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Trigger happy? A new spray aims to delay amorous men

Could a quick spritz from a spray bottle make a man a better lover by treating his Quick Draw McGraw syndrome? Maybe.

At the annual meeting of the American Urological Association in San Francisco last week, a company called Shionogi Pharma briefed urologists and sexual medicine experts on test results for a drug called PSD502. “PSD502” may sound like some super-secret breakthrough, but men have been buying similar things from sex shops and the back of skin magazines for decades.

Does “Prolong” sound familiar? How about “Play Longer?” “Mandelay?” (Get it? Man Delay?) “Gibraltar?” As in rock of? Or my personal favorite, “Stud 100”? They’re all some form of cream, spray or wipe designed to numb your penis, which may not sound like something you would pay good money to do, but then maybe you -- or your lover -- do not suffer from premature ejaculation, or P.E.

Up to an estimated 30 percent of men do and P.E. is a real problem. It’s been defined as “ejaculation which is always or nearly always occurs prior to or within one minute of vaginal penetration,” which, as you can imagine, has “negative personal consequences.”

Men have tried everything from rubber bands, to masturbation endurance training (yes, really), to taking anti-depressants (because those drugs have a usually unwanted side effect of delayed ejaculation) to prolong their “latency.” Yet for years sexual medicine for males has been focused on another problem, erectile dysfunction. “It’s been all E.D. all the time,” Dr. Irwin Goldstein, a urologist, founder of San Diego Sexual Medicine and the editor of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, who attended the company’s briefing, told me. “So I’m pretty excited by the whole concept,” of PSD502.

He’s not excited because the concept is new; the drug is just a combination of two common topical painkillers, lidocaine and prilocaine. He’s excited because, finally, such a drug is being rigorously tested in real P.E. sufferers using metered doses rather than Stud 100 users trading anecdotes. And it seems to work. The men in the drug trials were pretty bad off. Before using the spray they lasted about 30 seconds. After spraying the stuff on their glans, and waiting five minutes, the men extended that time to a mean of 3.3 minutes, which may not win any stamina awards but represents a big improvement.