NOTE: The following text was taken from one of the many articles found at the Human Sexuality website. The URL for this site is : http://www.sexuality.org/ My thanks to Mr. David Sebringsil for his outstanding efforts. This is a "must read" for all people. Especially the dominant females that are just beginning to explore the submissive male.
A Series of Essays on Male Sexuality
NOTE: The next section features a series of essays written by David Sebringsil
Spending the Night in a Cup
The Thonging Primer
A Learner's Guide to Touching and Underwear
Exploring Tactile Sensations: Getting in Touch with the Sensation Your Body Can Produce
Understanding Male Sexuality: All the Information you Did Not Learn From your Parents, Your Friends or in Your High School Sex Education Class
by David Sebringsil
This information is intended for those who wish to learn more about male sexuality--particularly information about topics that are considered to be too complicated, controversial or perhaps too embarrassing for parents, teachers or friends to discuss. The topics discussed here are loosely based on my responses to several hundred e-mail questions that have dealt with a variety of complicated but interesting issues related to male sexuality.
Basic Plumbing and Electrical
A suitable starting point is to begin with a discussion of how the basic plumbing and electrical system of male sexuality works. The plumbing and electrical system is complex, but very well designed for its purpose. Medical doctors refer to the electrical system consisting of the portions of the brain governing male sexual response and the associated nerve system as the limbic system. This electrical system connected to the plumbing system--a series of arteries and veins that control the inflow and outflow of blood to and from the penis, and also is connected via nerves to assorted glands.
Arousal, Erection and Ejaculation
Men often tend to consider these together, but, in reality they are separate but interrelated events, although ultimately related to each other. Any of these events can occur in the absence of the others.
The Arousal Mechanism
Suppose that a man observes or reads something that excites him sexually. (More about what this might be later on) What happens? First, of course, messages are transmitted to the portion of the brain dedicated to sexual response. The man says to himself "I'm turned on" which is the slang term for sexual arousal. Many men believe that sexual arousal is accompanied by an erection, but this is not normally the case, at least not initially. Instead, electrical impulses are transmitted to two tiny glands that lie along the sides of the urethra, or the tube that leads from the bladder through the tip of the penis. These two glands, called the cowpers glands, are located inside the body, directly above a point on the body behind the scrotum, called the perineum area.
These little recognized glands play a major role in male sexual response. They are primarily responsible for the production of glistening drops of a clear slippery fluid, sometimes called pre- ejaculate, but known also in
slang as "ooze" or "precum." For many, if not most men, the first physical indication of sexual arousal is the formation of a drop or two of this fluid at the tip of the penis. Many men believe that when this fluid appears, they are already starting to "leak" ejaculate, but this is not the case. The function of this fluid is to act as a lubricant for sexual intercourse. It's pH level is quite high, and it is very slippery. By producing drops of precum, the male is making something that will make entry of the penis into the vagina easier. In addition, there is some research to suggest that since the pH of precum is quite high, precum may serve to decrease the acidity of the vagina, increasing the chance that a sperm will be able to make the trip to fertilize the waiting egg. Nature is very creative. It thinks of everything. Nature is at its very best when creating systems to insure the continuation of the species, and the human system was its best effort. The sexual arousal section of the brain is sending nerve impulses to the cowpers glands telling the glands to produce the fluid. This is an automatic response to the sexually-exciting stimulus, and thus is largely if not entirely outside of conscious control, and the only way to stop precum production is to avoid the stimulus that is causing the sexual arousal.
A number of other things happen during the early stages of sexual arousal. First the man suddenly feels very good, psychologically. During arousal, the brain is flooded with natural chemicals that act similarly to drugs such as cocaine. These natural chemicals, called endorphins, make the man say to himself that whatever is causing the sexual arousal is very enjoyable and should be continued. If the sexual response is the result of observing another person, the man may make an effort to meet the other person involved. Nature protects itself here and is very cunning. Nature's goal is to continue the species. If this is to occur, it's important that sexually attractive mates elicit a response that maximizes the chance that the two people involved will become better acquainted and perhaps eventually engage in sexual intercourse. (In case you were wondering, the arousal mechanism works identically for gay males, but the object of the sexual attraction here, is, of course, another male.) Most men will produce pre-ejaculate while observing anything regarded as sexually exciting, perhaps even reading a sexually explicit story or watching a sexually explicit movie. The reason pornography sells well is because it often elicits this response in men, and feelings of psychological well-being. There is no limit to the length of time that a man can be aroused, and throughout the man can continue to produce drops of pre-ejaculate. Pre-ejaculate may, of occasion, contain some sperm, and a woman can become pregnant even if actual orgasm and ejaculation does not take place. That is rare, although there are cases of this happening.
