I’m answering more of YOUR questions about sex today. In the video below, I’ll review ten questions submitted by readers of Sex and Psychology and explore what science can tell us about each one. As in previous videos, these questions cover a very diverse range of topics, from how long people tend to spend on sex to the effectiveness of the “pull-out” method to how many people have shaved their pubic hair. The specific questions are listed below. Check out the video for the answers!Read More
Some men’s penises seem to grow more than others when they change from a flaccid to erect state. In colloquial terms, men who experience a larger increase in length are often referred to as “growers”; by contrast, those who have a smaller length increase are often referred to as “showers.”
So what is the typical change in penis length from flaccid to erect—and just how many men fall into the category of grower versus shower anyway? A recent study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research offers some insight.Read More
A reader submitted the following question:
"I know there aren't any bones in the penis, but can you still break it, like if you bend it too much when you're erect?"
Thanks for this interesting question. To put it simply, the answer is yes. The technical term for this is “penile fracture” and it occurs when the cavernous bodies (i.e., the columns of erectile tissue that run the length of the penis and fill with blood during an erection) rupture as a result of some blunt force trauma. For instance, one of the most frequent causes of a fractured erection is forceful sexual intercourse in which a man misses his target and hits his partner’s pubic bone or perineum instead.Read More
Among the many reasons reported by men for not using condoms consistently is that they can’t “keep it up” when they’re wearing a rubber. In other words, some guys stay away from condoms because they believe that using them causes erectile difficulties. While this may be the truth for some guys, a study just published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine finds that, for a lot of men, condoms aren’t necessarily to blame because they appear to have broader erectile problems.Read More
A recent paper published in the British Journal of Urology International reports results from the first systematic review of all penis size studies to date in order to provide a comprehensive look at typical penile dimensions. In total, they reviewed 20 different studies that, combined, included measurements of 15,521 penises from around the world. To be eligible for inclusion, studies had to meet certain criteria. For instance, all measurements had to be performed by a trained health professional (because we know men typically aren’t very honest or accurate when they measure themselves), all participants had to be age 17 or older, and the studies could not be based on samples of men who had complaints about their penis size or functioning. The studies came from a diverse set of countries including Nigeria, Korea, Turkey, India, and Egypt—in fact, only 3 of the samples came from North America. So what did they find?Read More
Sex researchers have long been concerned about the reliability of self-report surveys assessing people’s sexual interests and level of sexual arousal. The fear has always been that people will not answer honestly, either because they are not willing to admit their true sexuality to themselves or to a group of scientists. As a result, sexologists have increasingly been moving away from self-reports and instead toward genital arousal measures, with the thought being that genital responses are hard to fake when we’re in the presence of sexually arousing stimuli. Indeed, many scientists have come to view genital responses as a “truer” gauge of our sexual inclinations. But is this necessarily the case? A new study just published in the Journal of Sex Research reveals that genital responses can indeed be faked in lab studies, which suggests that these measures may not always be as reliable as you think. However, these scientists also discovered a novel way of potentially catching fakers: recording their eye movements while they view sexual stimuli.Read More
The penis is a fascinating piece of human anatomy; however, most of us know surprisingly little about it. So, I decided to compile a list of ten of the most interesting facts about the penis. Do you have other favorite penis facts? Feel free to add them in the comments section below.
1. Men usually get 4-5 erections per night, but it's not because they constantly dream about sex--rather, this is simply a natural occurrence as guys enter and exit different sleep cycles. This is why so men wake up with “morning wood.”Read More
I read a fascinating Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit the other day entitled: “I am the guy with two penises.” It was written by a very sexually active man who claims to have been born with two “100% functional” penises (of which he posted some NSFW photos for the curious among us). After reading about his sexual exploits (including a seven-person orgy involving some acrobatic feats of coordination), relationship history (he's currently in a committed relationship with a man and woman), and what it was like for him to grow up with an extra penis, I couldn’t help but ask one question: “Is this for real, or just a clever story crafted by someone who is very good with Photoshop?” So, I did a bit digging into the medical literature to find out. Although my research cannot directly speak to the authenticity of this particular Reddit author and his life story, what I discovered is that having two functional penises is indeed possible and this would not be the first documented case.Read More
One of the most common questions I get from students in my classes and readers of the blog concerns the average or typical penis size. Unfortunately, this is one of the hardest questions to answer with any degree of certainty because the research in this area is fraught with problems. Traditionally, researchers have adopted one of two approaches to studying penis size: self-report vs. clinical measurement. In self-report studies, guys are provided with standardized instructions on how to measure their penises and then asked to report their size. In clinical measurement studies, guys need to drop their trousers and become aroused in front of a trained scientist who performs all of the measurements. The concern with the self-report method is that guys will lie or exaggerate, while the concern with the clinical measurement studies is that only more well-endowed men will opt to participate. Both methods are therefore thought to artificially inflate the average. However, a clever new study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reveals a new method for obtaining perhaps even more accurate data on penis size and presents some findings that may surprise you.Read More
Despite the fact that erections are often referred to as “boners,” there are no actual bones in the human penis. Of course, some animals have penile bones, including walruses, which can be up to two feet long and were supposedly once used as war clubs by Native Alaskans—but that’s a story for another day. Today we’re talking about the human penis and whether it is possible to “fracture” an erection even though there are no actual bones to break. The answer is (disturbingly enough) yes.Read More
“The penis is a very effective solution to a very basic biological problem.” – Diane Kelly
There is amazing variation in penises throughout the animal kingdom. Some phalluses have multiple heads (spiny anteaters), others are shaped like a corkscrew (lake ducks), and others are several times the length of the creature’s entire body (barnacles). By contrast, the mammalian "fleshy inflatable cylinder” we’re all used to seems pretty boring, right? As it turns out, however, the anatomy of the human penis is actually quite fascinating.
In this TED video, comparative biologist Diane Kelly shares what she has gleaned from years of penile research. As you’ll see, it turns out that something as seemingly simple and straightforward as the mechanics of an erection is really quite complex. After watching this video, I think you’ll agree with Kelly that anatomy is far from being a “dead” science and there’s still a lot we have to learn about our own bodies.Read More
Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wanted to know why he wakes up with erections every morning.
Why do I always wake up with “morning wood?” Is it a sign that I dream about sex a lot?