to $60 for a 60-spray bottle. So the price-per-spray drops to $1 with the larger bottle, compared to $2 per spray with the smallest.

Additionally, you can buy packages containing multiple bottles of varying sizes. Whether you want handy travel-size bottles that fit discreetly in pockets, larger bottles for your bedside drawer, or a combination of these, the company has you covered nicely.

For more information, visit our full 2021 Promescent review.

Company Snapshots: Hims

Hims PEJ spray

In addition to offering a prescription selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) called sertraline (which is the active ingredient in Zoloft), Hims offers customers a safe, non-prescription delay spray for men who want to last longer during sex. Hims PEJ Spray is a very good, reliable, and affordable product – we can easily recommend it.

Why didn’t Hims edge out VigRX or Promescent? VigRX stands out from the other two in terms of value; as long as you can use benzocaine, we recommend it above the rest. Meanwhile, for those who need lidocaine, both Hims and Promescent use lidocaine and work in the same ways to help men last longer, but a couple of factors prevented Hims from eclipsing Promescent this year:

  • While one bottle of Hims would be cheaper than one comparably sized bottle of Promescent by itself, you can save lots of money with Promescent thanks to their packages of larger supplies that bring price-per-mL down considerably.
  • Hims takes longer to ship than Promescent in standard shipping, and Promescent also lets you expedite your shipment if you anticipate needing the product sooner (which does happen).

However, Hims PEJ Spray would be a very good choice for you if you also find yourself dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED) as you try to last longer in bed. This can happen. Why?

Most men using delay sprays find a suitable (i.e., lowest effective) number of sprays to proceed with amazing and gratifying sex that gives all the pleasure while extending the duration of sex as desired. However, some men find that even small amounts of the spray, while reducing the quick urge to climax, also causes difficulty maintaining an erection. This is obviously not the desired effect of delaying orgasm; no one wants to delay it indefinitely.

That scenario is when Hims can become your best choice for delay spray because Hims also conveniently offers you same-place prescription telemedicine service to acquire effective ED medications like sildenafil (generic Viagra), tadalafil (generic Cialis), and Stendra. A free, virtual consultation with a Hims doctor can get you access to an ED medication that’s suitable for you.

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For more information about this, check out our Hims ED review.

Hims also happens to offer broader telehealth services of interest to many men.

For more information about Hims as a company, you can visit our full Hims review.

Company Snapshots: Roman

Roman is a somewhat unique recommendation in this guide because their PE product isn’t actually a spray at all. Instead, it’s a wipe, similar to wet wipes or moist towelettes. So the application is more hands-on, as it were.

We highly recommend a good spray over a good wipe because of the wipe’s greater potential for spreading anesthetic onto your fingers and subsequently elsewhere on your or your partner’s body. The spray simply provides a more controlled application and, in our opinion, a better experience.

Roman Swipes

If you are somebody who only needs one or two sprays when using delay spray, then Roman’s wipes are always going to be even a bit more expensive per usage than Promescent or Hims, let alone VigRX (the most affordable choice). However, some men simply prefer the wipe rather than a spray. If this describes you, then we recommend the Roman Swipes as a product of high quality.

Additional benefits of Roman Swipes:

  • Roman Swipes can be delivered quickly and for free since Roman offers free 2-day shipping.
  • These wipes tend to dry in closer to 5 minutes, as opposed to 10 minutes waiting time for the delay sprays.

How do you use delay spray?

Using a delay spray is very straightforward. It is important to follow the instructions in order to use the product safely and with the desired effects.

  1. Shake the bottle before using. Just give the spray bottle a gentle shaking for a few seconds.

  2. Spray specifically sensitive areas. In most cases, the areas of focus should be the frenulum and the underside of the glans (or head). The frenulum of the penis is the small, v-shaped flap of sensitive skin on the underside of the penis, just below the head. Apply 1-10 sprays. Anything less than 10 is considered safe. However, less is always better if it’s effective for you. You save product and money over time.

