If you've noticed a decrease in penile sensitivity, death grip syndrome could be to blame. We’ll discuss this and other possible causes below.
Have trouble climaxing during partnered sex?
Something called "Death Grip Syndrome (DGS)" or "Death Grip Masturbation" may be to blame, and this non-scientific form of sexual dysfunction can take a real toll on your sex life.
Don't know what death grip syndrome is? You will.
We’ll take a closer look at what it means to masturbation and sexual performance and, more importantly, how to fix death grip syndrome.
We’ll also look at what other legitimate sexual health problems could be at play.
While every case is different, most instances of death grip syndrome can be treated.
First, stop squeezing so hard during masturbation. With that said there are other factors like riding a bicycle that can also cause it. We'll discuss them in more detail below.
In most cases medical treatment is not necessary to resolve death grip syndrome.
For most men, death grip syndrome will simply mean taking longer to ejaculate during intercourse.
However, if severe enough, a man may not be able to ejaculate during intercourse at all, having to rely on masturbation to climax.
Luckily, delayed ejaculation, whether it is caused by death grip masturbation or otherwise, is most often treatable.
If you suspect the problems you're having with sexual activity are caused by death grip syndrome, here are a few things to try.
Sometimes, you can get over death grip syndrome by simply avoiding masturbation for a while.
If possible, don't masturbate for an entire week and restrict yourself to only sexual stimulation with a partner. At the end of the week, you may find you don't have as much of an issue reaching climax.
It’s believed that some sex toys can help retrain your penile nerves to get over that need for a tighter grip to get where you want to go.
For example, the MYHIXEL Stamina Trainer helps men who have problems with premature ejaculation.
However, working through the training steps with the trainer may help you get more accustomed to reaching a climax with different sensations not provided by your hand or a tight squeeze.
After skipping masturbation for a week, ease back into things instead of jumping in full force, firm squeezing and all.
Start by trying things like this:
If you watch porn a lot, it may be helpful to scale things back a bit.
Many men masturbate with porn, so they end up getting used to visual stimuli, maybe kinky or taboo types of stimuli that they don’t have during partnered sex. This can create false expectations that could end up causing you to lose your erection.
Try avoiding porn for a few weeks to see if you notice increased sensation during sex.
Consider changing up your techniques and masturbation habits.
Try to lighten your grip on your penis and reduce friction. Invest in a good lubricant, such as some of the personal lubes from Promescent. Try lighter and slower strokes instead of firmer, faster strokes.
Also, try changing your masturbation technique; masturbating the same way with the same stimuli every time creates muscle memory, so switch it up every once in a while.
Even though initially this may mean you take a little longer to reach orgasm, you can possibly negate the problems you have during sex as you get used to the lighter sensations.
The cause of death grip is right there within the name—it is basically caused by using a "death grip" so frequently during masturbation that you can't get enough sensation during penetrative sex.
Essentially, your delayed orgasm during sex is being caused by your masturbation habits and how much pressure is applied, which is no new idea.
Lowered penile sensitivity due to things like frequent masturbation, masturbation habits, or even just continual penile pressure has been examined by researchers.
And the study showed that once these habits are adopted, they’re likely to continue as intercourse can no longer provide the same sensations that death grip masturbation can.
Male cyclists often report genital numbness, even though cycling and masturbating are obviously different.
In fact, according to one study, 19 percent of cyclists experienced symptoms of erectile dysfunction after lengthy bouts of training. The continued pressure and friction seem to affect genital sensitivity.
In short, the more you use a tight grip while masturbating, the more it may affect nerve endings in the penis, so the more pressure or speed you may have to use. This can indeed be a vicious cycle that's hard to break.
Even more concerning, the worse the problem gets, the more you may find enjoying sex with a partner to be increasingly difficult.
Your partner's mouth or vagina may not be able to deliver the same sensations you need to get off—the sensations your body has learned during self-stimulation.
You may have to maintain that tight grip or faster strokes just to reach orgasm, which can be impossible without manual stimulation during real sex.
Quite a few things can bring about problems enjoying sexual pleasure and delayed ejaculation beyond just using a death grip when you masturbate.
Here is a closer look at a few other factors that may affect your sexual performance.
Age always plays a role in sex and sexual dysfunction risks.
Generally speaking, your penis may become less sensitive to sexual stimulation as you get older.
Therefore, if you haven't had issues in the past reaching orgasm even though you masturbate regularly, studies show you could be facing an age-related problem.
Sexual dysfunction problems can have deep psychological roots—even something as simple as performance anxiety can lead to difficult ejaculation.
Mental health studies have identified several psychological factors that affect sexual performance, such as:
Individuals with mental illnesses like anxiety or depression may also have difficulties with ejaculation.
If you’ve abstained from masturbation and lightened up your death grip when masturbating and still see no improvements or have trouble climaxing, make sure nothing is going on with your health.
Many medical conditions affect sensitivity and nerve function, especially if a condition is not well-managed.
For example, this study shows diabetes can lead to nerve damage that affects the whole body, including the penis.
Thyroid issues can also be to blame as the thyroid affects hormone levels. And low testosterone can also be related to sexual performance problems.
This leads us to our next most likely culprit, medications.
Certain medications are highly a with sexual performance problems. For example, studies show that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are commonly prescribed for depression, can lead to delayed orgasm in men.
Beyond SSRIs, though, other medications may cause similar problems by interfering with nerve impulses that reduce sensitivity levels in the penis.
It's important to note this article is not meant to constitute medical advice.
Trouble climaxing can have many causes, and a doctor may be able to help with some of them.
Suppose you’ve tried the things mentioned in this article, and you still have ongoing problems with delayed ejaculation or penis function.
In that case, it may be a good idea to talk to your healthcare professional for advice.
You might very well be dealing with underlying medical conditions.
Likewise, if you suspect something psychological may be at play, reach out to a mental health professional for advice.
Problems with depression, anxiety, or even deep-rooted beliefs about sex can interfere with sex.
A sex therapist may even be something to consider when it comes to death grip masturbation rewiring.
Old habits can be hard to break, especially when you’re getting more pleasure from your hand than your partner.
Nevertheless, certain behavioral therapies and exercises with a sex therapist may be beneficial.
Even though death grip syndrome is not a diagnosable medical problem, for some men, this can be a real issue.
Too much pressure during masturbation could lead to an inability to enjoy sex with a partner to the fullest extent and possibly the inability to ejaculate at all.
However, there could also be other factors to blame.
If you suspect your death grip masturbation is getting in the way of a good sex life, a few changes in masturbation habits and techniques may be all that you need.
So, lighten up—literally and metaphorically—when it comes to masturbation. If your changed habits don't change the outcome, you may need to take other steps.
Dr. Jed Kaminetsky M.D. is an American Board Certified Urologist and earned his Medical Degree at New York University. In his tenure he became a member of the American Urological Association and the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Kaminetsky pioneered the minimally invasive Rezum BPH treatment and is an expert in male and female dysfunction.
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Lawrence C. Jenkins and John P. Mulhall. (2015 October, 03). Delayed orgasm and anorgasmia. Fertility and Sterility. https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(15)01957-3/fulltext. Accessed March 28, 2022.
F Sommer, D König, C Graft, U Schwarzer, C Bertram, T Klotz, U Engelmann. (2001 August). Impotence and genital numbness in cyclists. National Library of Medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11531032/. Accessed March 28, 2022.
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M D Waldinger, M W Hengeveld, A H Zwinderman, B Olivier. (1998 August). Effect of SSRI antidepressants on ejaculation: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study with fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and sertraline. National Library of Medicine. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9690692/. Accessed March 28, 2022.
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