As a guy, I’ve heard about how amazing prostate orgasms feel. Why do I still feel ashamed for wanting to know what it feels like?

If I had to guess, I would say you’re ashamed because accessing your prostate involves some invasive action in an area that most men regard as an exit. Many people mistakenly believe that if a man enjoys any aspect of anal penetration, then he must be gay. That isn’t true, but it carries a stigma for heterosexual men.

Some people also think less mainstream behaviors are deviant, dirty, or bad, which could be another source of shame. You might also worry that a partner will think it’s a less than appetizing activity. Plus it may be a little awkward to bring up in conversation, especially with a new partner: “So, after the movie, y’know what I’d really like to do tonight?”

The good news is that this is a pretty popular region for good reason — just look at the number of sex toys specifically designed for that area — and if you don’t know how to bring it up, there are quite a few sources. For example, Cosmopolitan magazine regularly features guides on how to “blow his mind with the male g-spot.” Feel free to Google it if you don’t believe me. If you don’t feel up to taking the plunge, don’t worry. In his book, “He Comes Next,” sex therapist Ian Kerner discusses how a partner can also stimulate the prostate outside the body by massaging the taint, also known as the perineum. This technique is less invasive and a great first step for you and a partner to figure out if it’s something you’d like to explore further.

If you do decide it’s something you want to pursue and feel like dropping a hint, you can always leave that special issue of Cosmo lying around.


I used to hook up with a lot of guys, but now I’m ready for a real relationship. How do I make the switch? I don’t know how to show a guy I’m interested or get them interested in a longer-term relationship. I feel like I can’t escape my old habits. Help.

It’s always hard to give up the lure of instant gratification for a more long-term goal. Much like giving up fast food because it’s quick, tasty, and convenient, it can be hard to be patient with the time you need prepare a meal, even if you know it’s tastier, healthier, and worth the wait.

The first step to changing any habit is to avoid slipping into the same old patterns and to set realistic expectations about accomplishing your goal. Research suggests that, on average, it takes about six weeks to form a new habit. In this case, the timeline is a bit more complicated because a relationship also requires meeting a compatible person — a factor that you can’t entirely control.

Although you can’t make a partner appear out of thin air, you can start creating new social circles and meeting different groups of people. The great news is that your undergraduate years are an excellent place to meet people who are similar to you in terms of education, interests, age, socioeconomic status, etc. Research also suggests that one of the best foundations for a happy and lasting relationship are common interests, so participate in activities you enjoy.

When you meet someone who you’re attracted to and think may be a good candidate for a partner, keep in mind that “love is like a friendship caught on fire,” according to martial arts legend Bruce Lee. In other words, do you enjoy this person’s company without the sexy time clouding your judgment? Is this someone who you can talk to for hours? Who makes you laugh? Who offers emotional support? Who remembers that you like strawberry ice cream instead of vanilla? Suggest that the two of you do something together that you both enjoy. And by that I mean a fun public outing like ice-skating, not “let’s meet up at that house party and drink lots of jungle juice.” Let the person get to know all the things that make you the fabulous person that you are. Do this a few times and introduce the sexual aspect more gradually. A real dinner may take a little longer to pull off, but it’s a hell of a lot tastier and more fulfilling than McDonalds could ever be.


Is it weird if a girl masturbates a lot?

Unless it is interfering with your life, as in with your grades, work, friendships, and costing you important opportunities — these are the signs of any addiction — then I’d say no. People masturbate for many reasons: stress relief, to go to sleep, for sexual release, because they’re in (or not in) a relationship. Being “in touch” with yourself is a healthy practice. Understanding how your body works and what gives you pleasure is great information to have both for yourself or to share with a partner. Not only that, but orgasms release the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and, for women, oxytocin, too. There is an individual variability in where people fall on the sex drive continuum, but as long as you’re not physically suffering and it’s not taking over your life, feel free to enjoy yourself.


Last weekend, I brought a girl home. She was really into me and said she wanted to give me fellatio, but I couldn’t keep it up. She left in disgust. Am I less of a man?

If the definition of “being a man” meant always being able to maintain an erection, there would be very few men left on this earth. I get asked this question discreetly by men of all ages and the answer is no. Our society has some unrealistic standards for male sexual performance, especially that men should always want to and be capable of having sex. Many women mistakenly think that a man’s lack of an erection signifies that he’s not attracted to her or that she doesn’t have the skills to please him. This may explain why the girl you’re describing reacted so negatively.

In truth, there are many reasons why a young, fit, completely healthy man under the age of 30 who is attracted to his partner would have trouble maintaining an erection. A few examples include being drunk, being tired, taking certain medications (e.g. anti-depressants such as SSRIs), or being preoccupied with anything else. Caring about your performance can add further pressure, which can also sabotage your erection. In fact, having difficulty maintaining an erection after drinking heavily is so common that Viagra is trying to market itself as “erection insurance” to young, healthy men who are looking to hookup.

It’s unfortunate that men don’t talk about their occasional erectile issues because then both men and women would recognize that it’s actually pretty typical. Ironically, thinking this is the end of the world and worrying about it happening again often ensures that it does. My advice, should you find yourself in this situation again, is to relax and focus on pleasing your partner in other ways that don’t involve your erection.


What’s a polite and appropriate approach to inquiring a partner as to whether they have gotten tested?

It’s not whether they’ve been tested in the past, but rather whether they’ve been tested since their most recent sexual partner that’s important. HIV takes at least three months after transmission to develop levels of antibodies detectable by tests. Getting tested doesn’t have to be a big deal. You can frame it like so: “I care about you and would never want to do anything to hurt you, and I’m pretty sure you care about me, so we should get tested.”

Most people are afraid to bring up the topic because they don’t want to suggest that a potential partner is anything other than squeaky-clean health-wise. If you suggest that you both get tested, then this isn’t a slight against your partner. If your partner hesitates, remind him or her that many STIs don’t show any physical symptoms — gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV, some manifestations of herpes to name a few — so it can’t hurt for you both to start fresh with a clean bill of health.

Getting tested isn’t insulting. It’s smart, especially when you consider that, by the age of 24, one in three sexually active people will have contracted an STI. Besides, if you’re not worrying about your sexual health, this leaves you free to focus on things that are a lot more fun.

Marie-Joelle Estrada is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Clinical & Social Psychology.

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