Death Grip Syndrome: Causes and Treatment

Intercourse and masturbation are meant to be pleasurable. 

A good sex life is beneficial for your health and well-being. 

It activates a plethora of neurotransmitters that impact not only the brain but other organs as well. 

Pleasurable sex can reduce stress, release sexual tension, help people sleep better, and more. 

But, if it takes too long for a man to orgasm, or he can’t orgasm at all during sex compared to his masturbating sessions, then he may have death grip syndrome. 

Death grip syndrome is not officially recognized as a health condition. It’s only based on patients’ personal experience, and its impact may vary. 

Therefore, the information listed below doesn’t provide medical advice and is intended for informational purposes only.

Here is a quick guide on what death grip is, its causes, symptoms, and how to treat death grip syndrome.

What is death grip syndrome?

Death grip syndrome and death grip are slang terms for a problem in which men can orgasm when masturbating but can’t during partnered sex. 

Some might take a long time to climax with sex, but they can easily do it when masturbating. 

The death grip meaning comes from an anecdotal phenomenon. Those who have it have to pull out of their partner and masturbate to achieve an orgasm. 

Although experts don’t recognize death grip as a medical condition, this disorder is quite similar to delayed ejaculation, which is a recognized form of ED. 

Men with delayed ejaculation take longer to ejaculate or are unable to achieve ejaculation. So, they often experience reduced sexual pleasure, low libido, and anxiety about sex. 

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How to know if you have death grip syndrome

It’s completely normal to masturbate. But, when you are using too much force, squeezing too hard, or using rough masturbation habits to climax, then you may have death grip. Those who have death grip syndrome symptoms often violently masturbate.

The tighter the grip, the more speed and pressure you have to use to climax. This desensitizes the nerve endings and interferes with penis function. 

That’s because if this habit persists, it is very unlikely that partnered sex can offer the same sensations as masturbation death grip syndrome can.

Death grip is different from erectile dysfunction (ED). ED is a sexual dysfunction that makes it difficult to get or maintain a firm erection for successful penetration. 

Death grip, on the other hand, only affects your ability to climax. You can still achieve an erection with death grip.

What causes death grip syndrome?

Your masturbation practice is the main cause of death grip.

The penis has different receptors that allow the body to feel pleasure. When you apply pressure, you can feel these sensations build up.

During penetration, the vagina constricts the penis, which provides a pleasurable environment for the penis. 

Masturbation also constricts the penis but offers completely different sensations compared to a vagina. The hand can squeeze tighter and harder than a vagina. 

You are in complete control of the pressure, grip, and strength. This creates a great opportunity for a successful climax. Here is a list of some of the known causes of death grip syndrome.

Intense squeezing

Squeezing too hard is often a major cause of death grip. It can overstimulate the nerve endings. Your penis gets accustomed to this form of pleasure. This can be a problem if you often have to switch from vaginal sex to masturbation.

Masturbating a lot

Over-masturbation is another culprit. 

Death grip happens from recurrent and aggressive masturbation. Men use violent masturbation tactics too often, so their body gets accustomed to these waves of pleasure. 

This can turn into a habit that’s hard to break.

Porn use, especially hardcore porn, is often associated with death grip. 

Pornography is often unrealistic. This makes it very difficult for couples to play out all of their fantasies. 

When a partner has a porn addiction or just loves porn, they can have fun by themselves. They can try to re-enact these fantasies and use tighter, rougher, or more intense masturbation tactics. 

Performance anxiety

When a man is feeling anxious or nervous during sex, they can find it difficult to climax. Anxiety reflects on the way the body reacts during sex. 

For some men, masturbation can give them better control over the orgasm. This can lead to death grip.


Antidepressants can cause erectile dysfunction. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are some of the most commonly used antidepressants. 

Studies show that out of the SSRIs, paroxetine has the biggest risk of causing delayed ejaculation, impotence, and decreased desire.

Research indicates that almost everyone who takes SSRIs experiences some level of reduced genital sensitivity. Since antidepressants can affect the sensitivity of the penis, they might also cause death grip syndrome.

