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 delay spray is Promescent.
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:
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. Promescent’s remains at the top of our list in 2021. Buy larger quantities to get the most value.
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- Why you should trust us
- What is a delay spray and how does it work?
- What is the best delay spray?
- Company Snapshots: Promescent
- Company Snapshots: Hims
- Company Snapshots: Roman
- How do you use delay spray?
- Delay spray pros & cons?
- Mistakes to avoid
- More frequently asked questions
- How we evaluate companies
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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. We evaluate the entire customer experience from signing up to the use of the product or service, and then offer unbiased, marketing-jargon-free analysis based on the latest scientific evidence and medical standards.
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.
One commonality between delay sprays is their active ingredient – lidocaine. Lidocaine is a very common local anesthetic agent that you can find in many products (such as those that provide relief from sunburn or poison ivy). And if a dentist has ever locally numbed your mouth with an injection, then chances are it was lidocaine; lidocaine is the most common local anesthetic used by dentists.
The vast majority of people have no problems with lidocaine, which is why delay sprays are available without a prescription. In rare cases, people have allergies to lidocaine and/or other local anesthetics. If you are allergic, you definitely shouldn’t use delay sprays. 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.
Based on our testing and research, we feel that Promescent’s Delay Spray is the best product available right now. In some ways the originator of modern delay sprays, Promescent remains our reigning champ in 2021, narrowly edging out Hims.
The first bottle of Promescent spray may cost you a little more than competitors like Hims, but if the product works well for you, then Promescent’s bundling opportunities present the most economical option for a high-quality delay spray supply, saving you money over time.
An honorable mention goes to Hims PEJ Spray, however, which is also a great product that won’t disappoint.
Below are some brief company snapshots of our two 3 recommended providers.
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.
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. 3 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 is only $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. And once you know you love the Delay Spray, buying the packages with larger quantities saves you considerable money over the competition.
For more information, visit our full 2021 Promescent review.
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, and it’s our runner-up for best delay spray in 2021.
Why didn’t Hims edge out Promescent? Both products use lidocaine and work in the same ways to help men last longer, but a couple factors prevented Hims from being our editors’ choice 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.
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 broader information about Hims as a company, you can visit our full Hims review.
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, if possible 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.
If you are somebody for whom one spray (or even 2 sprays) works well when using delay spray, then Roman’s wipes are always going to be a bit more expensive per usage than either Promescent or Hims. However, some men simply prefer the wipe rather than a spray. If for whatever reason this describes you, then we recommend the Roman Swipes as a product of high quality.
And other men – those who have the uncommon allergy to lidocaine or those whose partner is allergic – cannot use delay sprays. People who are allergic to lidocaine should probably avoid all exposure to anesthetics in the “amide group” of anesthetics. But for those with allergies, the “ester group” of local anesthetics is often a safe alternative. Roman Swipes feature benzocaine instead of lidocaine. As a member of the ester group, benzocaine might be a safe alternative that produces the desired effect. Talk with your doctor if you have an anesthetic allergy and wish to try Roman Swipes.
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.
Using a delay spray is very straightforward. It is important to follow the instructions for use, in order to use the product safely and with the desired effects.
Shake the bottle before using. Just give the spray bottle a gentle shaking for a few seconds.
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.
Wait 5-10 minutes, until the product is totally dry on your penis. Waiting as instructed is very important, in order for the delay spray to be effective for you as well as to avoid 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.
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.
- Proven effective for most men, helping men last around 64% longer during sex.
- Lidocaine is a very common local anesthetic 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.
- 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 “test drives” before you find your perfect number of sprays.
- Rarely people are allergic to local anesthetic like lidocaine. (If you’re allergic, do not use these delay sprays.)
- 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 lidocaine, then unfortunately sprays aren’t for you; you could instead explore Roman Swipes after checking with your doctor, since benzocaine – the active ingredient in Roman’s product – belongs to a different family of anesthetics.
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:
The spray won’t be effective unless you wait for it to absorb into the skin.
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:
You likely are wasting product and money.
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 find that two sprays is one spray too many, or 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.
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, if you happen to know that you are likely going to have sex at some point within the next hour, you likely can use the spray immediately. 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 lidocaine, though this is very rare. If you or your partner are known to be allergic to lidocaine or to any topical anesthetic, don’t use any delay spray. The most common possible side effects of lidocaine 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) will 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 lidocaine 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.)
Our top provider – 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. If yours instructs you to do this, then you should do it. Promescent doesn’t require that at all.
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.
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?