Fri, 8 June 2007
Guess what -- I'm back. It's been quite a ride during the break, and thank you for sticking around (or welcome back if you took a break as well). This new episode has me taking you on a tour of male sexual anatomy for pleasure. From front door to back, I explain physiology and pleasure, and what parts like to be touched, and how.
This podcast is also a textcast: click the center of your iPod's trackwheel three times to read the text as you listen to me talk.
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Male pleasure podcast
The System: Penis, Testicles, Pelvis, Anus: Prostate in the Center
Contrary to marketing stereotypes, men cannot be stimulated to orgasm with horsepower, touchdowns or swimsuit editions -- the wick of Eros may be lit above the shoulders, but it glows at crotch level, thank you very much. You might think that it's a simple affair, that like all of its correspondingly yawn-worthy phallic allegories of guns and hoses, getting a guy off is as simple as "unzip fly, aim, and shoot". But as we'll see, a cigar isn't always a cigar, and not only is the male pleasure system deliciously connected and complex, but the packaging is exciting, versatile, and rejoices in delightful deviance.
Men’s genitals all begin from the same stuff in utero (a la the fetal genital ridge), but as a boy grows into the uniqueness that is him, his parts grow with him and become as unique to him as his face and fingerprints. But though there are infinite variations, what you will generally encounter when you slide the man out of his Calvins is: a penis (circumcised or not), a scrotal sack containing two testicles, and pubic hair that usually covers the mound over the pubic bone, the base of the penis, the testicles, and the perineum (from the base of the balls to the anus). The skin on the pubic mound, the perineum, and the anus is similar in texture to the skin on the rest of his body, but usually a different shade. It deepens and changes in color as it reaches the base of the penis and the scrotum. The darker skin is softer and thinner than the skin on the rest of his body.
There are many nice things about penises -- especially that each man has his very own. Penises come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The range of sensation, size and responsiveness is also different for each man and depends on various factors -- so rule number one is that you can’t predict anything based on the way a penis looks. They also vary greatly in size, both in flaccid (soft) and erect (hard) states. The size of a man’s soft penis is not a reliable gauge of its erect state, or attitude once fully hard; it could have the body of a supermodel but the brain of a… supermodel. It could be Clark Kent, Dr. Jekyll, Diana Prince…
Powers of transformation aside, the base of the penis sprouts from the pubic mound, which is usually covered with hair—it can be thick as a forest, or thin and barely there. The skin covering the pubic bone (or pubic mound) is generally fleshier than any of the skin surrounding it, and the mound is where the skin begins to deepen in color as it meets the base of the penis. The shaft of the penis begins just below the pubic bone and continues internally almost all the way to the anus. This part of the penis can't be sized up through jeans, or compared in the locker room, but rather than a private joke, it's more like a secret smile.
Penises come in more shapes, sizes, and variations than words can communicate -- though there certainly has been a lot written about them. The skin covering a man’s penis is almost always darker in tone than the skin everywhere else (though sometimes it’s lighter), and it’s smoother in texture. Colors can range from the lightest pink to the deepest chocolate and anywhere in between. The color at the tip, also called the head, or glans, will generally differ from the rest of the penis, especially his circumcision scar if he has one, and penises are seldom the same color all over. Shapes are yet another variable: he can be thick at the base and slender at the tip, wide from top to bottom, with a wide head but slender in girth, or any number of combinations, each of which is perfectly normal. The color, size, and shape of a man’s penis has nothing to do with how he responds to your stimulation -- or what type of lover he is.
Hot dogs, cannons, skyscrapers, or trains: tasty, scary, swaggering, stereotypical -- a phallus is still just a phallus. The penis is essentially a long shaft, or tube, that ends at the tip with the urethral opening, where urine and ejaculate (sperm or “come?) leave the body. Inside the penis, the urethra continues as a long tube through the center of two other larger tubes of spongy erectile tissue, whose proper names are corpus cavernosum and corpus spongiosum. When arousal triggers an erection, these tissues fill with blood, hardening the shaft and head of his penis.
However, an erection does not always indicate whether a man is aroused; he can be perfectly, happily aroused and remain unerect.
At the tip is where you’ll find the head, or glans. The head has the largest concentration of nerve endings in the penis, and it can be very responsive to stimulation—sometimes extremely sensitive to touch (especially after orgasm). Always ask your partner what level of stimulation works for him at any given time with the head of his cock, because his preference levels will change throughout the pleasure cycle. The head is often bulbous -- anywhere from slightly to quite pronounced. If he’s uncircumcised, in its soft state the head will be covered in a thin jacket of skin called a foreskin. As his penis becomes aroused, the glans will harden and emerge. In North America, most infant boys are circumcised, a process in which the foreskin is removed immediately after the bundle of joy first sees the light of his new world -- and perhaps regrets not getting a round-trip ticket.