  3. Wait 5-10 minutes until the product is totally dry on your penis. Waiting as instructed allows the delay spray to be effective for you and prevents transferring its effect to your partner, which is definitely not what anyone wants.

And that’s it. After that, you and your partner are ready for the fun part!

If this is your first time using a delay spray, keep in mind that most men find 3 sprays or fewer to be ideal for them, producing the desired effects without any undesired ones (such as too much numbness). What makes lidocaine – and subsequently these delay sprays – so good as local anesthetics is that they produce their desired effects only in the place or places where you apply the spray.

With this in mind, you could start with a single spray to the frenulum area and then see if this approach and amount work well for you. Many men find that this works. If you’re one of these men, then you’ve just discovered a way to save even more money while achieving your goal of longer-lasting sex. If you find improvement but not enough, then try 2 or 3 sprays next time.

Delay spray pros & cons

Studies and ample evidence speak to the efficacy of delay sprays for men who want to last longer during sex, but delay spray isn’t for everyone. Here are the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Proven effective for most men, helping men last around 64% longer during sex.
  • Lidocaine and benzocaine are very common local anesthetics and generally quite safe – much safer than some of the prescription approaches used for PE in the past.
  • When used as directed, men last longer without interfering with their enjoyment or their partners’ enjoyment.
  • Non-prescription and affordable.
  • Sprays let you focus strictly on sensitive areas, potentially using very little product.

Cons

  • You do have to wait 5-10 minutes for the spray to absorb before sex.
  • Some men find the spray is easiest to apply when the penis is erect.
  • You may need a couple of “test drives” before you find your perfect number of sprays.
  • About 2.4% of people experience an allergic reaction to one of the local anesthetics. (If you’re allergic, do not use any delay sprays containing the allergen.)
  • To be safe, don’t use delay sprays during pregnancy.
  • Not recommended for use when a couple is trying to conceive – there is some evidence that delay spray can impair sperm.

One of the downsides – waiting, when you want to have sex – is unavoidable. And if you’re allergic to either lidocaine or benzocaine, then your options are limited to exploring the products that contain the other anesthetic. Those who have negative reactions to benzocaine may not face the same problem with lidocaine (and vice versa).

Mistakes to avoid

When using a delay spray, there are definitely some things you should avoid. For some of them, it’s clear from the outset how to avoid the mistake. For others, trial and error is the way to go.

Mistake #1: Not waiting long enough after spraying.

It is very important that you follow the instructions for using the delay spray safely and effectively. You should wait 5-10 minutes or until the spray has absorbed and your penis is dry. This is important for two reasons:

  1. The spray won’t be effective unless you wait for it to absorb into the skin.

  2. If you don’t wait, the spray may affect your partner as well, causing numbness. That is definitely not the goal here.

Mistake #2: Focusing the spray in the wrong places or not focusing on particular places at all.

One of the great benefits of delay spray, as opposed to some other treatment methods of the past, is the control you have in focusing the effect only where it matters most. For men hoping to last longer during sex, the two areas where you should apply the spray are:

  • The glans (head) of the penis, specifically the underside of it)
  • The frenulum (the small flap of skin that extends from the underside of the glans to the beginning of the shaft).

Many men find a single spray directly to the frenulum and underside area of the glans is enough to do the trick perfectly.

Mistake #3: Using too much spray.

Lots of men start off by using too much of the delay spray. There are two big reasons why this is a major mistake:

  1. You likely are wasting product and money.

  2. You risk going too numb to enjoy sex and could potentially lose your erection because of it.

For many men, there is also such a thing as too little spray. Lots of men only need one spray or two at most, but some require three or more. (Note: you can’t safely use more than 10.)

This is where trial and error comes into play. We very much recommend that you begin with one or two sprays in order to see how you respond since the response varies a lot from person to person. You may discover that you’re one of the lucky ones for whom a single spray is ideal.

