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Review: An Intimate Life: Sex, Love and My Journey as a Surrogate Partner


Hey sex fans!

I have another swell sex-positive book to tell you about today. Anyone who frequents this site will already be familiar with my dear friend and esteemed colleague, Cheryl Cohen Greene. If ya don’t believe me type her name into the search function in the sidebar to your right and PRESTO!

Not only will you find the fabulous two-part SEX WISDOM podcast we did together, (Part 1 is HERE! And Part 1 is HERE!) you will find a posting about the movie The Sessions. You’ve seen it right? It’s the award-winning film staring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy. It’s the story of a man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity.  He contacts a professional surrogate partner with the help of his therapist and priest. Ms. Hunt plays Cheryl, the surrogate partner in the movie

Cheryl also contributed a chapter on sex and intimacy concerns for sick, elder and dying people for my book, The Amateur’s Guide To Death And Dying.

With all that as a preface, I now offer you Cheryl’s own story: An Intimate Life: Sex, Love, and My Journey as a Surrogate Partner. The first thing I want to say is this book is it’s not a clinical or technical tome. It is an easily accessible memoir. And that, to my mind, is what makes it so fascinating.

She writes in the Introduction:An Intimate Life

I started this work in 1973, and my journey to it spans our society’s sexual revolution and my own. I grew up in the ‘40s and ‘50s, a time when sex education was—to put it mildly— lacking. As I educated myself, I found that most of what I had been taught about sex was distorted or wrong. The lessons came from the playground, the church, and the media. My parents could barely talk about sex, much less inform me about it.

What follows is a candid and often funny look into the personal and professional life of a woman on the cutting edge of our culture’s movement toward sexual wellbeing.

Cheryl comes out of her conservative Catholic upbringing and her often tortured family dynamics with what one would expect—her own sexual awakenings as well as the conspiracy of ignorance and repression that wanted to stifle it. This is a common story, the story of so many of us.

Starting when I was around ten, I masturbated and brought myself to orgasm nearly every night. … If my nights began with anxiety, my days began with guilt. I became convinced that every earache, every toothache, every injury was God punishing me. … I couldn’t escape his gaze or his wrath. Sometimes I imagined my guardian angel looked away in disgust as I touched myself and rocked back and forth in my bed.

The miracle here is that this troubled tween would blossom into the remarkable sexologist she is today.

rsz_1greenecherylSome of the chapters in her book describe one or another of her hands on therapeutic encounters as a surrogate partner, but equally important and compelling are the chapters that describe Cheryl’s own sexual struggles as she moved to adulthood and beyond. Cheryl’s acceptance of her own sexuality enables her to build a career out of helping others do the very same thing.

Everyone has a right to satisfying, loving sex, and, in my experience, that most often flows from strong communication, self-respect, and a willingness to explore.

Despite the frank discussion of sexual topics within the book, there is no prurience or sensationalism. For the most part, Cheryl’s clients are regular people, mostly men, who have pretty ordinary problems—erection and/or ejaculation concerns, dating difficulties, as well as self-esteem, guilt and shame issues. Cheryl helps each of her clients with the efficiency and confidence of the world-class sex educator she is. Most of her interaction involves her supplying her clients with some much-needed information, dispelling myths, and giving them permission to experiment. As she says;

I continue to be amazed at how solid education delivered without judgment can eradicate much of the guilt and shame that turns life in the bedroom into a struggle instead of a pleasure.

Her most famous client, Mark O’Brien, the 36-six-year-old man who had spent most of his life in an iron lung after contracting polio at age 6, was the author of How I Became a Human Being: A Disabled Man’s Quest for Independence, in which he writes about his experience with Cheryl. This, of course, was adapted into a film, The Sessions, which I mentioned above. For her part, Cheryl delivers a most poignant remembrance of Mark early in her book.

I explained Sensual Touch to Mark. Although he was paralyzed, he still had sensation all over his body, so he would feel my hands moving up and down. … I encouraged him to try and recognize four common reactions: feeling neutral, feeling nurtured, feeling sensual and feeling sexual.

