Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 10/25/2021
Premature ejaculation, or PE, is a common form of sexual dysfunction. This medical condition affects men of all ages and backgrounds, and when it’s severe or persistent, it can have a real impact on your ability to have a fulfilling, satisfying sex life.
According to research published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, around 30 percent of men worldwide are affected by some degree of premature ejaculation.
A range of options is available for treating PE, including topical products, oral medications and techniques to reduce sensitivity and delay ejaculation.
There’s also a simple option: wearing a condom. With “delay” and “extended pleasure” condoms easy to find online and in most convenience stores, treating PE may be as simple as picking the right type of protection.
Below, we’ve looked at why premature ejaculation occurs, as well as how condoms may be able to delay ejaculation, increase your stamina and make sexual activity more enjoyable.
We’ve also explained what to look for in a condom for treatment of premature ejaculation, as well as other proven, science-based treatments you may want to consider if you’re prone to PE.
Wearing latex condoms provides protection against most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). It’s also an effective way to lower your partner’s risk of pregnancy.
Although research into the effects of condoms on ejaculation time is limited, evidence suggests that wearing a condom may also help to reduce the sensitivity of your penis and slow down the process of reaching orgasm and ejaculating.
The most sensitive areas of your penis are around the glans, or tip. More specifically, the most sensitive part of your penis is the area near the frenulum — the small, elastic part of tissue that connects the glans of your penis with the foreskin.
Since condoms cover this area, it’s long been thought that they may help to reduce the physical sensation you feel during sexual activity, potentially delaying orgasm and ejaculation.
A study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine put this theory to the test by measuring the penile sensitivity level of various men with and without a condom.
The researchers found that the men’s penile vibratory threshold (the amount of vibration that the men required in order to feel sensation) was higher when the men used a condom, showing that condoms do reduce sensitivity to some extent.
This matches the findings of other research, which has largely found that people report feeling a less intense level of tactile sensation during sex when a condom is worn.
Now, there’s no guarantee that this reduction in sensitivity will increase your stamina or help you to control your orgasms.
However, since physical sensation is one of the most important parts of sexual activity, it makes sense that wearing a condom may offer some benefits if you’re prone to reaching orgasm and ejaculating a little too early.
Condoms come in countless different brands, types and sizes, making it difficult to know what to look for if you haven’t spent much time shopping for condoms before.
Use the tips below to choose a condom that fits you properly, helps you last longer and provides plenty of protection.
Before we get into factors like thickness and sensitivity, it’s important to make sure that you pick a condom that fits you properly.
Most condoms come in a variety of sizes. It’s important to choose a condom that fits your penis comfortably (meaning it isn’t too tight or too loose), and that properly covers the entire length of your penis while leaving a small amount of space for ejaculation.
Using a condom that’s overly tight may increase the risk of it breaking during sex, while a loose condom may not provide adequate protection.
Spend a minute or two browsing the aisles of any drugstore and you’ll find lots of condoms that are labeled “extended pleasure,” “endurance” or “climax control.”
These condoms are designed specifically to delay ejaculation and improve your performance in bed. Most contain an internal numbing lubricant that makes the sensitive parts of your penis feel slightly numb, preventing you from reaching orgasm and ejaculating too early during sex.
Climax control lubricated condoms can take some getting used to, and some people find that they can dull sexual pleasure, meaning you may want to try them out on your own before using one with your partner.
Most condom brands offer “extra safe” condoms that are thicker than others in order to provide additional protection. In addition to making the condoms more durable, this extra thickness has the added bonus of dulling the physical sensation of sex.
You may want to give these condoms a try if you find sex overly sensitive, but don’t want to use a condom that contains a numbing lubricant.
If you’ve searched for information about treating PE, you may have seen recommendations to wear more than one condom at once.
The idea behind this approach is that since one condom reduces the physical sensation of sex by a small amount, two must reduce it by twice as much.
The reality is that “double bagging” generally isn’t a good idea. Not only does it not provide any extra protection, but wearing two condoms can produce friction and increase the risk of one or both condoms breaking during sex.
Instead of using two condoms, try the extra thick or extended pleasure condoms recommended above, or consider one of the other PE treatment options listed below.
In addition to using the right type of condom, there are numerous other things that you can do to slow down ejaculation and treat premature ejaculation.
