Dealing With Premature Ejaculation? There’s an App (and Tech Tool) For That

Partners checking out the MYHIXEL men’s premature ejaculation therapy tool MYHIXEL

Approximately 30 percent of men experience sustained or persistent premature ejaculation at some point in their lives. Generally, this means they feel unable to suppress the urge to ejaculate during intercourse and consistently last less than three minutes when enjoying sex with a partner. Before now, the only treatments available for this phenomenon were antidepressants, lidocaine numbing spray, sensation-dulling condoms, or the old adage to “just think about baseball.” Not exactly a winning combination of treatments, which might be why 80 percent of men with PE say they haven’t sought out a solution at all.

“PE treatments and solutions want men to feel less, to numb themselves, or lessen the physical sensation of intercourse,” explains Patricia Lopez, founder and CEO of MYHIXEL, an FDA-approved sexual health tool for men.

After years of working for Fleshlight, Lopez’s product lets men feel everything they want to feel during intercourse while slowly giving them a sense of control over an eight-week program. She says a high number of men in her company’s clinical trials reported higher self-esteem in general after completing the MYHIXEL lessons, which makes sense if you understand what’s at stake for most guys in the bedroom. On average, MYHIXEL program “graduates” are able to last seven times longer with their partners.

Treating PE with no medication and no numbing chemicals is a surprisingly large gap in the market. “I was getting a lot of feedback from Fleshlight distributors and people working the trade shows,” Lopez explains, “and they were saying women’s sex toys were marketed as a novel approach to health and wellness. Men’s toys couldn’t get past the subject of sex and eroticism.” She left the company to develop her own product, watching as women’s sex toy companies consulted physicians and added sexologists to their teams. She knew she needed to consult medical and wellness professionals instead of designers already in the erotic industry.

MYHIXEL addresses PE not purely as a physical phenomenon, but one that has psychological ties. Without any treatment, men often end up trying to solve PE through trial and error with their partners, and that can prove complicated for couples.

One woman, Alice, tells us that she and her boyfriend have tried several ways to alleviate his anxiety.

“He didn’t want to go on medication, and he didn’t find success doing mental exercises or edging,” Alice explains, referring to the practice of delaying orgasm to increase one’s pleasure. “I wasn’t about to put IcyHot near my vagina to try and dull the sensation. What ended up working for us was just letting him finish when he needed to, and then we’d restart and have a second round. If I’m gonna be honest, it wasn’t perfect. Sometimes I wouldn’t be in the mood anymore or he’d be too tired to go again.”

The MYHIXEL tool and app MYHIXEL

Of course, for every man out there whose partner is willing to experiment with him and seek a workaround, there are probably ten more men unable to share their anxieties with the people they sleep with. And it’s not surprising when one considers the way culture frames PE. According to shows like Netflix’s You or movies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin or She’s Out of My League, ejaculating a few moments into intercourse is deeply embarrassing. The characters who do it onscreen aren’t manly; they’re inexperienced, awkward, or completely overwhelmed by the reality of sex. Though women like Alice say that a partner experiencing premature ejaculation is actually sort of flattering, for men trying to preserve their egos during intercourse, finishing too fast can be mortifying.

One could argue that the last sexual revolution left men with PE behind. In 1996, the FDA approved a blood pressure drug for the treatment of “impotence,” which was eventually rebranded as erectile dysfunction, or ED. With the arrival of that little blue pill, men suddenly had a solution to ED, which was previously considered an unavoidable downside of getting old.

The arrival of Viagra changed the way our society talked about a certain type of sexual dysfunction, but there wasn’t much of a discussion about all the other moments during intercourse in which something might go wrong. Men coping with PE were simply left out to dry, watching those ubiquitous Viagra commercials featuring men in their 50s as they held hands between individual bathtubs or displayed sudden mastery of motorcycles with their seemingly satisfied wives. No one cared when these men reached sexual release. They just triumphantly maintained their erections as the commercials ended, their manhood reaffirmed.