An Intimate Life chronicles Cheryl’s life-long interest in human sexuality. Her life and sometimes-turbulent loves are on display, but in the most considerate fashion. She teaches by example. She’s even able to speak with great compassion of her time living with and through cancer.

As I inch toward seventy, I appreciate more and more how much I have to be grateful for and how fortunate I’ve been. I was lucky to find a wonderful career and to be surrounded by so many smart, adventurous, caring people. My personal sexual revolution auspiciously paralleled our culture’s, and in many ways was made possible by it. I am eternally grateful to the pioneers, rebels, and dreamers who made our society a little safer for women who embrace their sexuality.

There is so much I loved about this book, but mostly it’s the humanity I found in abundance. Cheryl’sdr.-cheryl-cohen-greene enlightened soul shines brightly from every page. Her no nonsense approach to all things sexual is an inspiration. And her perseverance to bring surrogate partner therapy into the mainstream is laudable.

…what separates surrogates from prostitutes is significant. When people have difficulties grasping [that], I turn to my beloved and late friend Steven Brown’s cooking analogy that I’ve so often relied on to help me through that question: Seeing a prostitute is like going to a restaurant. Seeing a surrogate is like going to culinary school.

Finally, An Intimate Life is the culmination of Cheryl’s life as a sex educator, her surrogate partner therapy practice being just part of that mission. I highly recommend you read this book. You will, I assure you, come away from it as I have, a better person—enriched, informed, as well as entertained.

Cheryl, thank you for being in my life and being such an abiding inspiration. Thank you too for this marvelous book; now you can be in the lives of so many others who need you so that you can inspire them along their way.

Be sure to visit Cheryl on her site HERE!

Dribblin’ Instead of Shootin’?

Name: Alvaro
Gender: Male
Age: 21
Location: Mexico
Hi, I’m concerned because I never shoot when I cum. I dribble. I don’t like the way I cum, can you advice me how to cum shooting?? Is there anything I can do? Is it my fault or I was born with a less powered gun than others?? Sorry to bother. And thx for your help.

The problem you describe is a common one. And the solution is relatively simple. It lies in, of all things, muscle mechanics. An ejaculation is primarily a muscle contraction — built up energy being released — thus the spurt. No spurt, or a dribble most likely indicates poor muscle tone. But there’s an easy and fun solution, or more properly an exercise. Kegel exercises to be precise.

turkey-basterLet’s start at the beginning, which is always a good place to begin, don’t ‘cha know. Your prostate is the source of your ejaculate. You have a handle on that concept, right? Good! Now picture a turkey baster. Imagine your prostate as the bulb on the one end and your dick as stalk with a hole in it at the other end. Picture the baster pointed upward, like your cock with an erection. Imagine the bulb is full of fluid and you need to get that fluid out the bulb, up the stalk and out the hole…just like your spooge when you cum. How ya gonna do that? A firm grasp on the bulb and a hefty squeeze, that’s how!

So Alvaro, if you’re dribblin’ instead of shootin’, your muscles need to be strengthened and toned. And like I said, I have just the right exercises for you.

Anyone who is paying the least bit of attention to the ranting and raving of Dr Dick will fruit_genitalsimmediately be familiar with Kegel exercises. I talk about them a lot. And those who haven’t been paying attention — listen up, you monkeys! Kegel exercises serve to tone and strengthen the pubococcygeus muscle or as we in the know like to call it, the “PC” muscle, which is part of the muscle group at the floor of the pelvis. The health of this muscle group plays a vital role in getting you up and getting you off, as well as in other aspects of healthy genital functioning.

Kegel exercises help increase blood flow to the genital area (getting you up). And Kegel exercises strengthen and tone the muscles that are involved in ejaculation (getting you off). If you exercise this muscle regularly, you’ll gain greater control over the timing and strength of your ejaculations. Kegel exercises can also prevent incontinence and other problems associated with aging, but we’ll save that for another time.

male_anatomy.jpgSo you’re probably saying to yourself, “sure, Dr Dick, I’d like to strengthen my PC muscle, but I never even heard of that muscle, let along know where to fine it.”

