Q&A: I Chafed My Penis When I Was Masturbating

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QUESTION: When I masturbated a while ago, I chafed the skin on my penis. I used lube but it dried up too fast. Can you tell me if the skin will come back? And will the sensitivity I once had come back?

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Photo: practicalowl (flickr.com)

Sometimes men masturbate with an object other than their hand, which can create excessive friction and thus pose a higher risk for irritation or chafing.

Sexual Healing

In most cases, sexual stimulation – whether through masturbation, partnered sex play or intercourse – is safe and not irritating or painful. Sometimes, however, people experience irritation or even injuries (such as cuts or tears) from masturbation or sex with a partner.

If it has been a month and your skin has not healed or you do not feel comfortable masturbating because of concerns about further irritating your skin, then I would recommend that you check in with a healthcare provider.

Because the genitals are kept in a warm, moist area, under clothing, and can be exposed to urine and fecal matter, they sometimes require special care so that cuts, tears or chafing heal well and the potential for pleasurable sensitivity returns.

Hurts So Good

In your case, you masturbated to the point where your genital skin chafed and became irritated. You didn’t mention if you masturbated for a very long time or whether you masturbated in such a way that might be more likely to irritate your skin.

For example, hand stimulation of a man’s penis typically does not run much risk of irritation or pain. However, sometimes men masturbate for a very long period of time and eventually the friction between the hand and the penis is such that it causes irritation, chafing or for parts of the skin to wear away.

This can also happen during very prolonged intercourse, rough intercourse or during intercourse that is, or becomes, very dry.

Specifics of Masturbation

Other times men masturbate with an object other than their hand. For example, some men masturbate with a sock over their penis, which can create excessive friction and thus pose a higher risk for irritation or chafing. If you used to masturbate with objects or clothing, then once you are healed, you might try returning only to masturbating with your hand to see if that is more comfortable.

Also, you did not mention what type of lubricant you have tried. Water-based lubricants are the most widely used type of lubricant but they dry up quickly. To keep masturbation feeling wet, try re-wetting your hand or genitals with water or add more lubricant.

You might also try using a longer-lasting lubricant such as a silicone based lubricant. For masturbation, lotion or oil-based lubricants work well too (however, oil-based products cannot be safely used with latex condoms, so they are not recommended for partnered sex that involves the use of latex condoms).

If It Takes Too Long

Finally, if you find that it takes you a long time to ejaculate, and thus you find yourself masturbating for a long time not because you want to but because you have to in order to get the release that you want, then it may be helpful to check in with a healthcare provider.

Some medications and medical conditions can influence how long it takes for a man to orgasm. Other times, men’s ejaculation is affected by feelings they may have about sex, masturbation their body or by their ability to relax.

Satisfaction Without Pain

The bottom line is that masturbation, like partnered sex, does not need to hurt you. If you experience irritation, pain or discomfort during sexual activity – whether alone or with a partner – then checking in with a healthcare provider or modifying your sexual behaviors can be helpful.

In most cases, it is indeed possible to have pleasurable, satisfying masturbation and partnered sex, and it’s wise of you to see out information about how to go about doing this. You might also find it helpful to read The New Male Sexuality.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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