Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
For many men, an overly sensitive penis can cause tough problems in the bedroom. But some men struggle with not being sensitive enough — and that sucks.
Loss of penile sensitivity can occur for a range of reasons, from hormonal issues to the way you masturbate (seriously). Like other sexual issues, it’s often an embarrassing issue to talk about — a key reason why many men are as quiet as church mice about this common problem.
But that doesn’t mean you have to live like this. If you find it difficult to enjoy sex due to a lack of penis sensitivity, it’s time to seek the help you need.
The good news is that loss of sensitivity in your penis, like other forms of sexual dysfunction, is very treatable, often with simple changes to your habits and lifestyle.
Changing up your positions
Taking a break from cycling
Using a loose grip when masturbating
Changing up your medications
Checking your testosterone levels
Seeking ED treatment
Below, we’ve explained what loss of penile sensitivity is, as well as the many ways in which this widespread sexual health issue can develop.
We’ve also discussed everything you need to know about how to increase penile sensitivity, with nine techniques and treatment options that you can use to improve sensitivity in your penis, enhance your sexual performance and enjoy more pleasurable, satisfying sexual experiences.
As a man, your penis is generally the one thing you can always count on to be there and ready for action, whenever you need it — when you’re younger, sometimes it’s ready when you don’t need it at all.
When this trusted and reliable friend lets you down, “troubling” may not begin to describe your feelings.
Lacking sensation in your penis could mean different things to different people. For some men, a lack of feeling in the penis may be as extreme as feeling fully “numb,” or lacking sensation at all. For others, it might simply mean not feeling sex as intensely, or finding it difficult to finish during penetrative sex without some extra effort.
In some cases, it may be caused by a medical condition that affects nerve function and sensitivity in your penis, such as diabetes or injury-related trauma to your penis. In other cases, it could occur as a result of a hormonal issue that affects your libido and level of response to sexual stimulation.
Understanding exactly what you’re experiencing when you describe a lack of penile sensitivity is an important step towards unpacking what could be causing your problems, as well as how you can improve your penis sensitivity and sexual response.
Lacking penis sensitivity may not sound like that big a deal for guys who want to last longer, but it can cause some pretty serious problems, regardless of your stamina.
Sexual sensitivity plays a major role in helping you feel aroused and allowing you to experience sexual pleasure. When you have a numb penis or just feel less sensation than before, you may be more at risk of sexual performance issues such as erectile dysfunction (ED).
If you’re still able to get and maintain an erection, diminished penis sensitivity could also make it more difficult for you to reach orgasm during sex, leading to delayed ejaculation — a surprisingly common sexual health problem that’s often equally as frustrating as premature ejaculation (PE).
The ability to respond to physical stimulation is an important part of a healthy penis — and we want our penis to be in the absolute best health, after all.
We’d like to remind you that knowing what causes a problem can increase your chance of successfully making it go away. So what can cause this particular issue?
With a healthy penis, your nervous system responds to sexual stimulation, causing the blood vessels to expand and increase the level of blood flow to your erectile tissue. That increase in blood flow is what makes you hard when you’re ready for sexual activity.
When you have a less sensitive penis, something is going wrong with this process. This can be caused by variety of issues, including:
Let’s examine them in more detail.
Health issues can affect seemingly unrelated bodily functions. Some diseases and medical conditions such as diabetes can affect nerve function throughout your body, including the nerve endings in and around your penis.
This may cause a decrease in penis sensitivity and affect your ability to become aroused from sexual contact. For example, one small study suggests that men with diabetes and ED have different response patterns to penile stimulation than healthy men.
Stress can contribute to a range of negative effects on your sexual function and performance, including changes in your level of interest in sex and your ability to engage in sexual activity.
Furthermore, stress is associated with an increase in hormones such as cortisol, which reduces your body’s production of testosterone. This could reduce the sensitivity of your penis to touch and your level of interest in sex — a topic we’ve discussed more below.
Stress can also affect your ability to relax in bed, which might make you less feel responsive to sexual contact.
Sorry to break it to you dude, but getting older sucks for measurable reasons. To some extent, a decrease in penile sensitivity seems to be part of the aging process for many men.
According to research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, delayed orgasm — an issue in which men find it difficult or impossible to orgasm from penetrative sex — is more common in men above the age of fifty.
The authors point to an age-related reduction in penis sensitivity as one potential cause of this increase in difficulty reaching orgasm.
Certain medications, including several widely-used prescription drugs, can reduce your level of penis sensitivity. This lost sensitivity may result in erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation and other sexual function issues.
Other medications with the potential side effect of delayed orgasm include antipsychotic drugs and opioids, which are often used for pain management.
Is your penis on the injury reserve list? Penile sensation depends on proper nerve functioning, so injuries that affect this part of your body can potentially hinder the delivery of pleasure messages from your penis to the nerve receptors inside your brain.
Some injuries to your penis, including sporting injuries and complications from surgery, can lead to nerve damage and reduced sensitivity.
Yes, there is such a thing as masturbating too much, as well as masturbating with a technique that can affect your level of penile sensitivity during sex.
Floating around the internet as “death grip syndrome,” this condition is controversial.
Research has found that this may affect penis sensitivity. For example, one review article published in the World Journal of Men’s Health noted “vigorous masturbation styles” as one of several factors that may contribute to delayed ejaculation or inability to ejaculate.
If you get used to orgasming alone — particularly if you have a strong grip or tend to masturbate vigorously — you might notice that your penis feels less sensitive during penetrative sex.
