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Name: Tom
Gender: Male
Age: 43
Location: Atlanta GA
Dr Dick I have a large dick and would like to know if size does make a difference, mine iscarrotdm7.jpg 11.5 X 7 I have a problem sometimes with this size, they say it is all in how you use it is this true. Thanks T/Tom

You must think I was born yesterday. NEXT!

Name: maddy
Gender: Female
Age: 14
Location:
hi, um i know i’m young and all but with the world today you’ll see anything, and the thing is is that i’m OBSESSED with penises (and really want to suck one, but wont and cant since i’m so young) and um i don’t know if its my teenage hormones or not, could u suggest what is wrong with me? thank you very much, bye.

Fourteen year old female OBSESSED with penises? I think not. You too must think I was born yesterday.

Ya know, folks, if you’re gonna make up shit, the least you can do is be creative. Plausibility is also a requirement. NEXT!

Name: ???
Gender: Male
Age:
Location:
If I bareback with another guy and he sperms in my ass will I get an STD if he doesn’t have one? If I drink another guy’s sperm will I get an STD if he had no STD?

Are you on acid?

stupid-tee-shirt.jpgHow could you get something (STI/STD) from someone who isn’t infected with anything? All ya have to do is think things through, right?

Perhaps, someone who’s unable to logically put 2 and 2 together is not yet mature enough for partnered sex. Perhaps, that person should stick to pullin’ his pud.

Name: Sam
Gender: Male
Age: 22
Location: UK
Hi Dr. I am a 22 years old male and I have two questions. 1- me and my boyfriend are having anal sex without using condoms, does that affect any of us in any way? 2- my penis is straight which is good, but is there any way that I could make it curve upwards?

WTF? Is this an epidemic of idiocy, or what?

(1) You’re 22 and you still haven’t got the message about the risks of barebacking? If you boys aren’t HIV- and in an exclusive relationship and you’re lovin’ without a glove; then you’re courting disaster. I guess this is one way to cull the herd.

(2) if your unit is straight, that’s the way it’s gonna stay. You won’t be able to train it to curve upward or any other direction.

Name: dave
Gender: Male
Age: 45
Location: oregon
Can a person catch h.i.v by swallowing the cum of a h.i.v. positive lover?

D’oh! You’re 45 and still don’t know the score about HIV transmission? Have you been living under a rock all these years?

Swapping bodily fluids is a sure-fire way of spreading the disease.

Name: John
Gender: Male
Age: 18
Location: Australia
hey, i’ve been finding that while having sex with my g/f that my foreskin is being pulled back upon entry, i’m pretty sure it’s meant to do this anyway when it’s erect but it never really has and frankly i find it a little bit painful. when masturbating i don’t pull it back and it doesn’t decrease pleasure, what do you think i should do?

Sounds like you need to stretch your foreskin so that it will easily retract over your dickhead whenever you want it to.

I’ve written and spoken about this extensively in the past. See the CATEGORY section to the left — in the sidebar? Look of the category Foreskin. Click on that and it will take you to all my podcasts and postings on the topic.

Name: s
Gender: Male
Age: 14
Location: ny
i am uncircumcised and my foreskin and frenulum are perfectly intact. i recently read a blog that said that the first time you have sex your foreskin will “snap” back. if this is true, does it hurt? if not, will how will my foreskin bend back?foreskin002

Nope, that’s untrue…all of it! But you have come to the right place for information about all things that relate to your natural (uncut) cock.

Did you notice the advice I gave to the fella (John) above you? Good! Because that information applies to you too.

It’s too bad that your dad (or parents) didn’t taken the time to clue you into what you can expect from, or how to properly care for your foreskin. It’s his (their) responsibility, ya know. Alas, many parents shirk their duty in this regard.

Listen up parents! Do the right thing. Sit the youngens down for the body/sex talk, why don’t cha already? If ya don’t, your kids will be saddled with all sorts of myths and misconceptions, like the one presented by this young pup. Passing on clear, unambiguous information about their body (including their genitals) and sex is as much your responsibility as putting food on the table.

