Dr J's Sex Facts

Fun sex facts and accurate information from a clinical sexologist for a hotter and more fulfilling sex life.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

What’s All that Stuff Down There and What Does It Do?

Part 1: The Penile Code

“Man consists of two parts, his mind and his body, only the body has more fun.”
Woody Allen

This begins a three-part series, starting with body issues and continuing with sexual response. This week’s posting is for men and for those who love them.

Our society does a terrible disservice to men by raising them to think that their penis has to be 10 inches long, hard as a rock and last all night. It’s no wonder that many men feel insecure about their penis. Locker room etiquette dictates no staring, so most men have only glimpsed other penis sizes and shapes in commercial sex videos, which generally feature men with large penises. If you think everyone else looks like a male porn star, of course you’re going to feel inadequate!

Another contributing factor is that while most men see their penises several times a day while urinating, they’re usually staring down at their penis, creating a visual distortion that makes it appear smaller than it actually is.

Just as some women associate being “sexy” with having big breasts, many men spend their lives wishing they had the allegedly perfect porn star penis, and this can affect their sexual enjoyment. Certainly, penises are important to sex, but great sex involves your whole body; in fact, having great, mutually satisfying sex is usually quite the opposite of what you see in those performance-oriented sex videos. Remember: Performance can be the enemy of pleasure and fun.

Like noses, penises all have the same basic shape, with some variation. Did you know that you can’t tell the size of a man’s erect penis based on what it looks like when flaccid (un-erect)? Most penises erect to between 4 and 6 inches, and there’s not much variation in erection size (with exceptions, of course). However, when flaccid, there is much more variation. Some men’s penises are 1 inch when flaccid (we’ll call these growers), and others are 5 inches (we’ll call these show-ers). BUT: during erection, the 1-inch penis may grow to the same 6-inch erect size as the 5-incher. That’s right; despite their differences when flaccid, they’ll both erect to approximately the same size. Why don’t most of us realize this? Because most of us just don’t get the opportunity to see men when they’re flaccid and then erect. Did I mention shrinkage? When men are cold or nervous, the penis and testicles pull up into the body for protection (I’m hiding!). If you see a penis right after it’s been in a cold swimming pool, I guarantee it will not resemble its erect self in any way!

Some men worry about the curvature of their penis. Penises come in all shapes and when erect, may curve to the left or to the right; they may curve up or down; some may not curve at all. This is not an issue unless the curvature is so extreme that it makes sexual activity painful.

About circumcision: This is a cultural and aesthetic custom. Whatever your penis looks like, the important thing is how it feels to you. If you’re uncircumcised, be sure to clean under the foreskin regularly so that dead cells, dried sweat, etc. don’t build up, causing a cheesy substance called smegma which can also provide an environment conducive to bacteria and viruses. And if you are circumcised, you should wash your penis just as thoroughly using a mild soap. Remember, a clean penis is a happy penis!

Finally: Many men expect to have the penis and the sexual desire and capacity of a 16-year-old for their entire lives. Teenage sex is touted as the ideal. What a set-up for disappointment! The sensuous experiences you’ll have as a 40-year-old will be no less enjoyable. Your body will change, and if you pay attention to its messages, honor it and take care of it, it will serve you well throughout your life. Love what you have and enjoy it.

In two weeks, we’ll discuss what happens to your body during sexual response, and answer such questions as: Why can’t I urinate when I have an erection? What is “pre-cum”? Why is my penis ticklish after orgasm?

The Doctor is in for questions and comments. Just click on the comment button below. And remember, you can post anonymously or create a cool new web name for yourself.

Next Week: Part 2: All about Vulvas: For Women and Those Who Love Them

Two Weeks:
Part 3: Male and Female Sexual Response: How Everything Works and Why It’s Important

With Pleasure,

Dr. J

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Am I Normal?

"I've always felt that sexuality is a really slippery thing. In this day and age, it tends to get categorized and labeled, and I think labels are for food. Canned food."
Michael Stipe, R.E.M.

Are you a human being?
Are you interested in sex?
Are you uninterested in sex?
Do you want sex daily? Weekly? Monthly?
Never want sex?
Have you ever fantasized about having a threesome?
Have you ever fantasized about a hippopotamus in a tutu?

Congratulations! You’re normal!

In fact, everyone is normal, and whatever is usual for you is “normal” for you. However, because we all grow up in an atmosphere of sexual myths, in a society uncomfortable about sex, most of us are trying to find that elusive “normality” so we can fit in with what we think everyone else is doing. Most of us think we know what our friends are doing, and we want to be just like them so they won’t think we’re weird. Some turn to those online quizzes that say they’ll help determine “your healthy sexual self” or something similar. And of course all they’re doing is steering you in a direction that they think is OK (or trying to sell you something).

Sex researchers assume that, in private, everybody does everything. However, everyone publicly adheres to some perceived standard of “normality.” For instance, some of us are happy being sexual with ourselves or a partner on a weekly basis, some daily and some never—as well as everything in between. If we were to quantify everyone’s sexual behavior, we’d find an average frequency. But does being statistically average guarantee that you're: a) OK and b) happy? Of course not. In fact, some of us just hate being thought of as “average.”

It’s more important to know what you want and what you like and then examine whether they work for you. Naturally, I’m speaking of consensual activities and not nonconsensual violence, which is not sex.

Are you happy with what you’re doing, or would you like to explore some new activities or thoughts? What’s holding you back? Usually, it’s the fear that your desires don’t mirror those of your friends.

The great sexologist Alfred Kinsey said: “Everyone is not like you and your neighbor.” And I would add: Stop trying to be like your neighbor, and embrace being yourself.

The Doctor is in for questions and comments. Just click on the comment button below. And remember, you can post anonymously or create a cool new web name for yourself.

Next week: How Our Bodies Respond Sexually, Or What’s All that Stuff Down There and What Does It Do?

With Pleasure,
Dr. J

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What It's All About

What’s this blog all about? Information so that you can develop your own sexuality based on facts, not myths. Everyone has concerns about sex, because we all grew up bombarded with judgments and misinformation. That leads to lots of discomfort and misery.

Each week, this blog will cover some aspect of human sexuality. I'm here to demystify and inform. Oh, and did I mention we’ll have lots of fun? Because that’s what sex is: fun!

There are many “experts” out there, talking and writing about “healthy” sex. Try to find one who actually defines “healthy,” and you'll find that many of these “experts” have hidden agendas—whether moral, political or profit-oriented—to get people to behave in ways that serve those agendas.

I’m a clinical sexologist. Sexology is the scientific study of sex and deals only in facts: reliable, nonjudgmental factual research. I will not be sharing opinions. You can find those anywhere.

Why this is important: Many of us have never learned to integrate sexuality in a positive way. Yet, research has shown that those who know the most about sex manage it the best, and people who manage their sexuality the best have the happiest, most fulfilling sex lives. Imagine if we all learned to manage sex the same way we learned to manage driving, drinking coffee, using a TV remote, etc. We’d be so much happier, don’t you think?

Cooking blogs are full of recipes for delicious food. This sex blog will give you recipes for delicious sex. That’s my wish for you: yummy, delicious sex.

So please ask questions and feel free to make comments--lots of them. You can comment anonymously or choose a screen name for yourself.

With Pleasure,

Dr. J

Tuesday, August 15, 2006