Does it surprise you to hear that about 1 in 3 men have struggled with premature ejaculation? It’s not talked about as openly as some other sexual issues, because it’s framed far too often as embarrassing or deeply uncool — think Jason Biggs’ character in American Pie getting mocked by his classmates for coming in his pants at just the sight of a hot girl. But it’s one of the most common sexual health complaints, and there are many ways to address it.
If premature ejaculation is part of your sex life, that just means that you come sooner during sex (or masturbation) than you and/or your partner would prefer. Some experts define it as ejaculation that occurs a minute or less after penetrative sex starts, but there’s no agreed-upon time limit — technically, you could be a premature ejaculator if you and your partner want sex to last five hours and you cum after two. But while coming too early can definitely throw a wrench into the mix, the good news is that there are lots of workarounds. You can focus on pleasuring your partner, practice breathing techniques or look into sensate focus, which is one of the most effective ways to deal with it.
You can also experiment with the “stop-start technique,” which is essentially a fancy term for edging. Bringing yourself to the brink of orgasm and then backing off, again and again, will teach you to control your climaxes better over time. Keep in mind, too, that penetrative sex isn’t the be-all and end-all of pleasure for everyone — most women don’t orgasm from penetration alone — and that it’s okay for a sex session to focus predominantly or exclusively on non-penetrative stuff. For that matter, plenty of people actually find premature ejaculation sexy.
If your untimely ejaculations are stressing you out, consider talking to your doctor, too. Sure, it can be a little cringe to tell your GP you’re jizzing too quick, but they’ve heard it all. They can recommend medications, pelvic floor exercises and behavioral changes that’ll address the problem. In the meantime, condoms aimed at delaying ejaculation can be a good stopgap solution. These are often called “extended pleasure” or “desensitizing” condoms, and they’re designed to do exactly that — reduce sensation.
How Condoms Can Help You Last Longer
There are two main approaches that condom companies take, either separately or in tandem, to extended pleasure condoms:
Thickness: You might’ve seen condom packaging that brags about how “ultra-thin” their material is, so as to transmit as much sensation as possible. But some condom companies also make thicker condoms, with the aim of reducing sensation.
Numbing: If your sensitivity is so high that even thick condoms aren’t getting it under control, you might want to look for condoms lined with a numbing agent, like benzocaine or lidocaine. Yep, the same stuff your dentist will give you for a toothache can also be used to improve your sex life.
The trouble with numbing condoms is that if you find your sensitivity is reduced too much — to the point that you can’t reach orgasm or can’t maintain an erection — you’ll have to take off the condom, wash your dick and wait at least 20-30 minutes for the product to wear off before sensation will be fully restored. Some of the numbing agent might also get on your partner and affect their sensation, whether they want that or not. Numbing also isn’t a solution to premature ejaculation — it’s just a Band-Aid.
What Else to Consider in a Condom Meant to Help You Last Longer
1) Sizing. There is very little size variance amongst thick or desensitizing condoms, so if your penis is on the smaller or larger side of average, you might be out of luck. However, you can always get a “delay spray” — a similar product to the desensitizing lubes found on many of these condoms — and use it with whichever condoms fit you best. Condom sizing is crucial, because too-small condoms are more prone to breakage and too-big condoms are more prone to slippage.
2) Material. Non-latex condoms are hard to find in general, and are pretty much impossible to find in the “extended pleasure” category — so if you or your partner have a latex allergy, but you want some desensitization so you can last longer, using a delay spray with a non-latex condom would be the way to go.
3) Timing. Desensitizing ingredients usually take about 5 to 10 minutes to completely kick in. It might seem odd to don a condom several minutes before you plan on actually having sex, but that’s the best way to ensure you’ll get the full effects of the numbing agent. You can pass the time with kissing, touching and whatever else keeps you feeling excited.
4) Aftermath. If you use condoms or lubes that have a desensitizing effect, be aware that it might take 30 minutes or more for the numbness to wear off. You may also want to rinse the numbing agent off your dick before you let someone put their mouth or another body part on it, too.
Okay, now that you know what to look for in a condom that will help you go the distance, here are our top picks…
Best Extra-Thick Condoms for Lasting Longer
“Extra-strength” condoms are condoms made to be thicker, stronger and more durable than the standard ones you’re used to. This has the side effect of making them well-suited for addressing premature ejaculation, but also means you can thrust with wild abandon and not worry as much about the risk of breakage. (You should still always check the condom for leaks after sex, though, just in case.)
These latex condoms are standard-sized, so they might not work as well for folks on the smaller or larger ends of the spectrum. But if you’re average-sized and want sensitivity reduction with some added durability to boot, they’re a great pick.
These extra-thick condoms aren’t anything fancy — they’re just smooth, straight and strong. They offer sturdiness and sensation reduction, without dulling your pleasure too much.
While most condoms have silicone-based lube on them, these come pre-lubed with a water-based formula instead, so they’d be a better choice than the LifeStyles above if you or your partner have a silicone allergy. They’re also about six millimeters wider than the LifeStyles, so they’ll be comfier for average-to-large dicks.
Best Condoms with a Numbing Agent for Lasting Longer
With nearly 5,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, this is one of the most beloved desensitizing condoms on the market. That said, some say these make them too numb — there’s a small amount of benzocaine lube inside the condom to reduce sensation (make sure you don’t put it on inside-out!). If that’s your experience too, you’d probably be better off using a non-desensitizing condom, or using a delay spray instead (like the Promescent one below) so you can control the dosage yourself.
Aside from its desensitizing effects, everything else about this condom — size, shape, thickness and material — is totally standard.
These condoms feature a benzocaine lubricant on the inside, and ribs and dots on the outside for the receptive partner’s pleasure. Not everyone likes the sensations of a textured condom, so check with your partner first if you’re not sure. But in any case, you’ll want to use lots of water-based lube on the outside of the condom so the texture feels more pleasurable than abrasive.
These are best-suited for small-to-average-sized penises. They have a slightly flared head, rather than being a uniformly straight tube, which you might find more comfortable if other condoms have felt too restrictive in the head area.
This isn’t a condom, it’s a lidocaine-based spray — but you can spritz some inside your condom of choice (or spray your penis directly and put a condom on afterward) to achieve a similar effect. Outliers on the dick-size spectrum will find such a spray especially useful, since, again, the vast majority of extended pleasure condoms are made for average-sized penises.
Each spritz is consistent in size, so you can experiment with dosages to find the one that works best for you (Promescent recommends 3-10 sprays) and then stick with that. You do have to wait about 10 minutes for it to kick in, as with other desensitizing products, but that’s easier to do with a spray than with a condom because condoms can fall off if you start to get soft during that time.
Pro tip: Even if you don’t normally use condoms, it’s a good idea to use them when you use a delay spray, to keep the desensitizing ingredients from affecting your partner (unless they want that, for whatever reason). You should also let your partner know you’re using one so they can help you avoid getting it on them.
Again, none of these are actual solutions for premature ejaculation. For a more permanent fix — and a lot more pleasure for you — you’re much better learning breathing techniques, trying sensate focus exercises or even reading this book. Premature ejaculation is actually very solvable, but like I said, in the interim, the right condom won’t hurt either.