And finally, mom and dad, if you are unclear about the nuts and bolts of how our bodies work and/or the ins and outs of sex; educate yourself before you lay the info on the kiddies. Remember, it’s your job to educate and enlighten, not add to their misinformation.

Name: BILL
Gender: Male
Age: 53
Location: NEW YORK
Would you cover the topic of sex after prostate surgery? It’s been 16 months since my surgery and i notice a decrease in my penis size. Why did that happen and will it return to normal?

Not only will I, but I already have!

See the CATEGORY section to the left — in the sidebar? Look of the category Prostatectomy
Click on that and it will take you to two podcasts I’ve done on the topic.

As to the decrease in the size of your unit; I’d guess that it has something to do with the trauma your genital area received during surgery. I’d be willing to bet that a whole lotta slow and pleasurable massage/masturbation will increase the oxygen-rich blood flow to the area and this will, in time, restore your willie to its former stature.

Name: steven
Gender: Male
Age: 34
Location: rsa
hi there. i have a webbed penis is it necessary 2 correct this and does it hinder foreskin restoration stretch exercises which seem 2 be working very slowlycircum_egypt.jpg

The term “webbed penis” can refer two different conditions. The first is where the skin of the scrotal sack extends part way up the shaft of the penis. Boys are born this way.

The second condition is a result of adhesions forming between the scrotal skin and the penile skin due to a botched circumcision.

Since you’re practicing foreskin restoration, I’m gonna guess that your condition is the result of a bungled circumcision.

It’s a bummer when an over-zealous doc (or Mohel) docks too much of a boy’s foreskin. It can make for painful erections when he get older. Sadly, this happens way more frequently then most people realize. There’s no way to correct this. In fact, if I were you, Steven, I’d keep my precious cock as far away from a scalpel as possible. I think enough damage has been done already, don’t you?

The foreskin restoration exercises you’re doing will help stretch the skin of your dick shaft and offer you some relief, especially if your erections cause a painful tightening of your dick skin. But, as you suggest, this will take a long time to achieve. I encourage you to keep at it though, because it’s truly worth the effort.

Name: Mike
Gender: Male
Age: 47
Location: Australia
Last year I contracted genital herpes. It eventually cleared up and fortunately has not re occurred. If I have fellatio performed on me and subsequently ejaculate, will I be placing my partner at risk of catching the herpes? Even though I show no symptoms of the disease? I would appreciate your advice. Regards, Mike.

Did you know that there are two herpes viruses? There’s the HSV-1 type (cold sores) and HSV-2 type (genital herpes). Did you know that up to 80 percent of adults have HSV-1 and 25 percent of adults have HSV-2? Kinda amazing, huh?

Obviously it’s pretty easy to catch one or both strains. A whole lotta infected people don’t even know they’ve been infected. Because they never have an outbreak, or the outbreak they have is so inconspicuous they don’t even notice.

Since you know you have herpes, Mike, it’s incumbent upon you to be upfront with your partner(s) about it. Just because you don’t notice an outbreak, doesn’t mean you can’t pass on the infection. That being said, since one out of every four adults has already been exposed, the information you will be sharing won’t be all that startling.

Being upfront with your partner(s) gives him/her the opportunity to make an informed decision about going down on your pole without a condom. And certainly as to weather or not he/she decides to accept the “gift” of your spunk, if ya catch my drift.

Anything less than full disclosure would mark you as a man who has no regard for the wellbeing and best interests of his partner(s).

Good luck ya’ll

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When a Partner Cheats

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Marriages fall apart for many different reasons, but one of the most common and most challenging to overcome is the discovery that one partner has “cheated” on the other.

I put the word cheated in quotes because the definition of infidelity can vary widely among and within couples. Though most often it involves explicit sexual acts with someone other than one’s spouse or committed partner, there are also couples torn asunder by a partner’s surreptitious use of pornography, a purely emotional relationship with no sexual contact, virtual affairs, even just ogling or flirting with a nonpartner.

Infidelity is hardly a new phenomenon. It has existed for as long as people have united as couples, married or otherwise. Marriage counselors report that affairs sometimes occur in happy relationships as well as troubled ones.

