Lubricants, massage oils and other personal products often claim to enhance sex by improving the user’s endurance. Sex doesn’t need to last for hours to be fun, but many people like the idea of extending their lovemaking sessions for a few extra minutes. Of course, there are several important things to know when choosing lubes for this purpose.

Benzocaine, Lidocaine and Other Numbing Agents

Lubes and condoms offer different types of effective enhancements to last longer in bed, but they use fairly strong ingredients to do so. Products marketed with words like “endurance” or “extended pleasure” often contain numbing agents like lidocaine or benzocaine. These substances slightly decrease sensation, delaying orgasm by limiting stimulation. Lidocaine is also commonly used as a dental anesthetic, but don’t let that scare you; it’s completely safe for use in personal lubricants when used correctly.

One of the main criticisms with desensitizing gels is that they can affect the experience for both partners. Numbing agents affect female genitals the same way that they affect male genitals, and for some couples, this defeats the purpose of “longer-lasting” sex. To avoid this problem, men can apply a small amount of the lubricant to the inside of a condom.

You should never use products with benzocaine and lidocaine for oral or anal sex, as they can increase your chances of an injury by numbing pain. You need to be able to notice pain avoid accidents, especially during rougher sex.

It is also important to consider allergies when using numbing agents. People with PABA allergies should not use products containing benzocaine or ingredients with a -caine suffix. If you decide to use a numbing lubricant, test it on non-sensitive skin before using it. Read the instructions carefully and avoid accidental contact with your eyes, mouth or any other sensitive tissues.

Other Ways to Make Sex Last

Many people dislike the idea of desensitizing lubricants. There are plenty of other excellent ways to enjoy longer-lasting sex, and you can experiment to find the right option for you and your partner.

Sex toys and flavored lubricants enhance foreplay, which can improve the sexual experience. For most people, “longer” sex does not necessarily equate to “better” sex, and spending more time on foreplay can provide a much-needed mental boost for both partners. If you decide to use lubricants with sex toys, be sure to pick an appropriate lube for the job. You should avoid using oil or silicone-based lubricants with silicone toys to prevent potential damage.

For men who have trouble maintaining erections during long lovemaking sessions, lubricants with ingredients like yohimbe , tribulus and L-arginine can act as natural aphrodisiacs. The efficacy of these ingredients varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and from one user to the next, so you may need to try a few products to see what works.

Always talk with your partner before bringing new products into the bedroom. Sex should be a worry-free experience, and while extended-endurance products certainly have their place, communication is your best tool for improving your sex life.