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I Have A Pain in My Inbox!

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From the sublime to the ridiculous, my inbox is a catch all. Kinda like the grease trap in your kitchen drain. Wading through the detritus can often be injurious to my health. But wade I must. So onward we go.

Name: anonras
Gender:
Age: 47
Location: Northridge CA
I’ve heard a lot about checking your balls for possible problems — but none ever say what lumps you have naturally. At the low point of my testacies I feel a lump (I would explain it as an area that would feel more or less like a cracked egg, you have that part that is globulous and is string-tethered to the yoke. Is that exactly what’s happening? Should you feel any pain if you squeeze it — especially trying to figure out if it is a lump or not?

repo.jpgHoney, I’m clever as all-get out about lots of things, but the lump on your balls ain’t one of those things. I’m not a medical doctor; I don’t even play one here on the internets. And I can assure you, no reputable doctor anywhere would hazard a guess about what you present without first seeing you in person. That’s just good medicine.

That being said, I applaud you taking note of your balls in an inquisitive sort of way. Good for you! But you should also have at least a rudimentary understanding of your testicular anatomy. So that when you do your self-exam, you can have some sense about what it is you are examining. To this purpose, I offer the diagram to the right. Is there anything in the diagram that looks even remotely like what you are feeling in your ballsack?

Finally, if you have a concern about what you think may be an abnormality, isn’t it high time for you to high tail it to a doctor for a look-see?

Good luck

Name: Dorian
Gender:
Age: 18
Location: NYC
Is there any difference in Penis size between races?

Seriously? You need to get out more, darlin!
black_big_dick1.jpg
You becha there a difference in cock size between the races. While, within each racial group there is a natural diversity of size, from tiny to gargantuan. There’s no getting around the fact that there are more gargantuan johnsons in some racial groups then other. At the risk of perpetuating a stereotype, compare some fine black dick to some sweet Chinese cock.

asian.jpg

Good luck

Name: Kent I B Pinker
Gender:
Age: 32
Location: New Zealand
I am curious about anal bleaching. In part just for the sheer vanity of it, but also as a surprise and kinky turn on for my partner. I have done some research online but I am scared after reading some of the horror stories. Any advice?

Kent I B Pinker? I love it! You get the award for “Most Clever Pseudonym of the Year! Congratulations!

If you’re curious about anal bleaching — and yes, there is such a thing — you have way too much time on your hands. Anal bleaching is just the latest in a string of truly disturbing cosmetic trends sweeping the “More Money Than Brains” crowd. WTF, folks? If your vanity extends to the hue of your rosebud, you’re just too goddamn vain, in my humble opinion!

anusbanner.jpgThis all started in the adult industry, don’t ‘cha know. I guess some folks figured they weren’t quite ready for their close-up. Being part of that industry myself, I know how unforgiving hot lights and hi-def can be. However, I still can’t condone such a dangerous and reckless practice.

You are right to be scared off by the horror stories of bleachings gone bad, Kent. So I suggest, unless your hole is makin’ you money, you forego even contemplating the procedure.

Good luck

Name: William
Gender:
Age: 67
Location: Connecticut
Is there such a thing as a being a homosexual watcher only? Getting an erection but not wanting to perform?

kinsey_scale.jpgAll sexual orientation is on a continuum. See the Kinsey Scale to the right. The dean of American sex research, Alfred Kinsey, his associate, Wardell Pomeroy, and others developed this scale as a way of classifying a person’s sexuality in terms of both behavior and fantasy. These pioneering sexologists also found that an individual may be reassigned a position on this scale, at different periods in his/her life. It’s conceivable that one could go from 0 to 6 in a lifetime, or just a summer on Fire Island. This seven-point scale comes close to showing the many gradations that actually exist in human sexual expression.

To your specific question, William… Yes, some one could be a Kinsey “6” in terms of his fantasy and desire, but be a Kinsey “0” in terms of behaviors.

We’re amazing creatures, huh?

Good Luck

Name: michelle
Gender:
Age: 22
Location: canada
tips to help when the man your sleeping with has a small penis

Tips? …no pun intended, I hope.

doggiestyle.jpgOk, here goes — Tip #1, grin and bear it. Tip #2, find a guy with more pork. Tip #3, get a dildo. Tip #4, find a sexual position, like doggie style, that will make the most of every little bit of pecker the poor guy’s got. Tip #5, remember it ain’t always da meat, but it is always da motion.

