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Dealing with penile sensitivity? How to get sensation back

A loss of penis sensitivity can be stressful and frustrating — here's how to get it back.

Written by
Lucinda Starr
Medically reviewed by
Last updated
May 17, 2024
min read
Dealing with penile sensitivity? How to get sensation back
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A healthy sex life is something all blokes want. But a loss of penis sensitivity can really impact your sex life, causing stress and anxiety around your sexual performance and sexual satisfaction.

A loss of penis sensitivity can happen for a bunch of reasons from hormone imbalances to masturbation techniques and even certain medications you might be taking. The best thing you can do to increase penis sensitivity is to get to the root cause of what's causing you to lose sensitivity and seek treatment from a healthcare provider.

If you're wondering what the common causes are and how to increase sensitivity, we've created the ultimate guide just for you.

What is a loss of penile sensitivity?

A loss of penis sensitivity means you're navigating complete or significant penis numbness. This may manifest as not being able to feel anything or sensations feeling different to normal.

Penis sensitivity can be a pretty scary thing to deal with but there the good news is that it's not uncommon. So, how does penis sensitivity work?

There are a bunch of nerves and blood vessels in the penis that allow you to feel different sensations. When the penis is erect, blood travels to the penis which increases its sensitivity. The more erect the penis is, the more sensitive it becomes.

When nerve endings or the blood supply to the penis are damaged or constricted, this can cause a loss of penis sensitivity or a numb penis.

What are the symptoms of penile numbness?

Decreased penis sensitivity feels different for everyone. Some people feel reduced sensitivity while others feel complete numbness.

Generally speaking, the symptoms of penis sensitivity include:

  • Loss of penis sensation and surrounding area including the testicles/scrotum or perineum (the area between the anus and testicles)
  • Purple or blue-like skin on or surrounding your penis
  • Tingling or pins and needle-like feeling in or around your penis
  • Experiencing coldness or burning in or around your penis

What causes a loss of penis sensitivity?

From low testosterone levels to trauma to the penis and even a death grip when masturbating, there are a bunch of causes behind a loss of penis sensitivity.

Understanding how penis sensitivity works can help you get to the root cause of the issue and find a treatment that works best for you.

Trauma and injury to the penis

One of the most common ways of experiencing decreased penis sensitivity is because of trauma to the penis. There is a range of nerves and blood vessels in the penis which are involved in making sure the penis is functioning properly.

If nerve damage occurs, it can cause penis sensitivity. There are a few ways you can injure the penis, one of the most common being cycling for long periods of time. In fact, anywhere between 50-80% of men experience penis numbness as a result of cycling [1]. Yep, it's a thing.

Sitting for long periods of time on uncomfortable and unsupported chairs can also cause penis injury, which causes decreased penile sensitivity. Plus, wearing really tight clothing can lead to decreased sensitivity too.

Side effects from medications

Certain medications like antidepressants can impact your sexual health in a number of ways from reduced penis sensitivity to premature ejaculation. This is because antidepressants work on neurotransmitters that are also involved in sexual stimulation and arousal.

Other medications like hydrochloride, which is used to treat Parkinson's disease, could also cause penile numbness or decreased penile sensitivity [2].

Low testosterone

Testosterone is a male sex hormone that influences various aspects of men's lives, including muscle mass, appearance and libido. Low testosterone levels can cause low sex drive, erectile dysfunction and lower sexual pleasure from sexual activity.

Plus, testosterone levels drop with age, particularly after your 20s, which is completely normal but may cause some changes in sexual sensitivity.

Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS), prostate cancer, diabetes, and lupus can all cause genital numbness because they impact your nerve function and blood vessels.

Although a lesser common cause of penis sensitivity, Peyronie's disease can also cause numbness when scar tissue forms within the penis which is less sensitive than healthy penis tissue [3].

Psychological issues and mental health conditions

Mental health issues like anxiety and depression or experiencing high levels of stress can impact your sexual arousal, sexual performance and sexual sensations. Sexual performance issues can also trigger depression and/or anxiety leading to a vicious cycle.