These include techniques to help you relax and avoid reaching orgasm too early, topical sprays that reduce your sensitivity level and medications that slow down ejaculation and make it easier to enjoy sex for longer.
We’ve gone into more detail about each of these options, as well as the scientific evidence that backs up each one, below.
For lots of guys, it’s possible to treat premature ejaculation the natural way by using techniques to slow down orgasm and ejaculation.
Two common techniques used to prevent orgasm are the “stop-start” strategy and the “squeeze” technique.
The stop-start strategy is exactly what it sounds like. During sex, as you feel that you’re about to reach orgasm and ejaculate, you stop and allow the sensation to pass. Once you no longer feel like you’re about to reach orgasm, you and your partner continue having sex.
One benefit of the stop-start technique is that you can do it again and again during sex by taking a quick 20- to 30-second break whenever you feel like you’re nearing the point of no return.
The squeeze technique is similar. This technique involves having sex until you’re about to reach orgasm, then gently squeezing the tip of your penis (the area where the glans meet the shaft of your penis) until the sensation passes.
Like the stop-start strategy, you can repeat the squeeze technique as many times as needed to have sex without ejaculating too early.
Referred to as “precoital masturbation,” this approach involves masturbating a few hours before you plan to have sex. The theory behind it is simple: since it usually takes a little longer to get to the finish line on round two, you’ll be able to have sex for longer.
Research somewhat backs this up by showing that precoital masturbation lowers the sensitivity of the penis and delays ejaculation.
It’s also possible to have sex with your partner once, then wait a few hours to recover and enjoy a longer session the second time.
If masturbating before sex or using behavioral techniques to slow down orgasm and ejaculation isn’t for you, you may want to consider using a topical premature ejaculation spray.
This type of treatment works by making the nerve endings of your penis less sensitive, typically with a topical anesthetic. For example, our Delay Spray for Men contains the topical anesthetic lidocaine to reduce sensitivity without making your penis feel overly numb during sex.
You can apply premature ejaculation spray 10 to 15 minutes before sex. It usually lasts for one to three hours, giving you plenty of time to have sex with your partner without needing to worry about PE.
Our guide to lidocaine spray for premature ejaculation goes into more detail about how this type of product works, as well as how you can use it for better sexual performance.
If you have severe or persistent premature ejaculation, or if you don’t notice any improvements from behavioral techniques, you may want to talk to your healthcare provider about prescription medication for PE.
Although no drugs have been approved by the FDA specifically to treat premature ejaculation, a few medications are used off-label to delay orgasm and increase sexual stamina.
Two of the most common medications used to prevent PE are sertraline (the active ingredient in Zoloft®) and paroxetine (the active ingredient in Paxil®).
Both of these are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that are typically used to treat depression and other mental health issues. Research shows that both medications are effective at slowing down orgasm and ejaculation.
For example, one study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research found that men who used paroxetine increased their intravaginal ejaculation latency time from less than 30 seconds to approximately 4.5 minutes over the course of four weeks of treatment.
A similar study of sertraline found that most men with PE were able to increase their mean ejaculatory time from approximately one minute to between 7.6 and 16.4 minutes over several weeks.
We offer both sertraline and paroxetine as PE treatments online, following a consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
Sometimes, premature ejaculation is caused by psychological factors, such as feelings of guilt or anxiety about having sex.
If you think your premature ejaculation might be linked to a psychological issue, you may want to consider therapy.
Several forms of therapy are used to treat sexual issues like PE, including behavioral therapy and sex therapy. As part of therapy, you’ll talk with a counselor or sex therapist to identify the potential causes of your PE, then work on strategies to overcome them.
Therapy is also used to treat other sexual health issues — for example, research has found that sex therapy can often treat erectile dysfunction (ED).
You can find a therapist locally by searching for therapy providers in your city, or use our online mental health services to connect with a licensed provider.
Wearing a condom can reduce the physical sensation of sex, meaning it may be a good option if you’re affected by premature ejaculation. Beyond increasing your sexual stamina, condoms also offer protection from STDs and pregnancy.
When you’re shopping for condoms, look for products labeled “extended pleasure,” “extra safe” or “endurance.”
For even better results, consider using a condom with our Delay Spray for Men to reduce your level of sensitivity and last for even longer in bed.
Worried about PE? Our range of premature ejaculation treatments includes options to suit every guy’s needs, including prescription medications to delay ejaculation and improve your stamina.