There are many reasons why men lose some of the sensation in their penis over time. Loss of sensitivity is natural with advancing age due to underlying blood vessel changes. In a survey, at least half of men over the age of 57 years reported sexual dissatisfaction. But before you content with a numb penis, you should rule out a series of physical conditions.
Among the most common medical reasons for decreased penis sensitivity are:
- Neurological conditions that could damage the nerves such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis
- Medications including antidepressants, opioids, and antipsychotics
- Nerve damage from physical trauma, accidents or surgery
- Low testosterone levels
- Prostate cancer
- Psychosexual causes such as anxiety or relationship issues
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What does loss of sensitivity feel like?
Men typically describe the loss of sensitivity as numbness in their penis, the area surrounding the penis or testicles. But it can also be marked by a tingling or itchy feeling. It’s a sensation that many cyclists are all too familiar with. In some cases, the tip of the penis may be red or swollen which could cause sensitivity. The latter is likely a sign of inflammation and should be treated by a doctor immediately.
Penis sensitivity is often taken for granted. Governed by an extensive network for nerves, the sexual organ is highly responsive to stimulation. But the molecular and physiological processes that keep these processes in check can be easily disrupted.
Tips to restore penis sensitivity
First of all, you should rule out any of the medical conditions mentioned. If the loss of sensation in your penis is ongoing, it’s best to book an appointment with a doctor for a physical examination. Depending on your diagnosis, you may be prescribed medication to treat any illnesses and penis sensation may be restored eventually. In addition, you may be advised to make lifestyle changes such as exercising more regularly or eating a balanced diet.
In some cases, it can be difficult to pinpoint when and how you have injured your penis. Certain sports such as cycling are known to cause numbness because of the prolonged seated position. You could also have bruised your penis during sex or because of heavy masturbation. Excessive friction could easily cause numbness or even bruising.
There are also dietary factors that could be contributing to sexual dissatisfaction. Folic acid deficiency has been linked to loss of sensation and erectile dysfunction. Meanwhile, a lack of vitamin B12 has been associated with premature ejaculation. You can boost your intake of these vitamins by taking a quality supplement or eating foods rich in folic acid and B12.
If your numbness is related to age, there are a few things you can do to boost sensitivity. Regular exercise promotes blood flow to the penis which can heighten sensation. Stop smoking and eat a healthy diet. But try not to eat before sex as blood flow will be directed to your digestive system. Perhaps most importantly, don’t stress out about it. Stress and anxiety seriously hamper sexual pleasure.
- Lindau, S., Schumm, L., Laumann, E., Levinson, W., O'Muircheartaigh, C., & Waite, L. (2007). A Study of Sexuality and Health among Older Adults in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine, 357/8: 762-774. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmoa067423
- Jenkins, L., & Mulhall, J. (2015). Delayed orgasm and anorgasmia. Fertility and Sterility, 104/5: 1082-1088. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2015.09.029
- Dettori, J., Koepsell, T., Cummings, P., & Corman, J. (2004). Erectile dysfunction after a long-distance cycling event: associations with bicycle characteristics. Journal of Urology, 172/2: 637-641. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.ju.0000130749.37731.9f
- Attia, A. et al. (2019). Role of folic acid deficiency as a possible risk factor for erectile dysfunction. The Egyptian Journal of Hospital Medicine, 73/9.
- Gökçen, K., & Gökçen, P. (2019). Effects of Vitamin B12 Deficiency on Ejaculation Time in Patients with Chronic Gastritis. Journal of Urological Surgery, 6/3: 244 251. https://doi.org/10.4274/jus.galenos.2019.2591