Premature ejaculation (PE) refers to the release of ejaculatory fluid sooner than you or your partner would like. But according to the American Urology Association, there’s no consensus on the definition of PE, meaning there’s no set amount of time.

A 2019 research review showed that PE affects approximately 30 percent of people who have penises, at least occasionally.

Given how common premature ejaculation is, it’s no wonder so-called internet cures, promising to eliminate PE, abound. One of these is rubbing toothpaste on your penis.

Some YouTube videos and junk-scientific blogs show that toothpaste can help maintain erections for 30 minutes.

If you think you have nothing to lose by trying it, let us say right up front that rubbing toothpaste on your penis will not cure premature ejaculation. It also won’t cure erectile dysfunction, another internet claim.

In addition to debunking this myth, in this article we’ll explain why rubbing toothpaste on your penis may be dangerous. We’ll also provide real solutions for the very common problem of premature ejaculation.

According to urologist, Paul C. Thur, MD, putting toothpaste on genitalia is not without risk. “If it did nothing, fine, there’d be no risk in trying it. But toothpaste has chemicals, bleach, and oils, such as peppermint oil, that are caustic and can burn sensitive skin.

“If you have a break in your skin, you may even get cellulitis, a potentially serious bacterial infection. In some instances, this can cause disfigurement, such as penile scarring. All of this can lead to loss of sensation,” he explains.

Putting toothpaste on your penis before sexual activity can also adversely affect your partner, no matter what their gender. The chemicals and bleaching agents in toothpaste can irritate or cause an infection to occur within your vagina, or anus.

There are a number of safe home remedies you can try to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of premature ejaculation.

Thur recommends that you apply medical grade lidocaine cream directly onto your skin. Lidocaine reduces your sensation, which decreases your hypersensitivity.

Make sure you wash off any anesthetic cream before penetrative sex to avoid transmission to your partner. Keep the cream in place for 15 to 30 minutes before washing it off. This will allow the cream to take effect.

Sometimes the cream can reduce sensation in the user too much, making orgasm difficult. So, it may require some trial and error.

Thur also suggests positioning, that is, trying sexual positions that cause less friction. These include having someone lay on top.

Wearing a condom during sex may help reduce sensation, and delay ejaculation. There are condoms specifically designed for this purpose that contain numbing agents, such as lidocaine. Thick condoms may also have this effect.

Masturbating alone, several hours before having sex with a partner, may also be helpful for delaying ejaculation.

As common as it is, PE is not completely understood. It has many potential causes, which may be biological, psychological, or both.

PE may be classified as lifelong (primary) or acquired (secondary):

  • Lifelong PE is defined as premature ejaculation that occurs all or most of the time, and that started with your earliest sexual encounters.
  • Acquired PE refers to ejaculatory issues that start later on in life, after months or years of sexual activity.

Both types of PE can be successfully treated.

Premature ejaculation is not life threatening. If this condition only affects you occasionally, and doesn’t cause undue stress to you or your partner, seeking treatment may not be necessary.

However, you may want to consider contacting a doctor or therapist if PE is affecting your:

  • quality of life
  • self-esteem
  • relationship

“This condition is treatable, often by prescription. Urologists sometimes use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) off-label to treat PE, since delayed orgasm is a common side effect from these drugs,” says Thur.

Research also shows that SSRIs can be effective for treating PE. Fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline have all been studied and there’s good evidence behind their use. Although, this is an off-label use of the medication. You can use them for daily dosing or as needed in some cases before sexual activity.

Medications used to treat erectile dysfunction, such as Viagra (sildenafil) or Cialis (tadalafil) may also have benefits for treating PE. In addition to medical treatment, talking with a therapist may help.

Premature ejaculation is a common condition which should never be treated with toothpaste.

Toothpaste does not contain any ingredients which can delay orgasm, or treat PE. Putting toothpaste on your penis may burn or damage sensitive skin. It can also damage your partner’s genitalia.

There are many safe and effective at-home treatments you can try instead of toothpaste. Contacting a doctor such as a urologist, or a therapist, may also help.