Good luck

Name: Drew
Gender:
Age: 43
Location: Philadelphia
I am looking forward to my first man-on-man sex for the first time with a hookup in the near future. Question: What type of “preparation” do I need for my first anal sex? Also, should I use a condom with giving/getting oral sex? Thanks.

You’re in luck, newbee butt-pirate! Dr Dick has written (postings) and spoken (podcasts) extensively about the joys of ass fucking. Check out the CATEGORIES section on the left side of the site. Look for anything with the word “ass” in it. We don’t mince words around here. Or you can simply search for Liberating The B.O.B. Within. That’ll get ya started.

As to your concern about condom-covered dick for blowjobs; I don’t see a pressing reason for such. That’s not to say there’s no reason, just not a pressing one. I am of the mind that we ought to know something about the dick we’re sucking. Does it look healthy? Do you know where it’s been before it was in your mouth? How’s our oral health and hygiene? Will there be an exchange of bodily fluids? If you have questions about any of these things, maybe you need to postpone the cocksucking.

Good luck

Name: william
Gender:
Age: 19
Location: Wisconsin
In cock size, is 4 1/2 to small. Why is it so small and is there a way to fix it.

Jeez, ya mean 4.5” erect? Yeah, that’s kinda on the “How Adorable” end of the size spectrum. It’s not quite, “OMG, How Pathetic”, nor is it “Yikes, You’ll Put an Eye Out With That” either.

Why is it so small? Sheesh, beats me. Maybe when the angles were handing out meat, you thought they said “feet” and asked for petite.

Is there a way to fix it? Are you suggesting it doesn’t work? Or are you just a size queen? While you’re trying to figure that out, why not take a look at: Much Ado About Very Little.

Good luck

Much Ado About Very Little

Ya’ll are gotta get a load of this. It’s rare that one person can generate an entire column with his email exchange, but that’s what happened this month. The curious thing is that I was already preparing a column about men’s obsession with dick size when along comes this dude and practically writes the whole damn column on his own.

Check it out!

Dr. Dick,
My lover of 10 years just left me. The guy he left me for is 12 years younger. I will be forty-one in June. The primary reason that he left is because, and I quote; “you have a great body and are the most attentive lover I have ever had, but he has a ten inch dick! You cannot compete with that!” And he is right. I am only 7.5.
I have stopped going out. Every chat room online has guys that are 10 plus inches in them. So I have not been in chat rooms, gone to bars or stayed in touch with friends. The two guys I attempted to have sex with, one was a stripper who was on the cover of Inches the week after we met. The other one was an army guy that had a dick like a piece of polish sausage.
I never have been a fan of huge cocks, but now I want one. I want to be at least 9.5 inches. Can this be done through surgery? I understand that vacuum pumps do not really work.
Can you seriously offer some help or advice?
Thanks.
Without a Big One

Wow, WABO, you’ve come up with a really brilliant idea. Let’s all of us fight shallow with shallow!

p1.jpgHoney, you’re 41 and yet you apparently still have this adolescent GRASP on the whole dick size thing, huh? Too bad! I guess some folks just never grow up. And I hate to break the news to you, but all those guys on line, the ones with 10 inches…those are cyber inches, darlin. Cyber inches have no connection at all to real honest-to-goodness LIVE inches. Jeez, wake up and smell the coffee. You’re giving us homos a bad name.

Throughout history, men have obsessed about the size of their cocks. And when there’s attention of this magnitude paid to something this trivial, you can be sure there’s gonna be an entire industry poised to bilk the shit out of the willie worrisome, like you WABO. Hey, where do you suppose the term “snake oil” originated? Sheesh!

All of this unfortunate big-dick envy creates a never-ending parade of con artists tryin’ to sell a remedy, of one sort or another, to cure guys, just like you, of their “shame”. But, take it from Dr. Dick, the dick doctor; it’s all bullshit. And some of the bullshit is really scary and dangerous bullshit.

For every little peanut out there, (and if you are reporting your size accurately, you’re not little in any way shape or form) there is some kooky diet, ridiculous cream, bogus massage technique or worthless breathing exercise that is supposed to transform one’s mini-meat into the giant economy size. And let’s not forget the weights you can hang on your thang. Vacuum devices to pump up your thang. And of course the twenty-first century solution — cosmetic surgery — to put a happy face on your thang. The results are dubious if there are any results at all. And each has negative side effects, some of which are more revolting than others.

