Death Grip Syndrome: Is It Real & How Do You Treat It?

Death Grip Syndrome: Is It Real & How Do You Treat It?

Disclaimer: We aim to give you accurate and relevant information, but it should not be used in place of proffessional medical advice. Medical advice from a relevant licensed professional should be utilised if needed.

Intimate exploration during solo play is a way in which to experience your sexuality in a healthy and safe manner. 

There is absolutely no shame in caressing, feeling, touching, and stimulating your different erogenous zones for pleasure. After all, sexual self-care is an act of self-love. 

But what happens when things feel a bit uncomfortable? Or do you start to notice that it becomes more and more difficult to achieve pleasure and orgasm

For women, the big question is: does the clit become desensitised from using a vibrator too often? For men, however, it’s all about losing sensation due to masturbation habits, such as death grip syndrome.

Understanding the Existence of Death Grip Syndrome and Its Treatment Methods

Death grip syndrome is a term that originates from the early 2000s. It’s not 100 per cent certain where the term came from, but it gained its popularity from sex columnist, Dan Savage

Having said that, is death grip syndrome an actual sexual condition? Do doctors and medical professionals officially recognise it?

That, and more, will be answered below. But first… 

What Is Death Grip Syndrome?

Death grip syndrome is when a man has lost sensation in his penis due to over-masturbation and gripping too tightly. 

This can lead to difficulty or the inability to get and keep an erection because it is less sensitive to sexual stimulation.

In this way, death grip syndrome means that one can only reach orgasm via masturbation, not during partnered sex

And when someone with death grip syndrome does have penetrative sex, they might have to pull out from their partner and masturbate by themselves in order to climax.

The severity of death grip syndrome is different for everyone. Some may need more time to climax, while others are unable to climax without masturbating themselves in a specific way.

Severity aside, death grip syndrome can have a huge negative impact on one’s sex life, for both partners.

Is It Real & What Are the Common Symptoms?

Death grip syndrome is not recognised as a medical condition, but this does not mean that it isn’t real or a cause for concern. 

In fact, death grip syndrome shares a lot of similarities with delayed ejaculation (an official medical condition).

Delayed ejaculation is when a man finds it difficult or impossible to ejaculate through sexual activity

Death grip syndrome can come about from:

  • Medical conditions: such as Peyronie’s disease, diabetes, or low testosterone levels
  • A porn addiction: watching porn in excess can change sexual habits and satisfaction
  • Performance anxiety: having negative thoughts during partnered sex such as being a failure, trauma, guilt, or shame 
  • Certain medications: taking medication such as an SSRI can result in lower libidos and difficulty in achieving orgasm

The common symptoms of death grip syndrome include:

What Can Cause Death Grip Syndrome?

The big question now is: What causes death grip syndrome? It begins when someone has reduced sensitivity in their penis because of possible overstimulation and gripping too tightly.

And actually, research shows that this syndrome can come about when the penis experiences a certain type of stimulation. During this certain type of stimulation, sexual arousal and orgasm are so satisfying that one simply cannot reach orgasm any other way. 

The person may find such pleasure in their masturbation routine that they continue this habit, perpetuating the cycle. They may find it difficult to recreate this kind of arousal and climax with a partner, which means it’ll take more effort to reverse it.

In other words, someone with death grip syndrome will much prefer masturbating (which leads to an orgasm), than having sex with a partner

How to Treat It?

Is there a way to fix death grip syndrome? Well, there are a handful of things you could do in order to minimise or possibly even fix death grip syndrome

By doing so, you may find that your penis will become more sensitive to different stimuli once again. 

These suggestions to treat death grip syndrome may be difficult for some, but they will definitely be a positive thing in the long run.