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, national surveys indicate that 15 percent of married women and 25 percent of married men have had extramarital affairs. The incidence is about 20 percent higher when emotional and sexual relationships without intercourse are included. As more women began working outside the home, their chances of having an affair have increased accordingly.

Volumes have been written about infidelity, most recently two excellent and illuminating books: “The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity” by Esther Perel, a New York psychotherapist, and “Healing from Infidelity” by Michele Weiner-Davis, a psychotherapist in Boulder, Colo. Both books are based on the authors’ extensive experience counseling couples whose relationships have been shattered by affairs.

The good news is, depending upon what caused one partner to wander and how determined a couple is to remain together, infidelity need not result in divorce. In fact, Ms. Perel and other marriage counselors have found, couples that choose to recover from and rebuild after infidelity often end up with a stronger, more loving and mutually understanding relationship than they had previously.

“People who’ve been betrayed need to know that there’s no shame in staying in the marriage — they’re not doormats, they’re warriors,” Ms. Weiner-Davis said in an interview. “The gift they provide to their families by working through the pain is enormous.”

Ms. Perel concedes that “some affairs will deliver a fatal blow to a relationship.” But she wrote, “Others may inspire change that was sorely needed. Betrayal cuts to the bone, but the wound can be healed. Plenty of people care deeply for the well-being of their partners even while lying to them, just as plenty of those who have been betrayed continue to love the ones who lied to them and want to find a way to stay together.”

The latter was exactly the position a friend of mine found herself in after discovering her husband’s affair. “At first I wanted to kick him out,” she told me. “But I realized that I didn’t want to get divorced. My mother did that and she ended up raising three children alone. I didn’t want a repeat of my childhood. I wanted my son, who was then 2 years old, to have a father in his life. But I also knew that if we were going to stay together, we had to go to couples counseling.”

About a dozen sessions later, my friend came away with critical insights: “I know I’m not perfect. I was very focused on taking care of my son, and my husband wasn’t getting from me whatever he needed. Everybody should be allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. We learned how to talk to each other and really listen. I love him and respect him, I’m so happy we didn’t split apart. He’s a wonderful father, a stimulating partner, and while our marriage isn’t perfect — whose is? — we are supportive and nurturing of each other. Working through the affair made us stronger.”

As happened with my friend, most affairs result from dissatisfaction with the marital relationship, fueled by temptation and opportunity. One partner may spend endless hours and days on work, household chores, outside activities or even social media, to the neglect of their spouse’s emotional and sexual needs. Often betrayed partners were unaware of what was lacking in the relationship and did not suspect that trouble was brewing.

Or the problem may result from a partner’s personal issues, like an inability to deal with conflict, a fear of intimacy, deep-seated insecurity or changes in life circumstances that rob the marital relationship of the attention and affection that once sustained it.

But short of irreversible incompatibility or physical or emotional abuse, with professional counseling and a mutual willingness to preserve the marriage, therapists maintain that couples stand a good chance of overcoming the trauma of infidelity and avoiding what is often the more painful trauma of divorce.

Ms. Weiner-Davis points out that “except in the most severe cases such as ongoing physical abuse or addiction,” divorce often creates more problems than it solves, an observation that prompted her to write her first book, “Divorce Busting.”

Ms. Weiner-Davis readily admits that recovering from infidelity is hard work and the process cannot be rushed. Yet, as she wrote in her new book, “many clients have shared that had it not been for their partner’s affair, they’d never have looked at, discussed, and healed some of the underlying issues that were broken at the foundation of their relationship.”

Rather than destroying the marriage, the affair acted as a catalyst for positive changes, Ms. Weiner-Davis maintains. In her new book, she outlines tasks for both the betrayed spouse and the unfaithful one that can help them better understand and meet the emotional and physical needs of their partners.

Both she and Ms. Perel have found that, with the benefit of good counseling, some couples “divorce” their old marriages and start anew with a relationship that is more honest and loving.

It is important to find a therapist who can help the couple weather the many ups and downs that are likely to occur in working through the issues that lead to infidelity, Ms. Weiner-Davis said. “If they expect setbacks and are willing to work through them, the odds are good that they’ll end up with a healed marriage.”