Here’s the last word on this — don’t waste your money on any of this crap. Or better yet, send me the money, and I’ll put it to good use. Here’s the very best advice I can offer a guy who is unhappy about the size of his schlong…learn to love what ya got and leave it the hell alone.

My overriding concern, WABO, is for your state of mind. I ask myself, what kind of person would chase after a faithless BF, disrupt an established value system and seriously contemplate physically altering his appearance with all the risks that that implies? I can only assume that this is just some kind of mid-life crisis that you’re experiencing and that this will pass with time. Hang in there, WABO.

Dr. Dick

Richard,
Or should I say Dr. Dick, although I am angry and hurt I am in no way experiencing a mid life crisis. In addition, if the correct way to measure the penis is from the base to tip topside…I have done so with a fabric tape measure. The tape breaks, or bends at just past 7.5. In my experience that is small.
Just curious…How big is Dr. Dick’s cock? How big are the cocks of the guys you hire for you films and productions. I bet there are none my size or smaller. I always find it interesting that guys like Ron Jeremy or the late Scott O’Hara delving out advice to men much smaller telling them to learn to love themselves. Gee that helps a lot at a bathhouse or a play party. Guys like that, like the guy my ex left me for, never have to worry about dropping there pants after a hot date with a potential boyfriend or fuck buddy and worry about being humiliated because of the size of there cock.
I guess if I were as well adjusted or as well hung it wouldn’t be a problem.
Without

Dear Without,

Here’s what I know.

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE PENIS SIZE? The average penis size when erect is only 5.7″ to 6″. Over 90% of men posses this size.r1.jpg

HOW TO MEASURE PENIS SIZE: The easiest way to measure the erect penis is to use a piece of string or similar and wrap it around the thickest part of the erect penis – this is usually very near the base of your dick, but the glans just below the head can sometimes be thicker.

Make a mark on the string where it meets the start of the string and then lay the string flat next to a ruler and measure the distance between the beginning and the end mark. This measurement is your penis circumference.

To find out your length, use a ruler (running along the top of your penis) to measure from the base of the penis, i.e. where the shaft meets the body, to the tip.

Dr. Dick

Dr. Dick,
I was able to find your profile online. You are quite obviously very well hung. Lucky for you. I have decided to talk to a surgeon in NYC that does this particular surgery. In addition, he is putting me in touch with men that he has performed this procedure on that have had success.
Since you are already hung well, I don’t expect you to understand. I imagine no one has ever left you because your dick was not BIG ENOUGH! I had hoped for some real and helpful advice. Instead I found your comments belittling.
Thank you,
Without

Dear WABO

t2.jpgDude, are you serious? You don’t know squat about me, girlfriend. And here’s a tip, the beauty part of free advice is you can either take it or leave it.

Belittling, huh? Curious choice of words in light of what we’re discussing. Take it from a professional; it is you who belittle yourself, not me. A big dick makes one a curiosity, it doesn’t make one interesting.

Have a ball with that surgeon. Maybe, if you spend a shit lot of money to get an extra inch of dick you’ll be a happier man. I doubt it, but I could be wrong.

While you’re at it, why not have the doctor put you in touch with the guys who aren’t success stories. Have you ever seen a botched dick job? Not pretty! I’d be willing to wager the cost of such an intervention that there are a lot more dissatisfied customers than satisfied ones.

The best of luck to you. Oh, and have a nice day.

Dr. Dick

Richard,
Are you a real Doctor? Would you be this insensitive if I were a paying patient? I have lost my lover to someone younger because he has a bigger cock. I have not had sex in months. The two times I tried the guys were hung huge. I don’t go out and I see no possible chance for happiness without being able to compete.
Tried three therapists…one fell asleep while I was crying. One said I was too angry for his experience, the last one was a woman. What do I do?

Here’s what you should do, WABO, drop all this pathetic self-pity routine and invest in something that will make you a more interesting person, something that does not call attention to your dick regardless of its size. Either that or you’ll find yourself even more alone and bitter than you currently are. So buck up, bubby, and pull yourself together. No more whining.

