Love & Sex

I Did It For Science: ManDelay

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Experiment: To test the love-making and partner-pleasing effects of ManDelay — no, not the casino in Vegas or the most beautiful city in Burma, but the "maximum-strength genital desensitizer." Man-delay, get it? Making my member numb and number — sounds like a treat!

Hypothesis: We all want to be bedroom Olympians — as long as it doesn't involve any taxing workout regimens. But lazy as I am, I'm still a considerate guy, and if a little gel can make me last longer for my bedmates, giving them that much more pleasure (and maybe even helping them remember my name), then I'm all for it. However, as I probably won't be feeling anything mid-romp, it might be a bit of a conditional triumph.

• One tube maximum-strength ManDelay¯ genital-desensitizing cream
• My formerly sensitized junk
• Volunteers from the crowd

The offices of happen to be at pretty much the world epicenter of sexy women. Downtown Manhattan, the closest Duane Reade (at Broadway and Prince) has more models, famous people, and well-heeled hotties passing through its door than most any other drugstore in the universe. But

Not since my high-school days had I felt so awkward entering a drugstore.

this is where I had to go to make my all-too suggestive purchase (should I just wear a T-shirt reading Premature Ejaculator?), and I can't say I was looking forward to it.

Not since my high-school days of working up a five-day shadow on my babyface to go try to buy condoms, beer, or cigars had I felt so awkward entering a drugstore. Mercifully, there was only one woman (a civilian) waiting to pick up a prescription and one other milling about, probably wanting to buy an anti-yeast cream or incontinence diapers once we'd all leave. No Heidi, no Gisele, no problem.

That is… until I realized that I couldn't find the stuff. It wasn't among the condoms (though I was happy to discover that they now sell jimmy-caps with built-in vibrating rings — whoa), nor among the actual vibrators (in a family drugstore!), nor next to the Kama Sutra-brand "body soufflé" in traditional Indian flavors like Chocolate Crème Brulèe and French Vanilla. In fact, it wasn't anywhere. So I had to ask the clerk — who, of course, had to be young and sexy. I muttered the product name, sheepishly.

"ManDelay?" she said. "I've never heard of it. What is it?"

"Uh, a genital desensitizer — for men. It's normally near the condoms."

"I don't think I've seen it. Hold on." Then she grabbed the store loudspeaker: "Gary, do we have ManDelay, a male genital desensitizer?"

Even if they didn’t, I feared my South might never rise again.

Method: Duane Reade was a bust, but the Rite-Aid down the street made good. In line, I was able to shield the package from the Baltic bombshell in front of me, but the old guy behind me got a glimpse and gave me a look like, "Enjoy it while you can." Fair enough.

ManDelay is not a complicated product. The directions state simply to rub it on; they aren't clear about how much or whether certain needy individuals should fill a Fleshlight and baste for half an hour. I decide to give the tube a squeeze somewhere between Colgating my toothbrush and applying Gulden's to a knockwurst. (I'm not going to comment on where I stand on the toothbrush-to-knockwurst spectrum.)

Not sure what I was expecting — maybe a grayish clay-like paste? — but ManDelay turned out to be clear and odorless and to have the consistency of a thick lube. Rubbing it in was also strange; instead of numbing pinpricks or the tongue-at-the-dentist sensation on my crozier, it actually felt a little warm — and highly pleasant. The gentle heat and manually induced low-level stimulation reminded me of sitting in a seat over an airplane engine or a rear wheel of the Greyhound, being slowly vibrated into

It actually felt a little warm — and highly pleasant…

ever-more-embarrassing prominence. I thought to myself: "My God, what's happening? Irony of ironies: I'm actually getting aroused rubbing in ManDelay!"

Yes, the desensitizer was actually turning me on, but it was also somehow lulling me, like an entranced cobra being drawn out of the charmer's basket. I was getting erect but also getting mellow, my penis effectively saying something to me like, "Duuuude… This is… raaad."

Then, of course, came the critical moment. All my life I've wanted to please my horizontal friends, to draw out the pleasure, to let the sensation and moment and fantasy go all the way. But at times enthusiasm would triumph over consideration, and I'd lose sight of my collaborator in the dash to the finish line. Would ManDelay change all that?

Observation/results: A good while later, there I was, indulging my lover in a fuller experience than ever before, unfolding and unfurling and luxuriating like Garrison Keillor reading Proust. And since I was alone, I was so grateful! (Oh, did I not tell you that the maiden voyage would be solo? Well…) No longer rushing, I could give myself the time and attention I deserved as a delicate soul and lifelong romantic.

And when my ManDelay-fueled lovefest finally ended — and no, I was not denied the fulfillment of the spiritual/physical union — I looked at myself in the mirror tearfully, eyes full of affection, feeling a sentiment far stronger than mere gratification. Yes, I was smitten; I had really found a lover who would treat me right. I would never give him up.

It was time to take the show on the road, and I had no difficulty convincing Ms. Inimitables to try to reach the highest heights of female pleasure. So meet up we did, goo up I did, in I went; there was mounting, there was being mounted; ankles met ears, hands bunched hair, and sweat ran rivulets — my how the slithy toves did gyre.

In other words, the stuff worked as advertised. The problem was that the combined effect of ManDelay and a latex condom created what Brecht called the "alienation effect." I've often fantasized about anonymous sex — but not with someone I adore! I felt like I was fucking a cloud in an amphitheatre. Ms. Inimitables' vagina had gone vague, and that, my friends, is an etymological connection I won't endorse. Suffice it to say that in not feeling her, I wasn't feeling it. And as much as she enjoyed the extra innings, she sensed I was trying to remember the ingredients I needed for veggie lasagna, and that kind of dampened her pleasure too.

Recreational ManDelay, then, is something of a mixed blessing: yes, there is prolongation, but there might also be yawning. And even if it doesn't bring you down, it will bring you doubt, and the last thing you want to wonder, as you're finally getting it on, is if you are getting it on. Altruism is a lovely concept, but unless you're both giver and taker, I'd advise you to pass.

Read more I Did It For Science here.

©2009 Bianca Merbaum and