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A phimosis is a tight opening at the end of the foreskin which prevents full retraction.
This inability to move the foreskin back and forth over the glans can produce discomfort when you masturbate as the foreskin remains stretched and tight. It can also hamper the smooth movement of the penis in and out of the vagina during sex - the normal movement of the penis in the vagina is assisted by vaginal lubrication and by the easy gliding of the penis shaft within its sheath of skin.
Furthermore, there is the loss of sensation from the glans while you enjoy sex, since it remains covered by the foreskin at all times.
It follows also that the smegma which a man could normally wash out from under his foreskin will simply collect there and perhaps produce a slight hygiene problem.
In some cases, men stretch the foreskin back over the coronal rim and it remains there, unable to naturally move forward again.
This can be serious, because the blood supply to the glans is then hampered by the constricting band of tissue. In the worst cases, the blood supply is completely occluded and the glans and foreskin may turn necrotic.
This is known as paraphimosis, but fortunately there is a simple technique for putting it right. This technique is described on this link.
Many men find that a tight foreskin and a phimotic ring are distressing, and wish to do something about it.
If this is the case for you, remember that the foreskin may not naturally separate from the glans until the age of 15 or so (although this is admittedly rather unusual).
It's also natural for the foreskin to balloon up when you urinate - and that is especially true in little boys, whose foreskin may not begin to separate from the glans until they are about five years of age.
This ballooning is completely natural - it is not a sign of a phimosis.
There are two natural causes of phimosis. The first is simple: you're just born that way. In this case, the traditional remedy has been circumcision.
Nowadays, a more conservative approach may be recommended, involving self-stretching of the preputial meatus (the opening of the foreskin), or, where the foreskin simply has not separated form the glans, the use of steroid creams to encourage the natural separation to take place. (Topical application of the steroid cream, beta methasone valerate 0.05%.)
Circumcision should always be a last resort. There is a less dramatic procedure which makes a slit in the foreskin, thereby allowing it to expand move freely as it was intended to. This is called the dorsal slit technique.
One man' stretching experience - a phimotic penis
I was the only boy who was not circumcised in my group, so I had no idea what a penis naturally looked like, and how it worked! I did enjoy peering into the end of my foreskin and wondering what it was all about, though!
However, by the time I was twenty, and I still hadn't seen the end of my urethra, I began to suspect something was not as it should be.
This became more and more obvious to me as I moved into the world of locker rooms - at school, at university, at the gym - and sneaked a peek at other guys with intact foreskins.
None of them looked like mine, and when one day I saw a man moving his foreskin back and forth in a kind of masturbatory daze as he showered, I decided I wanted to get this problem (as it had now become in my mind) sorted out.
The reason I left it so long was because I have a long foreskin, and it naturally expanded when I got erect, so that was not uncomfortable to masturbate.
The first time I had sex, though, was a different matter - it was actually very uncomfortable as the foreskin moved backwards as I thrusted only as far as the tight opening over the glans.
Fortunately for me - and my sexual partners - I did not go to the doctors. They would almost certainly have circumcised me, even if I'd asked for a moderate circumcision which only removed the tip of the foreskin (that's what happened to a friend of mine).
I decided - purely off my own bat - to start stretching it, and to see if I could open out the preputial meatus enough for me to get the foreskin comfortably back across my glans.
All I did was to pull it back gradually during masturbation, not even using any lube. It took six months, but the end of this time it moved comfortably back over the glans and forward again of its own accord.
I did pull quite hard to start with, but there was never any real discomfort.
I think if I did this now, I'd use lube, masturbate to orgasm and let the semen act as a lubricant as well - someone told me that there's a chemical in semen which can help to stretch the skin.
Now, when I start to enter a sexual partner, my outer foreskin catches on the outer part of her vulva, and this causes my glans and shaft to slip forward, exposed out of the penile skin sheath.
Then, the smooth surface of my inner foreskin meets her vaginal lubrication and lovemaking is naturally easy.
The second cause of a phimosis is fungal infection (BXO), which produces a discolored ring of tight fibrous tissue around the end of the prepuce or foreskin. This usually means circumcision will be needed, for BXO or Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans (BXO) can be quite challenging to treat.
You can read a lot more about all of these options for treatment: R Stuart's site on phimosis
(Click on these to see the detail.)
Fordyce spots are a type of sebaceous gland, the natural oil and sweat producing glands of the skin, but of a type found only in certain parts of the body, including the skin of the genitals. There is no cure, but the good news is that they don't need one.
