Perhaps everything seems normal, until you get a boner. The erection is flying high just fine, but you notice something feels off — namely, you don’t feel anything at all. In fact, your penis feels pretty numb.
Uhhhhhhh, how nervous should you be?
According to Joshua Gonzalez, a board-certified urologist and sexual health advisor for Astroglide, there’s no reason to panic. There is, however, a reason to go see your doctor. In most cases, you might have an issue with your pudendal nerve, the main nerve of your perineum that carries sensation to your genitals. “We have nerves that run through our pelvis that end in the pudendal nerve, which innervates the penis and runs all the way out to the head of the penis,” Gonzalez explains.
“We see numbness in that area a lot with cyclists who spend a considerable amount of time on a bike seat,” Gonzalez continues. “The bike seat puts pressure on the sit bones, and the nerves that run to the head of the penis run right under those bones. And so, when you sit on a bike seat a lot, you’re putting pressure on that area and causing neuropathy.”
Neuropathy can cause pain, burning sensations and/or tingling. In many cases, though, it simply causes numbness. It can also be overcome pretty easily. You might just need to quit biking and go to physical therapy. “If it’s a cycling issue, we tell them to stop cycling for a period of time,” says Gonzalez. “With almost all of these patients, I refer them to physical therapy, because a lot of times, people can have pelvic floor muscle dysfunction just from leading stressful lives, sitting in their car, sitting at their desk, etc. We hold a lot of tension in our pelvis.”
If his patients don’t respond to physical therapy, Gonzalez might refer them for spinal MRIs to ensure there isn’t something more significantly wrong that could be causing the numbness. Still, the spinal surgery one might need to treat the issue is “minimally invasive,” he assures me.
Whatever the fix, you’ll not only feel like a million bucks afterward — you’ll also be able to feel your dick again, too.