Normally, however, arousal is followed by erection. An erection of the penis occurs as the spongy tissues of the penis are engorged with blood. There is one large primary artery responsible for blood flow into the penis, but several veins that drain the penis of blood. When an erection is not happening, the inflow of blood and the outflow is maintained in balance and the penis remains flaccid. The valves that control the inflow and outflow of blood, however, are controlled by nerves that run up the spinal chord. During erection, the valve in the artery which controls the flow of blood into the penis is opened widely, allowing blood to enter. Simultaneously, the valves in the veins that control the blood outflow are squeezed partially shut. With more blood flowing in than out, the penis enlarges and becomes harder. The penis will get very hard and big if the valves in the veins shut off tightly, while blood continues to flow in. And the heart rate and blood pressure increases, increasing the flow of blood to the penis and its hardness.
What can go wrong with the plumbing system?
Several things. Those with spinal cord injuries are frequently unable to attain an erection because the nerves that control the valves in the veins and arteries have been severed. If these valves cannot be opened and closed an erection is impossible. As a man ages, the valves controlling the veins that must be shut off may leak a bit, and not prevent the outflow of blood. And the blood flow into the penis may be restricted. Also, as a man ages, the main penis artery may tend to fill with sludge, reducing blood inflow. Smoking may contribute to this, as it does to the buildup of sludge in other portions of the circulatory system. Furthermore, alcohol use may decrease the ability of the nervous system to close off the necessary valves. That's why intoxicated men often cannot get and maintain an erection. Bicycle and other injuries to the groin area can be dangerous in that the main artery controlling blood flow to the penis may be squeezed shut, making a firm erection difficult or even impossible. The size of the erection may be relatively unrelated to the size of the non-erect penis. Typically, those with smaller penises tend to enlarge to a greater degree when erect, so the differences in the size of the erect penis may not be that great. According to the book "Man's Body," the average flaccid penis is about 3 3/4 inches long with most falling between 3 1/4 and 4 1/4 inches, though a few fall outside this range. The average erect penis is 6 1/4 inches, with most between 5 and 7 inches, though a few are smaller and larger. A recent article in Men's Health Magazine (June, 1996) indicates that these data are overly optimistic, and that the average erect penis length now widely accepted by doctors is 5.1 inches. This seems a bit short to me, at least for an average number, but if these data become widely known, most men may be happy to find out that they are "above average." Part of the problem is that scientific data on this is difficult to collect by other parties, and men, if they measure themselves in private, are perhaps sometimes prone to brag a bit. Furthermore, erect penis length varies with the degree of erection.
Past puberty, in the teen years, and perhaps during the twenties, it is possible to get a full erection without any manual stimulation at all. As men age beyond the 20s, this occurs less and less frequently and increasingly some manual manipulation of the penis is needed. As the penis becomes increasingly erect, the nerve endings located there gradually become more and more sensitive to touch. In general, the harder the penis can become, the more pleasant the sensations from the touch. Other physiological changes occur. As the erection grows, he heart and breathing rate increases. During the initial stages of arousal, before erection occurs, the testicles and scrotum feel quite large and soft, and are very sensitive to touch. Gentle pressure on the testicles with the fingertips produces particularly pleasant sensations. As the erection proceeds, the testicles change as well, appearing to become harder and more walnut-like. They are drawn toward the body as the point of ejaculation becomes nearer. Many men think that an erection must ordinarily proceed to an orgasm and ejaculation, but this is not necessarily so. By repeatedly massaging and then stopping the manual stimulation of the penis, a man can go through many erection cycles that do not necessary need to lead directly to orgasm. With each cycle, often the man can learn to take a bit more stimulation without ejaculating.