Masturbation technique

Believe it or not, penile numbness or penis sensitivity can happen as a result of masturbation. Basically, excessive masturbation or your masturbation technique can have an impact on erectile dysfunction.

If you've never heard of death grip syndrome, it is a masturbation technique where an aggressive and firm grip can cause decreased penile sensation and a delayed orgasm during sex.

Research has pointed to overly firm masturbation styles as one of a few factors that cause erectile dysfunction and delayed orgasm [4]. So, if you're looking to increase penis sensitivity, you might want to lay off the death grip for a while.

Sedentary lifestyle

Sedentary lifestyle habits involving a lot of sitting down and not enough movement can also cause erectile dysfunction and low penis sensitivity.

Not getting enough exercise can have a major impact on erectile dysfunction because exercise boosts blood flow and circulation, which can increase penis sensitivity.

In fact, researchers from Harvard found that a daily 30-minute walk can decrease the risk of erectile dysfunction by 41% [5].

It's important to speak to your healthcare provider and seek professional medical advice if you're experiencing sexual dysfunction in any form to get to the root cause of the issue and find the right treatment plan for you.

Reduced penile sensitivity vs. penis numbness

Penile sensitivity and penile numbness may seem like they are the same thing, especially since reduced sensations are a byproduct of numbness. But, there is a difference between penile sensitivity and a numb penis.

If you're experiencing a numb penis, you won't be able to feel somebody touching you, feel vibrations, temperature or pain. On the other hand, when you're experiencing reduced sensitivity or sensations in your penis you can still feel it, but it doesn't feel how it normally does.

How to increase penis sensitivity

If you're experiencing reduced penis sensitivity or a numb penis and you're looking to improve penis sensitivity, there are plenty of ways you can do it once you get to the root cause of the issue.

Let's dive into some ways to increase penis sensitivity both naturally and with the help of sexual medicine.

Increasing testosterone levels

Low testosterone levels can have a major impact on sexual stimulation and arousal. And, research shows that roughly 20% of men between the ages of 15 and 39 have low testosterone levels [6].

If you've spoken to your healthcare provider and figured out that low testosterone is the culprit behind penile numbness or penile sensitivity, testosterone replacement therapy can be really beneficial in increasing your testosterone levels.

Changing your lifestyle habits

Since sitting too long without much movement and wearing really tight clothing can cause penile numbness, you may want to consider exercising more often and wearing loose-fitting clothing.

Plus, if you're a cyclist experiencing penile numbness, try to take a break from cycling or go for shorter rides and get a more supportive seat that doesn't put pressure on your penis.

Switching medications

If you think a specific medication you're taking is the reason behind your lost sensitivity, it might be worth switching to a different medication or adjusting the dose to increase sensitivity and improve erectile dysfunction.

However, it's important to seek professional medical advice from your healthcare provider before you make any decisions about changing or altering the doses of your medications.

Changing the way you masturbate

If you're experiencing penile numbness or penis sensitivity during penetrative sex but not when masturbating then it's time to change your idiosyncratic masturbation practices.

Too much masturbation and really vigorous masturbation techniques can be a contributing factor or cause of penile sensitivity so take a break from masturbating or loosen your grip.

Getting medical treatment

Clinical treament plans can be really beneficial in improving erectile dysfunction by targeting the enzyme responsible for the contraction of blood vessels in the penis. This improves blood flow and helps you achieve and maintain firm erections throughout sexual activity.

Pilot's erectile dysfunction treatment is tailored to your specific needs with both on-demand and daily treatment plans. With treatment, 78% of men achieve long-lasting erections.

Plus, we know talking about your sex life and erectile dysfunction with your doctor in person can be far from comfortable, which is why Pilot offers judgement-free treatment with online consultations with Aussie practitioners.

And, we offer discreet shipping straight to your door to take further stress out of seeking medical treatment.

Ultimately, losing sensitivity or experiencing numbness in the penis can cause a lot of anxiety and impact your sex life. Luckily, there are plenty of treatments available from changing your lifestyle habits to getting medical treatment that will have your penis working normally in no time.

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