Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 4/29/2022
Penis sensitivity: the thing most men simultaneously are grateful for and irritated by. Like the beds in a nursery rhyme, your penis’s sensitivity has three settings: too much, too little, and just right, and depending on the day, you may see any of the three show up for intimate times.
For most guys, the practical question is how to avoid getting to your orgasm before your partner does, and that’s when you’ll want to know how to desensitize the tip of your penis.
Finishing can be cause for concern, and if it starts happening to you a lot, you may wonder what the options are for decreasing penis sensitivity to get that too-early problem to stop.
Premature ejaculation is a medical condition that won’t go away without you addressing it — it’s not porridge that’s too hot.
There are ways to address it effectively though, and one of the most effective is to desensitize the tip of your penis for intimate times so that your needs align with your partner’s, making for some intimate experiences that aren’t too fast, aren’t too slow, but are just right.
Penile sensitivity, as you’ve likely gathered in your own solo research, is generally a good thing.
The sensitivity of your penis — specifically the tip of your penis — is responsible for pleasure in sexual activities and, as you’ve probably also realized on your own, is directly related to your ability to achieve orgasm.
Like everything else in life, however, sensitivity is a topic where too much of a good thing can be a bad thing — as can too little.
Because your ability to orgasm is related to the sensitivity of your penis, too little sensitivity can make achieving orgasm a frustrating task, while too much sensitivity can lead to problems like the medical condition of premature ejaculation.
It’s important to know that, while penile sensitivity is a factor in premature ejaculation for many men, it’s not necessarily the cause of PE disorders.
Every man who has premature ejaculation issues doesn’t necessarily have a penis that’s too sensitive, and every man whose penis is too sensitive doesn’t necessarily struggle with the common condition PE.
That said, desensitizing the tip of the penis is one of the more effective strategies today for managing PE — if you’re doing it correctly.
Generally, desensitizing your penis is the most obvious strategy for combating premature ejaculation.
It makes sense logically: if you reduce the amount of stimulation you’re getting in, the output might also be reduced. The easiest way to do this? Topical medications.
And studies have backed this up.
Numbing compounds like benzocaine are effective treatment options for premature ejaculation.
In one study, benzocaine increased ejaculatory control for patients as a topical benzocaine wipe. And data from a different, randomized placebo-controlled trial showed that benzocaine had the effect of drastically increasing the time to ejaculation for users.
After just two months, men using wipes saw their penetration to ejaculation time increase to three times what it was before.
Of course, how you use products like benzocaine is important. You can’t just grab a bottle of the stuff typically used in oral medications for dental issues like tooth sensitivity, for instance.
The tooth discomfort stuff has a concentration of around 20% — more than five times the recommended dosage used in PE wipes.
Numbing your penis is, as you might agree, something you shouldn’t do with reckless abandon. There are products, there are methods and they should be used responsibly and followed for both your safety and the safety of your partners.
These wipes are straightforward in their use: you take one out of the packaging and rub as directed over the glans of your penis, typically for a few seconds until you feel it’s been adequately covered in the liquid benzocaine solution.
Once this is done, you’re essentially playing the waiting game: once the liquid is dry and you feel numb, you can begin your sexual activity as normal.
The only word of caution here is that you really need to wait at least 30 seconds before beginning intercourse — if not adequately dried or absorbed, the numbing ingredients on your genitals can be transferred to your partner’s.
Numbing of the vagina is one of the most commonly reported side effects of this method of treating premature ejaculation, after all.
Sound like a lot of work? There are some other options for treating PE, and while they might not be easier, there are some that are considered as or more effective.
We’ve covered the other forms of premature ejaculation treatment elsewhere. One example? The Squeeze Technique: a technique in which you control PE by literally squeezing the tip of your penis to prevent ejaculation once you feel the urge coming on.
Needless to say, this has drawbacks, like the awkward moment when you have to stop and squeeze in the middle of intercourse. This was the best science could offer us 30 years ago.
Nowadays, medication is the other option. Specifically, antidepressants like SSRIs have been shown to delay ejaculation for some people.
Technically, it’s considered a side effect of a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) — a medication designed to block serotonin reabsorption by your brain to balance your levels of serotonin.
The result of increases in serotonin levels is that you might experience trouble finishing, but healthcare professionals have made lemonade out of lemons with this one, and SSRIs are prescribed off-label for PE in many cases.
In studies, literally 100 percent of participants saw positive results and increased sexual satisfaction from using SSRIs to treat their premature ejaculation symptoms.
As much as we’d like to say a box of wipes is all you need here, the reality is that your penis sensitivity might have deeper roots than a little medicated moist towelette can handle.
Studies show that there’s a connection between premature ejaculation and negative thoughts associated with intimacy issues, self confidence and other problems associated with your penis
What we’re getting at here is that your best bet for addressing this problem head-on (lol) is heading to a healthcare professional.
You may find that therapy is ultimately the way to get your stamina up and your confidence back.
If you’re ready to take that step, there are resources.
While our online counseling options are available to you for therapy, you might want to first explore other treatments for PE and see what else is available before talking to a healthcare provider.
Have more questions we haven’t answered yet? Our Premature Ejaculation 101 Guide covers more on causes, treatments and everything else.