I’ve noticed some online men’s communities glorify bodybuilding.
It’s common knowledge that bodybuilding usually goes hand in hand with steroid use, especially in competitive environments. I’ll preface what I’m about to say by conceding that the long-term impact of high dose steriod use on sexual dysfunction is understudied and could be better understood.
Nevertheless, it’s been found that symptoms such as decreased libido and erectile dysfunction often occur after discontinuing steriod use, particularly among men using more frequently and for longer durations (Armstrong et al., 2018). This is because steroids suppress natural production of testosterone. Thus, when a man stops using, especially if he has been using for a long time, his own testosterone level will often fall well below the lower limit of normal. As a result, men may suffer prolonged intervals of decreased or absent libido and erectile dysfunction (Kanayama, Hudson, & Pope, 2020). For example, a 1995 case study details how a 29-year-old competitive bodybuilder who used anabolic steroids for 8 months became impotent without any spontaneous erections and had diminished libido upon stopping (Bickelman, Ferries, & Eaton, 1995).
In addition to steroid use, bodybuilders also exercise intensely, particularly resistance training. But resistance training can increase stiffness of the arteries (Collier et al., 2008; García-Mateo et al., 2020), which is associated with erectile dysfunction (Özdabakoğlu et al., 2016; Kumagai et al., 2018). On top of that, frequent high intensity endurance training is significantly associated with a decreased libido in men (Hackney et al., 2017).
Finally, during competition season, bodybuilders will reduce their body fat percentage. For example, a 2013 case study of a natural bodybuilder found that, during preparation for competition, percent body fat declined to 4.5% while testosterone declined to 2.27 ng/mL (Rossow et al., 2013). It’s been found that body fat mass and erectile dysfunction have a U-shaped relationship, meaning that not only obesity but also a low body fat mass may be a risk factor of erectile dysfunction (Cho et al., 2009).
Straight men, stop thinking that if you like anal play that means your gay.
Firstly, it's 2020, homophobia is not a good look on you.
Secondly, anal pleasure doesn't automatically make you gay. Your prostate doesn't have a gender. If you're alone, nothing you do determines your sexual orientation. If you're with a female partner, everything you do is, by definition, heterosexual.
Anal play and prostate orgasms are a whole new world of pleasure. Stop limiting yourself. If you think prostate stimulation is gay, grow up.
Are you really a Tantric lover or do you just have an unacknowledged kink for crystals and incense?
I’m looking at you, fellahs! @drnerdlove said this on our podcast together over a year ago, it has stuck with me ever since.
"This is man's biggest sexual problem: his inability to let himself be really carried away by sensuality.
Man is afraid of letting himself go. In his struggle to dominate, he feels that every sexual pleasure is a threat and he wants to control it. He dare not abandon himself to his sexuality. When he embraces a woman, he does not feel enveloped and overwhelmed by pleasure. He penetrates and wants to 'possess' her, projecting into her as if he hoped to draw from her the sensuality which he is reluctant to experience for himself.
His mind fixed on the objective, his penis aimed at the target, he does not allow himself to be caught up in the experience of two bodies discovering each other. He is afraid of losing his way; he controls and channels his sexual feelings to prevent them from spreading and causing him to lose control of himself and the situation. Instead of letting his whole body be sexualized, he confines his sexuality to his penis.
He stems the tide of pleasure at its source for fear it may submerge him if he allows it to swell. His ecstasy then becomes no more than a series of wavelets: four thrusts of the pelvis, a few drops of sperm, and it is all over."
- Emmanuel Reynaud, Holy Virility
If your partner has a penis and you're looking for a novel way to touch them, try massaging their perineum, the skin in between the testicles and the anus.
The sponge-like regions of erectile tissue in the penis actually extend back into the perineum. This means that massaging the perineum can create pleasurable sensations in the shaft of the penis.
On top of that, the prostate gland - which is responsible for prostate orgasms - can be externally stimulated by pressing firmly into the perineum.
In addition to regular massage techniques, like using your fingers to press and rub the area of skin, one way you may like to massage your partner's perineum is with your fist.
After applying a bit of massage oil or lube and warming up the area with some other touch first, gently press your fist into your partner's perineum. You may like to begin by softly kneading the skin by rotating your wrist and rolling your knuckles.
As your partner becomes accustomed to this touch, you can start to press more firmly. This applies a deeper massage to the perineum and the erectile tissue. You might even notice that as you change the pressure with which you press into your partner's perineum, the firmness of their erection will fluctuate.
When pushing your fist a bit harder into the perineum, you can also subtly shake it. This shaking creates a vibrating sensation which can feel very pleasurable for your partner.
It can be extra enjoyable for them if you also touch their penis whilst stimulating their perineum. The penis and the perineum share the same erectile tissue so it can feel like an expanded experience.
There are so many ways to explore and enjoy your partner's body, including their genitals, and this is just one way. Follow your curiosity and see what else you both like.
