Numbpeen

Your Dick Is Tired and Numb, Just Like You

It’s totally normal to lose sensation after a particularly long sex sesh

Losing the sensation in your foot is rarely alarming, but when the same thing happens in your nether regions, it raises a more concerning and mood-killing quandary: Can your dick fall asleep? A number of dudes have brought this inquiry to the r/sex subreddit, and the common thread between each is that the numbness occurred after several hours of intercourse. 

My penis gets numb during sex from sex

San Francisco-based sexologist Xanet Pailet confirms that men can go numb simply because, like you, penises need rest. “Rub a spot on your finger for a few minutes, and you’ll notice that after a while, it starts feeling numb, too,” she explains. 

That said, numbness can also be the result of other underlying physical and emotional issues. 

The male body has about 4,000 nerve endings in the penis, which send sensory information to the brain about what feels good. But like when your aforementioned foot loses feeling from sitting cross-legged, sometimes during long sex sessions these nerves can become temporarily compressed, resulting in temporary numbness. (Dehydration, sleep deprivation and drugs and alcohol can make this numbing worse.) 

Women can feel this sensation, too, but Pailet notes that they don’t always get enough foreplay for it to be possible. Women need at least 30 minutes of foreplay to be fully aroused, but on average, get around five to seven minutes, she says. And so, when they experience numbness from too much stimulation, it’s usually from a vibrator

In these instances, the numbness is temporary — sensation should return anywhere from after a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the person — and the most obvious solution is listening to your body. Because although changing up the tempo, position or pivoting to some other form of play can allow the overused nerve endings to recover, taking a breather is the best reset. For one, it helps distinguish between emotional and physical numbness, which is a line that can become more blurred in the bedroom, especially in instances where a partner has experienced trauma. “Survivors of sexual abuse and trauma will often present with genitals that are numb,” Pailet says. “Typically, this is related to a trauma protective mechanism called dissociation, where the individual leaves their body.”

Without therapy, dissociation tends to stay in the body even when people are with safe partners who they want to have sex with. In such instances, men and women may feel numb because they aren’t totally there, mentally.

Beyond trauma, antidepressants and mood stabilizers can cause a numbing sensation during sexual activity. In fact, this is so common with SSRIs like Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac and Lexapro that doctors came up with a name for it: post-SSRI sexual dysfunction, or PSSD, which can both cause numbness and lead to erectile dysfunction. Anyone experiencing genital numbness as a potential side effect of psychotropic medication should consult with their doctor about their options, as independently adjusting or discontinuing prescriptions can have fatal results. 

It’s also crucial to recognize the difference between numbness, tingling and pain, ER physician Shuhan He warns. Any of the three that lasts more than a day or two can be signs of neuropathy from underlying cardiovascular issues, diabetes, nerve damage or a neurological emergency like a stroke or cerebral hemorrhage. While this isn’t common, it’s certainly a good reason to slow down and make sure you’re not dealing with something more serious. “Most people who feel numbness certainly won’t have a stroke or cerebral hemorrhage, but anyone who feels pain afterward should consider going to the ER,” he advises. “You also might not notice any signs of pain until you’re back in an unaroused state.”

Scary, life-threatening stuff aside, both he and Pailet agree that going numb is almost always a normal physiological response to prolonged sexual activity. Not to mention, being able to engage in hours of sex at a time is generally a sign of good health. “Sex is quite taxing on the body,” He says. “But frequency of sexual intercourse in men is a significant predictor for longevity and good health.”

In other words, it could very well be that the more numb your dick is, the longer you might live.