The penis contains thousands of nerve endings, making it a highly sensitive organ. Numerous sensory receptors can be found in the urethra, penis glans, and the penile skin. When these sensory receptors are stimulated, they send signals to the brain, which then triggers an erection.
When the penile nerves are hypersensitive, it can lead to chronic premature ejaculation. On the other side of the spectrum, the penis can also become numb which means you won’t feel any sensation even when your sex organ is stroked. As you can imagine, your sexual function will suffer when your penis is numb to sensations.
Penile numbness is not normal and may be caused by various factors. Physical injuries to the nerves and genital area, medications, and hormonal imbalance are just some of the factors that contribute to genital numbness. The treatment for penile numbness will depend on what caused the condition.
As the primary male sex hormone, normal male sexual functions depend on testosterone. When your levels of testosterone are below normal, you may experience low libido, impaired sperm production as well as loss of muscle mass.
You may also end up decreased pleasure during sex. When your testosterone levels are low, it can lead to loss of penile sensations, thereby decreasing your responsiveness to sexual stimulation.
Your penis may not become completely numb when your testosterone levels are low, but stroking or touching your sex organ will no longer evoke the same pleasurable feelings you used to feel. This includes a feeling of numbness in the scrotum as well.
Decreased penile sensitivity is a known symptom of male hypogonadism. Men with hypogonadism suffer from extremely low testosterone levels simply because their bodies no longer produce enough of the sex hormone.
Injuries to the genital area can damage the sensitive nerves found in the penis. When the nerves are damaged, they can no longer properly transmit the signal to your brain to tell your brain that your penis is being stroked or stimulated.
This can also happen as a result of injuries to the spinal cord wherein the communication channel between your brain and your sex organ are broken, leading to a complete loss of penile sensations.
Cycling is one of the most well-researched physical activities. Cyclists experience constant pressure applied to the genital and scrotal regions. This constant pressure can cause the areas surrounding the penis and scrotum to become numb.
In one study, researchers investigated how frequent and prolongation compression of the area between the scrotum and perineum affects the blood supply to the penis.
According to the results of the study, more than two-thirds of the cyclists participating in the study experienced numbness in their genital regions. Among the cyclists who had to cover a weekly training distance of 400 kilometers or more, almost twenty percent complained of erectile dysfunction.
The results further showed that penile blood supply is decreased by as much as 70% when cycling in a seated position, whereas cycling in a standing position did not significantly reduce penile blood flow. This suggests that prolonged perineal arterial compression can cause penile numbness as well as impotence, especially in long-distance cyclists.
In a recent study involving close to three thousand male cyclists, the results showed that genital numbness is associated with frequent weekly cycling. The condition is also prevalent in those who have engaged in cycling for more years as well as those who cycle longer distances. In terms of cycling wear and equipment, using a lower handlebar and not wearing padded shorts are also associated with genital numbness.
In many instances, the use of a penis pump has also been associated with penile numbness. Penis pumps work by pulling blood into the penis to cause an erection. Unfortunately, excessive or improper use of the device may lead to penile numbness. It can even cause injuries to the penis such as cuts in the penile skin or bruising.
There have been instances wherein genital sensory loss was associated with small-fiber neuropathy, a condition that causes damage to sensory neurons. In these cases, sensory loss starts at the tip of the penis, gradually spreading to the shaft, down to the scrotum and perineum.
In fact, any nerve damage or neuropathy can cause sensory loss. When the affected nerves are linked to the penis or the genital area in general, it can also lead to penile numbness. This is often the case in men who suffer from multiple sclerosis, a disease that impairs the transmission of nerve impulses.
In fact, almost 90% of men suffering from multiple sclerosis experience sexual dysfunction in one form or another. Men with multiple sclerosis not only suffer from lack of penile sensation. Visual and auditory sexual cues are also poorly transmitted, causing a breakdown in the communication between the brain and the genital region.
Because multiple sclerosis causes the penis to be desensitized, loss of penile sensation often happens. In addition, erectile dysfunction may also occur. Men suffering from multiple sclerosis also often complain of ejaculatory problems.
Aside from multiple sclerosis, diabetes is also known to cause nerve damage. In fact, this helps explain why diabetes is highly associated with penile numbness and erectile dysfunction. The nerves in the penis are extremely small and sensitive, hence they are vulnerable to the damage caused by constant and prolonged exposure to high concentrations of sugar in the blood.
Peyronie’s disease is another medical condition that’s known to cause penile numbness. Men suffering from this condition have scar tissue, also called plaque, forming inside their penis. The scar tissue or plaque often builds up either at the top or the bottom of the penis. This then causes the penis to bend, resulting in painful erections.
Other medical conditions that are known to cause penile numbness include hepatitis C, some forms of cancer, and lupus. Inflammatory bowel disease, Lyme disease, and HIV are also known to affect penile sensations.
Guillain-Barré syndrome, a condition wherein the peripheral nerves are attacked by the immune system, can also cause the loss of penile sensations, especially when the affected peripheral nerves are those found in the genital area.