Looking after your penis: the Dos and Don’ts

Sami and Moses came in to ask Sex Pod a very important question: “How do we keep our penises clean and healthy?” Or, as Sami put it, “how do us guys keep our penis on point?”

Good question, Sami, and one that Kiran also raised on this week’s episode of Sex Pod.

It’s very important to look after your penis, the same way as it’s important to look after the rest of your body. Obviously a huge part of keeping your penis healthy is about good sexual health, and Sami and Moses had some interesting things to say on that front.

When asked if he used protection when having sex, Moses replied that he didn’t always because it depended on the person he was having sex with. “It depends on how I feel about that person and how I see that person, especially body language,” he explained.

How often do I need to use protection?

Though genital warts are an immediate physical sign of having a sexually transmitted infection (STI), often you can’t tell whether someone has an STI.

There are no visible signs of chlamydia, for example, and chlamydia is the most common type of STI, so it’s very important that you use protection EVERY time you have sex. If you’re having sex with a girl and she’s on the contraceptive pill or using another contraceptive method then this will only prevent pregnancy, not catching an STI, so you should still be using a condom, unless you are in a monogamous relationship and you’ve both been tested negative for STIs.

When Moses said, “It depends on how I see that person” he implied that someone could look like they’re likely to have an STI, but you can never judge someone’s sexual health by the way they look, or act. Someone who has had sex with one person and is very reserved could still have an STI from the one person they have slept with.

Most STIs are actually on the rise, so it’s very important to be careful and keep on top of your own sexual health.

Is alcohol a problem for my penis?

Alcohol isn’t good for your health in general, and can potentially have a negative impact on your penis. Our Genitourinary Medicine Specialist Dr. Lauren Bull says it can affect your penis both in the long term and in the short term.

Firstly, in the short term, if you are drunk you may not be able to get or maintain an erection and function sexually. Secondly, drinking often and in large quantities can actually affect your blood vessels and your nerves, which can also affect your ability to have a healthy and pleasurable sex life in the long run. So make sure you’re being sensible and that you are aware of the long term risks of heavy alcohol consumption.

Are there other ways I can keep my penis healthy?

If you keep the rest of your body healthy it will have an impact on your penis. Our Sexual Health Consultant Dr Jake Bayley recommends getting enough sleep, keeping alcohol consumption and smoking to a minimal, eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and, of course, giving your penis a good wash at least once a day using normal soap or shower gel. Easy!

You can also do pelvis floor exercises that will help you to maintain an erection for longer without ejaculating and ensure that you continue to have a healthy and pleasurable sex life as you age.

You can practice these exercises when you go to the toilet. All you have to do is hold in your pee for at least three seconds, release it, then repeat it again up to ten times. These exercises will help you strengthen your kegel muscles, and doing them around three times a day will be very good for you in the long run as muscles weaken with age.

 

Sex: marathon or sprint?

This week on Sex Pod, Jake came in to ask a very important question. He’d been watching porn and couldn’t quite get his head around how the male porn stars could maintain an erection for so long without ejaculating – he claimed they lasted from 40 minutes to an hour on average.

When asked how long he could maintain an erection Jake described his penis as somewhat unpredictable. He said how long he lasts can vary “from seconds to no longer than half an hour. I’d say I’ve got an average penis with about an average lasting time.”

So just how do porn stars last so long?

Jake assumed that porn stars were just lucky enough to be built to last for at least 40 minutes, but our panel of experts reminded him about how porn is more film production than sex.

Just like on any other film set, filming is often interrupted on porn sets and so stops and starts. Porn stars may use Viagra or special injections to maintain an erection for a long period of time, but there are also “fluffers” on set whose jobs are to help porn stars maintain their erection between takes.

Basically, it’s all fake and that’s why you should never compare how long you last to how long a porn star appears to.

But how long is the average lasting time?

An NHS study of 500 couples from five different countries put the average ejaculation time during intercourse as five-and-a half minutes. However there is no wrong or right amount of time that you should be having sex for – like most things it depends on the circumstances.

How long is too little?

It is up to you and your sexual partner to decide on whether you are satisfied with how long you last or not. There is no way anyone else should be dictating how you feel about your sex life, and if you and your partner are having enjoyable sex that you are both happy with then there is no reason to worry.

Premature ejaculation is a common issue for men, both as one-offs and in occasional episodes. It can have both physical and psychological causes. For example, premature ejaculation could be caused by prostate or thyroid problems, or by recreational drug-use. It can also be caused by depression, anxiety or stress.

If you are finding that you are ejaculating prematurely around half of the time you are attempting to have sex then you might need to visit a doctor. The main thing to note if you are suffering from premature ejaculation is that you are not alone – there are plenty of ways you can seek help, and plenty of remedies available to help you.

How can I last longer?

Although many choose to opt for Viagra as a solution to premature ejaculation, there are downsides to taking it. Dr. Lauren Bull, our Genitourinary Medicine Specialist on Sex Pod, described how one of those downsides is the risk that you may become psychologically dependent on it to get an erection. Which would NOT be ideal.

If you don’t think Viagra’s your thing you could use a cock ring which you slide to the base of your erect penis using lubricant. Cock rings help to keep the blood flow tight around your penis, giving you a longer lasting erection.

Other ways you can last longer include masturbating an hour or two before sex, taking breaks during sex to think about other not-so-sexy things, or even just taking a deep breath (it shuts down the ejaculatory reflex temporarily).