Are there any pills or creams that can make me last longer in bed?

I only last a couple of minutes during sex, and it really sucks. Are there any pills or creams or anything that can make me last longer? I don’t know what else to do.

Dear Short Fuse,

Seriously, most women just don’t realize how much pressure there can be on guys during sex. Ideally a woman tends to want a guy to be as hard as Advanced Differential Equations before the lights even go out, and then to keep it going for as long as she wants it, but no longer.

For guys that have never had a problem with one or the other of these issues, congratulations. Hopefully you work in porn, since you’re a natural. This column is for everyone else, specifically all the hair-triggers out there.

Premature ejaculation is often treated as a result of selfishness — a guy thoughtlessly getting his rocks off before he’s even bothered shifting hers around. I won’t say this kind of selfishness never happens, but involuntary premature ejaculators know that the feeling of oncoming release seems as unstoppable as taking your next breath. You can try to recite the stats of every American League player since 1950, but you’ll be lucky to get past the Yankees’ current batting lineup. And to make it worse you’ve been trying so hard to hold off blowing your wad that you may not even enjoy it when it happens anyway.

Unlike sexual impotence, there is not a pill which is designed to prevent this. There are pills whose side effects make ejaculation difficult or impossible. But you wouldn’t want to take them for that reason, and besides most of them also can cause impotence.

There is an FDA-approved cream, called… oh you’ve got to be kidding me… yes, they actually called it this: Mandelay. [Groans from the balcony.] Mandelay’s active ingredient is Benzocaine, which is what dentists give you before they drill your teeth. In other words, Mandelay works by making your wood as numb as a post.

I haven’t tried Mandelay. But once when myself and I were spending some time together I used as lube an aloe vera sunburn cream that I did not realize contained menthol, a less potent numbing agent. I worked until I could barely move my arm and didn’t get anywhere close to going off so my experience suggests the basic principle is effective.

If you’re going to use this substance (whose name I can’t bring myself to type again), or any of the other numbing creams out there, you should remember that anything that is on your skin on the outside is also touching her on the inside. If you make her numb too, she may not appreciate you lasting longer. Worse, some other agents that might having a numbing effect on your skin could be painful against the more sensitive tissues inside the vagina. People who have had success with numbing creams report that it’s best to give the cream a minute or two to have its numbing effect then rub it in or off before intercourse starts. Of course you’re going to want to keep it hard during that time, because once it’s numb it’ll be really hard to get it up again. In other words, this is not really a recommended option (and PARTICULARLY not for butt sex, just FYI). Numbing creams can injure you and your partner. And if you can’t feel anything… why are you doing this again?

Something that will have a similar effect but is much less dangerous is a fairly thick condom if you don’t usually use one. Just don’t double up on the condoms — you risk breakage due to the friction of latex on latex.

Another technique you can try on your own time is to masturbate. Seriously. Practice bringing yourself to the edge of orgasm and then stop. Let the wave subside. Then go at it again. A lot of times we become so accustomed to really intense, quick jerk-off sessions, and our pelvic muscles never get a chance to strengthen fully. But repeatedly bringing yourself to the edge, stopping, and then going at it again is great endurance training. Kegel exercises can help too.

Still, this takes time and practice, so is there anything else to do in the meanwhile?

Yes: expand your definition of what sex is.

When you say that you can’t have sex for very long without having an orgasm, what you mean is that you can’t have intercourse for long without having an orgasm. If that’s your problem the first thing you should do is delay the intercourse part of sex for as long as possible.

In other words, tease her. First figure out what non-genital region of her body gets her motor running. The neck below the ears is practically an Initiate Sexual Response button in a lot of women, but other ladies might like being touched, licked and nibbled on their back, feet, hands, ears, nipples or stranger places. Getting to know these hot buttons is, in my opinion, one of the most fun parts of having a lover.

When you’ve got her going a bit get down to the Delta and get your fingers and tongue to work. Giving good cunnilingus is a whole other column, but the key is trying things until you hear the right sounds. A lot of women quite enjoy being brought to orgasm then penetrated while they’re in the midst of it. If you can manage that I guarantee she won’t mind if you don’t last long. In fact, she’ll probably prefer it.

Alternately, get her right up to the edge, then bring your tool to work. But don’t just dive right in. First, rub it along the vulva and vaginal opening for a while. This will drive her crazy, since you’re rubbing right against her clitoris (believe me, you’ll enjoy it too). This is also a good move if you’re not sure you’re hard enough to get inside yet; direct contact with a wet vagina is about as effective a stiffener as exists.

Now it’s time to penetrate, but just a little. Her most sensitive sexual tissues are right inside her vulva, so by going in just an inch or two then pulling out you’re directly stimulating the G-spot* and the clitoral legs. With a little practice you can stimulate the external clit at the same time with a thumb or finger.

Keep this up for a few minutes and she’ll likely be begging you to slam the headboard through the wall. So now’s the time to go in all the way. The cool thing about human sexual response is that it tends to be reciprocal. When your partner’s getting off it gets you off too. You might think that the last thing you need as a premature ejaculator is to be even more turned on, but ironically being more sexually connected to your partner can give you more control of your orgasm.

If you’ve put your work in you’ll slide through like a seal going into water. If you want to try to make it last a bit longer wait until you are just about to have an orgasm then pull out so that only the tip is in there. Go back to just teasing her with the tip for a minute or two until you feel the wave pass. Sometimes you can then ‘reboot’ the orgasm counter this way, starting over when you go back in.

But if you only last a few minutes, so what? After the time you spent pleasuring her, she’s got nothing to complain about. She’ll probably just figure you were as turned on as she was and couldn’t hold back. You can always help her finish afterward, if she needs it.

There is more to this than just the physical aspect of it. Part of what you’re doing is shifting your attention away from controlling your own pecker and onto pleasing her. It’s hard to not think about elephants. But if you’re thinking about giraffes instead you might be surprised to find it’s longer before Dumbo blows his trumpet.

* PS Dear scientists: I don’t care what your research says; if you think there’s no such thing as a G-spot you have not encountered an actual vagina before.

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