A menstrual cup is a soft, flexible container made of medical grade silicone or latex. A woman inserts it into her vagina to collect period flow—instead of a tampon.

A menstrual cup looks a bit like a small, upside-down funnel, although the stem is not hollow and the body of the cup is more rounded than a funnel.

Image of dozens of random menstrual cups laying on grass, with many different brands included.

There are a number of different brands of menstrual cups. Most are made of medical grade silicone, with each having a slightly different length, softness, rim, stem and color.

Once it’s in place, a menstrual cup forms a seal that allows it to collect period flow as it drips from the cervix. Unlike a tampon, which absorbs the healthy secretions of the vagina in addition to period flow, a menstrual cup collects only period flow. As a result, it won’t dry out a woman’s vagina.

A lot of women who have become devoted users say they originally thought that using menstrual cup would be gross or disgusting. But they experienced so many advantages in using menstrual cups that they wouldn’t think of going back to pads or tampons.

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Sperm take about 9 weeks to mature. Most of this occurs while they are in the epididymis. Mature sperm can then hang around in the epididymis for a few more weeks, depending on how often you ejaculate.

If you don’t ejaculate, sperm will die after about 13 weeks, and will be reabsorbed back into your body.

Illustration by Daerick Gross Sr. from the Guide To Getting It On.

As Nina Hartley says, “With women, millimeters mean everything.”

Image by Hellish B0y.

Some more than others… This image is by graphic designer and photographer Keano Anton. 

It happens more often than you might think: male infertility that’s caused by an injury to the testicles while playing sports. It doesn’t matter if you are on a professional team or playing a weekend game of grabass.

Companies like Shock Doctor and Spider make cool cups, and wearing a cup makes you look like you’re really well hung.

If you have suggestions for our new “Nice…” page, use the contact form and let us know!

For an interspecies comparison, the average bull weighs between 1,000 and 2,000 lbs. He ejaculates between 4 ml and 8 ml, or not much more than human males.

We get questions from women in circumcision-happy countries about foreskins and penises that are circumcised vs. natural (aka, cut vs. uncut). Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words…

For a great resource on foreskins and uncut penises, check out NOCIRC.ORG.

Paul created this image from a post made by Lusty-Me of his penis via Glittering Kisses (both on Tumblr). A big thanks to both. Unfortunately, we can’t link directly to these Tumblrs because the search engines will start listing our site as porn, which doesn’t help when you’re trying to do sex education.

A Tipped Uterus Can Make Rear Entry Uncomfortable

Don’t assume that because your last partner loved rear entry, your next one will. Some positions will feel more comfortable for a woman depending on whether her uterus is in the usual position or “tipped.”

The uterus usually points forward. But up to 30% of women have a uterus that’s tipped, which means it can point more upwards than toward her belly, or it can even point toward her back. This is why some women with a tipped uterus experience period pain more as a back ache than as discomfort in their abdomen.

Having a tipped uterus usually isn’t a reason for concern. Most women go their entire lives unaware they have a tipped uterus–although having a tipped uterus can impact a woman’s choice of intercourse positions.

It’s not unusual for a woman with a tipped uterus to prefer positions where she is face to face with her partner. Rear entry or doggie style positions can feel painful. So the missionary position might be her favorite, or she might enjoy a woman-on-top position where she’s facing forward as opposed to a reverse cowgirl.

Swallowing Semen Will Not Make You Grow a Beard

Women sometimes wonder if they are going to get a dose of male hormones when they swallow male ejaculate. While the testicles produce the lion’s share of testosterone, this goes directly into a man’s bloodstream and not into his semen. You don’t need to worry about  sprouting a beard or growing a big Adam’s apple from swallowing your partner’s semen. And the only way you will gain weight from male ejaculate is if it makes you pregnant.

Most men and plenty of women would assume that a woman who masturbates after sex is not satisfied. It’s not always that way.

