Benzocaine and Lidocaine are essentially the same and have the same mechanism of action but they differ slightly. Premature ejaculation is when ejaculation occurs sooner than desired during sex. Premature ejaculation should not be a cause for worry, however, can be frustrating and make sex less enjoyable.
When the penis is touched sexually, the nerves in your penis sends signals to your brain and spinal cord. Depending on the level of arousal experienced, the brain also adds its own signals. The brain also plays a part in the triggering of ejaculation, regardless of genital stimulation. The ejaculation reflex is triggered when a certain level of stimulation and arousal is reached.
Benzocaine and Lidocaine work by inhibiting these pathways in which those signals travel through. These active ingredients desensitize the penis, allowing for a longer duration of sexual intercourse.
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So what is the difference between Benzocaine and Lidocaine?
In regards to effectiveness, Lidocaine is a stronger anesthetic than Benzocaine. According to FDA regulation , Benzocaine products can only have a concentration level between 3 to 7.5%. For Lidocaine products, they need to be sold in an 11mg dose-metered bottle. There is a limit of 10 sprays of Lidocaine at each use, however, for Benzocaine there isn’t a limit on the maximum use. As there is no limit on how much benzocaine can be applied, it’s effectiveness depends on the amount of product used.
- Benzocaine condoms: Benzocaine condoms are simple to use and can be worn in the exact same way as regular condoms. After application, wait for 5 minutes and get ready to enjoy. A drawback of the condoms is that they aren’t as effective as other options as the condoms only contain 4-5% of Benzocaine. There are more concentrated creams and gels that you can tailored in quantity to help you last longer.
- Benzocaine creams or gel: The Benzocaine cream or gel is a good compromise between Lidocaine spray and Benzocaine condoms. It can have a longer delay effect than the condoms are you can adjust the quantity you use.
Benzocaine products are safe to use with condoms. Unlike the Lidocaine products where you have to clean them off before using a condom, you can apply the condom after Benzocaine cream/gel application. You do not have to worry about cleaning it off.
- Benzocaine sprays: Some sprays use Benzocaine rather than Lidocaine, however, Lidocaine sprays are more effective. If you prefer a product that can be used with a condom, the benzocaine cream is more effective and is easier to apply.
- Benzocaine wipes: This is a new product so it can be hard to find. The main brand that makes these wipes is Preboost. It has a concentration of 4% thus making them as effective as the Benzocaine condoms. However, these do not provide protection against STDs so if you need to use a condom, Benzocaine cream is a better alternative.
- Lidocaine condoms: Lidocaine condoms aren’t possible to manufacture and are against FDA regulations. The Lidocaine is corrosive to the latex of condoms and this can risk the condom breaking. Hence in this case, Benzocaine condoms are the only solution.
- Lidocaine creams and gels: Lidocaine creams and gels are not available over the counter and a doctor's prescription is needed to obtain one. They are not available over the counter as the quantity of Lidocaine used cannot be controlled. A concentration of 300mg of lidocaine is toxic to most men. Hence, this needs to be regulated. Elma cream, a mixture of lidocaine and prilocaine, is a FDA approved product for the treatment of premature ejaculation.
- Lidocaine wipes: This product has not been possible to manufacture as per FDA requirement.
- Lidocaine spray: The Lidocaine sprays are sold in dose-metered bottles. Each spray distributes about 10mg of Lidocaine. Approximately 10 sprays can be used each time. If the spray is overused, the concentration of Lidocaine present in the blood can reach toxic levels. Hence the instructions on the bottle should be followed closely.
Each man’s reaction to Benzocaine or Lidocaine differs. That’s why in order to determine which product suits you best, you should try both of them and see which one is more effective for you. However, the general consensus is that lidocaine has a longer delay effect compared to Benzocaine products.
- Dr Felix, "Using EMLA cream for premature ejaculation", in Drfelix.co.uk, , 2020, <https://www.drfelix.co.uk/health-center/using-emla-cream-for-premature-ejaculation/> [accessed 24 February 2020].
- P Côté-Léger, "Benzocaine vs Lidocaine for Premature Ejaculation - PE Help", in Premature Ejaculation Help, , 2020, <https://prematureejaculation.help/benzocaine-vs-lidocaine-premature-ejaculation/> [accessed 24 February 2020].