What Causes Penis Sensitivity?

Sensitivity to your penis is normal. But it’s also possible for a penis to be too sensitive. An overly sensitive penis can affect your sexual life. It can also have an impact on everyday activities not related to sexual activities.

For some people, penis sensitivity can lead to premature ejaculation. For others, the penis may be so sensitive that any type of touching or contact is uncomfortable.

Not every penis is equally sensitive. And different parts of the penis have different levels of sensitivity. Your penis may also become less sensitive as you get older.

Read on to learn more about causes for penis sensitivity and how to treat a sensitive penis.

What can cause penis sensitivity?

Penis sensitivity may be caused by an underlying health conditions which, in many cases, may be treatable. Some possible causes may include:

  • Phimosis. This condition can occur in uncircumcised men. In people with this condition, the foreskin is too tight and cannot be pulled back from the head of the penis.
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI). A UTI can also lead to penile pain, especially when urinating or ejaculating. UTI is a temporary condition that can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Trauma to the penis. This refers to an injury to the penis. You may injure your penis from rough sex, an injury during a contact sport, or falling, among other things. Complications from penis trauma may be temporary or permanent.
Can circumcision affect penis sensitivity?

There has been some debate in the medical community about how circumcision might affect penis sensitivity.

The foreskin is especially sensitive. That’s led some people to believe that uncircumcised men may experience more penis sensitivity than men who have been circumcised. But results from recent research have not shown that circumcision affects penis sensitivity.

If you’re uncircumcised and experiencing extreme sensitivity to your penis, talk to your doctor about whether circumcision is right for you. This procedure can be extremely painful in older children and grown men.

Discuss all of the pros and cons to a later-in-life circumcision with your doctor before deciding to proceed.

Is premature ejaculation a sign of penis sensitivity?

Penis sensitivity is a common cause of premature ejaculation (PE). PE affects about 30 percent of men. You may be diagnosed with PE if, during sex where you penetrate your partner, you regularly ejaculate less than a minute after penetration.

A 2017 study in the journal Nature found a strong association between worsening PE and greater penile hypersensitivity. In the study, researchers used a device called a biothesiometer to measure the level of vibrations applied to the penis that participants could tolerate.

Results from the study showed that men with PE tolerated fewer vibrations than men who did not have this condition.

Premature ejaculation and psychological factors

PE is not always caused by hypersensitivity to the penis. Mood disorders and other psychological challenges can also affect relationships and sexual function.

Some common psychological contributors to PE may include:

  • prior sexual abuse
  • early sexual experiences
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • poor body image
  • guilty feelings associated with sexual activities or about being with your chosen partner
  • worry about premature ejaculation
Premature ejaculation and biological factors

Learn more

Underlying health conditions can also lead to PE, including:

  • abnormal hormone levels
  • abnormal levels of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that carry signals between brain cells
  • inflammation or infection of the prostate or urethra

How to manage a sensitive penis

Topical ointments or sprays that reduce sensitivity can often be used safely on the penis. These may help to reduce the risk and occurrence of premature ejaculation.

Numbing sprays and other products usually contain anesthetic medications, such as lidocaine. These medications have a temporary numbing effect on the skin.

They work by slowing the response of the nerves so you can delay ejaculation. There are both prescription and over-the-counter versions of these medications available.

Oral antidepressants, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may also help. SSRIs block the effects serotonin have on ejaculation. Prescribing these antidepressants to treat premature ejaculation is considered an “off-label” use.

Discuss with your doctor whether SSRIs might be an option with you. If so, consider starting with a low dose of these powerful medications. Stronger SSRIs can lead to erectile dysfunction and other side effects over time.

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) or other forms of talk therapy may help you understand your situation more clearly. Therapy can also help you to develop tools to manage psychological effects of penile hypersensitivity.

If you think your penis sensitivity may be linked to an injury or infection, be sure to see a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment.

When to seek help

Talk to a doctor or urologist if penis sensitivity is affecting your daily life or having an impact on your sexual activities. A urologist is a physician who specializes in the health of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system.

Talk to a doctor if you regularly experience PE. You may not need treatment or therapy if PE only occurs occasionally and your sex life is usually satisfying for you and your partner.

When you talk to a doctor, ask questions and discuss your symptoms openly. Knowing everything your experiencing and feeling about your symptoms can help your doctor come up with a treatment plan tailored to your situation.

You may also want to talk with a licensed sex therapist. Licensed sex therapists are sometimes called sexologists. A sex therapist can help you understand and manage any sex-related challenges. They can also help you find ways to manage your symptoms.

How to talk with your partner about penis sensitivity

Talk to your partner if you’re experiencing any issues that affect intamacy, including:

  • penis sensitivity
  • premature ejaculation
  • erectile dysfunction

Explain what you’re feeling physically and emotionally. Sometimes discussing intimate issues in matter-of-fact medical terms can put the emphasis on it as a health concern, not a personal problem. Be confident and direct, and listen carefully to what your partner says, too.

Make it clear that there are ways to address this issue and that you want to get through it together. For example, you may need to approach foreplay differently or find other ways to be intimate.

Couples counseling may help you and your partner discuss your penis sensitivity and other concerns.

You may also want to experiment with different products that may help delay ejaculation, such as:

  • topical creams
  • sprays
  • condoms

What’s the outlook?

Penis sensitivity can help you to get aroused and obtain an erection. But if your penis is hypersensitive, it may lead to discomfort during sexual encounters or in everyday life. It may also cause emotional distress.

If your penis is hypersensitive, remember that there are doctors, therapists, and products out there to help manage this very common condition.

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