Can Masturbation Damage Penile Sensitivity?

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    Jun 16, 2014
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Can Masturbation Damage Penile Sensitivity? Photo by John Dugan

It is not uncommon for men to experience some loss of penile sensitivity over the years, especially in those who engage in frequent and aggressive masturbation. While the right penis care measures may help men to overcome this problem, it is not always a straightforward process. The effects of masturbation on sensitivity are discussed below.

How does masturbation cause loss of penile sensitivity?

Before getting into the specifics here, it is important to point out that masturbating is a normal and healthy, with significant benefits in terms of physical health, stress reduction, and sexuality. It is only when it is handled incorrectly that it can lead to negative side effects. These can occur for any of the following reasons:

1) Keratinization of the surface-level penile skin. Keratinization refers to the same process that leads to calluses on the hands and feet when they are exposed to constant friction - think about the thick pads of skin that may develop from manual labor, certain sports, or even just walking barefoot on rough ground. When the penile skin is subjected to high levels of friction - such as masturbating 2-3 times per day, or using a strong grip during the activity - a thickened layer of skin can develop as a means of protection. Unfortunately, while this thicker skin may be more resistant to surface level injury, it is also more resistant to sensation. In many cases, this causes men to grab on even harder to experience any feeling at all, setting up a cycle of damage, rougher treatment, and further loss of sensation.

2) "Death grip" syndrome. Humans are creatures of habit, and most men tend to stick to a tried-and-true technique when it comes to masturbation. Over time, the body may become so accustomed to a given set of sensations that it no longer responds well to any other signals, such as the touch of a partner. At the same time, the nerve pathways may become "bored" with the familiar sensations and cease to react in the same way. The result is a condition often known as death grip syndrome, wherein the penis is no longer responsive to much of anything at all.

3) Internal self-talk. Masturbation sensation loss really can be all - or at least mostly - in the head. Men may worry about the idea of sensation loss, then become more tuned in to their body’s reactions and begin to perceive that things are not what they used to be. This can set up a cycle of negative thoughts and anxiety that can truly become self-fulfilling, as the man becomes so anxious about the idea of sensation loss that he is no longer able to achieve orgasm during either sex or masturbation sessions.

Is it reversible? What steps do men have to take to restore sensation?

The factors that relate to penile sensation are complex, so there may not be a prescribed formula that will help every man to recover his original level of sensation. However, many men have benefited from the following:

- Stopping masturbation altogether for a week or two.

- "Retraining" the nerve pathways between the penis and brain through visualization, experimentation with visual imagery and use of new techniques.

- Adopting a proactive approach to penile care, including use of a high-end emollient and moisturizer to soften and heal the skin.

Going forward

Men who are successful in restoring sensitivity will understandably want to avoid the same problem in the future; and men who have normal sensitivity, preventing sensation loss should be a top priority. In order to protect the penis against mechanical damage to the skin and connective tissue, men should do the following:

- Use a personal lubricant that is made for the purpose. While men often reach for a bottle of hand or body lotion, these products are meant to be absorbed into the skin, not to create a slick surface. A water-based lube is designed to stay on the surface of the skin, creating a slippery barrier between the penile tissue and the palm of the hand that can lessen the level of friction-related damage to the skin.

- Use a soft touch. Yanking away at the manhood or going fast and furious is likely to recreate the problem, so it is best to work on a more gentle technique that is less damaging. If a soft grip won’t do the trick, try adding in some viewing material, or just relax and try to bring stimulating thoughts to mind. A masturbation sleeve can also be a good alternative.

- Use a penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) every day to protect and nourish the skin. A targeted formula containing vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants can help strengthen the skin on a cellular level, as well as providing vital moisture that may boost the skin’s natural lubricant qualities. A crème that can be applied every day - preferably after a warm shower or bath - can be highly beneficial in terms of sensation - just remember not to rely on it as a lube.

Author's Profile

Visit for more information about treating common penis health problems, including soreness, redness and loss of penis sensation. John Dugan is a professional writer who specializes in men's health issues and is an ongoing contributing writer to numerous online web sites.

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