Some women masturbate more often when they are in a satisfying sexual relationship than when they’re not in a relationship.

Contrary to what you would think, sex in water often requires adding sex lube. That’s because the water washes away natural lubrication and can make sex feel dry. This includes sex in hot tubs, pools, bath tubs, rivers, lakes, the ocean and even the shower.

The best lubes for sex in water are silicone-based. Silicone-based lubes don’t wash away. Put the lube on a penis or dab some in a vagina before you get into the water.

Silicone-based lubes can make shower floors slick as ice. To help prevent dangerous slips, apply it before you get into the shower.

Seats with cutouts make it worse, not better!

A young woman recently contacted me about the erection problems her new boyfriend was having. He’s only 23. She said he’s able to get an erection, but it starts to quickly go down, and not because he’s ejaculated.

I asked her if he spent much time on a bicycle. She was surprised at my question, because he’s an avid bike rider who spends at least 3 or 4 hours a week on his bike, and longer when he’s able.

Urologists have warned about the erection problems they are seeing in young men who are competitive bike riders. These men can usually get erections, but they have trouble keeping them.

Their clinical observations have been so compelling that researchers hooked up oxygen monitors to men’s penises and had them ride on bicycles. Their findings confirmed the suspicions of the urologists—very little oxygen was getting into the penises of men on bicycle seats. This, combined with damage the saddle causes to the main nerve that supplies the penis, and you have a roadmap for sexual problems. Unfortunately, much of the bike riding community has been trying to laugh away and deny these findings. (more…)

Dear Paul,

Why does my BF’s semen burn when it gets in my eyes?

Iris

Dear Iris,

In a word: Spermine. Spermine is a chemical that’s in semen. It is made by the prostate gland. It’s what gives semen its characteristic bleachy smell.

Pure spermine carries harsh warnings. The material safety data sheet for commercially produced spermine says:

Danger! Corrosive. Causes eye and skin burns. May cause severe respiratory-tract irritation with possible burns. May cause severe digestive-tract irritation with possible burns. May cause central- nervous-system effects. May cause cardiac disturbances. Causes eye burns. May cause chemical conjunctivitis and corneal damage. Causes skin burns.

While the concentration of spermine in semen isn’t nearly as high as when you purchase the raw chemical, it’s high enough to make your eyes sting.

Also, semen can be a bit alkaline, which could possibly cause eyeball irritation. There could be other things in semen that might cause your eyeballs to burn, but the main culprit would be spermine.

Have a happy weekend!

Few men understand how painful sex can be for some women. This isn’t pain from sex that’s rushed or rough. Instead, think of when a Q-tip is pressed against a woman’s genitals and it causes her to flinch in pain. Or when intercourse with a gentle lover creates an intense burning sensation in her vagina or makes her feel like she’s being stabbed with a knife. Or when the muscles around the opening of her vagina are clamped so tight she can’t insert a tampon.

Fortunately, for plenty of women with sexual pain, it’s not this severe. But it still makes sex something they endure rather than enjoy.

Many of us assume there are two times in life when sex hurts for women: their first time and after menopause. We don’t realize that more than 20% of women in their teens, twenties, thirties and beyond can experience pain during sex, and not just once or twice. Chronic sexual pain that can last for months or years. (more…)

Feeling Testy? Try Having a Bite To Eat First

People who are hungry tend to be crankier, or more disposed to speaking with “that tone” which they think is perfectly reasonable but somehow manages to piss off everyone around them.

So if you feel a fight is coming on, or you need to do something together that neither of you wants to do such as cleaning out the garage, organizing the closet-from-hell, or doing your taxes, try having a snack first, and not something sugary that will just cause your glucose to spike and crash.

But not even the most nutritious of snacks is going to prevent a partner from going nuclear when he or she discovers the latest pics you’ve been exchanging with your ex.

Based on studies of 15,521 penises, the average length of an erect penis is about 5.25 to 5.5 inches. This means a penis that is 7 inches when erect is in the upper 97th percentile (out of 100 men, it would be among the longest 3 to 5). The average circumference is 4.5 inches.