They are completely harmless, though I admit that sometimes they can be quite disfiguring cosmetically if there are a lot of them. However, since they are so common, no sexual partner is ever likely to comment on them - every penis has a fair crop of them!
For the technically minded, this link has some illustration from a dermatology site. Fordyce spots are hair free, with no hair follicles, and histology reveals a single sebaceous gland lesion which is comprised of one or more small but mature sebaceous lobules around a sebaceous duct, small in size, extending to the epithelial surface of the skin.
Most of the men with this issue find it a problem because the penis bunches up tightly when cold or anxious and this can be uncomfortable.
Generally, heat and relaxation cause the muscles of the penile shaft to loosen up and let the penis drop forward out of the body cavity. In the opposite conditions, the penis can completely retract into the body, leaving either just the glans showing or no evidence whatsoever of the presence of the penis!
Urologists will often test for the size of a penis by stretching it when it is flaccid - the theory being that the stretched length of the flaccid penis is about the same size as its erect length.
This is certainly not true for men in this category, whose erect penis may be many times longer than the small, flaccid knob that they show when not erect.
The muscles responsible for this retraction is the cremaster muscle. This is the one which pulls the testicles back in towards the body and shortens the penis in conditions of cold.
There may be no embarrassment when a man is with his lover, for he knows his penis will expand to its erect size, but - except in rare cases - this issue is one which a man would not wish to display in the locker room.
(I seem to keep referring to the locker room when talking about penis size - and for good reason, because that is the most public forum in which men are likely to find themselves on display in this most sensitive of areas for the male ego!)
I have seen men with a retractile penis who were not self-conscious about showing their bodies - and indeed, when you think about it, why would you be self-conscious about something like this if your penis worked normally in every other way? - but they have been few and far between.
Mostly, if a man hides his penis in the locker room, it's likely to be because he considers himself too short for his own good!
The key thing to remember, though, is that the size of your penis when it is flaccid is in no way a measure of masculinity!
The average white Caucasian penis is 5.9 inches long when it is erect.
So many men have a small penis that it is in fact in no way abnormal. The logic of averages means that some men must be smaller than average and some must be larger than average.
Even a penis as small as four inches long when erect is not that uncommon - by my reckonings, there must be about half a million men in America alone with a penis that size, and in the Asian countries, where penis size is generally smaller, a heck of a lot more.
So why is it such a problem? And what would be "too small" anyway?
In my work with men, I have counseled a lot of guys with penile problems - real or imagined - and the most outstanding example of this was a man who had been born with almost no penis.
He had had surgery when he was five to increase it in length, but the primitive methods of the time had not helped that much - his penis was still only one inch long when he was an adult. He was on testosterone injections for life, but he married, ran an incredibly successful business, and later adopted two children.
He also had surgery in his late fifties to increase his penis to two inches: an operation which transformed his life, as he was then able to have penetrative sex with a woman - who enjoyed multiple orgasms every time they made love.
No, this is not a joke. A penis can indeed be too big for sex - the guy in this picture falls into the twelve inch range and I should think his partners are scared to death when they see him naked.
While at first sight many men might think a penis as large as that might be highly desirable, if you speak to man with a penis this size you'll soon be disabused of the idea.
No sexual partner - man or woman - wants to be penetrated by a penis that long. Indeed, it is impossible for many women to accept a penis more than six inches in length into their vagina- there is simply nowhere for it to go.
And what's worse - there is nothing you can do about it. Not a thing. I suppose you can fuck your partner between her buttocks or breasts - but that's not what sex is really about, is it? Vaginal penetration is impossible.
I had a partner once who had had a boyfriend with a nine inch penis and she said the problems started when he could only get the condom half way down his penile shaft.
Then she could only take part of him inside her - but, even so, she'd rather enjoyed it.
When I asked why, she said because it was exciting to see a penis that size, but it was in fact rather difficult to enjoy the sex when she might have her cervix bumped at any time.
A congenital defect - or difference, if you prefer - to the normal penis. It's a developmental abnormality which results from unknown causes but is certainly on the increase, perhaps due to female hormones polluting the environment (e.g. the contraceptive pill hormones in female urine get flushed into the sewage system and thence into the ocean and rivers), or from chemicals such as plasticizers which mimic the female hormone in the human body.
This hormonal disruption affects the development of the male baby, or more specifically his genitals, causing the complete and proper development of the penis to stop before it is finished.
The urethral meatus ends up opening on the shaft of the penis somewhere below its normal point, and the glans penis may be flattened, split or misshapen.
Some men with hypospadias develop a flattened mushroom shaped head to the penis - and many of them have told me this can be highly stimulating to a woman, for it rubs on her G-spot in a most arousing way. It's not all bad news, therefore, if you have this condition!
