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Urology/Penis loss of sensitivity


Hi Doctor,

From January to April this year I was using a water based penis pump. I discontinued use of the pump as soon as I began noticing a complete absence of pleasurable sensation in the shaft area of my penis during masturbation. It felt like I was touching a piece of rubber, this caused me much distress and worry.

After discontinuing the pump, I experienced a couple of weeks of numbness before sensation returned and things were back to normal again (pre pump) This lasted for 4 days then one morning I woke up and my penis was completely cold again, numb. A week later the sensations returned.
At this stage I was extremely upset and confused. If the pump had damaged my penis nerves, then how come I was experiencing phases were the sensation was coming back every now and again?

It's been almost 4 weeks now and my penis is still numb. I often feel very sexually aroused but as soon as I try to masturbate all I can feel is a numbness and no pleasure and it's driving me insane. I am able to get morning erections and can orgasm after intense amount of rubbing.

It's been 2 months since I quit the pump and I'm not feeling any better. All I can surmise is that the nerves were healing but then healing process was being disturbed by my anxious rubbing.

If I felt total sensation return on two occasions  after I quit the pump is that a sign that the nerves aren't completely damaged? If so, in your experience will they heal? In the mean time can masturbation be aggravate the situation and hinder nerve healing?

Many thanks,



I can't explain intermittent sensations such as you've described.  I would suggest consulting a local urologist and avoiding similar pumps in the future.  Most of the time, nerve injuries like this slowly improve over time but it can take months.


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Stephen W. Leslie, MD


Questions concerning erectile dysfunction, kidney stones and prostate disorders including prostate cancer. I have a special interest in kidney stone disease prevention.


Full time practicing urologist with 30 years experience. Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of Urology at Creighton University Medical Center. Editor in Chief of eMedicine Urology internet textbook. Author of only NIH approved book written for patients by a urologist on the subject of kidney stones "The Kidney Stones Handbook". Inventor of the "Parachute" and "Escape" kidney stone baskets and the "Calculus" stone prevention analysis computer program.

American Urological Association, Ohio State Medical Association, Sexual Medicine Society

Men's Health, Journal of Urology, Urology, Healthwatch Magazine, Emergency Medicine Monthly, eMedicine, "The Kidney Stones Handbook", and numerous articles in various newspapers. He is also the editor of the Urology Board Review by McGraw-Hill used by urologists to study for their Board Certification Examinations.

Graduate of New York Medical College with residencies completed at Metropolitan Hospital New York, Albany Medical Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Awards and Honors
Thirlby Award of the American Urological Association. Rated as one the country's Best Urologists by the Independent Consumer's Research Institute

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