As I've shared before, my partner and I had a child this year. On this journey of conception, we've found a lot of conscious conception knowledge pertaining to her, hardly anything for me. I would like to contribute to the conversation by speaking into the role of men.
Firstly, it's important to note that a mother's experiences and lifestyle decisions can be transmitted to the child independently of the transmission of DNA sequences (Wolf & Wade 2009). Similarly, ejaculation can be a conduit of paternal effects, transmitting a father’s experiences and lifestyle decisions to the child, known as ejaculate-mediated paternal effects (Crean & Bonduriansky, 2014).
Environmental factors experienced by the father are the source of paternal effects, including the physical environment (e.g. pH, temperature, aridity), social or ecological factors (e.g. interactions with conspecifics, population density, mating history), experiences or emotions (e.g. stress, anxiety), toxicants (smoking, alcohol) and so on (Evans et al., 2019).
The duration of spermatogenesis, the production or development of mature sperm, is 74 days in humans (Perrard et al., 2016). Spermatogenesis, the quantity and quality of sperm produced, is influenced by several aspects, including metabolic, genetic, environmental and physiological factors (Amann, 2009).
This means that the environmental factors which the father has experienced and the life decisions he has made over the last two and a half months affect the sperm that is involved in the potential conception today.
Additionally, men should practice ejaculation retention for about a week before trying to conceive, as optimal semen quality, in terms of sperm motility and health, is reached after 3-8 days of abstinence (AlAwlqi & Hammadeh, 2017).
Learning all this, I've been reminded to treat my ejaculation as a manifestation of my lifestyle, experiences and decisions. I contribute to my progeny more so than just a DNA sequence. It is important for me to be conscious about my role in our conception journey.
Because I speak about male sexuality, I get asked all the time about porn usage.
A lot of my colleagues, particularly the more spiritually inclined, tend to lump all porn together and call it all bad. They're anti-porn.
Some of my other colleagues similarly lump all porn together and say that it is all good. They're pro-porn.
I sit somewhere in the middle.
I'm not pro-porn because I definitely think there is porn out there that is perpetuating unhealthy narratives about masculinity, femininity and sexuality as well as exploiting performers and having adverse effects on consumers.
I'm not anti-porn because I have seen some amazingly inclusive, diverse, artistic and educational porn that I believe promotes healthy narratives about masculinity, femininity and sexuality as well as empowers performers and celebrates human eroticism.
I actually think there are two conversations to have regarding porn usage; (1) What type of porn is being consumed? (2) How is that porn being consumed?
The first conversation references ethics. I advocate for ethical porn firstly because of the fair treatment of performers and secondly because it uplifts healthier narratives. As a consumer, it is important to be responsible.
The second conversation is about practicalities. Rather than mindlessly jerking off in front of a computer screen, I frame ethical porn as a tool that can be used for embodying eroticism. Perhaps by reading or listening to it, or by standing up and moving while watching, or combining it with mirror work, or not using at all sometimes, or using it in a myriad of other ways.
I don't think all porn is bad. I don't think all porn is good. Not all porn is created equal. Bringing intentionality to the porn you're using and how you're using it is my approach.
I've spoken with men who are doing NoFap or practicing semen retention and believe that a wet dream is bad because it ends their streak of consecutive days without ejaculating. This has always intrigued me.
Wet dreams, also called nocturnal emissions (NE), are spontaneous ejaculations that occur during sleep. While hardly researched, they're considered a normal part of male sexual function and 83% of men will experience NE at some time in their life (Kinsey et al., 1948).
Anecdotally, men report that wet dreams occur more often when they aren't masturbating/ejaculating as much. It's commonly believed that in order to prevent wet dreams, you should masturbate. However, no statistical association between masturbation and NE frequencies has been found (Burg, 1988; Widaman & Helm, 2012; Gul et al., 2018).
Because dreams involving no erotic scenes are capable of eliciting NE (Yu & Fu, 2011), some men share that their wet dreams are just ejaculations without an accompanying orgasm. This is one indication that your body is able to separate orgasm and ejaculation.
While NE are considered to simply be an involuntary sympathetic nervous system reflex (Sugar, 1974), there has been a lot of debate about the spiritual/energetic significance of wet dreams.
Christian monks from the Middle Ages believed that wet dreams were a temptation and, according to European folklore, were caused by a succubus, a female demon, having sex with the man at night.
Saint Augustine held that NE, unlike masturbation, did not pollute the conscience of a man, because they were not voluntary carnal acts, and were therefore not to be considered a sin. This view is confirmed by the Protestant theologian Philip Schaff.
Sri Swami Sivananda, commenting on the practice of Brahmacharya, said that there is not much draining of energy and that essence does not come out during wet dreams.
It has also been suggested that NE are the body's way of maintaining sperm quality (Levin, 1975). But, I know some teachers believe that with a strong sexual transmutation and sublimation practice, you can stop NE altogether.
So, if you're practicing or teaching semen retention, what does a wet dream mean to you?
This blog aims to discuss all things masculinity, sexuality, male bodies and men's experience of pleasure.