Common Questions about the Male Anatomy

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July 28th, 2014

Having “blue balls” is just a term for being sexually frustrated. Yet, if you ever have noticed any discoloration such as the testicles appearing to be a shade darker, accompanied by a low, dull pain, medical experts believe that the buildup of blood flow to the male sex organs puts pressure on the testicles if not released. Simple ejaculation can relieve the pressure. Having an erection for a long time could also make oxygen in the blood become absorbed in the genitals making the blood in that area appear bluish. However, this is not normal without say a penis ring or some other toy that restricts blood flow or when taking erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra. Blue balls is just one of the common questions lots of guys have about the male anatomy that they often never get answered, at least not in the medical sense. Another normal questions men often ask is how long it should take after having an orgasm to be able to perform again.  According to Weill Cornell Medical College urologist Richard K. Lee, M.D. “Unless you’re 14, you’re probably going to need at least an hour or two to become erect after ejaculating.” A man’s “latency period” can also be prolonged by alcohol intake or previous masturbation. If it takes far longer than a few hours, like days for the equipment to be active again, you should definitely bring the matter up with your physician.

Lots of guys wonder what the penis’s most sensitive area is. According to research out of Michigan State University, it depends whether or not you are circumcised. The small incision area on the underside of the head is the most sensitive place if you have been circumcised. For those that haven’t been, the entire head will be extremely sensitive. The head of an uncircumcised penis is covered in foreskin and so remains sensitive. However, a circumcised one comes into contact with your underwear and other substances making it less sensitive. Lastly, a lot of men want to know how much semen should be released when they ejaculate. Luckily, scientists have an answer. It should be somewhere between 1.5 to 5 cubic centimeters or around one fifth of an ounce. If the amount of semen you are ejaculating seems rather small by comparison, try to space out your orgasms says Dr. Lee. A man’s testosterone level plays a role in semen production as well. As men grow older their testosterone level drops mildly over many years. This is a natural phenomenon. But it often reduces the amount of semen produced and therefore ejaculated after sexual intercourse. Some men are suspect about this phenomenon but it’s a normal, natural occurrence. However, if you do experience significantly less ejaculate after your orgasms and the drop is precipitous, you should consult a physician or your urologist about it.

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Syphilis is on the Rise

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July 28th, 2014

The rate of syphilis today is on the rise, being twice that of what it was at its lowest point in the U.S. in the year 2000. Mainly the rise is among men who have sex with men (MSM) bisexual and gay men, while the rates continue to plummet for all other groups. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine professor Jonathan Zenilman, MD told MedPage Today, “Syphilis has gone from being a disease of heterosexual inner-city folks (prostitutes and their clients, for instance) to primarily a disease of gay men.” There are many important factors to consider here. First, these men generally tend to have a lot of partners. They have unprotected or riskier sex more often and there are a large number of members in this community that are HIV positive. This isn’t exactly a phenomenon without precedent. In fact, we saw a rise in syphilis in the MSM community before, in the free-wheeling 70’s. HIV/AIDS was what put the kibosh on that, and made gay and bisexual men limit the number of partners and take part in protected and less risky sex. The fear of contracting HIV helped and the precautions that ensued helped to decrease the rates of other sexually transmitted diseases. But today the CDC says syphilis has made an impressive comeback. Today the rate is 5.3 cases per 100,000 people, double the rate it was in 2000 when the rate was 2.1 cases per 100,000. Men attributed 91% to the rise in syphilis between 2005 and 2013, with men ages 20 to 24 years old playing a key role.

According to Dr. Zenilman, “When a sexually transmitted disease starts rising, there are three central questions to be asked. Did the bug change? Did the people change? And was there a public health management or structural change?” Gonorrhea evolved, making it antibiotic resistant to many but for a few drugs. But Syphilis hasn’t changed and the treatment remains the same, a single shot of Benzathine penicillin G, and three shots for a secondary case. Syphilis takes two to three weeks to develop after the initial infection. According to Zenilman there’s no reason to be alarmed as “you can pretty much control an epidemic.” But what has changed is society. With the advent of social media it’s easier for those in the MSM community to find each other and have anonymous sex. The fear of HIV contraction has decreased and so gay and bisexual men are having riskier sex than they once did. In San Francisco for instance, HIV testing is routine, it’s become part of the culture. But there’s still a stigma attached to syphilis. Doctors recommend being tested every three to six months for the disease for someone who is MSM. There are many men today who with social media, dating apps and websites meet partners with ease. So they may not have all the information to let someone know about a problem or an issue that may affect their health. San Francisco Department of Public Health has been using AOL chat rooms and other means to let the anonymous sexual partners of infected people know that they need to get tested.

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Those Over 60 are Still Sexually Active

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July 22nd, 2014

Britain’s TV network Channel 4 recently conducted a study that claims that those over 60 years of age are still sexually active and this study may reveal a phenomenon also happening on this side of the pond. This was true no matter their sexual orientation. It may run against conventional wisdom but in fact, those who conducted the study claimed that these folks in their 60’s and 70’s were experiencing a sexual Renaissance. 500 Britains over age 60 were polled and 76 participants were interviewed in-depth. The results of this study will be a show on Channel 4 called the “Secret Sex Lives of Parents and Grandparents.” 51% of those polled were still active sexually, with many of these experiencing a rebirth in that area of their lives. Vikki, 70, was quoted in saying, “I can say that sometimes in the street I think ‘oh yeah, that would be a nice person to go to bed with.’” A gay man, Joey, 69, from London said of his sex life and the reason why he decided to rekindle it, “I got to a point where I thought I’m going to kick the bucket fairly soon.” So he decided to get on the casual encounters app Grindr. “I’m averaging, I would say, four men a week,” he told the Channel 4 program. Though they themselves may feel sexually liberated, this age group doesn’t find society approving of it.

