Photo by Innerbody Research
Depending on how experts define it, premature ejaculation (PE) affects between one-fifth and one-third of men in the United States. And even if you don’t suffer from clinically defined premature ejaculation, lasting longer in bed can be pleasurable for everyone involved. Most men require about five minutes to reach orgasm during sex, while the average time needed for women during sexual activity is more than 15 minutes.
There are hundreds of delay sprays on the market. These products used to require a visit to some sketchy adult store or a wait at the doctor’s office, but now they are readily available online from reputable telehealth companies.
We closely examined the sprays sold by the most popular brands to identify the outstanding options for you. Four brands rose to the top in 2023, and we recommend that you go with one of them. In this guide, we’ll break down how they work and how much they cost so that you can choose the best one for you.
In our opinion, the best option in 2023 — and the best choice for most men — is Promescent Delay Spray.
More details on these companies and products as you continue reading, but here is a quick summary of our findings for those in a hurry.
Promescent’s Delay Spray is quick to absorb, safer for sensitive skin, 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 the product we recommend above all others. Buy in larger quantities to get the most value.
At Innerbody Research, we extensively test each health service we review, including these delay sprays. All told, our team has spent over 75 hours testing and researching these sprays and their alternatives to provide an accurate, unbiased analysis of how they compare, free of marketing jargon and gimmicks.
Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions to live healthier lifestyles. We evaluate the service based on adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?
Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
In addition to safety and customer service considerations, we compared overall price, price per ounce, effectiveness, and duration to give you the best picture of the product landscape.
Here’s a handy chart that breaks down key results from our testing:
To calculate cost per use in the chart, we used the average number of sprays our testers needed to achieve optimal effectiveness. For VigRX, that amounted to four sprays. Hims required three sprays on average, while K-Y required two sprays. Aside from a couple testers who preferred two sprays, we found Promescent to be very effective with only one spray. The number of sprays each person needs will vary.
Effectiveness is on a scale of 1-10 (10 being most effective in our testing). This is not a reflection of numbing power. It reflects the balance between pleasure and desensitization.
Effectiveness has to include more than just numbing power. As you can see in the chart above, we established a simple 1-10 scale for efficacy that combines a delay spray’s numbing power with its ability to allow you to enjoy yourself. After all, there wouldn’t be much point if you couldn’t feel anything.
We also consider a spray’s ability to absorb after minimal rubbing in, which is an important part of its efficacy and safety. Promescent offered the most absorption, while other brands required more wiping to clean the penis before intercourse. In general, we found that the experience was most convenient and enjoyable when less product was needed to achieve results.
Cost evaluations can be a little tricky here. While one company might offer more spray per dollar than another, it might not be as effective or last as long.
As you can see, the cost per use is the lowest with VigRx. For those on a tight budget, VigRX presents a good value. Though it’s not quite as effective as Promescent, it’s likely to be effective enough for the majority of men. However, you’ll need fewer sprays from Promescent, and you’re likely to have a better experience.
A big part of the safety of these products has to do with their communication. Users with allergies or intolerances to benzocaine or lidocaine need to know what they’re spraying on themselves, and all of these companies are direct about their active ingredients. Benzocaine allergies are more common than lidocaine allergies, so Promescent starts on the right foot. What adds to Promescent’s safety rating is the degree to which it absorbs into the skin while remaining effective. This dramatically reduces the risk of spreading the anesthetic to your partner, who may have an allergic reaction if they aren’t aware of the spray’s ingredients.
These companies do a fine job concerning discretion, so this category mostly came down to the customer service side. Here, Hims’ responsive, friendly, and knowledgeable phone operators gave them the edge, as did their excellent and intuitive website design. Most of all, though, the ability to talk to actual doctors about your PE issues made Hims the clear choice for customer service.
They answer to many names: PE spray, premature ejaculation spray, PEJ spray, delay spray, etc. We prefer the term “delay spray” since definitions of PE vary, and the spray itself works for men with and without clinically diagnosed premature ejaculation.
No matter what you call them, delay sprays provide a way for men to last longer during sex. A study from 2016 showed that men who used Promescent — a lidocaine-based spray — achieved an average 64% increase in the duration of sexual activity. Some men report more intense orgasms while using delay spray as directed because the pleasure builds more gradually over a more extended period of activity.
