Penis Sensitivity 101: How to Decrease Your Sensitivity

Have you been searching for how to desensitize your penis? If so, you're not alone and we can help.

Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Social Psychologist, researcher at The Kinsey Institute
by Dr. Justin Lehmiller Last updated 01/18/2024
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Penis sensitivity is a rather touchy subject, but it's more common than you may think.

According to some medical research, potentially up to 75% of men struggle to delay their orgasm.

It is something that many would prefer to deal with on their own rather than to bring up to their partners, friends, or even their doctors.

Fortunately, there are solutions that can help to decrease your penis sensitivity and help you avoid premature ejaculation.

In going over how to desensitize your penis, we'll go over the following:

  • The most sensitive parts of the penis
  • How to decrease your penis sensitivity
  • Benefits of decreasing your sensitivity
  • Alternative treatments for premature ejaculation
Common Sexual Dysfunctions in Men

Research has shown that worldwide, approximately 1 in 3 men are affected by premature ejaculation.

With premature ejaculation being the most common complaint among men, it's easy to see why so many people are trying to decrease their penis sensitivity.

Having penis sensitivity issues can be distressing to men and interfere with maintaining a satisfying sex life.

Quick FAQs

The penis is one of the most densely packed areas with nerve endings that are designed to deliver pleasure.

Start first by talking to your doctor to make sure that there are no underlying medical issues but some commonly known options would be to use a topical desensitizing spray like Promescent®, try a thicker condom, or consider taking an oral medication.

There's no proven natural treatment for penile sensitivity. However, behavioral therapy and pelvic exercises may help limit premature ejaculation while dealing with a sensitive penis. 

Penis Sensitivity 101: What causes it?

To answer what causes penis sensitivity, we need to look at what makes some men experience increased sensitivity while others experience decreased sensitivity.

When sensitivity issues start to cause sexual problems, like premature ejaculation, how do we address them?

Here are some of the main factors that contribute to a hypersensitive penis.

1. Genetics and the brain

Some research has suggested that genetics may play a role when it comes to having a sensitive penis.

If you are experiencing higher than average sensitivity, there is a good chance that this runs in your family.

2. Your anatomy

Everyone’s body is a little different in terms of how sensitive a given area is.

For example, some guys have very sensitive:

  • nipples, whereas some men don't
  • earlobes and others don't
  • nape of the neck, while some do not

The same goes for the penis.

There’s natural variability that can lead some penises to be more sensitive than others. Medical researchers refer to this as penile hypersensitivity.

So what are the most sensitive parts of the penis?

The Head or Tip (Glans)

Circumcised: The head of the penis, scientifically referred to as the glans, is the mushroom-shaped tip of the penis.

Uncircumcised: For men that are not circumcised the head of the penis is covered by foreskin which can be pulled back to reveal the same mushroom tip.

For majority of a men, this part is the most sensitive area of the penis. Knowing how to reduce glans sensitivity can be the biggest key to managing PE.

Where The Head Meets The Shaft (Frenulum) 

Circumcised: This is the spongy, elastic band of tissue that connects the shaft and glans of the penis.

Similar to how your tongue frenulum connects your tongue to the bottom of your mouth. 

Uncircumcised: Similar to the glans, the frenulum is covered by the foreskin, but when retracted, it becomes exposed.

Diagram of Penis Anatomy and Most Sensitive Areas

3. Phimosis:

This is a condition that only affects uncircumcised men.

Phimosis occurs when the foreskin is too tight and doesn’t slide freely along the shaft.

As a result, the glans or head of the penis may remain covered most or all of the time. 

This may increase the sensitivity because it’s not accustomed to receiving outside touch or stimulation.

How to Desensitize Your Penis

If you are dealing with penile hypersensitivity and want to do something about it, what are your options?

First, start by talking to your doctor to ensure no underlying medical issues that need immediate treatment and get recommendations tailored to your unique circumstances.

Then, consider the following options.

Important note: You may need to try more than one of these options before figuring out what works for you.

1. Use a topical medication

Desensitizing the penis has been proven to be an effective solution for treating premature ejaculation.

The use of lidocaine or benzocaine is said to be the oldest known pharmacological treatment used for PE.

These desensitizers are available in multiple application methods, including:

Some are available only through a prescription, but you can also purchase other brands (like Promescent) over the counter.

Promescent offers several products in this category that are well-known for gently desensitizing the penis enough to allow you to last longer while still enjoying the sensation of your partner.

Just be sure to follow the directions to avoid transference to your partner, using too much or too often.

We recommend experimenting a little on your own first to find the right dose for you.

2. Change your condoms

Switching out your regular condom for one that is thicker is perhaps the quickest and easiest way to reduce penis sensitivity immediately.

A study found that they helped men resist premature ejaculation, improving the quality of sexual intercourse.

Thicker condoms are often labeled "Extra Strength" or "Extra Safe."

You may also want to look at condoms that are specially made for guys who have issues with premature ejaculation, which often come with numbing gel already inside.