Most guys who are in porn or who upload videos of themselves to sites like XHamster have the largest 1% to 5% of all penises both in length and circumference.

As for the age-old question of “briefs, boxers, or boxer briefs?” no one knows if men have a preference for one or the other based on penis size.

For the latest and greatest penis-size study from the British Journal of Urology, click here.

 

Some of the most important residents inside a woman’s vagina are bacteria called Lactobacilli. They clasp onto the walls of the vagina to prevent harmful bacteria from attaching.

Lactobacilli also produce hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid that kill undesirable bacteria and help maintain the acidic environment that’s important for healthy functioning.

Since lactobacilli are found in yogurt, some women assume that eating yogurt or plastering it between their legs will help with vaginal infections. Unfortunately, the lactobacilli in the yogurt we eat is very specific to cow intestines. It’s not the kind of lactobacilli the vagina needs. So while yogurt might be good for a woman’s calcium intake and maybe her digestion, it is unlikely to help with problems in her vagina.

Researchers are hoping to find microorganisms (aka “probiotics”) for conditions like bacterial vaginosis. This would provide a much more elegant solution than we currently have for treatment.

Guys Describe the Difference Between Morning Wood and Their “Hot for You” Erections

Men’s early morning erections can be confusing for female partners, because most women assume that erections are the result of sexual arousal. Not always…

Men get erections throughout the night when they enter REM sleep. When a guy wakes up in the morning, he is often waking from REM or dream sleep. This is why he has an erection–it doesn’t matter if he’s dreaming about being chased by wolves or about having sex with the love of his life.

REM erections are triggered by a different part of the brain than the erections a man has when he is awake and feeling aroused. As a result, they often feel different than daytime erections.

Here’s how men on our sex survey describe the difference between their early-morning (waking) erections and the erections they get when they are sexually aroused, and as you’ll see, there’s a lot of variation:

“Morning erections almost never feel sexy. More like ‘in the way’. Even if I have sex in the morning with a pre-existing erection, I still need to get some emotion into it.”

“Oddly enough, my morning erections are WAY harder and more persistent than my arousal erections. I have no idea why, but it basically always results in me giving in and beating the devil out of it or having sex if my partner is so gracious and willing in the morning.”

“Morning wood is different ’cause when I’m aroused I wanna ejaculate.”

“Morning erections are different—more of a nuisance. Unwanted morning boners are almost a buzzkill since you know they are not leading to anything.”

“Real arousal will always result in a much harder erection than the ones I have when I wake.”

“Different. Morning wood feels much more intense than regular arousal, and my penis is much more sensitive as well.”

“Arousal erections feel like total erections; they are much more firm than morning erections.”

“Erections when aroused seem to be the source of an indescribable feeling that causes me to act. I can almost feel arousal in my gut (if that makes sense). Morning wood doesn’t have that. Morning erections aren’t typically accompanied by a sense of drive.”

“Different. Morning erections are slightly uncomfortable and I am usually not aroused initially. An erection when I am aroused is only uncomfortable because I feel like I need relief, but in a good way.”

“Morning erections are a lot harder. I think too much when I’m flirting or getting aroused so erections that come when I’m turned on are not crazy hard.”

“The erections I get from feeling aroused are stronger and firmer, sometimes even slightly painful, while a morning erection can sometimes go unnoticed at first. Morning erections are rarely sexual for me, and it is not often that I feel compelled to do something about them.”

“My morning erections are sometimes harder to the point of pain, and are a lot less sensitive.”

“In the morning they tend to be softer and more relaxed but very sensitive.” (more…)

Sex in real life is different from sex in porn in so many ways… It’s not nearly as extreme or frantic and it’s usually way more intimate. Yet porn is the way many of us learn about sex.

Image via Bratty-Kitty.tumblr.com.