And in fact the truth is that although the difference form normality can be very distressing for a man, most women just don't care about this at all.
There are some photos of hypospadias here, and if you think you may be one of the men with it, then here's a link which can tell you more and guide you to a support group.
Another support group for hypospadias can be found here. About half the men with hypospadias tend to have a smaller than average penis, and, oddly, the other half tend to have a penis that's larger than average.
The penis is a sensitive organ, and there are a few things that can go wrong with it during its development. Unfortunately, I'd also have to say that most cases of abnormal development are due to botched circumcisions. You can see pictures of such incidents here.
Congenital problems include hypospadias and all its variations (chordee ,where the head of the penis bends down in relation to the shaft), twisting of the penile shaft, bending of the penile shaft, which may be congenitally so bad as to prevent intercourse, and require surgery.
There's also rotation of the penis head with respect to the shaft, a condition called malapposition.
And lastly, there is Peyronie's disease: the penis bends in any direction because of injury, On healing, the penis forms hard plaques in the corpus cavernosa which means it cannot expand equally on each side - hence the bend on erection.
A skin bridge, more properly called in medical
terminology a "penile adhesion," is not the result of a poor circumcision so
much as it is a result of poor or improper care of the penis during healing
after the procedure.
During circumcision, the glans and foreskin are forcibly separated, breaking the aforementioned epithelial layer (a process that is quite painful).
the freshly cut flesh around the circumference of the penis after the
circumcision, if not properly kept away from the corona where adhesions are
typical or any other portion of the penis, is capable of adhering to any other
portion of the penis with which it contacts for a prolonged period of time
during the healing process.
Armed only with case studies, and my one weak statistic, I have been trying to inform others about the side of circumcision that they will quite probably never hear from their doctors.
On that note, I am admittedly disturbed by the lack of statistics in this matter. There are others out there like me, documenting their conditions and attempting to better inform the masses so that parents may make better informed decisions in the interest of their child.
Most penile yeast infections are skin infections on the penis. They affect uncircumcised men more than circumcised men.
When the glans is exposed, it tends to remain dry and cooler; yeast infections need heat and moisture to thrive. If a yeast or Candida infection gets into the urethra, men may develop symptoms similar to those of a woman's vaginal yeast infection, with discharge from the penis and itching, and considerable associated discomfort.
Men can get a penile yeast infection from a woman with a vaginal yeast infection, from oral sex with a man or woman with thrush, and from anal sex, but there are other causes, too: diabetes can play a role in promoting yeast infection, as can antibiotics; so too can intestinal yeast overgrowth.
After Candida species have infected the skin of the penis, treatment is needed. Otherwise, given time, the skin will harden and crack, making erection painful. The sooner a yeast infection is treated, the better.
Note that little white bumps on the penis are not yeast infection but Fordyce spots: they are sebaceous glands and totally innocuous. Similarly pearly penile papules should not be confused with yeast infection.
Treating a Penile Yeast Infection
Diflucan or Monistat 7 may work for you, but it may be necessary to try a variety of creams until you find the one that is most effective for you.
Should you choose a non-medical route, natural anti-fungal remedies include Gentian Violet, which was used widely before azole drugs cam onto the market.
It is not toxic but works well for yeast infections, but stains clothing and skin. Another agent is Organic Coconut Oil, which not only kills yeast but makes a great lubricant for women during intercourse.
Another supposedly great treatment system for home remedies for yeast infection is called Yeast Infection No More. This is an eBook full of traditional remedies which should ensure you keep your yeast infections stopped. Probiotics may be helpful with penile yeast infections although keeping the product on the skin may not be so easy - like many women, you may find that unsweetened and natural yogurt is easier to apply.
Other things you can try are organic Mediterranean Oregano Oil diluted in olive or coconut oil; cinnamon oil, diluted in a carrier, and Tea Tree Oil.
Other pages on this site
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Delayed Ejaculation Need Not Be A Problem
There are few things more distressing to a man and his partner than delayed ejaculation. If you have difficulty ejaculating, sex may be unsatisfying for you and your partner, and it may lead to a rift in the relationship.
There's no reason to assume that you have to put up with the inability to reach the point of orgasm and ejaculation during lovemaking, either, because most men can find a solution quickly and easily.
Delayed ejaculation is amenable to treatment in almost all cases, and there are many different solutions which can help. It's simply not necessary to suffer the emotional trauma, unhappiness and loss of self-esteem which can be aspects of this problem.
Updated November 11, 2016