Delay sprays contain a local anesthetic that slightly numbs the hypersensitive nerves in your penis, allowing you to last longer while still experiencing intense enjoyment during sex. But products differ in the anesthetic they use: benzocaine or lidocaine. These belong to two different classes of local anesthetics: the esters and amides, respectively.
Note: benzocaine and lidocaine allergies can be class-specific, so if you’ve had an adverse reaction to any of the anesthetics listed below, consider reaching for a delay spray from a different class, and be sure to talk to your doctor.
Common amide anesthetics:
Common ester anesthetics:
Benzocaine is possibly the most common local anesthetic. It was first discovered in the late 1800s and then used medicinally starting in the early 1900s. Lidocaine is also a prevalent local anesthetic and the most common one used by dentists. You can find either anesthetic in many 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 misused; an allergic reaction is not common, but irritation can occur. 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. 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 before sex, as the delay spray could trigger an allergic reaction in them.
At some point before your first time spraying it on your penis, we always recommend that you test a tiny amount of any delay spray on a small portion of your arm or leg first to ensure it doesn’t cause any local skin irritation.
Based on our testing and research, Promescent is the best value available right now. It offers the highest degree of efficacy with a low cost per use, albeit not the lowest. Our testers found that the bottle offered more sprays than advertised and was easy to carry around in pants or jacket pockets.
In short, Promescent is more effective, more convenient, and longer-lasting than competing products, based on our testing. And because it uses lidocaine, Promescent is also less likely to cause any skin irritation.
However, if budget is your number one concern and you’re willing to sacrifice some effectiveness, VigRX Delay Spray provides more product for your money. It’s a very good deal in the landscape of high-quality delay sprays.
The benzocaine in VigRX (or Roman Swipes) won’t irritate 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.
Promescent was at the heart of the delay spray revolution. Their founder, Dr. Roland Gilbert, developed the first successful oil-aqueous lidocaine that could quickly absorb into the skin instead of sitting on top of it. This absorption 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.
Photo by Innerbody Research
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.
Promescent also recently ventured into the wipe space, offering a simple, highly portable option for men on the go. However, the company plainly states that these wipes containing benzocaine rather than original Promescent’s lidocaine are somewhat less effective. We applaud Promescent for this honesty, though we certainly still encourage men to try either product, as the benzocaine wipes will still work well enough for many men.
The first bottle of Promescent spray may cost you a little more than competitors like Hims or 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.
Promescent’s ingredients are:
As for the delay spray, Promescent comes in single bottles of different sizes ranging from $23 for a 20-spray bottle to $60 for a 60-spray bottle. So the price-per-spray drops to $1 with the larger bottle, compared to $1.15 per spray with the smallest. Note, however, that our testers unanimously reported more sprays per bottle than what Promescent promised. For our testers, the price per spray in a single Promescent bottle was actually $0.66.
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.
So, what if Promescent doesn’t work well for you or doesn’t create an enjoyable experience? Promescent offers a 60-day guarantee that is very customer-friendly and protects you from losing your money if disappointed.
For more information about the company and its other products, visit our full 2023 Promescent review.
VigRX may be familiar to you with their popular male sexual performance supplements. More recently, the company broadened their product line to include a delay spray and wipes, putting them in direct competition with Promescent, Roman, and Hims. There are major differences between VigRX’s product and those others.
Dollar for dollar, VigRX delivers much more delay spray than its competitors.
The active ingredient in VigRX is 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.
Because VigRX’s delay spray sells for $50 per bottle at the lowest end, you might think it’s not a very good value. But if you compare the volume of the 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 2.6 mL.
And our exclusive coupon codes improve the value for you:
Our testers found that the 20-spray bottle of Promescent put out closer to 35 sprays. We can also confirm that one bottle of VigRX Delay Spray contains over 400 sprays. Our testers found one Promescent spray to be quite effective, but if you end up needing more sprays per use, a Promescent bottle may not last you a full month. The same can’t be said of VigRX spray, but there is a noticeable difference in quality.
Photo by Innerbody Research
VigRX requires a few more sprays than Promescent to achieve effective results, and even the most effective VigRX experience isn’t quite as effective as Promescent. Notably, while Promescent is transparent about how much lidocaine its spray delivers, VigRX does not reveal the concentration of its benzocaine within the spray.