“Infidelity is a unique situation that requires unique therapeutic skills,” she said. She suggested that in selecting a therapist, couples ask if the therapist has any training and experience in treating infidelity and how successful the therapist has been in helping marriages heal.

Complete Article HERE!

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12 Things All Men Should Know About Their Balls

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We don’t want to bust your balls, but how much do you really know about your testicles? Guys talk about them, brag about them, and let clichés about them flow from their lips without a second thought. So take a few moments to think about your down under friends with 12 ball busting facts about your testicles.

What’s in a name?

“Testicles” and “balls” are not exactly the same thing. When men refer to their balls, they are actually talking about three things: the testicles, the scrotum (the skin sac that protects the testicles), and tiny tubes called epididymides that are attached to the testis and which store and transport sperm. Your testicles are your big T (testosterone) producers, so you want to make sure they are healthy and happy at all times!

Location, location, location.

Real estate agents know the value of location, and your testicles aren’t much different. That is, your left ball and your right ball are not exactly next to each other; one hangs a little bit lower than the other (or one is higher than the other, your preference). Each ball is approximately 2 inches by 1 inch, although typically the right testicle is slightly bigger than the left one. However, even though you might think the bigger testicle should hang lower, that’s not the way nature works. Go figure.

Bigger is not necessarily better.

According to a study conducted at Emory University, men who have smaller testes are more likely to be nurturing dads than are their peers who have bigger balls. The authors evaluated 70 American men, including Caucasians, African-Americans, and Asians, who had a child aged one to two years old. Analysis of brain function while the men looked at children and questionnaire responses resulted in the conclusion that “the biology of human males reflects a trade-off between mating effort and parenting effort, as indexed by testicular size and nurturing-related brain function, respectively.”

Two’s company, three’s a crowd.

An extremely rare condition called polyorchidism is defined as the presence of three—or more—testicles. Only about 200 cases of polyorchidism, more or less, have been reported in the literature, so it’s not a condition that should keep you up at night with worry. However, if you have a unexplained mass in your scrotum, it’s something your doctor may want to rule out.

Pain in the balls.

If you experience painful, swollen, and/or inflamed testicles for no apparent reason (e.g., no one has kicked you down under), it may be time to see your doctor. Trauma to the testicles, such as from a sports injury, usually results in temporary pain. In other cases, however, such as testicular torsion (twisted testicle, which is a medical emergency), epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis, often caused by a sexually transmitted disease such as gonorrhea), inguinal hernia, testicular tumor, or orchitis (inflammation of the testicle from bacteria or viruses), a doctor should be consulted. Sometimes it’s more than just a pain in the balls!

Bumpy balls.

One thing you can say about a man’s balls—they aren’t attractive. All those little bumps and lumps sure don’t make them pleasing to the eye, but are they dangerous as well? In most cases, no. However, an enlarged vein called a varicocele can have a negative impact on fertility and be painful. Tiny fluid-filled bumps called epididymal cysts are unsightly but harmless. Only 4 percent of the unusual lumps on the balls end up being cancer. If you have a lump or bump that doesn’t seem quite right or that has appeared suddenly or changed in size or shape, be sure to have your doctor check it out.

Cool balls, man.

Your body temperature may hover around 98.6 degrees, but your balls run about 1 to 3 degrees cooler. Why? It seems to be nature’s way to keep sperm “on ice” so to speak. A cooler temperature keeps sperm in a resting state until they are ready to move on and result in pregnancy or just a vacation away from home. On the other side of the cooler, when men experience a fever or sit in a sauna for a length of time, their sperm counts are temporarily reduced. Cool is where it’s at.

Balls rise to the occasion.

Just before a man ejaculates, his testicles rise up close to his body and make contact at the moment of truth. More specifically, in most men the right testicle begins the journey upwards before the left one. Since the right ball is usually already closer to the body (see “Location, location, location”), it has less of a journey to make.

Pampering balls.

If you want your balls to be all they can be, then pamper them. That means no smoking (lowers sperm count), limit alcohol use (lowers T and sperm count), dress them comfortably (no overly tight underwear, pants, or bathing suits—except on limited special occasions!), wash them daily and gently, and protect them from trauma, especially in sports. On this latter point, wear a protective cup during contact sports and get the right saddle for your bicycle.