Alrighty then, Alvaro, here’s what ya do. Work up a full bladder, the more full your bladder the better. Go to the john and sit on the toilet. (Yeah, just like a girl!) Now let the pee flow. As you’re doin’ that, I want you to interrupt the stream of piss several times before you empty your bladder. The muscle you are using to do this is your PC muscle. Look to distinguish between your PC muscles and your anal sphincter muscles. With a little practice you’ll become adept at separating out these two muscle groups. Actually strengthening all your pelvic muscles is a swell idea, especially for power bottoms, but again we’ll save that topic for another time too.

Now that you have located your PC muscle, you can exercise it at will, even when your bladder is completely empty. First, try squeezing your PC muscles as hard as you can for a count of three seconds. Then relax. Repeat this till you feel the muscles tiring. How fun is this?

I want you to work for both muscle strength and tone. For example, start with five strong prolonged squeezes (5 seconds apiece). Relax. Then do a series of 10 rapid contractions in a row. Doing three sets of each twice a day for a week is your goal. When you are ready to proceed try increasing this to three sets of eight to ten prolonged squeezes and 20 rapid contractions in a set. The advanced Kegeler will be able to vary the type and timing of his PC squeezing; slow clenches to quick flutters.PG-TrainingKitOnly-Promo

If you keep this up, you’ll be shootin’ jizz across the room in no time. And the beauty part of Kegel exercises is you can do them whenever and wherever you like. You can be sitting in a meeting with your boss and be doing your Kegel exercises. You can argue with your boyfriend/girlfriend and be doing your Kegel exercises. You can be watching reruns of Leave It To Beaver with your maiden aunt and be doing your Kegel exercises. Who would have guessed improving your sexual health would be such a pleasure?

If you’re serious about all of this, I have else to share with you. This is The Private Gym. It’s the first interactive, follow-along exercise program that helps men strengthen the muscles that support and control our cock. As men approach age 30, the muscles that support erectile function begin to weaken. By age 40, more than 50% of men experience some form of erectile dysfunction and this number increases to more then 66% as men approach 60 years of age. And for all you bottoms out there, you know how important it is to keep anal muscles in tip-top, pardon the pun, shape. And, just in case you didn’t know, The Private Gym won the coveted Best Health Related Product or Toy of 2014 as compiled by the Dr Dick Review Crew. So how about them apples?

Good luck

Mellow With Age

Name: Bob
Gender: Male
Age: 54
Location: Laguna Beach
As an older man, I’ve started having performance problems. Unfortunately there’s no decrease in my libido. I think some of my problem is psychological. I’m also HIV+. And I find myself worrying about transmission even with condoms. But some of the problem is physical. I do wear a cockring and that helps I guess. Is there anything else I can do to increase my performance to match my libido?

Thanks for your comment and question. Your concern is a familiar one. Men regularly present this problem in my private practice and I also have a personal familiarity with the issue in my own life.

Diminished performance, at least in terms of a perpetually stiff dick, is a natural occurrence as we age. There was a time when I thought this was a major problem. I don’t think like that now. These days I’m helping my older clients (and myself) appreciate the full range of sensuality that is the unique purview of us more seasoned lovers. I’ve always felt that as gay men we are too genitally focused, especially when it comes at the expense of all the other pleasure zones our bodies have been gifted with.Kedori - Eileen Gray Bibendum Armchair

The rushed, hormonally driven sex of my youth has matured into a slower, more relaxed and sensual sexuality that I am thoroughly enjoying. This has been one of the very best gifts of the aging process. It’s even having an effect on my younger partners and they are appreciative.

So I no longer equate performance with a stiff dick. For those times when I absolutely need a rock-hard hardon a cock ring does just fine. I’m aware that I may need more time to achieve this kind of erection, but I’m not just twiddling my thumbs while I’m waiting, if ya know what I mean. I am no longer frustrated by this natural phenomenon, because I no longer have unrealistic expectations.

I realize that many men are using with an erection-enhancing medication such as Viagra, but I suggest that this be reserved for those who are truly experiencing erection dysfunction.