VigRX also has a thicker consistency, so you likely won’t be able to rub it in entirely or have it completely absorb and dry on its own. You’ll have to be more careful wiping off any excess before intercourse or you might risk spreading it to your partner.
We recommend that you start with the smallest possible number of sprays targeted at your most sensitive area (the area just under the head of the penis). That will help you establish your lowest effective dose.
With VigRX, you can get a full refund within 67 days if you’re unsatisfied with the delay spray. The belief is that if their bottle lasts you two months and you’re not satisfied, you’ll still have a week to request a refund.
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.
If you’ve experienced an adverse reaction to one anesthetic, you may 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, 97% of men and their sexual partners will not experience issues with either of these topical anesthetics.
In addition to benzocaine, VigRX ingredients include:
VigRX offers a delay wipe, as well, but for some reason, they’ve swapped out benzocaine or lidocaine in favor of the natural ingredients zanthoxylum oil and peony extract. Unfortunately, the majority of the evidence supporting either ingredient is anecdotal. The only major study involving zanthoxylum looked at its synergistic effect with an opioid administered in mice, and its influence on the results is hard to quantify. Thus, we cannot recommend VigRX delay wipes at this time.
Hims offers customers a safe, non-prescription delay spray for men who want to last longer during sex. Hims Delay Spray is the most expensive option per mL among options in its class, and we found it to be the least effective in testing. It didn’t produce the same numbing effects as Promescent or VigRX, even with an excessive application of sprays. That said, if you find that Promescent and VigRX are too desensitizing for your taste, it might be your best option.
Photo by Innerbody Research
Just because Hims seems to cause a lighter numbing sensation, that doesn’t mean you should use more than 10 sprays. It still contains the same amount of active lidocaine as other products, and more than 10 sprays may be hazardous.
Hims Delay Spray is made from:
Hims might also be a good choice if your issues in the bedroom extend to erectile dysfunction and you want to speak to a medical professional about your PE or ED. That’s because Hims offers free doctor consultations with a dedicated team of physicians who can prescribe you medications for either affliction.
On the PE side, Hims offers a pair of prescription selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs):
Hims has even more options for ED, including:
For more information about Hims sexual health offerings, check out our Hims ED review.
Hims also offers broader telehealth services of interest to many men, from primary care to talk therapy. For more information about Hims as a company, you can visit our full Hims review.
For a time, Roman had the market cornered on a different kind of PE desensitization: the wipe. Their product, Roman Swipes, is essentially moist towelettes, but the moisture comes from benzocaine.
Photo by Innerbody Research
On the one hand, a wipe may be superior to a spray because there’s less risk of wasting the fluid by missing the target. There’s also a lot less residue to run down your hands or onto the bed or floor, and your application area will dry faster as a result. From a portability standpoint, slipping a wipe into your pocket or wallet is a lot easier than carrying around a bottle of spray if you’re going out.
On the other hand, quite literally, is a lot of benzocaine. A wipe has a much greater potential to spread its anesthetic than a more concentrated spray would be. You could use a glove when applying the wipe, but that’s somewhat unrealistic for most foreplay scenarios. The spray provides a more controlled application and, in our opinion, a better experience.
Roman’s wipes are a bit more expensive per use than Promescent or Hims, let alone VigRX (the most affordable choice). However, some men prefer the wipe rather than a spray. If this describes you, then we recommend the Roman Swipes as a product of high quality.
Roman Swipes contain:
As their name suggests, delay sprays delay a man’s orgasm, allowing sexual activity to continue longer. The sprays achieve their intended effect by using lidocaine or benzocaine to slightly and temporarily numb the nerves in a man’s penis. You follow the instructions to spray a small amount of the product onto your penis and then wait a certain amount of time before sexual activity.
But how do benzocaine and lidocaine cause that numbing sensation? Normally, your nerve cells send sensation signals by exchanging sodium and potassium ions with their environment, resulting in a negative charge that flows through your body like a current until it reaches your brain.
Both benzocaine and lidocaine destabilize the sodium part of the puzzle, which temporarily prevents nerve cells from using negative sodium ions to create any signals. Without those signals, you lose feeling. As the lidocaine dissolves and breaks down in the body, the feeling returns.
Traditional benzocaine and lidocaine were crystalline. They could only exist in a spray as a solution that took a long time to absorb and often left either anesthetic on the surface of your skin in considerable quantity. Dr. Ronald Gilbert created the first oil-aqueous form of lidocaine, which allowed the numbing agent to absorb into the skin after a few minutes. He marketed this spray as Promescent.