Dr. Dick

Trust a Scientist: Sex Addiction Is a Myth

By Jim Pfaus

A psychologist explains why sex addiction therapy is more about faith than facts, as told to Tierney Finster

001

Self-labeled sex addicts often speak about their identities very clinically, as if they’re paralyzed by a scientific condition that functions the same way as drug and alcohol addiction. But sex and porn “addiction” are NOT the same as alcoholism or a cocaine habit. In fact, hypersexuality and porn obsessions are not addictions at all. They’re not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and by definition, they don’t constitute what most researchers understand to be addiction.

Here’s why: addicts withdraw. When you lock a dope fiend in a room without any dope, the lack of drugs will cause an immediate physiological response — some of which is visible, some of which we can only track from within the body. During withdrawal, the brains of addicts create junctions between nerve cells containing the neurotransmitter GABA. This process more or less inhibits the brain systems usually excited by drug-related cues — something we never see in the brains of so-called sex and porn addicts.

A sex addict without sex is much more like a teenager without their smartphone. Imagine a kid playing Angry Birds. He seems obsessed, but once the game is off and it’s time for dinner, he unplugs. He might wish he was still playing, but he doesn’t get the shakes at the dinner table. There’s nothing going on in his brain that creates an uncontrollable imbalance.

The same goes for a guy obsessed with watching porn. He might prefer to endlessly watch porn, but when he’s unable to, no withdrawal indicative of addiction occurs. He’ll never be physically addicted. He’ll just be horny, which for many of us, is merely a sign we’re alive.

There haven’t been any studies that speak to this directly. As such, the anti-fapper narrative is usually the only point discussed: Guys stop masturbating after they stop downloading porn, and after a few days, they say they’re able to get normal erections again. This coincides with the somewhat popular idea that watching porn leads to erectile dysfunction, a position that porn-addiction advocates such as Marnia Robinson and Gary Wilson state emphatically. (Robinson wrote a book on the subject, though her degree is in law, not science, and Wilson, a retired physiology teacher, presented a TED Talk about hyperstimulation in Glasgow.) These types of advocates are wedded to the idea that porn is an uncontrolled stimulus the brain gets addicted to because of the dopamine release it causes. According to their thinking, anything that causes dopamine release is addictive.

But there’s a difference between compulsion and addiction. Addiction can’t be stopped without major consequence, including new brain activity. Compulsive behavior can be stopped; it’s just difficult to do so. In other words, being “out of control” isn’t a universal symptom of addiction.

002

Then what, exactly, does it mean when Tiger Woods and Josh Duggar go to rehab for sex addiction? Or when Dr. Drew offers it up on TV for washed-up celebrities? The answer is simple: They’re giving free marketing to the new American industry of sex addiction therapy. Reformers Unanimous, the faith-based treatment program chosen by Duggar, is likely to gain a number of new patients thanks to the media frenzy surrounding his admission to their facilities after the Ashley Madison hack exposed the affairs Duggar blamed on porn addiction.

These programs are similar to traditional 12-step models, except even more informed by faith. By misdiagnosing patients from the start, they gloss over the underlying issues that might make someone more prone to compulsive sexual behaviors, including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and depression. Plenty of compulsive and ritualistic sexual behaviors aren’t addictions; they’re symptomatic of other issues.

Unfortunately, that’s just scratching the surface of the faulty science practiced by these recovery centers. For instance, according to proponents of the sex addiction industry, the more porn someone watches, the more they’ll experience erectile dysfunction. However, my recent study with Nicole Prause, a psychophysiologist and neuroscientist at UCLA, showed that’s absurd. While advocates of sex and porn addiction are quick to correlate the amount of porn a guy looks at to how desensitized his penis is, our study showed that watching immense amounts of porn made men more sensitive to less explicit stimuli. Simply put, men who regularly watched porn at home were more aroused while watching porn in the lab than the men in the control group. They were able to get erections quicker and had no trouble maintaining them, even when the porn being watched was “vanilla” (i.e., free of hardcore sex acts like bondage).

There is, of course, other evidence that porn isn’t a slippery slope to physical or mental dysfunction. A paper just came out in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy from German researchers that looked at both the amount of porn consumed by German and Polish men and women and their sexual attitudes and behaviors. It found that more porn watched meant more variety of sexual activity — for both sexes.

Despite these results, there’s still an entire publication, Sex Addiction & Compulsivity, committed to demonstrating that porn creates erectile dysfunction. Its very existence suggests sex addiction and its treatments are real, yet the journal doesn’t take a stance on any particular treatments. And while its resolutions come from peer-reviewed articles, these articles only get reviewed by people who already believe in the notion of sex addiction.