Learning how to achieve an erection just below the level which will lead to ejaculation is an important part of learning ejaculatory control. It is important for the man to learn how to read his body's signals that orgasm and ejaculation are near. Psychologists call the point where the man can no longer delay orgasm the "point of inevitability" There are several physical indications. First the hole in the tip of the penis will become more slit-like. Precum production will stop. Generally if the fluid at the tip of the penis becomes milky, the point of inevitability is already past.
Learning how to lengthen the arousal and erection period while delaying orgasm is an important part of maximizing enjoyment from sex. As the erection proceeds, the physical sensations become increasingly more and more exciting, and the psychological pressure to ejaculate becomes more and more intense. The trick is to learn to keep the stimulation just below the level required for ejaculation while learning to deal with the increasing psychological pressure to ejaculate. Like driving a racing car closer and closer to a wall at ever high speeds, the psychological pleasure becomes more and more intense, the longer the arousal can be maintained without ejaculation, but the greater the enjoyment for the man. Furthermore, the longer this stage can be maintained, the more powerful and enjoyable the orgasm will be for the man. Thus, developing skills for doing this and dealing with the psychological desire to ejaculate for as long as possible are essential for the full enjoyment of partner (and solo) sex, and this is what requires practice.
Women usually require a somewhat longer period of time to become fully aroused, so being able to delay orgasm potentially increases the enjoyment of sex by both partners. Many women believe that men are happier the more frequently they can have intercourse. This is not entirely accurate. What men truly enjoy is being aroused by their partner and remaining in an aroused state for a long period of time, while delaying orgasm as long as possible. This is a continuing theme of most of the best erotic literature, which in the story line, the woman is able to arouse a man, and keep him at a level just below that needed to achieve an orgasm. Women who have learned how to achieve this for their husbands generally have very happy husbands and solid long-term relationships.
All of the sections of the erect penis are not equally sensitive. Thus, by varying locations being stimulated, the man can perhaps delay orgasm. Stimulation of the base of the penis, near the body, while pleasant, normally will not be sufficient to achieve orgasm. The underside of the tip of the penis, called the frenulum, is very sensitive to manual stimulation. If this area of the erect penis is stimulated very much, an orgasm (and ejaculation) will occur almost immediately. Thus it is important to not stimulate this region, at least not until late in the sex play. There is a reason for this. During intercourse, when the man's penis is fully inside the woman's body, the tip of the penis will touch the cervix at the end of the vagina. Unless the man is deep inside the woman, the vagina is simply a hollow tube, and the tip of the penis is not touched. By ensuring that the orgasm takes place almost precisely when the tip of the penis comes in contact with the cervix, the sperm will have the shortest distance to travel to reach the waiting egg. Thus, a man's "reward" for placing the semen in the location that will maximize the chance that the woman gets pregnant (and the species continues) is the pleasant sensations that occur when the tip of the penis touches the cervix. In sex play, the man can reproduce these pleasant feelings outside of intercourse by touching the tip, particularly the underside of the tip, although orgasm and ejaculation will likely follow almost immediately. Because of the sensitivity and pleasant sensations, the frenulum is often referred to as the "male G spot."
A significant portion of the penis, perhaps one- third to one-half of it, lies inside the body. This portion of the penis also responds to manual stimulation. It can be felt and externally massaged at a spot called the perineum area, which is directly behind the base of the scrotum. This is a little-recognized but highly spot on the male body. This spot is sometimes referred to as the "second male G spot" though many men are not even aware that it is a sexually sensitive area of the body In addition to the possibility of externally massaging the interior portion of the erect penis, a bundle of nerves terminate here, and the main artery that is responsible for providing blood for erections runs through this area. That is why bicycle injuries may lead to impotency. Surgeons are becoming increasingly talented in repairing damage to this artery. In addition, inside, but directly above this area lies the cowpers glands, and it is likely that external massage of this area will to a certain degree stimulate the cowpers gland.
The prostate is a little further up, but close by. I have heard varying opinions as to whether it is possible to externally massage the prostate by touching the perineum area, but I believe it is possible. Massaging the
prostate, a walnut-size gland responsible for secreting most of the liquid contained in semen can be very pleasant, and some men do this by inserting a gloved finger directly inside the rectum, as the gland is located only about an inch inside.