I’m also concerned with the alarming rise of younger men, men in their 20’s and 30’s who are using Viagra or another similar drugs recreationally. This is very troubling. If your young body is having difficulty producing an erection, then you need medical attention ASAP, or maybe you just need some sleep. However, if you’re abusing Viagra just so you can have an erection that lasts for hours that’s a real bad idea for several reasons. Not least of which is your body will habituate itself to that stuff and you will find that, in time, you won’t be able to get it up at all without ever increasing doses of Viagra.

viagra cartoonThis is gonna fuck up your cardiovascular system big time. In fact, you may very well be inducing the very sexual dysfunction the drug is supposed to help. Consider the person who overuses eye drops or lip balm or any number of otherwise innocuous health and beauty products. Their body will stop making the natural substances that these over the counter products are intended to assist. It’s counterproductive and it’s ill advised. If this is a problem with relatively harmless over the counter products, you know you are playing with fire when you’re abusing powerful prescription meds.

Whoops, sorry Bob, I went off topic there for a minute. It’s just that every opportunity I get to put out a message that will dissuade someone from hurting one’s self, I just launch into it.

So back to you. It is clear from what you tell me, your performance problems do, as you suggest, also have a psychological component to it. You have a fear that, despite being responsible in your sex play and even though you play safe, you could accidentally pass on HIV.

It’s true; one’s brain can indeed override almost every function of our body. For example, we draw each and every breath we take without even thinking about it. However, if a situation dictates our brain can and does override that essential pulmonary function and we can hold our breath. The same is true with our sexual response cycle. Sometimes we can become sexually aroused without really thinking about it. However, if for one reason or another our brain assisted by our conscience interferes with or even shuts down the sexual arousal, that’s pretty much, all she wrote.

Your scruples about the possibility that you could accidentally pass along HIV are interfering with your sexual response cycle. No cockring or an erection-enhancing medication is going to change that darlin’!

In other words, the problem is not in your cock, the problem is in your head. This is something you’re gonna have to wrestle with and finally resolve. This tension between your head and your dick is actually a good thing. Your body is providing you an opportunity to align your moral values with your sexual performance. How will this resolve itself? I couldn’t say. But I know for sure resolution is possible.

I do suggest, however, that you not try to do this in a vacuum. Reach out to a HIV support group or a sex-positive therapist for the help you need in making peace between your head and your cock.

Good luck


Name: r68tool
Gender: Male
Age: 52
Location: Montana
Doc, I have been an insulin-dependent diabetic for 25 years. I’m also a post-operative kidney transplant recipient. I have not been able to achieve nor maintain any kind of erection for the past 19 years. I have visited several urologists, but they have been useless. I am able to manipulate my cock to have a semi-hard erection by tying a leather string around my scrotum and cock. I can sometimes get very erect. But when I orgasm, I NEVER ejaculate sperm. I’m convinced that there must be blockage to prevent an erection and semen flow. Any suggestions? Do I need surgery?

Do you ABSOLUTELY need to ejaculate when you orgasm? Lots of guys with medical issues, like yours, don’t. There are also many men who practice ejaculation control as part of Tantric sex.cock,schlong, dong

I don’t believe you have a blockage of any sort. The glands that produce the bulk of your ejaculate may have atrophied due to the diabetes. This is not uncommon. If this is the case, no surgery is gonna fix that.

That being said; I have a tip for you. If you are self-conscious about not having an ejaculate when you cum, check out Spunk Lube. It’s the lube that looks and feels just like jizz.

Good luck

Name: Emily
Gender: Female
Age: 26
Location: Ohio
I have been having sex with this guy I met for a week now and he’s only cum once. We have foreplay and then we have sex… We try all positions but then his dick goes limp. Is it because of me? He says he likes to have sex with me but I’m confused, why isn’t he cumming? We usually have sex for hours at a time… I squirt and keep my pussy moist so what’s the problem here?

Performance anxiety causing delayed ejaculation. That would be my guess.

Use the search function at the top of the sidebar to your right, type in performance anxiety and you’ll be presented with a load of information about this issue and how to handle it.