If your penis is desensitized to your problems, it may be the result of a sedentary lifestyle — a lifestyle with lots of sitting down and little in the way of exercise. Being sedentary may affect your level of penis sensitivity and sexual function.
Studies have shown that the amount of time you spend sitting each day is correlated with your chance of ED, and specifically correlated with reduced sensation in the perineum.
Being inactive can increase your risk of dealing with several distinct forms of sexual dysfunction, including ED. It’s also associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which can affect blood flow and nerve function.
So if decreased sensitivity is something to avoid, then your thoughts have probably already wandered to what you might do to push things in the other, healthy direction.
Below, we’ve shared nine actionable tips and techniques on how to increase penis sensitivity to help you improve your sexual function and enjoy a more satisfying sex life.
Sometimes, the symptoms of erectile dysfunction are easy to mistake for signs that your penis is less sensitive. For example, if you have erectile dysfunction, you may find it hard to respond to sexual contact, as your penis lacks the blood flow to become firm and enlarged.
The good news is that erectile dysfunction is generally easy to treat using FDA-approved medications such as:
Sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra®)
These medications work by increasing blood flow to your penis when you feel sexually aroused, making it easier for you to enjoy pleasurable sex with your partner.
We offer a range of evidence-based treatments for ED online, with medication available after an online consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
A too-fast slip and slide can lead to bodies careening into walls, and the same is true of a too-lubed erection. One of the easiest ways to increase male sensitivity is to create a little extra friction.
If you normally use lube, try either reducing the amount that you apply or skipping lube entirely the next time you have sex. You may find that natural lubrication gives you a more responsive, sensitive experience that makes reaching orgasm easier.
Coach, we know you love ol’ reliable, but maybe it’s time to create some new plays? Changing up your go-to sexual positions can do more than spice things up. When you’re in new positions, the way your genitals connect changes, which could adjust the sensation for both of you.
Try having your partner put their legs together, lie on their stomach, or get into a totally different position to see if this increases your level of sensation and makes sex more pleasurable.
Any time you sit down without your butt fully supporting your weight, or any time there’s significant pressure on your perineum, you risk compressing the pudendal nerve, which transmits sensations from your genitals to your brain.
If your sitting position causes pain in your lower abdomen, try adjusting the way you sit so that there’s more pressure on your butt and less pressure on your perineum. Getting up every now and then may also help to ease pressure and prevent nerve pain.
Speaking of your pudendal nerve, cycling — although great cardio and an environmentally conscious way to get around — can put too much pressure on it, especially when you do so for a long period of time, on a bike with a thin seat.
If you’re a cyclist and notice that your penis doesn’t feel quite as sensitive as normal after going for a long ride, take a break. Alternatively, try to go for shorter rides with a more supportive seat to put less pressure on your genitals and the surrounding nerves.
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If you notice that your lack of penile sensitivity isn’t a problem when you masturbate, it might be worth taking a break from solo stroking for a while.
Research shows that over time, many people can fall into the grip trap of masturbating harder and harder, compounding the reduced sensitivity problem.
Try taking a break from masturbating for a week at the very least, and only reach orgasm when you have sex. If you don’t want to stop masturbating (who does?), try softening your grip to reduce pressure on your penis, and see if it still feels pleasurable.
This technique is especially important if you practice “idiosyncratic” masturbation methods that feel very different from penetrative sex, like using toys, vibrators or a Pringles can filled with Jell-O.
Could the call be coming from inside your medicine cabinet? If you’re prescribed any type of medication and think it might be affecting your penis, it’s best to let your healthcare provider know.
Depending on your specific medical needs, your healthcare provider may suggest switching to a different medication or adjusting your dosage so that you can enjoy better performance in bed.
Real talk guys: hormones can do some weird stuff. Low testosterone can have a serious impact on your sex drive, as well as your level of response to sexual stimulation. It can also cause other physical problems, such as difficulty concentrating, sleep issues and changes in your body composition.
If you think low testosterone could be causing or contributing to a drop in erogenous sensitivity, let your healthcare provider know. They can check your testosterone levels and, if appropriate, prescribe testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) or a related form of treatment.
Another thing that can take your sensitivity off-track is your own brain. If you’re less interested in sex or less responsive to sexual arousal because of stress or anxiety, therapy might help.
Several forms of therapy are used to treat chronic stress and severe anxiety, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Talking to a therapist can help you identify what’s causing you to feel stressed, then take action to change harmful thought processes and behaviors.
When it comes to penile sensitivity, there’s a lot riding on it. If you’ve noticed that sex doesn’t feel as physically pleasurable as it should, or that you struggle to reach orgasm in a normal amount of time, it’s best to let your healthcare provider know. In the meantime, remember that:
Low penis sensitivity is almost always treatable, usually with a few simple changes to your daily habits, lifestyle and sexual techniques.
Loss of sensitivity in your penis is all too often a symptom of other health issues that may require the guidance of a healthcare professional.
If a lack of sensitivity in your penis is beginning to affect your sexual performance, try using the techniques above to improve blood flow, restore nerve function and get things back in order.
Alternatively, if you think that your sexual function issues are linked to erectile dysfunction, you can access help online using our range of erectile dysfunction medications.
Finally, if you don’t notice improvements in your penile sensitivity after making changes to your habits and lifestyle, let your healthcare provider know. They’ll be able to identify what’s causing your issues and recommend the most appropriate and effective form of treatment.