Balls have muscles.

Well, not exactly, but there are several types of muscles in the area that are responsible for keeping your balls in motion. For example, the cremasteric muscle works like an elevator, causing your scrotum and testicles to rise and lower (see “Balls rise to the occasion”). Another muscle called cartos causes the testicles to move within the scrotum. This muscle tissue is also the one that can be blamed for the wrinkly appearance of your balls. The good news: you don’t need to work these muscles in the gym!

Ball check.

Once a month, all men should check their balls. Not just a perfunctory pat, but a thorough examination to be sure there are no hard lumps or any bumps that have changed in size or shape. Why? Testicular cancer is not near the top of the disease list, but it does affect about 1 in every 270 men. When caught early, it usually can be cured. The best time to perform this ritual is when showering. If something doesn’t feel right, see your doctor.

Ball busting.

During sexual arousal, a man’s balls can increase in size by 50 percent or more. Of course, most men are too busy thinking about something else while the blood is rushing to their testicles, but their partners may notice the change. This ball busting event is temporary, and the testicles return to normal size once the excitement is over. However, if a man’s balls don’t return to normal size or become enlarged at other times, it’s time for a visit to your doctor.

Complete Article HERE!

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How Your Penis Exercises While You Sleep

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If you want to maintain your penis size and keep it ready to perform, it is important to know how to exercise your penis. While the “love muscle” is not actually a muscle itself, your member contains spongy tissue and chambers that fill with blood to make it harder and larger; so it’s important to exercise it like any other part of the body.

You can exercise your penis by engaging in activities that increase blood flow into it. And the best way to encourage blood flow and preserve penis length is to have regular sex and/or to masturbate more. Simply put, it’s a case of use it or lose it. The more you have sex or masturbate the better shape your penis will be in. Another thing you may not know is that your penis actually exercises itself while you sleep.

Exercising Your Penis in Your Sleep

Your penis actually gets a workout while you sleep. Those middle-of-the-night and early-morning erections have an important function. They are a way for your penis to pump itself up and get some exercise. These erections are called “nocturnal erections,” and they serve several purposes such as promoting oxygenation and blood flow to the penis and helping prevent erectile dysfunction (ED). Plus, from a biological perspective, waking up with your “little friend” ready to go with your partner nearby helps encourage reproduction. Isn’t that convenient?

This “nature’s little helper” is also a natural penis extension therapy, helping to maintain penis size by continuously stretching the penile tissue. When you have an erection, oxygenating blood fills the penis, making it hard. Having good blood flow is an essential component to achieving and maintaining that erection. All healthy men with normal erectile function have multiple erections during their sleep cycle.

As you get older, you may notice that these nocturnal and morning erections are not as strong or as frequent as you had in your younger years. One of the reasons nocturnal erections reduce as you age is because of decreased testosterone, but their absence and other erectile problems could indicate a larger health problem. If you can’t remember the last time you woke up with a hard-on, or if you have experienced erectile dysfunction while awake, talk to your doctor because erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a sign of heart disease.

The downside to having fewer nocturnal erections as you age is that you stop receiving the extension and exercise benefits they provide. That makes it so you have to start working harder in the non-sleeping hours. If you don’t exercise your penis regularly, your penis can actually shrink 1-2 centimeters. Some of the other risks for loss of penis length include weight gain, aging (due to lack of use and declining hormones), genetics, and prostate surgery.

About 70 percent of the men who have their prostate removed can expect to lose some of their penis length. Prostate cancer patients are often unable to achieve an erection for 6-24 months, so doctors sometimes prescribe penis pumps. A penis pump is a tool that keeps the blood flowing in and out, and it helps prevent permanent shrinkage by stretching the penile tissue.

How to Test for Nocturnal Erections

If you are not waking up with erections and are not sure if you still even have nocturnal erections, here’s a simple nocturnal erection test you can do over three nights in the privacy of your own home. Before you laugh, this is actually a real test used by urologists, and it has a name—the nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) stamp test.