Using a delay spray is a straightforward process, but it’s essential to follow the instructions to use the product safely and with the desired effects.
After that, you’re free to enjoy intercourse as usual, including oral sex. Condoms and lubricants are entirely compatible with delay sprays, though some brands highly recommend latex condoms for maximum compatibility.
If this is your first time using a delay spray, keep in mind that most men find three sprays or fewer ideal for them, producing the desired effects without any undesired ones (such as too much numbness).
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.
When using a delay spray, there are certain 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.
You must follow the instructions for using the delay spray. You should wait up to 15 minutes or until the product has absorbed and your penis is dry. This is important for two reasons:
One of the great benefits of delay spray, as opposed to some other treatment methods of the past, is the ability to focus 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:
Many men find a single spray directly to the frenulum and underside area of the glans is enough to do the trick perfectly.
Lots of men start by using too much of the delay spray. There are big reasons why this is a significant mistake:
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. This can also vary depending on the product you choose, as described earlier. (Note: Companies do not recommend more than 10 sprays.)
Whether you suffer from an allergy to topical anesthetics or you don’t feel that the waiting period for a delay spray to take effect will suit your sex life, there are plenty of interesting alternatives to delay spray. Many are adequate for some men, while others might fall short.
As mentioned above, delay wipes work much like sprays, but their anesthetic comes presoaked into a moist towelette. These are highly portable and reliable products, especially the option from Roman. However, they may be too similar for men seeking an alternative to sprays, especially considering they contain the same active ingredients.
The VigRX wipes would fall into this category. They use peony extract and zanthoxylum oil as numbing agents. The big problem here is a lack of research. There is far less evidence for efficacy or safety when using ingredients like these. If you fear you might have an allergy to benzocaine or lidocaine, there is less of a guarantee that one of these natural products would be any safer.
Once thought of as exercises exclusive to women, kegels can provide men with significant sexual and urological support. Kegels are strengthening exercises done to improve the strength of pelvic floor muscles. If you’ve ever had to stop urinating mid-stream, you know what it feels like to engage these muscles.
Kegel sets containing regular, long-held contractions of the pelvic floor muscles — alternating with fast-contracting sets — shows promise in some studies to increase sexual performance. There is also evidence that such exercises can help with urinary incontinence or leakage.
Ultimately, we support kegel exercises, but since they require time and effort, we think you would do best to combine them with a delay spray if you don’t have any allergies to worry about.
There are condoms and lubricants on the market that contain numbing agents similar to those found in delay sprays. These may seem extremely convenient at first, especially if you don’t feel like waiting very long to engage in intercourse. But these products often contain higher concentrations of their anesthetics in the hopes that they’ll start working faster. What’s more, both products are likely to spread some of that numbing effect to your partner, significantly reducing their pleasure.
There are condoms out there designed to reduce sensation simply by being thicker than usual. These are fine as far as we’re concerned, but for monogamous relationships in which you and your partner have decided not to use condoms, they would likely be a hindrance.
While a taboo subject for some, prostate massage — sometimes called prostate milking — has the potential to reduce premature ejaculation problems, particularly when those problems are associated with an enlarged prostate. That’s because the massaging action itself and the specific type of orgasm that prostate massage causes can reduce the size of an enlarged prostate.
That makes prostate massage an advisable course of action for men suffering from premature ejaculation or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). And among the many treatments for either affliction, few are likely to be as pleasurable.
That said, there are precautions you and your partner should take, whether you perform the massage alone or with their help. You’ll want to ensure that your bowels are clear and as clean as you can safely get them and that you use an effective lubricant. The tissue of the anus is both sensitive and fragile, so go slowly and be gentle.
Is BlueChew safe? Is it worth the money? Our medical experts review it based on testing, research, and interviews.
Claim your BlueChew FREE trial using our exclusive coupon code. Learn how to get your BlueChew Free Sample.
Our 2023 ED treatments guide helps you find the best treatment for erectile dysfunction, plus free trial opportunities!
After testing and analysis, we compare the best penis extenders to help you find the device for your goals in 2023.
We put Quick Extender Pro to the test -- our 2023 reviews give the details about prices, results, privacy, and more.