Delayed Ejaculation is when a guy can get a rock-hard erection and have intercourse for a really long time, but can’t ejaculate or he struggles to ejaculate. It doesn’t matter if he’s having oral, vaginal, or anal sex, or if his partner is giving him a handjob — either he can’t ejaculate or it can take him close to forever to come. Or maybe he can come by masturbating in a certain way, but not with a partner. The problem is not in getting an erection and keeping an erection; rather it’s with having an orgasm and ejaculation.

For a free copy of the chapter “Delayed Ejaculation” from the Guide To Getting It On, click here: Delayed Ejaculation from Guide To Getting It On

The mons pubis is a fleshy mound of tissue that sits on top of the pubic bone. It is made up of fat and is usually covered by pubic hair, unless a woman shaves.

The tissue inside the mons is sensitive to estrogen. So when a woman goes through puberty, the added estrogen turns the mons into a mound. The mons pushes the upper part of the larger labia out and forms the pudendal cleft, which is the top part what some people call “the camel toe.” Some women’s mons are very prominent, others do not protrude as much.

Some women push or pull on the mons with their fingertips or make a circular motion with the mons when they masturbate. The suspensory ligament of the clitoris has its base in the mons and the neck of the clitoris runs through part of it, so moving the mons might result in increased sensation. A woman might enjoy it if her partner does this.

Some women like the feeling when a partner tugs on the pubic hair that grows from the mons.

Too many people expect a man to magically know how to please a woman. That’s not possible, because each woman is different.

It can especially be a problem when partners don’t tell each other what feels good and what doesn’t. Based on this woman’s expression (and on the sounds she’s probably making) it is impossible to know if she’s in ecstasy or agony. Don’t expect your partner to automatically know, particularly when a partner is new.

If you don’t feel comfortable saying “That hurts,” or you’re thinking “Not again!” then be sure to praise the things your partner does that do feel good. Hopefully, he’ll learn that if you don’t say “That feels so good!” then it probably doesn’t feel so good.

Dude from the side with an X-ray cutaway:

Ductus Deferens (aka “vas deferens”): Carries sperm from the testicles into the part of the urethra that passes through the prostate gland. That’s where the sperm mixes with the fluid from the seminal vesicles and the prostate gland to create semen that shoots out during a male ejaculation.

Seminal Vesicles: Semen factories that produce more than 60% of each ejaculation.

Prostate Gland: Multipurpose male reproductive factory that produces more than 30% of each ejaculation, plus so much more!

Corpus Cavernosum: The part of the penis that continues into the pelvis and anchors the penis under the pubic bone so guys can’t pull it off when they are jerking off. Consists of two chambers that become rigid and hard during an erection.

If you are having casual sex, a woman is way more likely to think you are a better lover if you wear a condom.

But if you’re in a relationship and the condom is just for pregnancy prevention, talk to your partner about getting an IUD. It can be a much more effective, satisfying and hassle-free way to go.

Discussing birth control is just as much a man’s responsibility as it is a woman’s. So is paying for it.

Hi Dr. Paul,

I’m a writer from a major women’s magazine. I’d love to interview you for a story to ask if there’s any evidence pointing to how many orgasms a woman is able to have, whether there’s a “limit,” and how women can achieve orgasm after orgasm after orgasm. Are you interested?

M

Hi M,

Thanks for thinking of me for your article.

Here’s the problem—I deal with real people who have real sex lives. You deal with editors who want sensational articles in order to sell magazines.

The idea of “orgasm after orgasm after orgasm” sounds bizarre to me. It’s just one more burden we are placing on women to act like porn stars.

What matters is whether the sex is satisfying for a woman and her partner—not the number of orgasms. Whether it’s one orgasm or none, the important thing is the quality of the sex and if it’s achieving what a woman wants for herself and for her relationship, if she’s in a relationship.

So I’m thinking I’m not the person who’s going to make your article shine, or put a smile on your editors’ faces!

Paul

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