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Which is why the journal has zero impact. The number of times a scientific journal gets used in other scholarly work is measured by something called the Journal Citation Reports (JCR). That number determines a journal’s official impact factor. So far, Sex Addiction & Compulsivity has a JCR impact factor of 0.00. Nobody cites anything from it, except maybe their own cult of followers who publish on blogs and personal websites.

The journal benefits from a very 21st century way of creating a veneer of objectivity. As long as there are papers in it, people can cite them as “scientific.” Even if the work — and the people who oversee it — are anything but. An influential associate editor there is David Delmonico, a professor who runs an “internet behavior consulting company” that offers “intervention for problematic Internet behaviors.” He believes sex addiction is real because he’s wary of the supposedly horrible effects the internet (and all the porn there) can have on human behavior.

Such porn-shaming isn’t all that different from the guilt conservatives attach to sex, even though conditioning men to feel bad about their sexual behaviors only leads to the kind of secretive, damaging behaviors evidenced in the Duggar story. What’s worse: when sexuality is labeled a “disease” like addiction, guys no longer have to own their sexuality — or their actions. It’s unnecessary to explain why they cheated because it’s beyond their control. And so, the “addict” stigma is preferable because it’s one they can check into rehab and recover from. Being considered an “adulterer,” on the other hand, is harder to shake.

Complete Article HERE!

9 Things You Don’t Know About the Mighty Foreskin

By Anna Lynn

Foreskin Hug

Takeaway:Foreskin is pretty fascinating stuff.

Crewneck or turtleneck? As you might have guessed, we aren’t talking about fashion, we’re talking about foreskin. And while nearly 80% of men in the United States are foreskin-free, in the rest of the world, foreskin is the norm. But for a such a small piece of skin, foreskin sure carries a lot of baggage. There are all kinds of debate about whether a cut or uncut penis is cleaner, sexier or more attractive.

And you know what? We aren’t taking sides. Two sexy people who are attracted to each other should be able to have a great time, whether there’s a foreskin between them or not. Even so, foreskin is pretty fascinating stuff. Here we look at nine nifty things you may not know about it.

It’s Found on 70% of the World’s Penisesforeskin stretch

If you’ve never seen a penis with its own sleeping bag, you might be surprised to learn that most penises come as they were made: all wrapped up. In fact, even in the United States, where most male babies are still circumcised, circumcision rates are dropping as public opinion about circumcision shifts.

It’s a Built-In Masturbation Sleeve

All penises are unique (and awesome!), but if there’s one thing to know about foreskins it’s that it can make hand jobs a lot easier. By moving back and forth with the hand, foreskin provides protection, lubrication and extra stimulation all at the same time. Neat, huh? (Learn more in Sex and Circumcision: a Lady’s Guide.)

It’s More Than Just Skin

Foreskin is actually a unique kind of skin that’s more like an eyelid than the skin on the rest of the body. Foreskin also contains stem cells. As a result, foreskins have been used to cultivate skin and skin byproducts for skin creams, burn victims and cosmetic testing. Interesting. Although I’d much rather encounter foreskin on a familiar penis than rub a stranger’s foreskin all over my face.

foreskin31It Can Impact Female Pleasure

Most people who’ve had partners with both circumcised and uncircumcised penises will tell you that the partner matters more than the penis. However, foreskin does have some functionality in terms of female pleasure. Because the foreskin cuts down on friction, it can mean easier penetration and smoother glide, which can mean longer, more comfortable play, even without lube. (Although most people recommend that you use some anyway. Slippery is better!) The foreskin is also believed to bunch up and provide a little extra clitoral stimulation, which is never a bad thing.

Dildos Are Going Uncut Too

Whether you are into the feel or just the look of an uncut penis, that experience has typically been notoriously hard to come by in a dildo. Fortunately, there are some amazing uncut dildos out there. Some even have moving foreskin!

It Needs to Be Treated a Bit Differentlyforeskin

There’s always a learning curve to getting to know a new partner, but there are few things to know about working with an uncircumcised penis. The first is that because the head of the penis is covered most of the time, it tends to be a lot more sensitive. So go easy! The other is that when using a condom, it’s important to roll back the foreskin before putting it on. This helps prevent extra movement in the foreskin from stretching at the condom, increasing the chances that it will break.