By approaching delay sprays this way – starting off with very little and increasing as needed – you don’t waste product and can fine-tune your dosage to perfection.

More frequently asked questions

Does delay spray work?

Yes, delay spray definitely works to help men last longer during sex. Studies show that it helps men last on average 64% longer during sex.

How long does delay spray last?

Generally speaking, you should expect the effect of delay sprays to last for a half-hour to an hour from the time you apply them. One excellent aspect of this is that you can probably use the spray immediately if you happen to know that you’re likely going to have sex at some point within the next hour. This gives you time to dry and in no way interferes with your foreplay or sexual experience.

Does delay spray have any side effects?

If used as directed, delay sprays are very safe and should not produce side effects. This is why they are available over-the-counter, as opposed to requiring a prescription. It’s important not to use more than directed.

There are cases in which people are allergic to either benzocaine or lidocaine, though this is uncommon. If you or your partner are known to be allergic to lidocaine or benzocaine to any topical anesthetic, don’t use any delay spray that contains the active ingredient. The most common possible side effects of delay spray are irritation, rash, or mild burning in the places where you apply it; any of these could also be mild reactions to the other ingredients in the spray.

Does delay spray affect my partner?

In the past, delay spray products were formulated in less sophisticated ways than the best companies use today. If you tried delay sprays years ago and found that your partner’s sexual enjoyment was affected, this is very likely the reason.

Thankfully, delay sprays from the best providers today (such as those in this guide) should not affect your partner if you follow the instructions for using them. (The one exception to this, of course, is if your partner has a rare allergy to the anesthetic or is sensitive to one of the other inactive ingredients in the delay spray. Talk with your partner beforehand to make sure that there is no cause for concern about allergy.)

One of our top providers – Promescent – actually created a product in which lidocaine (the active numbing agent) is dissolved completely into a liquid as opposed to being contained in small crystals. This dramatically changed the game for delay sprays, making them absorb faster into the skin and work more effectively while preventing unwanted effects in the partner.

This innovation means that today’s highest-quality sprays give you the effects you want, with less waiting and little or none of the unwanted effects of past sprays.

To make sure you don’t affect your partner, follow the instructions of the delay spray. Some still require you to wipe away any excess spray from your penis, for instance, particularly if there’s a chance of oral sex. If yours instructs you to do this, then you should do it.

If you rub product in with your fingers (or are using a wipe), wash your hands in order to avoid mishaps transferring the product to your partner or other areas of your body.

How many sprays should I apply?

You should apply as few as are needed in order to produce the intended effect, and never more than 10 sprays. The number of sprays necessary varies from person to person, but a lot of men find that something in the range of 1-3 sprays is great. Start off with one or two sprays to see what your response is. Then, you can use more if needed.

Should I apply delay spray to a flaccid or erect penis?

This is mainly a matter of personal preference; since the spray will remain effective for you for 30 to 60 minutes, you may prefer to try spraying on a flaccid penis prior to the time when you and your partner are engaged in foreplay and sexual activity.

However, some men find that applying the spray economically to the most sensitive areas (which is recommended) is easier when the penis is erect.

Can I wear a condom with delay spray?

You generally can, although you must follow the instructions of your particular delay spray. Many delay sprays specify that using a condom is perfectly safe as long as it’s a latex condom. Regardless of the spray, you shouldn’t apply the condom until the spray has fully dried.

How we evaluate companies

At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service. For sexual health products and companies, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:

Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) and/or product(s) to the customer? Is the quality of the product or service high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? If not, why not?

User-friendly: How intuitive and user-friendly is the service? Does the device/program/app/website achieve a good degree of user-friendliness for its customers?

Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?

Privacy: If health data is stored, will your data be stored securely? Are payments secure?

Customer support: Particularly in situations where ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t make sense, how well does the company help to make the service or product ideal for you?