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A guide to penis sensitivity

What is penis sensitivity?

Penis sensitivity is a common issue among men that can greatly affect quality of life. Sometimes, the head of the penis can feel numb, reducing sensation and the enjoyment of sex. Conversely, some conditions can make the penis hypersensitive, making it difficult not only to enjoy sex but even carry out normal, everyday tasks.

In this article, we’ll look at the most common causes of penis sensitivity issues, and answer some frequently asked questions about the treatments available.

What is penis sensitivity?

Penis hypersensitivity

A penis is hypersensitive when it is highly responsive to touch or stimulation to the point of discomfort or pain. This can make sexual activity and everyday activities uncomfortable and can lead to premature ejaculation (PE) or even erectile dysfunction. The causes of oversensitivity can vary, but can include:

Numb penis

Numbness in the penis describes a lack of sensation. This can make sexual activity less enjoyable and can lead to difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection. An under-sensitive or numb penis can be caused by physical factors such as nerve damage, certain medical conditions, or even some medications such as antidepressants.

Both oversensitivity and numbness in the penis can have a significant impact on quality of life, affecting not only sexual activity but also day-to-day life. It's important to address these conditions and seek help if they are affecting you.

What causes penis sensitivity?

Causes of irregular penis sensitivity can vary, and can often be caused by a combination of factors. The most common causes of penis sensitivity issues are:

  • Technique

    Certain techniques used during sexual activity or masturbation, such as rough or excessive handling of the penis, can lead to oversensitivity or numbness in the penis. This may happen when you are too rough with your penis during masturbation, or when you use a certain kind of sex toy that's not suitable for you.

  • Lifestyle

    Certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug use, can also affect penis sensitivity and cause a numb penis. Nicotine, alcohol, and drugs can all cause blood vessels to narrow, which can reduce blood flow to the penis and decrease penis sensitivity.

  • Diseases/Conditions

    Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis, can also affect penis sensitivity. Diabetes can damage nerves and blood vessels, while multiple sclerosis can affect the nerve signals that control sensations in the penis.

    If you’ve noticed numbness in your limbs and extremities as well as your penis, you should speak to a doctor as soon as possible to identify whether or not there is a more serious medical condition at play.

  • Mental health

    Mental health conditions, such as anxiety, stress, and depression, can have an extreme impact on sexual function, particularly in men. It’s important to tackle these issues when they first appear to prevent them from getting worse.

  • Trauma to penis

    Penis sensitivity can also be caused by physical trauma to the penis, such as injury or surgery. Penis sensitivity may be decreased as a result of an injury or surgery, due to the damage of nerves or tissue in the penis. Conversely, the penis may also become hypersensitive due to nerve problems.

    It's important to note that penis sensitivity is a complex issue that can be caused by a combination of factors. It's important to talk to a doctor to determine the specific cause of your penis sensitivity and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Does circumcision affect penis sensitivity?

Circumcision is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the foreskin from the penis, usually carried out on infant or new born children. There is some data that suggests circumcision can impact sensitivity, with some men reporting numbness in the penis head after the procedure. Circumcision can also cause complications such as infection, bleeding, and pain, which may also affect the sensitivity levels of the penis.

If you are a parent considering circumcision for your child, or you are considering adult circumcision, it is important to talk to a doctor about the potential risks and benefits of the procedure, and how it may affect penis sensitivity.

Circumcised men can also explore other ways to enhance penis sensitivity such as proper technique during sexual activity, and the use of sensitivity creams or sprays.

How to increase penis sensitivity

Sensation in the penis can vary naturally from person to person, but in some cases, men may experience sensitivity issues that affect their sexual experience and quality of life. If you're experiencing a numb penis there are several things you can do to help increase sensation.

  • Changes to sexual technique

    One way to increase penis sensitivity is to experiment with different sexual techniques. For example, try using a different grip or stroke during masturbation, or try different positions during sex. You can also try incorporating different types of touch, such as light or heavy pressure, to find what feels most pleasurable for you.

  • Lifestyle changes

    Another way to increase penis sensitivity is to make lifestyle changes that can improve overall health and well-being. This includes eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, strengthening your kegels, and managing stress levels. You should also avoid activities that can cause injury or damage to the penis, such as rough masturbation or using certain types of lubricants.

  • TRT

    Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) might also be an effective way to increase penis sensitivity. You should consult with a doctor to see if TRT is a suitable option for you, and only take medication that has been prescribed for you.

  • Change of medication

    Certain medications can also affect penis sensitivity, such as antidepressants. If you're taking any medications and experiencing sensitivity issues, talk to your doctor about alternative options.

  • Looking after your mental health

    Lastly, it's important to take care of your mental health as well. Stress, anxiety and depression can all affect sexual function. Seek professional help if you feel that your mental health is impacting your sexual experience.