Here’s a little taste of what you will find:

Most of us experts believe that the majority of delayed ejaculation concerns are not physical in nature, but rather they are the product of psychological problems. Perhaps your friend would benefit from a professional evaluation.

cordially invitedGenerally, the object of a sexological intervention is to diffuse the guy’s sexual anxieties so that he can comfortably cum with his partner without difficulty.

When I see this issue in my therapy practice, I offer my clients a series of homework assignments that are designed to reduce performance pressure and focus on pleasure. These are relaxation exercises and sensate focus exercises.

I call a moratorium on fucking for a limited period of time, so the couple can learn other means of sexually pleasuring one another. I try to get my clients to stay in the moment; absorb the pleasure that is present without worrying about what is “supposed to” happen. I encourage my clients to create a relaxed, sexy atmosphere, free of pressure to perform in one-way or another. Finally, we address as frankly and openly as possible any and all fears or anxieties they may have as individuals or as a couple. The most common are a fear of intimacy, of being gay, of being in a relationship or of disease.

Some guys report success with hypnosis. But I don’t practice that myself, so I have no first hand knowledge of its efficacy.

However, I do encourage you guys to get to the bottom of this, so to speak, ASAP. To leave this unaddressed will only cause greater difficulties later on. Just remember, you cannot will a sexual response, just like you cannot will yourself to go to sleep or enjoy something you don’t. And the harder you try to have a certain response, the more inhibited you become.

Good luck

I am a male and I am interested in having another man give me oral sex. My question is can I get any STDs by allowing another man to perform oral sex on me? Can you direct me to some information regarding this topic? Thanks!

Ya know, that Google thing really works, my friend! Search for “STD (or STI) and oral sex” and presto! You’ll get a shit-load of info.need a good fuck

Here’s what you will learn: Oral sex is considered a lower risk activity for STDs (or as we prefer to call them, STIs Sexually Transmitted Infections) than are anal and vaginal sex. Even so, it is still possible to get an STD/STI whether you are giving or getting oral sex. Blowjobs can put you at risk for infections like herpes and gonorrhea. If you don’t know where your partner’s mouth has been, and you want to extra protection, use a condom.

Good luck

Hi. I was hoping that maybe you could help me out with this problem.
I really only have minimal experience giving oral sex to a man.
I read your bit about the gag reflex and thank you. I will work on that. I want to talk about teeth. My mouth is not that big, and it is hard for me to keep from scraping my man’s cock with them. My partner wants to fuck my throat. We try, but that seems to always cause problems. I was wondering if you knew of any devices out there that are designed to cover the teeth while only reducing the oral cavity size minimally.

Ya know your jaw is a remarkable thing. With just a little exercise, it can be stretched so that your mouth will open wider. Many people never see the need to stretch their jaw and so the gape of their mouth never increases.

The wider your mouth opens the less your teeth will get in the way of whatever you are inserting in your mouth. It just stands to reason.

Start by doing some simple stretching exercises. Open your mouth as wide as you can and hold it for a count of 5. Do a set of 10 stretches like this at least 3 times a day. You will find that in no time your gape will be larger. You can employ the use of a cock shaped vegetable like a cucumber to aid you in your stretching. Just so you know, this is how the experts (porn stars) ready themselves for the really big ones.

You can get teeth guards as well. But I don’t think the problem lies with your teeth.

Practice these exercises and let me know how you make out, so to speak.

Good luck

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A Twofer Today

A couple of young lads with foreskin problems thousands of miles apart.

Name: Tom
Gender: Male
Age: 18
Location: California
Whenever I see the penises of other guys their skin always goes back exposing their head when they have an erection. When I’m hard my skin never goes all the way back. My head is always covered even when I have an erection and when I try to pull the skin back it wont. Is this normal?


Name: Matt
Gender: Male
Age: 16
Location: England
Hi, i’ve got a problem with my foreskin. when my penis is erect the foreskin doesn’t pull back over the head of my penis. I was wondering if this is easily corrected or will I need to be circumcised.