Many women feel that they can’t be seen as sexual beings after menopause. 67-year-old Margaret told the program, “We still feel as though we have a right to be a sexual being as well as everything else. We’re not just grannies. I’m not anyway! Younger people nowadays must think ‘oh god, that’s gross, you know, granny’s at it.”‘ Peter in his 70’s at that time, and Stella met online and got married—a story that is becoming less and less unusual for this age group. After years of abstinence Peter found it a bit nerve wracking to try again. He explains, “I can remember sitting on the sofa with Stella and discussing this and saying well I really don’t know whether anything works anymore. So we decided to find out basically.” Just like with every other age group, the internet has made dating and hooking up much easier. But as a result, just like in other age groups the age 50-90 year old set is seeing an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, a rate that has doubled in a decade. According to sexual health nurse consultant Justin Gaffney, “There is a degree of naivety in the older population in that they just don’t see that they are at risk of sexual infections.” In fact, as they age older people become more susceptible to STDs. Another problem, older people may be less educated as they younger compatriots about sex. One problem Gaffney explains is that he has seen cases where older people have used common household items; cooking oil, shampoo and hand cream as lube. However, these can cause rashes or even be damaging to such sensitive areas. According to Gaffney, “There does need to be perhaps a focus on trying to make services more older people-friendly.”active

A Vasectomy May Increase Prostate Cancer Risk

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July 18th, 2014

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Men with vasectomies may be at an increased risk for the most lethal form of prostate cancer, researchers have found. But aggressive cancer nonetheless remains rare in these patients.

Earlier studies had hinted at a connection between vasectomies and prostate cancer. Many experts have dismissed the idea of a link: Men who have vasectomies may receive more medical attention, they said, and therefore may be more likely to receive a diagnosis. The new study, published this month in The Journal of Clinical Oncology, sought to account for that possibility and for other variables.

Researchers at Harvard reviewed data on 49,405 men ages 40 to 75, of whom 12,321 had had vasectomies. They found 6,023 cases of prostate cancer among those men from 1986 to 2010.

The researchers found no association between a vasectomy and low-grade cancers. But men who had had a vasectomy were about 20 percent more likely to develop lethal prostate cancer, compared with those who had not. The incidence was 19 in 1,000 cases, compared with 16 in 1,000, over the 24-year period.

The reason for the increase is unclear, but some experts have speculated that immunological changes, abnormal cell growth or hormonal imbalances following a vasectomy may also affect prostate cancer risk.

Dr. James M. McKiernan, interim chairman of the department of urology at Columbia, said the lack of a clear causal mechanism was a drawback of the new research.

“If someone asked for a vasectomy, I would have to tell them that there is this new data in this regard, but it’s not enough for me to change the standard of care,” he said. “I would not say that you should avoid vasectomy.”

The lead author, Lorelei A. Mucci, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, emphasized that a vasectomy does not increase the risk for prostate cancer over all. “We’re really seeing the association only for advanced state and lethal cancers,” she said.

She agreed with Dr. McKiernan that the new data are not a reason to avoid a vasectomy. “Having a vasectomy is a highly personal decision that men should make with their families and discuss with their physicians,” she said. “This is one piece of evidence that should be considered.”

Exercises that Boost the Libido

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July 17th, 2014

Commercials don the airwaves about ED drugs and articles fill websites and newspapers about ways to boost the libido, but there are exercises that can do so, and without any harmful side effects. If you want a stronger sex drive, work an exercise regimen into your weekly routine. Doctors say about a half hour a day five days per week will keep you in tip-top shape. For those men who do take medication for erectile dysfunction, exercise is often recommended in tandem with the medicine. In one study, men who exercised after receiving hormone therapy to treat prostate cancer were far more likely to enjoy sexual activity than those who were not active. What’s more, losing weight can really help boost the libido. Many doctors and urologists say lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, sleeping an adequate amount and controlling stress can turn ED around. Extra fat, particularly around the abdomen, absorbs testosterone. What’s more, it tells the brain to stop producing the sex hormone. But losing weight helps release more testosterone into the blood stream. Testosterone is not only the male sex hormone, it is linked with desire. One study suggests stretching and deep breathing could also improve the libido. In this study, 80 male participants were split into two groups. Those that took part in stretching and deep breathing exercises enjoyed stronger sexual desire.

Kegels or pelvic floor exercises aren’t just for women anymore. They can increase the male sexual experience as well. Kegels strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, the muscles of the lower abdomen which control the bladder and the rectum as well. Kegel exercises were once only used to help women in labor. Now they also strengthen the lower muscles for both men and women in order to experience greater sexual pleasure. Those men who have had a prostatectomy can use Kegel exercises to regain control of the muscles down there again and help restore sexual function. There are many articles and videos on how to do them online. You can practice them in traffic, in meetings, or anywhere and no one will ever know. Do you get enough sunlight? Not only does ten minutes a day in the sun create enough vitamin D in your body for the day, it also increases neurotransmitter production, alertness, and increases your energy level. Daily sunlight exposure, exercise and the proper amount of dietary protein have been determined to be as effective as medical treatments according to some studies. Remember that the biggest erogenous zone is the mind. So relieve yourself of stress in healthy ways such as getting exercise. Anxiety and depression are emotional issues that can sink your libido. Find natural, healthy ways to relieve these and give your libido a boost. Some calming exercises like yoga for instance can help.yoga