Get a strip of four to six postage stamps (you’ll need a strip for each night). Wrap the strip around the shaft of the penis and moisten to seal the ring. Once the stamp is dry, carefully place your penis into your shorts or underwear to protect the stamps from falling off. In the morning, check to see if the stamps have been broken along their perforation. During at least one of the three nights you should see the ring of stamps broken. If the ring is not broken there may be a physical problem, and you should talk to your doctor.

ED and Heart Disease

If you no longer are getting nocturnal erections or if you have had trouble with your erectile function during the waking hours, talk to your doctor to get your heart checked. A lack of nocturnal erections is one of the signs of ED, and ED is connected with another, scarier ED: early death. So even though exercising your penis is important, you also need to exercise your heart and eat a heart-healthy diet to protect both your heart and your love life.

When Size Matter

If you are concerned about losing your penis length, the best and most enjoyable plan is to use it as much as possible. There are penis-lengthening procedures, but they all have some cautions or drawbacks. One of the interesting penis facts, is that about 50 percent of your penis is actually inside your body courtesy of a suspensory ligament that attaches the penis to your pelvic bone. During surgery, a doctor releases the ligament so that more of the penis can move outside the body. It’s a serious procedure that takes awhile to heal, so you should look into whether gaining that extra inch or so is worth it.

If girth is more your concern than length there are some penile widening procedures as well. You can have a doctor implant silicone, fat, or tissue grafts into your penis. Another procedure that improves girth is to inject hyaluronic acid (a substance found in your body) into the penis. It is said to be painful but effective.

Maintaining a healthy sex life remains the best natural “sex-ercise plan” you can follow (along with exercise, diet, and lifestyle modifications). There are also other great sex exercises for men that can help strengthen muscles and increase stamina and flexibility for better performance. Most men will agree that having sex regularly to maintain penis size sounds much more inviting than cutting or injecting their favorite—and most sensitive—body part unless there is a serious medical reason for it.

Complete Article HERE!

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Our shame over sexual health makes us avoid the doctor. These apps might help.

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We’re taught to feel shame around our sexuality from a young age, as our bodies develop and start to function in ways we’re unfamiliar with, as we begin to realize our body’s potential for pleasure. Later on, women especially are taught to feel ashamed if we want “too much” sex, or if we want it “too early,” or if we’re intimate with “too many” people. Conversely, women and men are shamed if we don’t want nearly as much sex as our partner, or if we’re inexperienced in bed. We worry that we won’t orgasm, or that we’ll do so too soon. We’re afraid the things we want to do in bed will elicit disgust.

This shame can also keep people from getting the health care they need. For example, a 2016 study of college students found that, while women feel more embarrassed about buying condoms than men do, the whiff of mortification exists for both genders. Another 2016 study found many women hide their use of health-care services from family and friends so as to prevent speculation about their sexual activity and the possibility that they have a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

While doctors should be considered crucial, impartial resources for those struggling with their sexual health, many find the questions asked of them during checkups to be intrusive. Not only that but, in some cases, doctors themselves are uncomfortable talking about sexual health. They may carry conservative sexual beliefs, or have been raised with certain cultural biases around sexuality. It doesn’t help that gaps in medical school curriculums often leave general practitioners inadequately prepared for issues of sexual health.

So how do people who feel ashamed of their sexuality take care of their sexual health? In many cases, they don’t. In a study on women struggling with urinary incontinence, for example, many women avoided seeking out treatment — maintaining a grin-and-bear-it attitude — until the problem became “unbearable and distressing to their daily lives.”

Which may be why smartphone apps, at-home testing kits and other online resources have seen such growth in recent years. Now that we rely on our smartphones for just about everything — from choosing stock options to tracking daily steps to building a daily meditation practice — it makes sense people would turn to their phones, laptops and tablets to take care of their sexual health, too. Websites such as HealthTap, LiveHealth Online and JustDoc, for example, allow you to video chat with medical specialists from your computer. Companies such as L and Nurk allow you to order contraceptives from your cellphone, without ever going to the doctor for a prescription. And there are a slew of at-home STI testing kits from companies like Biem, MyLAB Box and uBiome that let you swab yourself at home, mail in your samples and receive the results on your phone.