Health problems

Your hormone levels have a major role to play in sexual function. They can affect a man’s energy, sex, fertility, mood, and more.

When your testosterone levels are too low, you might have trouble getting an erection. You can also experience a change in the way the penis responds to sexual stimulation. The sensations might not be as strong as they were a couple of years back.

That’s because testosterone levels tend to plummet with age. A range of medical conditions can also cause low T. 

These include kidney disease, autoimmune disease, infections, chronic liver disease, etc. Low testosterone could lead to death grip.

Thyroid health complications might also affect the nerve endings of the penis. Men with overactive or underactive thyroids have higher rates of sexual dysfunction.

Let’s take a closer look at how to fix death grip syndrome.

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How to treat death grip syndrome

Many people want to know how to get rid of death grip syndrome. Different options can help you manage the problem. 

Use a lighter masturbation technique

Lighter masturbation is often used as a death grip syndrome cure.

At first, it can take a long time for the penis to get used to lighter masturbation. But squeezing lightly and using medium pressure can still feel enjoyable. 

So, if you have ejaculation problems during sex, work on your masturbation habits.

Avoid masturbating for some time

To know how to cure death grip, you can try to avoid masturbation. 

When you don’t masturbate too often, you can feel more hyped about partnered sex and sexual stimulation. This build-up of emotions can create intense feelings and might make it easier to climax.

Use sex toys during sex

Using a sex toy is another death grip syndrome treatment.

Sex toys come in all shapes and sizes. They can offer different sensations during sex and make the intercourse feel more pleasurable and intense. 

See a sex therapist if you need help working on your sex life.

Limit porn consumption

You might want to limit porn consumption while you work on managing the death grip. This way, you can avoid creating false expectations. 

Ease back into masturbation

Try to achieve an erection without touching the penis. Then let the partner use their hands to bring you to climax. Urge them to use gentle strokes and squeezing techniques. 

Talk to a specialist about the medications you are taking

Consult a healthcare provider if you are using antidepressant medication. The erection problems might subside if you change the medications or stop using them. But only a doctor can suggest whether you should stop taking antidepressants. 

Many experts recommend practicing mindfulness. Studies show that mindfulness can reduce anxiety, depression, and mood symptoms. 


The best way to prevent a death grip pattern is to use gentle strokes when masturbating or avoid masturbating for a while. 

Some men like to wait a week before they masturbate again. Just make sure not to grip the penis too tight and try switching things up during sex.

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Is death grip real?

Death grip is a real physical problem. But, it is not a recognized medical condition. It should improve with time if you don’t masturbate for a while and use lighter masturbation techniques.

How to fix death grip syndrome?

The simplest way to fix death grip is to go at least a week or two without masturbation. Let the penis heal and slowly ease back into it.

Can erectile dysfunction medication help with death grip?

ED medication is meant to help you achieve an erect penis. If your penis can naturally get erect and hard enough for penetration, there is no need to use ED drugs.


The death grip syndrome issue is not a medical problem. Men with death grip find it difficult or almost impossible to climax without a violent or rough masturbation technique. Talk to a healthcare provider if you have any form of erection problems or sexual dysfunction.

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  1. Mollaioli D, Sansone A, Ciocca G, Limoncin E, Colonnello E, Di Lorenzo G, Jannini EA. Benefits of Sexual Activity on Psychological, Relational, and Sexual Health During the COVID-19 Breakout. J Sex Med. 2021 Jan.
  2. Abdel-Hamid IA, Ali OI. Delayed Ejaculation: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment. World J Mens Health. 2018 Jan.
  3. Jing E, Straw-Wilson K. Sexual dysfunction in selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and potential solutions: A narrative literature review. Ment Health Clin. 2016 Jun.
  4. Healy D. Citizen petition: Sexual side effects of SSRIs and SNRIs. Int J Risk Saf Med. 2018.
  5. Bates JN, Kohn TP, Pastuszak AW. Effect of Thyroid Hormone Derangements on Sexual Function in Men and Women. Sex Med Rev. 2020.
  6. Hofmann SG, Sawyer AT, Witt AA, Oh D. The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2010.

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