Of course, women were fed conflicting messages in 1998 as well, and the sex toy industry began to gently rebrand itself. In 1998, the same year the Fleshlight hit shelves, HBO aired the infamous vibrator episode of Sex and the City. Though silly, it popularized the Rabbit vibrator design the way the 50 Shades of Grey franchise would popularize BDSM-lite toys a couple of decades later. Women were suddenly encouraged to explore their own pleasure without partners, and toys like the Rabbit were marketed as healthy objects of empowerment.

Meanwhile, the Fleshlight couldn’t shake its aura of shame among consumers. As Lopez explains to Observer, “Fleshlight is sold as a fun experience that’s always linked to porn. I knew there had to be room for a company that told men, ‘You can build a better sex life for yourself and do it holistically.'”

MYHIXEL uses a masturbation aide as a way for men to improve their sexual health, and products like Giddy have followed suit, urging users to seek out sexual dysfunction solutions that don’t come in a pill.

The product looks more like the shiny vibrator necklaces and crystal dildos that flooded the market in the 90s and early 2000s for women, with the Bunny (with its clitoris-stimulating jelly silicon ears) reigning queen above them all. These products’ sleek design draw in a mainstream audience by not trying to recreate a human being’s anatomy. “You could put this thing in your living room,” Lopez says of the MYHIXEL, “and no one would assume it was a sexual health tool.”

That’s a far cry from the original Fleshlight, whose design is somewhat creepy, inviting men to insert their penises into an uncanny simulation of a woman’s orifices. The Fleshlight interior is crafted from molds of pornstars’ vaginal canals, and the point of the product isn’t enlightening exploration so much as fast-tracking the user to a quick solo orgasm. Before MYHIXEL, men had sad substitutes for the “real thing,” whereas women had naughty, empowering little toys.

From the outside, MYHIXEL admittedly looks like a very fancy version of the Fleshlight. As Lopez explains, “many people assume it’s just a men’s sex toy that’s connected to an app,” but the physical product is one half of an eight-week treatment for premature ejaculation. The aim is to slowly desensitize the glans of a man’s penis while simulating sexual intercourse and teaching the user about his body, the different levels of pleasure that lead to ejaculation, and how to find a sense of control over his orgasm.

The app used as part of MyHixel MyHixel

Lopez and her team developed by conducting studies alongside universities and the Sexology Institute, and in the process of creating MYHIXEL, they published their findings in several scientific journals. The MYHIXEL program borrows from cognitive behavioral therapy, and the tool itself is dynamic according to the user’s progression through the lessons. With a simulated vaginal canal similar to the one inside a Fleshlight, the MYHIXEL gently vibrates along the frenulum (a sensitive place just under the head of the penis) and heats up to body temperature. “Pilots have to put in hours on flight simulators, right?” Lopez jokes. “I like to think MYHIXEL is an intercourse simulator.”

The app that goes with the tool is somewhat game-like, with different “planets” that provide different exercises. It tracks a man’s progress, with an ultimate end-goal (or more than one) in mind.

Unlike other sex toys for men, MYHIXEL was created with the assumption that users will eventually put it aside and begin enjoying intercourse with human partners. The equivalent in women’s sexual health tools isn’t the Rabbit, but Kegel exercisers like the Elvie. “We have many customers who don’t necessarily have PE, but they still feel anxiety about the timing of their orgasms,” Lopez says.

She’s describing a specialty program, MYHIXEL TR, which branches out from users suffering from PE and seeks to help men who can delay orgasm past that three-minute mark but still want a healthier, more controlled sexual experience. After four weeks of treatment with the MYHIXEL TR, users are able to invite their partners into the orgasm delaying experience, which is probably the most fun form of therapy approved by the FDA.

Dealing With Premature Ejaculation? There’s an App (and Tech Tool) For That