    It is important to note that some of these suggestions might not be suitable for everyone, it is always a good idea to consult with a doctor to determine the best approach.

Does penis hypersensitivity cause premature ejaculation?

Premature ejaculation (PE) is a common sexual dysfunction characterised by the inability to control ejaculation and orgasm. Ejaculation is generally considered ‘premature’ if it occurs within a minute after sex begins. When you have a very sensitive penis head, even the slightest stimulation can trigger an ejaculatory response, leading to premature ejaculation.

One way to cope with premature ejaculation caused by penis hypersensitivity is to use desensitising sprays or penis numbing cream, which can reduce the sensitivity of the penis and help to prolong sexual activity. Another approach is to practice techniques such as the "squeeze" technique, which involves squeezing the penis when you feel you are about to orgasm, in order to prevent ejaculation.

If your PE is caused by or exacerbated by your mental health, undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or another kind of talking therapy with a counsellor can help to manage anxiety and stress related to sexual experiences.

It is important to note that premature ejaculation is a complex condition and penis hypersensitivity is just one of the possible causes. It is always a good idea to consult with your GP to determine the underlying cause and to find the best approach for you.

How to decrease penis sensitivity

In some cases, men may find that their penis is too sensitive, leading to discomfort or difficulty during sexual activity. There are a few ways to decrease penis sensitivity and increase comfort:

Numbing cream

One way to decrease penis sensitivity is to use a numbing cream, such as EMLA cream, or spray. These products contain a mild anaesthetic that can reduce sensation in the penis, making it less sensitive. These products are available over-the-counter and can be applied directly to the penis before sexual activity.

Does Viagra help with penis sensitivity?

Viagra (Sildenafil) is a medication used to treat erectile dysfunction. It works by increasing blood flow to the penis, which can help to improve erections. While Viagra is not specifically designed to decrease penis sensitivity, some men find that it helps to reduce sensitivity and extend sexual activity. Viagra is usually available over the counter after a short consultation with a pharmacist or GP.

It is important to note that what works for one person may not work for another, therefore it is always a good idea to consult with a doctor to determine the best approach for decreasing penis sensitivity.

How to deal with penis sensitivity in a relationship

Penis sensitivity can greatly affect a man's sexual experiences and have an impact on relationships. It's important for couples to talk constructively about this issue and work together to find a solution.

One way to approach this is to encourage open communication and understanding. Partners should discuss different techniques or treatments that can help to reduce sensitivity and improve sexual experiences. It's also important to remember that penis sensitivity can drastically affect a man's self-esteem and confidence, so partners should avoid criticism or blame.

Another approach is to work together to improve overall health and well-being, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and managing stress levels together through mindfulness and other techniques. Seeking professional help, such as counselling or sex/couples therapy, can also be beneficial. A therapist can help couples to work through emotional issues and provide additional strategies for improving sexual experiences.

Dealing with penis sensitivity problems in a relationship requires open communication, understanding, and cooperation. Remember that it is a complex issue that can be caused by a variety of factors and it's important to work together to find solutions that work for both partners.

Other treatments for penis sensitivity

Penis sensitivity can be a complex issue that can affect a man's sexual experience in a number of ways.

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Erectile dysfunction treatment

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition characterised by the inability to achieve or maintain an erection, which can be related to numbness or under-sensitivity of the penis. There are several treatment options available for ED, including oral medications such as sildenafil (Viagra), Tadalafil (Cialis), and Vardenafil (Levitra), which can help to improve blood flow to the penis and improve erections.

Other treatments for ED include:

  • the use of vacuum pumps, which use suction to create an erection
  • penile injections, which involve injecting medication directly into the penis to improve blood flow

In some cases, surgery may also be recommended to install a prosthetic, although this is usually a last resort.

Premature ejaculation treatment

Premature ejaculation (PE) is a condition characterised by the inability to control ejaculation and orgasm. Treatment options for PE include the use of desensitising creams or sprays, behavioural techniques, and counselling or sex therapy.

Some men may also find that taking certain antidepressants can help to delay ejaculation, but it's important to note that these medications should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor, and antidepressants are generally only prescribed for their intended use.

Not all treatments are suitable for everyone, and it is always a good idea to talk with your doctor to determine the best approach for you.


Penis sensitivity is a complex issue that can affect a man's sexual experience and can be caused by various factors. Partners should support men struggling with sensitivity issues and communicate openly to help them find the best path forward. There are various treatments and solutions available depending on whether you are struggling with hyper-sensitivity or numbness, and you should talk to your doctor to determine the best approach for you.



    Authors and editors

    Reviewed and updated by: Our clinical team Date reviewed: 22-04-2024