10 Ways to Possibly Fix Death Grip Syndrome

  1. Masturbate less

Masturbating less is the first method to try when you realise you may have death grip syndrome. And for some, this may seem impossible. At the end of the day, however, it really is for the greater good. It is suggested to abstain from masturbation for one week. During this time, you can (and are encouraged to if circumstances permit) have partnered sex

  1. Use a lighter grip

As the name suggests, death grip syndrome is caused by one gripping their penis too tightly during masturbation. And what is the logical response to fix this? Use a lighter grip. It may not feel arousing at first, but it can help bring sensitivity back to the penis. To use a lighter grip means most likely having to take a look at your technique and make changes accordingly. 

  1. Use lube

In conjunction with keeping a lighter grip, try to reduce or avoid friction. To do this, you could use a personal lubricant of your choice. We recommend the LELO Personal Moisturiser because it uses body-safe ingredients, is pH-balanced for the skin, and is water-based which means no stains or stickiness.  

  1. Experiment with new kinds of stimulation

Changing the way you masturbate could just be the ticket to fixing death grip syndrome. You may want to experiment with different pressures or try to focus on the sexual arousal aspect rather than the orgasm. You may also want to try a different kind of stimulation, such as anal play with a butt plug or anal beads. The perk to that is that anal orgasms are said to be even more powerful than penile orgasms

  1. Avoid or watch less porn 

Watching porn is not a bad thing. But if you binge-watch it constantly, it could create a negative image in your mind about sex. This is because it often depicts unrealistic sexual acts and scenarios. 

  1. Use male sex toys

This is not only a fun way to play, but also a great way to give your hand a rest. If you choose to use a male sex toy, such as a male masturbator, you could slowly start to get used to lighter or different forms of stimulation

  1. Seek professional advice for possible underlying medical issues 

It doesn’t hurt to talk to a professional about death grip syndrome. In fact, it may prove to be helpful, as they can possibly find the underlying reason for what you’re experiencing. It may just be a medical condition that could be treated easily or a psychological issue that could perhaps be resolved through therapy. 

  1. Relax during sex

It is possible to get death grip syndrome because of physical, mental, and psychological issues. For example, if you experience negative thoughts during partnered sex, or you have performance anxiety. The key here is to find a way in which to relax and not overthink. You can do this by trying different techniques, or you could consult a sexual health expert. As for an at-home remedy, you could have one or two drinks before sex in order to relax.

  1. Talk to your partner 

Communication is one of the most important things in a relationship. And when you choose to talk to your partner about what you’re experiencing, they may be able to help you. Additionally, some people who do not know that their partner has death grip syndrome may feel as though their partner isn’t attracted to them anymore. This is often not the case. Communication can clear up a lot of misunderstandings and create a space of compassion.

  1. Change positions

If you find yourself always masturbating whilst, on your back, you might want to try a new position. For example, you could masturbate on your knees or on all fours (which is similar to position used in partnered sex). 

When Should You See a Doctor?

If you’re having any concerns whatsoever about the sensitivity of your penis or certain habits that you find strange, it is never a bad idea to see a doctor.

In the realm of professional advice, there are sexual health specialists and mental health professionals who can discuss and help you through what you’re experiencing.

Seeing a sexual health specialist could give you peace of mind as they could identify the underlying cause of your problem. They too can customise a treatment plan, especially for you in hopes of combating the issue. 

Seeing a mental health professional may also be a good idea. Especially if you find that you’re having negative thoughts during partnered sex, anxiety, or relationship issues. These professionals are experts in identifying, understanding, and changing negative thought patterns and behaviour (regarding sex and sexual problems).

But to answer the question: you should see a doctor if you have any form of erection problems or sexual dysfunction. 


Even though death grip syndrome is not officially recognised by medical professionals, it most certainly is a thing. It can cause a number of detrimental physical and mental health disruptions if left untreated.

The good news is there are things you can do to minimise or eradicate death grip syndrome. These are simple at-home exercises that can lead you back to enjoying different kinds of sexual stimulation once again. 

On the other hand, if you are experiencing any kind of sexual dysfunction, it is never a bad idea to get professional advice

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