Having Foreskin May Have Health Risks

Research by the World Health Organization suggests that men with intact foreskin are up to 60% more likely to contract HIV than those who’ve been snipped. This is partly because of the moist environment the foreskin provides, and also because it contains what are known as Langerhans cells, which may be targeted by the HIV virus. That said, more recent studies have disputed this finding.

4-Foreskin-stretchingBut So Might Removing It

There are several studies that suggest that circumcision affects sexual function. They’ve found that uncircumcised men have reduced penile sensitivity, penile temperature and sexual response. That said, other studies found that circumcision had no adverse effect on sexual function. In other words, the jury is still out on this one. That’s no surprise. Sexual pleasure is a complicated thing that extends well beyond anatomy.

Females Have Foreskin Too

Not to be left out of the fun, females have foreskins too. It’s called the clitoral hood. They both evolve from the same tissue in the womb.

Complete Article HERE!

There Really Isn’t Any Bad News for People Who Like to Masturbate

by Martha Kempner

logo-40b3359ffcbc2c0f73dcb295eaaf087c62a05314a9e0e77bec11bce10e74c628

Masturbation is such an under-appreciated form of sexual activity. It has been blamed in urban legends for everything from hairy palms to lack of productivity, and has a reputation of being reserved for those who can’t find anyone else to have sex with them. But that’s just not true. Most people masturbate. It feels good. It carries no risk of pregnancy or disease. It can take as much or as little time as you have. And it’s relaxing. So why have media outlets warned readers that they might be doing it too much or the wrong way?

Recently, in a December 15 article titled “We’ve Got Bad News for People Who Love Masturbating,” Maxim’s Ali Drucker tells readers: “If you or someone you love frequently enjoys doing the five-finger shuffle, there’s a study that suggests they might face negative effects over time.” The article actually points to three pieces of “research” that seem to suggest masturbation isn’t as good as other forms of sexual behavior, that one can become addicted to it, and that the “grip of death” can make men incapable of experiencing pleasure any other way.

Well, RH Reality Check has good news—these conclusions are largely based on junk science and misunderstandings.

masturbationThe first study Drucker cites, originally published in Biological Psychology, is called, “The post-orgasmic prolactin increase following intercourse is greater than following masturbation and suggests greater satiety.” Prolactin is a hormone that is released by the pituitary gland. Its main function is to stimulate milk production when a woman is lactating, but it also plays a role in the sexual response cycle. According to the study, which was first published about ten years ago, prolactin is released after orgasm as a way to counteract the dopamine released during arousal. Some scientists believe that the more satisfying the experience is, the more prolactin levels will go up afterward.

For this study, Stuart Brody and his colleagues compared data showing prolactin levels after penile-vaginal sex to those after masturbation and found that levels after intercourse were 400 percent higher than after masturbation. They interpreted this to mean that intercourse is more physiologically satisfying than masturbation.

On the surface, this conclusion isn’t surprising. Many people don’t view masturbation as the same as a shared experience with a partner. It doesn’t tend to produce the same physical or psychological feelings. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun and satisfying way to spend a few minutes (or hours, if you’re ambitious or bored).Masturbate-a-Thon_Logo

When I read the study, I did not interpret it to say that intercourse was better than masturbation, just that our biological reactions to different sexual behaviors were different. I had never read anything by Professor Brody before and reached out to him, assuming that people were overstating his results and that he did not mean to discourage masturbation. I thought, what sex researcher would ever want to discourage masturbation?

However, he replied, “Instead of any fresh quotes, I attach my review paper on the evidence regarding health differences between different sexual behaviors.” He sent me a different article, a literature review in which he says in no uncertain terms that penile-vaginal intercourse (PVI) is the best kind of sex and that “sexual medicine, sex education, sex therapy, and sex research should disseminate details of the health benefits of specifically PVI.”

masturbating womanAs a sex educator, I can’t imagine telling anyone that penile-vaginal sex is inherently better. For one thing, not everyone is in a couple, and not all couples have a penis and a vagina between them. And even for cisgender heterosexual couples, PVI is only one of countless potentially pleasurable behaviors. Moreover, many women find it less satisfying and less likely to end in orgasm than behaviors that incorporate clitoral stimulation.

