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If you experience premature ejaculation (PE) during sex, you’re not alone.

PE affects about a third of U.S. men between 18 and 59 years old. While there are sometimes psychological reasons for PE, the issue can also happen for physical reasons.

If PE is impacting your sex life, therapy and medications may help. Still, you may want to start by trying something simpler, like PE wipes. PE wipes, also known as benzocaine wipes, help desensitize the penis, allowing you to last longer.

Roman Swipes is one brand of PE wipes on the market. In this article, we look at these wipes, how they work, and more.

PE is caused by a number of factors, including extra sensitivity around the penis.

Anytime you feel something (anywhere in your body), sodium activates your nerve endings and sends signals, or “action potentials,” to your central nervous system (CNS).

Benzocaine, or Roman Swipes in this case, act as a numbing agent for your penis.

By blocking the sodium from entering the cell, benzocaine limits your nerve endings from talking to your CNS, leaving you numb — or partially so — to touch sensations. The head of the penis has the most nerve endings, so wiping there could be more effective than wiping the shaft of the penis. However, it’s important to note that sensitivity in the penis does vary by individual.

Because you feel less, you can last longer during sex, preventing PE.

But does it work?

Yes. Research suggests benzocaine products, like Roman Swipes, are effective in helping prevent PE.

A 2019 study indicated that 4 percent benzocaine wipes effectively delayed orgasm during penetrative sex. Study participants reported higher sexual satisfaction and no issues with desensitization of their partner’s genitals. Also, placebo participants saw no difference in their time to orgasm.

  1. Apply a wipe to the most sensitive parts of your penis when fully erect. This can vary by person.
  2. Wait at least 5 minutes for the product to dry before engaging in sex.

According to Roman, if you wait the full 5 minutes and do not have sex before the product has dried, your partner should have no desensitization.

Roman says the effect of the wipes should last about 20–30 minutes.

You can buy Roman Swipes without a prescription through the Roman website. You’ll need to sign up for a monthly or quarterly subscription and shipping is free.

Pricing depends on the plan you choose.

  • Quarterly: $22 a month for three boxes (24 wipes) every 3 months
  • Monthly: $27 a month for one box (8 wipes) every month

You also get $10 off your first delivery with Roman, and shipping is free.

The wipes are also available at Walmart and Amazon.

Most of the reviews for Roman Swipes are fairly positive. Here’s a breakdown of Roman Swipes customer reviews and ratings from different retailers:

  • Amazon: The average rating is 3.8 out of 5 stars, with 51% of reviewers giving the product 5 stars. Positive reviewers say the wipes work quickly and don’t have a strong smell. Negative reviewers complained that the wipes weren’t effective.
  • Walmart: The average rating is 4.2 out of 5 stars. Customers who had a good experience say the wipes helped them last longer and were great for travel. Some folks noted that while they weren’t as effective as they had hoped, they appreciated that they were fragrance-free and flavor-free.
  • Roman’s website: The average rating is 4.67 out of 5 stars. Some happy customers call the wipes “amazing,” while others don’t seem too sure of their effectiveness.

Some of the complaints about this product have to do with pricing. People say they’re more expensive than competing products that advertise the same result.

As for the company’s reputation. It has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau website and a 4.0-star rating out of 5 on Trustpilot.

One reviewer says it’s difficult to cancel the auto-renewal subscription for the wipes, and getting a response from the company isn’t easy.

Others seem appreciative of the quick, convenient, and discreet shipping.

PE wipes, like Roman Swipes, are pretty safe, but it’s possible to experience side effects such as:

Some people may also experience side effects from applying topical benzocaine to the penis. These side effects include:

  • burning
  • stinging
  • dry, flaking skin
  • itching
  • red, tender skin

In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning that benzocaine could be related to the blood disorder methemoglobinemia. This warning primarily applies to teething children under 2 years old, but adults can sometimes be at risk.

People with methemoglobinemia have too much methemoglobin, which impacts oxygen distribution in the body.

Some symptoms of this condition include:

  • bluish lips, skin, and nails
  • shortness of breath
  • extreme fatigue
  • confusion
  • lightheadedness
  • rapid heart rate
  • headaches

Roman offers other subscription-based products for:

Key ingredientAvailabilityPrice
Roman Swipesbenzocaineonly from the manufacturer$22 a box (8 wipes)
Promescent (spray)lidocaine from the manufacturer and large retailers$23 a bottle (20 sprays)
Promescent (wipes)benzocainefrom the manufacturer and large retailers$20 a box (5 wipes)
Hims (spray)lidocainefrom the manufacturer and large retailers$29 a bottle (40 sprays)
Hims (wipes)benzocainefrom the manufacturer and large retailers$19 a box (3 wipes)

PE is common and not usually something to worry about. But if benzocaine wipes don’t work for you, consider talking with a doctor.

They can look for underlying conditions or suggest alternative treatments like prescription medication. In fact, serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) can also treat PE. In some other cases, emotional or psychological issues may cause PE. If you are experiencing these types of issues, counseling may help.

Also, some prescription medications can cause PE. If you start a new medication and notice that you’re suddenly not lasting as long as you used to, you might need to change the dose or stop using the medication.

However, you should not stop taking medications or change dosage without first talking with a doctor.

Research suggests that products containing benzocaine, such as Roman Swipes, can help prevent PE.

However, it’s important to note that Roman Swipes, and benzocaine wipes in general, have not been FDA reviewed or approved. While benzocaine wipes can be effective, further research is still needed to fully determine their effectiveness.

The active ingredient works immediately, so you can get down to business as soon as the product dries.

No. Roman Swipes is an over-the-counter (OTC) product. They do not require a doctor’s prescription.

However, other products sold by Roman require an online doctor’s visit to get a prescription. Roman offers these visits for free.

No. If you wait until the product dries, which should take about 5 minutes, it shouldn’t numb your partner.

Roman says it depends on the person, but the effects usually last 20-30 minutes.

Some people react to topical benzocaine and may experience irritation, redness, or swelling.

Stop using the product if you notice any of these symptoms. And if they do not go away, talk with a doctor.

Because Roman Swipes are topical wipes, they should be used only before sex as there is no benefit from using them outside of sexual encounters. Also, they should be used only when needed or when experiencing PE.

If you no longer need to reduce stimulation during sex, discontinue using Roman Swipes until they are needed again.

You should use only one wipe per sexual encounter. You should not overuse Roman Swipes if you have sex multiple times in a 24-hour period.

Experiencing PE during sex is common, but there are products that can help.

Benzocaine wipes like Roman Swipes numb the penis, allowing you to last longer. While benzocaine products are safe for most people, it’s recommended that you perform a patch test on a larger area before applying the product.

Stop using the wipes if you experience any discomfort, redness, or swelling.

If you have questions about Roman Swipes or you’re experiencing adverse effects after using them, talk with a doctor.

Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.