Numb Penis? Learn how to increase penis sensitivity

Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
7th January 2022

In 30 seconds…

A reduction in penis sensitivity is a normal part of aging, whilst penile numbness may be experienced by men at any stage in life. A numb penis is usually caused by stress, injury, low testosterone levels, depression and/or diabetes. Thankfully there are a number of treatments available.

What is Penile Numbness?

A numb penis is a common condition characterised by a reduction in – or complete absence of – penis sensitivity. When your penis is touched, the sensation isn’t quite the same – and it doesn’t respond as it should when stimulated. 

Obviously, penile numbness can be a bit disturbing. And if you don’t get it checked out, it will affect your sex life. But rest assured that there are many ways to bring sensitivity back to where it matters. 

The penis is full of nerve endings, which normally give it its sensitivity. Whilst flaccid, the penis’s skin is only as sensitive as the skin elsewhere on your body. When erect, the blood that travels to the healthy penis makes it much more sensitive – and the more erect the penis is, the more sensitive it becomes.

A numb penis can occur when the nerves or the blood supply to the penis become damaged or compressed – or when your nervous system innervating the penis is disturbed. 

And whilst penile numbness can be short-term, it can also be chronic. If your penis just feels as though it has been “asleep” for a while, or if it doesn’t respond to stimulation, the causes may lie in your testosterone levels, your mental health conditions, or a different disease altogether.

What Are the Symptoms of Penile Numbness?

The primary symptom of a penile numbness is pretty much what you would expect: your penis becomes numb, and less sensitive to external stimulus. But every man will feel this in a different way. Tingling, burning, and pins-and-needles-like sensations are common, as well as feeling like your genitals are cold. You might also see that your penis is a bluish or purple colour. 

Your penis doesn’t need to be completely numb for you to be experiencing penile numbness. If you don’t respond to stimulation as you used to, you may have reduced penis sensitivity, something sometimes associated with erectile dysfunction.

What Causes a Numb Penis?

There is a heap of different potential causes for penile numbness – from the mundane to the more serious. Here we’ll feature some of the most common – but we’d always recommend that you see a doctor to find out which is the most likely cause for your specific case.

Injury and Discomfort:

Common causes of penile numbness can be simple everyday things. Just like getting a dead arm if you lean on it too long, your penis can go numb if you’re sat uncomfortably for a long time, if you wear excessively tight trousers, or if you cycle long distances. One study found that twenty percent of cyclists suffer from penile numbness after a ride. 

Each of these situations puts strain on your nerves and blood vessels in your penis or perineum (the space between your scrotum and anus). Changing position, standing up, or finding better-fitting underwear or trousers will in most cases return sensation to the area.

Low Testosterone:

Testosterone is a hormone produced in the testicles, and it influences a man’s appearance, libido, and energy levels. It is responsible for muscle mass, hair growth, and the maturation of the male genitals. Low testosterone levels can cause erectile dysfunction, a reduced libido, and reduced pleasure during sex. Whilst you might be able to get it up, low testosterone might prevent sex from feeling as it should.

Testosterone levels decrease as you grow older, after peaking in your twenties. This is something which is completely normal, and not cause for concern. If you feel the cause of your erectile dysfunction, may be related to biochemical causes, i.e. low testosterone, speak to your GP who may run some blood tests.

Partial Erections: 

Whilst it is unlikely to make you feel like your penis is fully asleep, a reduction in penis sensitivity is common in men who struggle to get full erections. Penises are much more sensitive when fully erect than when only partially. If you feel like you are not as sensitive as you once were, it might be because you aren’t fully erect. If this sounds familiar, you may want to learn more about erectile dysfunction (ED). 

Diseases and Side Effects:

Men also develop penile numbness due to more significant conditions and diseases. Nerve problems can result from conditions such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, or prostate cancer. Meanwhile, a number of antidepressants have been reported to exert some degree of  genital numbness through the action on peripheral nerves. If in doubt, see your doctor. 

How Can You Increase Penis Sensitivity Again?

If you are experiencing a numb penis, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to treat the symptoms. If you’re experiencing penile numbness after cycling, or due to any of the other small injuries that can occur downstairs, the cure is just to wait. In the meantime, maybe get hold of a bicycle seat which is more padded and wider – and/or wear a pair of jeans that aren’t quite so tight. 

What Are Some Natural Ways to Increase Testosterone Levels?

For those of you who are concerned that you might have the symptoms of low testosterone – fatigue, reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, and hair loss, alongside reduced penis sensitivity – there are a number of things you can do to bring your testosterone levels back up.

Exercise – particularly weight-lifting and high-intensity training – has been found to increase testosterone, particularly in the older men among us.  Meanwhile, a balanced diet including whole foods, proteins, and healthy carbs and fats can optimise your production of testosterone. Alcohol and marijuana can have the opposite effect. Ensuring that you have enough vitamins – particularly vitamin D and zinc, which are both present in the body’s testosterone production – is crucial too.

If you feel that your erection is not as sensitive as it once was, you can also try proven treatments – such as Viagra, Sildenafil, or Tadalafil – to help you sustain a full erection.

Key Takeaways…

Nobody wants to have a numb penis – and it’s far from enjoyable when it happens. However, in the vast majority of cases, it won’t spell the end of your sexual pleasure. Many men suffer from reduced penis sensitivity at some point throughout their lives, and there are many ways to get it back.

It’s best to consult a doctor, who will help you discover the underlying reasons for your penile numbness. If it’s a low level of testosterone that’s causing you problems, changing your lifestyle will give it a boost. Meanwhile, Sildenafil and its alternatives will help where reduced sensitivity is a result of a partial erection, or underlying causes are related to blood flow.


What does it mean if my penis is numb?

Penile numbness – a loss or lack of sensation in your penis, even when stimulated – can happen to men at any stage in life, and is usually sign of a short term problem, like injury or discomfort. However, penile numbness can also be chronic, and is often linked to poor mental health, diabetes, or low levels of testosterone.

How do I know if I have penile numbness?

If your penis responds less to stimulation than it used to you are likely experiencing some form of penile numbness. Further symptoms of a numb penis can include: tingling, burning, and pins-and-needles in the penis, a feeling of coldness in the penis and/or testicles, and your penis taking on a bluish or purplish colour.

Why is my penis numb?

There are many factors which may cause your penis to feel numb or desensitized, but the most common cause is injury or discomfort. Other contributing factors can include depression (due to the side-effects of some anti-depressants), diabetes, low testosterone levels, or other diseases. You may even be experiencing penile numbness because you struggle to get fully erect (penises are at their most sensitive when fully erect).

How do you treat a numb penis?

If you are experiencing a numb penis due to the tightness of your clothes, injury or discomfort, then the cure is just to wait. If you feel you may have low testosterone levels, then exercising more and eating a healthy balanced diet can help to increase your T-levels. If you are struggling to get and maintain an erection, then erectile dysfunction medication prescribed by your doctor may help penile sensitivity to return.

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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