But Brody not only thinks it’s the best form of sex—he thinks we sometimes do it wrong. He writes that “PVI might have been modified from its pure form, such as condom use or clitoral masturbation during PVI.” He also explains that Czech women who were vaginally orgasmic were more likely than their peers who didn’t have orgasms through PVI to have been taught during childhood that the vagina is “an important zone for inducing female orgasm,” concluding that “sex education should begin to be honest” about sexual behaviors.

I thought we’d moved on from the idea that we should all be having heterosexual, penile-vaginal sex in its “pure form” (missionary position?) and that women who couldn’t orgasm this way were both bad at sex and shit out of luck.

Colleagues in the field told me that many of them ignore Brody’s studies because he makes wild inferences based on soft science and, as implied by his research, is wedded to the idea that for sex to have the most benefits it needs to include PVI.

Nicole Prause, a researcher who has written critiques of Brody’s work, told me via email that, “His work almost exclusively uses data from other researchers, not his own, meaning the design is never really appropriate for the claim he is actually trying to make.” She went on to say that Brody’s studies on orgasm are often based on self-report, which is notoriously unreliable. Although the study Maxim cites was based on blood tests, “He has never once verified the presence of orgasm using a simple physiological measure designed for that purpose: anal EMG. Many women are thought not to be able to reliably distinguish their orgasm, so his purely self-report research is strongly suspect. If this is his area of focus, he should be studying it better than everyone else,” she concluded.female_masturbate.jpg

But Brody’s research on prolactin isn’t the only questionable science that Maxim relies on for its cautionary tale on masturbation. The article goes on to discuss the role of oxytocin and dopamine and points out that there’s less oxytocin released during masturbation. This is probably true—oxytocin is known as a bonding hormone and is triggered by contact with other people, so it’s not surprising that it’s not released when you’re orgasming alone. The Maxim article, however, argues that if the brain is flooded with dopamine (a neurochemical) during masturbation without the “warm, complacent, satisfied feeling from oxytocin,” you can build up a dopamine tolerance, or even an addiction, and get into “a vicious cycle of more masturbation.”

David Ley, PhD, a clinical psychologist and sexuality expert, explained in an email that many people describe dopamine as the “brain’s cocaine,” but this is an overly simplistic way of looking at it. It doesn’t mean we’re at risk of desensitizing our brain or getting addicted to jerking off. Ley wrote:

It appears that there are many people whose brains demonstrate lower sensitivity to dopamine and other such neurochemicals. These people tend to be “high sensation-seekers” who are jumping out of airplanes, doing extreme sports, or even engaging in lots of sex or lots of kinky sex. These behaviors aren’t caused by a development of tolerance or desensitizing, but in fact, the other way around—these behavior patterns are a symptom of the way these peoples’ brains work, and were made.

OK, dopamine isn’t cocaine and neither is masturbation: We’re not going to get addicted if we do it “too” much.

But, wait, Maxim throws one more warning at us—beware the “death grip.”

Though the article describes this as “the idea that whacking off too much will damage your dick,” the term, which was coined by sex advice columnist Dan Savage, is more about getting too accustomed to one kind of stimulation and being unable to reach orgasm without it. There is some truth to this—if you always get off using the same method, you can train your body to react to that kind of stimulation and it can be harder (though rarely impossible) to react to others. There are two solutions, neither of which involve giving up on masturbation: Retrain your body by taking some time off from that one behavior and trying some others, either by yourself or with a partner, or incorporate that behavior into whatever else you’re doing to orgasm (like clitoral masturbation during intercourse).

male_masturbationIn fairness, the Maxim article ends by acknowledging that masturbation can have benefits, but I still think it did its readers a disservice by reviewing any of this pseudoscience in the first place. As Ley said in his email, “This article, targeted towards men (because we masturbate more), is still clearly pushing an assumption that there is a ‘right kind of sex/orgasm’ and that masturbation is just a cheap (and potentially dangerous) substitute … That’s a very sexist, heteronormative, and outdated belief based on a view of sex as procreative only.”

So for a different take on it all: Sure, there might be more prolactin and oxytocin produced during intercourse than masturbation, but that does not mean that masturbation isn’t enjoyable or worthwhile. You won’t become addicted to it, but you might want to mix up how you get to orgasm or just incorporate your preferred stroke into all other sexual activity.

What you shouldn’t do is view the Maxim article—or any of the research it cites—as reasons not to stick your hands down your own pants.

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