Beneath the head of his cock is usually the most sensitive part, which some men claim is their “sweet spot,? the spot they really enjoy having touched when they’re aroused. This spot can range in location from just at the urethral opening to farther down the underside of the shaft, where circumcised men will have a bas-relief scar in memory of the foreskin. On an uncircumcised man, this spot runs along the same area, beneath the tip of the cockhead, from the urethral opening (underside) to approximately where the inner skin of the foreskin's hood becomes the outer skin of the penis.
Underneath the penis is where we find the scrotal sack, containing the two testicles -- or not. Not all men have a pair, and some inherit a trifecta of fruit and get three for the price of admission. Men can indeed have one, two, or more testicles from the time they are born, or they might later have one (or more) removed for medical reasons, such as cancer. These are the “balls.? Their wrinkly, fleshy container, the scrotum (or scrotal sack), hangs attached at the base of his penis and can be the same color as the penis or darker in tone. With rare exceptions, the testicles are usually covered with a lighter covering of hair than the pubic bone, yet they can sometimes be just as furry. Most men’s testicles hang unevenly; one is usually lower than the other.
To "testify" is to swear upon the truth of your words; the word comes from the male ritual of gripping their most prized possession while making an oath upon their sexual chestnuts, as it were. I swear on my nutsack to tell the truth, the whole truth. Of course, we're talking about the scrotum, which is the container of loose, thin skin that holds the testicles inside. Its unusual characteristic is the cremaster muscle, which causes the testicles to wrinkle here and there and to go up and down as they contract and relax. It’s really a heat regulator: when it’s chilly, the muscle will pull the scrotum up and the testicles close to the body, and when the temperature rises, it relaxes and lets them hang. Before he’s about to ejaculate, the muscle retracts, pulling the testicles close to the base of the penis, as if to say, I swear this is going to feel really good.
It may seem like all they do is hang around waiting for something to happen, but the testicles are like a continually running software program, quietly performing many functions in the background while we're all online browsing cock. These small, egg-shaped spheres feel uneven and bumpy in texture when you touch them through the skin, but that’s because they’re tightly wound masses that consist of tubes -- similar to a rubber-band ball. Between the tubes are cells that produce that celebrity hormone testosterone, and the tubes themselves are where sperm are born and bred. The sperm travel from the tubes through a lumpy mass at the back of the testicle that’s actually one long coiled-up tube, and into the fast freeway of the vas deferens. Destination: urethra.
A man’s testicles are very sensitive to the touch, but many men enjoy having them caressed, lightly massaged, or even gently tugged or pulled during foreplay and arousal. Most men will not enjoy having them slapped, spanked or roughly pulled -- but there are exceptions, and this type of pleasure play should be expressly discussed in advance. Generally, you should treat them like a pair of delicate eggs.
Behind the testicles and between the thighs is a flat stretch of skin that’s also covered with hair and often the same color as the penis -- this is his perineum. Beneath the skin of the perineum is where the root, or bulb, of the penis lies, and when he gets an erection you can feel this area harden too. Stroke or rub this area during other sexual stimulation, and you will probably get a positive response -- in part, because you are indirectly massaging his prostate.
So it's no myth that anal sex feels good, yet for men there is much more to the anal pleasure inventory than for us gals: thanks to the prostate gland, when a man reaches the summit of pleasure through anal stimulation, he instantly gets a lot more than a great view. Orgasmically speaking, when a man comes from anal stimulation, he gets the most explosively exuberant sunrise -- an unbelievably deep and powerful orgasm -- every time he makes the well-lubed trek.
The prostate gland is the celebrity star of the male body. It is at once super villain and action hero: the source of ever-pervasive threat of cancer, and the possible promise of legendary pleasures. Rebuked, reviled, redeemed, and romanced, this little gland manages to make headlines when viewed from any angle. Sometimes the attention is conflicted: the gland makes prostatic fluid for carrying virile semen, making the man “a man?; it also makes orgasm outrageously powerful but requires access through anal penetration, questioning some people’s definition of “a man.? The world of medicine has us thinking of the prostate in only the most functional terms: embarrassing health treatments; primordial DNA delivery service.
But in fact the prostate is a symphony of packaging, form and function. Design Within Reach has nothing on this Deco-reminiscent, heart-shaped secretory organ -- gland, as in glandular -- secretory, literally "to secrete". In its jaunty seat within the command center of the male pleasure system, the prostate gland is located inside the perineal wall, nestled within the internal root of the penis. It sits just below the bladder, producing the fluid that mixes with semen in ejaculate (and that lusciously lusty liquid evidence of male arousal, pre-come), and is connected to the urethra, the muscles that line the perineum, and the sphincter muscle.
If there’s an epicenter to male orgasm, then the prostate must be it. Many men, though not all, find that when they’re aroused, prostate stimulation is intensely pleasurable; that’s because the nerve pathway from the brain to the penis runs through the rectum, and one large nerve bundle is located just beneath the prostate. Because the penis is more or less anchored at the prostate, when you massage the prostate you also transmit sensation to the base of his penis.
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My podcast learned about the "taint" from Libsyn.com