Let’s start at beginning, shall we? When us boys are born we all have a foreskin. A good portion of us will have our unit 4-Foreskin-stretchingseriously altered within days of showing up on the scene. Someone, possibly with good intentions, will lops off 50% of our cock skin and call it a day. I know, cuckoo, huh? Well, be that as it may, those of us who escape this dastardly deed have a foreskin, but it’s only open enough to pee through. And it only opens more if it’s stretched, and it only gets stretched if the owner of that foreskin pulls it back over his dickhead. No foreskin ever opens by itself; it gets gradually stretched open over time either intentionally or just through normal use.

Most little boys soon discover that pulling back their foreskin feels really good. After all, this unique piece of skin is chock full of nerve endings that register loads of delicious pleasure. A lad’s foreskin needs to be pushed back regularly, in order to stretch it open, and to keep it from shrinking shut again. It is important that the boy do this himself, so that it is pushed only as far back as feels comfortable to him.

Of course, there in lies the rub, so to speak. The sex-negative pressures of the prevailing culture, both here in the good old U.S. of A. as well as abroad, frown upon self-induced pleasure of any sort; even if it is associated with personal hygiene and necessary bodily upkeep. So most boys get the message that fiddlin’ around down there, even for the purpose of essential maintenance is a no-no. Simply put, without manual stretching a kid’s skin can actually shrink, closing up again.

foreskin stretch01As a young fella approaches puberty there is, as we all know, a growth spurt. What most of us fail to take into account is that along with his legs, arms, torso, head and feet, his cock is also growing. His dickhead is increasing in size, and if the kid hasn’t established a healthy routine of foreskin stretching there is gonna be trouble, like what’s happening for you guys.

Since parents are not likely to encourage self-discovery of this sort, nor are they inclined to show their young uncut sons how to properly care for this exceptional body part, the kid remains clueless till a problem arises. Wouldn’t it be so much simpler, as well as the responsible thing to do, for all parents with intact boys to pass on this priceless nugget of wisdom. It would be so easy to do while the kids are enjoying their bath. Parents could show their boys how to retract this fold of skin so that it stays supple, as well as getting things rinsed out underneath. They could encourage their boys to always pull back their lace curtains when they pee. Merely the number of times a fella will handle himself to piss will automatically keep things more lubricated and elastic.Foreskin-Stretching-2

Ok, I’m gonna guess that neither of you weren’t instructed on the proper care of your natural cock. Am I right? So now ya’ll have some remedial work to do. Let’s start with a few foreskin stretching exercises.

Exercise 1 — While you’re dick is soft; retract your foreskin as far back as you can. Work two fingers in under your hood till you can touch the head of your dick. Now attempt to roll your hood forward and over your fingers. It’s like docking another dick, only you’re using your fingers. This exercise depends on you having your fingers inside your foreskin for it to be effective. In time you’ll be able to add three fingers, instead of just two. This will stretch your skin to the point you’ll be able to easily retract it over your erect dickhead.

foreskin stretchExercise 2 — Grab each side of the foreskin opening and gently pull each side apart. Stretch the opening till it’s stretched with a tension you can tolerate, but that is not actually painful. Hold for a count of 10 and release. Repeat for 5 sets of 10 pulls per day, more if you can handle it. Here’s a tip, these stretches are best done after soaking in a warm bath or a long hot shower.

Exercise 3 — This is a variation on exercise 1. Insert a smooth cylindrical object into your foreskin opening, like the cork from a wine bottle. This object needs to be just large enough to stretch the skin without pain. Once inserted, leave it there for as long as you can during the day, or for over night. As your foreskin stretches you want to swap the one object for another with a larger diameter. If a wine cork is too big to start with, consider a smaller smooth plastic rubber plugsdowel or a rubber bung plug. You can find these sorts of things at the hardware store. You might need to use a bit of surgical tape to keep these stretchers in place.

These exercises may sound a bit invasive or uncomfortable, and perhaps they will be at first. But don’t worry; you’ll live. In a short period of time you will have a much more pliable foreskin, one that you can retract at will and with ease. And when you’re sexually active with a partner, it will work flawlessly and exponentially increase your pleasure.

Good luck

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