Our society holds expectations and judgements about sex, which creates sex-related biases. One example is the sexual over perception bias, whereby men are more likely to overestimate a woman's sexual interest (Bendixen, 2014).
However, even though men have a tendency to think that women are more interested in them than they really are, there are instances where men falsely infer a lack of intent about sexual interest.
The following Aesopian fable gives one possible explanation as to why men may underperceive sexual interest:
Driven by hunger, a fox tried to reach some grapes hanging high on the vine but was unable to, although he leaped with all his strength. As he went away, the fox remarked, “Oh, you aren't even ripe yet! I don't need any sour grapes.”
Rather than admit his failure to reach the grapes, the fox rationalises that they are not really desirable. Similarly, a man who thinks he has struck out with a woman may attempt to save face by saying, "She wasn't interested in me anyway," even though she actually was interested (Luo & Zhang, 2009).
This may be especially true for a man who expects women to be sexually uninterested in him, which can be part of the belief in the sexual double standard, wherein men are lauded for sexual activity while women are derided for it.
No doubt a sexual double standard exists. But, this pervasive belief can result in a confirmation bias such that people tend to notice information that confirms the double standard and fail to notice information that refutes it (Marks & Fraley, 2006).
Being aware of your own cognitive biases regarding sexuality is so important for challenging societal narratives and learning how to communicate more effectively with your current or potential sexual partner.
Priapism is a medical term describing a condition in which a penis remains erect for hours in the absence of stimulation or after stimulation has ended (Podolej & Babcock, 2017). In most cases, the persistent erection is also painful.
The word priapism comes from the Greek word priapizein, meaning ‘be lewd’, which in turn comes from the name of the Greek god Priapus. A minor fertility god in Greek mythology, Priapus was the protector of livestock, fruit plants, and male genitals. He was depicted as having an oversized and permanent erection.
According to Greek mythology, Hera cursed Priapus while he was still in the womb of Aphrodite, making him impotent, ugly and foul-minded. The gods did not want Priapus to live with them on Olympus, and he was left on a hillside on Earth. There, he was taken by shepherds who raised him.
There are two main subtypes of priapism, ischaemic and non-ischaemic. Ischaemic priapism can be caused by Sickle cell disease, medications such as antipsychotics, SSRIs, blood thinners and prostaglandin E1, as well as certin illicit substances. Non-ischaemic priapism can caused by blunt or penetrating perineal or genital trauma, which may have occurred several weeks before the onset of priapism (Muneer, 2018).
Although rare, priapism can result in long-term erectile dysfunction if prompt medical intervention is not performed. A four-hour time frame is commonly used as the time interval in international guidelines for diagnosing priapism. This is because smooth muscle necrosis within the corpus cavernosum commences at this time. This is why there is a warning associated with Viagra about erections lasting more than 4 hours.
I sometimes have to remind men that they're not supposed to have an erection for hours on end. You shouldn't be hard all night long. It's unrealistic and unhealthy. Priapism is a serious condition and Priapus isn't a good role model.
🎨 Priapus depicted with the attributes of Mercury on a fresco found at Pompeii, between 89 BC and 79 AD, Naples National Archaeological Museum
Take a moment to think about how you wank. I'll wait...
If you conjured up an image of yourself sitting in front of a computer screen, cock in one hand, mouse in the other, clicking on a new video from your favourite tube site...
Or, lounging/laying in bed, cock in one hand, phone in the other, scrolling or swiping through your favourite Instagram models...
I hate to break it to you, but this way of masturbating is negatively impacting your sex life. The way you masturbate is the way you have sex with your partner. If you're closed down, stagnant, stationary, tense, focussed only on your cock, outsourcing your arousal to a fantasy on the screen in front of you, and furiously jerking off to reach an ejaculation as efficiently as possible, this is what will happen when you're with a sexual partner. You're conditioning yourself to experience pleasure in a certain way.
When I encourage men to change the way they masturbate, one of the suggestions I make is to minimize the amount of porn they watch. Often, when men try this, they find it difficult to feel aroused without the visual stimulation and resort to fantasizing about a sexual encounter. Unfortunately, many imagined sexual fantasies are unrealistic, that's why they're fantasies.
So, the fantasy on screen is just being substituted for a fantasy in your head. This isn't very conducive for changing your masturbation. Instead of fantasizing about something you want to, try visualizing something realistic actually happening to you.
As you masturbate, visualize your current partner or person you're dating. See in your mind's eye their real body, in real positions. Hear their moans, feel their skin. Visualize your partner reaching orgasm. Imagine it all from a first-person perspective.
And, if you're really ready to change your masturbation, start moving your body and connecting to areas other than your cock. Practice makes perfect, so don't just make this a one-time thing. The more you're able to visualize and become responsible for your own arousal as well as explore your pleasure and become responsive to your own touch, the better sex you'll have.
Just about every man - regardless of the actual size of his penis - worries about being too small. In fact, according to a 2008 study in the Journal of Health Psychology, men list the size of their penises among their top body concerns along with height and weight.
Some men experience extreme self-consciousness regarding their penis size, fretting that others will be able to see the size or shape of their penis even when they have trousers on. Wylie and Eardley (2007) call this excessive concern 'small penis syndrome'.
A man might not actually have a small or short penis, but that doesn’t mean this psychological condition can’t have an impact for him physically. For example, men who think they have a small penis might be less likely to visit sexual health clinics for check-ups.
Most men find the combination of sex education with standard penile measurements helpful and relieving. This combination can correct any previous sexual misconceptions, relieve unnecessary anxiety concerning penile size, and decrease the desire to undertake still-to-be verified lengthening procedures (Shamloul, 2005).
While reassurance about average sizes is often comforting for most men, for some men who are very anxious, it doesn’t make any difference to them because they feel that they are inferior. It's an emotional feeling of penis shame and can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying anxiety problem.
If you find yourself worrying about your penis size on a daily basis, or if the intensity of your anxiety seems excessive, you may want to focus on daily anxiety management. Mindfulness practices such as meditation and breathing exercises can help to reduce your anxiety.
Additionally, you may want to try minimizing your anxiety triggers. For example, watching mainstream porn can expose you to skewed representations of penis size. So watching less mainstream porn or watching porn with more diversity can be helpful.
This blog aims to discuss all things masculinity, sexuality, male bodies and men's experience of pleasure.