Bryan Stacy, chief executive of Biem, says he created the company because of his own experience with avoiding the doctor. About five years ago, he was experiencing pain in his genital region. “I did what a lot of guys do, and did nothing,” he says, explaining that, while women visit their gynecologist regularly, men generally don’t see a doctor for their sexual health until something has gone wrong. “I tried to rationalize away the pain, but it didn’t go away.” Stacy says he didn’t want to talk to a doctor for fear of what he would learn, and didn’t know who he would go to anyway. He didn’t have a primary care physician or a urologist at the time. But after three months of pain, a friend of his — who happened to be a urologist — convinced him to see someone. He was diagnosed with chlamydia and testicular cancer. After that, he learned he wasn’t the only one who’d avoided the doctor only to end up with an upsetting diagnosis. “What I found is that I wasn’t strange,” Stacy says. “Everyone has this sense of sexual-health anxiety that can be avoided, but it’s that first step that’s so hard. People are willing to talk about their sexual health, but only if they feel like it’s a safe environment.”

So Stacy set out to create that environment. With Biem, users can video chat with a doctor online to describe what they’re experiencing, at which point the doctor can recommend tests. The user can then go to a lab for local testing, or Biem will send someone to their house. The patient will eventually receive their results right on their phone. Many of the above-mentioned resources work similarly.

Research shows there’s excitement for tools like these. One study built around a similar service that was still in development showed people 16 to 24 years old would get tested more often if the service was made available to them. They were intrigued by the ability to conceal STI testing from friends and family, and to avoid “embarrassing face-to-face consultations.”

But something can get lost when people avoid going in to the doctor’s office. Kristie Overstreet, a clinical sexologist and psychotherapist, worries these tools — no matter their good intentions — will end up being disempowering in the long run, especially for women. “Many women assume they will be viewed by their doctor as sexually promiscuous or ‘easy,’ so they avoid going in for an appointment,” she says. “They fear they will be seen as dirty or less than if they have an STI or symptoms of one. There is an endless cycle of negative self-talk, such as ‘What will they think about me?’ or ‘Will they think that I’m a slut because of this?’ If people can be tested in the privacy of their own home without having to see a doctor, they can keep their symptoms and diagnosis a secret,” Overstreet says, which only increases the shame.

As for the efficacy of these tools, Mark Payson, a physician and co-founder of CCRM Northern Virginia, emphasizes the importance of education and resources for those who do test positive. These screening tests can have limits, he says, noting that there can be false negatives or false positives, necessitating follow-up care. “This type of testing, if integrated into an existing physician relationship, would be a great resource,” Payson says. “But for patients with more complex medical histories, the interactions of other conditions and medications may not be taken into account.”

Michael Nochomovitz, a New York Presbyterian physician, shows a similar level of restrained excitement. “The doctor-patient interaction has taken a beating,” Nochomovitz says. “Physicians don’t have an opportunity to really engage with patients and look them in the eye and talk to them like you’d want to be spoken to. The idea is that tech should make that easier, but in many cases, it makes it more difficult and more impersonal.” Still, he sees the advantages in allowing patients to attend to their health care on their own terms, rather than having to visit a doctor’s office.

Those who have created these tools insist they’re not trying to replace that doctor-patient relationship, but are trying to build upon and strengthen it. “We want people to be partnering with their doctor,” says Sarah Gupta, the medical liaison for uBiome, which owns SmartJane, a service that allows women to monitor their vaginal health with at-home tests. “But the thing is, these topics are often so embarrassing or uncomfortable for people to bring up. Going in and having an exam can put people in a vulnerable position. [SmartJane] has the potential to help women feel they’re on a more equal footing when talking to their doctor about their sexual health.”

“If you come in with a positive test result,” says Jessica Richman, co-founder and chief executive of uBiome, “it’s not about sexual behavior anymore. It’s a matter of medical treatment. It’s a really good way for women to shift the conversation.”

This can be the case for men and women. While many will use these options as a means to replace those office visits entirely, their potential lies in the ability to improve the health care people receive.

Complete Article HERE!

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