The brands that cater to PE have names such as:

  • Extended Pleasure
  • Delay
  • Prolong

Some men achieve the results they are looking for and are completely satisfied with these types of condoms.

However, others may find that these all-in-one condoms over-numb the area, thus creating the opposite problem: making it too difficult to climax.

3. Consider an oral medication

Depending on the cause of your penile hypersensitivity, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a type of antidepressant, might be another potential option.

We've discussed the effects of several SSRIs on premature ejaculation:

However, you’ll need to consult with your physician about this, and it may come with a higher monthly cost and potential side effects.

While SSRIs were designed and approved to treat mood disorders, they are sometimes prescribed off-label to treat premature ejaculation.

Why is that? Because a well-known side effect of SSRIs is delayed orgasm.

Not being able to last for longer than one minute can potentially have adverse effects on people’s sex lives, which has the potential to lead to sexual dissatisfaction.

Penis Sensitivity Clinical Studies

So what exactly is the connection between penile hypersensitivity and premature ejaculation?

Research finds that increased sensitivity is indeed linked to premature ejaculation.

In a study of 420 men published in the journal of Scientific Reports, researchers observed that men who had either mild or severe cases of PE exhibited higher than typical levels of sensitivity in both the glans and the shafts of their penises.

The Men's Clinic at UCLA suggests that men who experience early ejaculation might want to try desensitizing their penises to help treat their symptoms.

Although some research suggests a link between penile hypersensitivity and PE, it is important to mention that not all studies have documented this association.

In a 1998 study published by the International Journal of Impotence Research, researchers using a vibrometer to measure penile sensitivity found no statistically significant difference between men with or without PE.

That study was based on a very small sample (33 men) and may not have been large enough to detect the effects.

For some men, it may be rooted in hypersensitivity; for others, however, it may have more to do with brain chemistry and neurotransmitters.

Benefits of Decreasing Penis Sensitivity

The most obvious benefit to decreasing penis sensitivity is that it will help prevent premature ejaculation and prolong sexual intercourse.

But beyond that, a more satisfying sex life can lead to other benefits such as:

  • Greater partner intimacy
  • Healthier libido
  • More stress relief

How to Decrease Your Sensitivity Naturally

There are other PE treatments that have shown some effectiveness in helping men prolong orgasm. Those methods include:

  • Start-stop technique
  • Squeeze technique
  • Pelvic floor exercises

While the research is limited, it was found that after 12 weeks of training, the start-stop method and the squeeze method increased ejaculation latency time by a few minutes.

Another study found pelvic floor exercises were able to help men increase ejaculation time from a half minute to two minutes.

In fact, exercise in general has been found to help treat premature ejaculation. In the journal, Trends in Urology and Men's Health, it was found running 30 minutes five times a week helped men to extend their time until ejaculation occurs.

Additionally, behavioral therapy was found to be somewhat effective, though the benefits were typically short-lived.

How Does Circumcision Affect Penis Sensitivity?

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin, the natural “hood” that covers the tip of the penis.

Some sources suggest that over 70 percent of all circumcised men worldwide were circumcised for religious reasons.

However, secular circumcision is often performed for health, hygiene, or cosmetic reasons.

Global Prevalance of Male Circumcision

So does circumcision affect a man’s future sexual health and pleasure?

An early study on circumcision and sensitivity conducted by Master and Johnson in 1966 found that there was "no clinically significant difference in tactile discrimination between uncircumcised and circumcised men on the ventral or dorsal surfaces of the glans penis."

On the other hand, more recent studies suggest other conclusions.

One such study suggests circumcision does seem to be related to penile sensitivity, with the authors going so far to say that:

“five locations on the uncircumcised penis that are routinely removed at circumcision were more sensitive than the most sensitive location on the circumcised penis.”

Similarly, another study that looked at sensitivity to touch and warmth among circumcised and uncircumcised men found that “the foreskin of intact men was more sensitive to tactile stimulation than the other penile sites.”

So when considering how to reduce glans sensitivity permanently, circumcision may be a solution. However, this research remains unsettled, and more research is needed to understand the link between circumcision and penile sensitivity.

Fortunately, there are non-surgical ways to address hypersensitivity issues, regardless of your circumcision status.

Important Takeaways on Penis Sensitivity

Penis sensitivity doesn't have to be a continual problem. There are a variety of treatments from lidocaine sprays to thicker condoms.

Every method mentioned has some form of research that suggests it may be effective in preventing premature ejaculation.

As with all sexual health issues, there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” solution.

If you find yourself dealing with penile hypersensitivity and premature ejaculation, the way to approach penile desensitization it is up to you.

Remember that your health is in your hands, so get the facts, consult with your doctor, and make the right decision for you.

Dr. Justin Lehmiller

Dr. Justin Lehmiller

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He is author of the blog Sex and Psychology and the popular book Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life. He is also a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works, including a textbook titled The Psychology of Human Sexuality that is used in college classrooms around the world. Dr. Lehmiller is one of the media's go-to experts on sex and has been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and CNN; he has also appeared on dozens of radio, podcast, and television programs.

Sources:

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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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