Orgasm and Ejaculation
With practice, a man can learn a degree of control over the point when he proceeds to orgasm and ejaculation. Some men believe that male orgasm invariably results in ejaculation, but this is not entirely true. Some men
have learned techniques for having multiple orgasms without ejaculating. Many of these techniques involving squeezing of the urethra such that the semen is not allowed to leave the body. To me, this sounds potentially
painful and perhaps even dangerous.
As the point of orgasm approaches, pre-ejaculate production will normally stop, and the hole in the tip of the penis becomes slit-like. The testicles become hard and are drawn up near the body in preparation. Breathing becomes heavier, and there may be involuntary contractions of major muscles (convulsions) throughout the body.
Finally, the psychological and physical pressure to ejaculate is released in a series of muscular contractions, usually about 8 major contractions spaced a second or so apart, followed perhaps by several smaller ones that
can last 45 seconds or so. In essence, a pump has swung into action. Technically an orgasm is similar to a sneeze in that it involves a series of involuntary muscle contractions in response to an "irritation," though, of course, it is usually a good deal more fun. Semen consists of a mixture of sperm from the testicles and primarily fluid from the seminal vesicles and prostate gland, but also contains smaller amounts of other fluids secreted from glands along the urethra. Often the sperm is not very well mixed with the other liquids making the semen appear to have patches of cloudy and clear areas, and has about the same consistency as liquid dish washing detergent. (Somehow, I think of that every tome I start my dishwasher!) Semen is usually creamy white in color.
Once the orgasm is complete, the valves which maintained the erection are opened, and the penis is drained of blood so that within a space of a few minutes it has returned to its flaccid state.
He Dribbles! He Shoots!
Generally the more frequently you have an ejaculation, the less the distance you will be able to shoot. But a lot of the differences appear to be genetic, and some men are better able to shoot long distances than others. The book, "Man's Body, indicates that after prolonged abstinence (several days), a man may be able to shoot 3 ft or more, but the average is 7-10 inches with more frequent ejaculations. If one is able to ejaculate 2-3 hours after the previous one, the semen just kind of "dribbles out." The ability to shoot long distances declines generally with age, and probably varies somewhat according to the hardness of the erection, too. There is also a wide variation in semen production, also according to the book "Man's Body", ranging from 0.2 ml to 6.6 ml.This same book notes that 3.5 ml is average after a few days without ejaculation--about a teaspoonful--while 13 ml has been recorded after prolonged abstinence. So this must be judged in relationship to the frequency of ejaculation. There is undoubtedly normal genetic variation as well. Interestingly, most of the fluid--60 percent on average, comes from glands called the seminal vesicles, whereas 38 % comes from the prostate, with the remainder from glands such as the cowpers. The prostate contribution is responsible for the characteristic odor.
Frequency of Ejaculation
According to a number of studies, Many post- pubescent young men report daily ejaculation, if not more frequently than that. This frequency gradually declines for most males to 2-3 time per week which is typical of men in their forties. But there is still considerable variation among adult men of a given age. Testosterone Cycles, Refractory Periods, and "Wet" Dreams. The hormone testosterone, ordinarily produced by the sex organs in both males and females, has a great deal to do with whether or not a man will become aroused. Ordinarily, after ejaculation, a man normally has no further interest in sexual activity of any kind. Physically, for a period of ten minutes to perhaps more than an hour for some men, the man is physically unable to achieve another erection. This is sometimes referred to as the refractory period. After orgasm, testosterone level in the blood drop.
Most men have a daily cycle of testosterone levels that peaks somewhere between 4 and 6 AM. Many men tend to have strong erections during the early morning hours, when testosterone levels are often highest.
Involuntary erections are a normal part of the sleep cycle for most men, and according to research, most men have perhaps three or four during each night. there are various theories as to why nature planned it this way. One theory suggests that this is a way the male penis "renews" itself with an ample supply of oxygen. These erection cycles are quite normal. In fact a man who does not have such cycles is likely physically impotent. A simple test that is sometimes used is to wrap the base of the penis tightly with a strip of postage stamps before retiring. If the circle of stamps tears during the night, the man is not physically impotent.
In the early years of post-pubescence, night-time erections are frequently accompanied by a full- fledged ejaculation, resulting in crusty spots on the pajamas and sheets in the morning. Most young men are somewhat
embarrassed by this, but it is quite normal. Wet dreams gradually occur less frequently as men grow older, and masturbation and sexual intercourse become increasingly important.
Unwanted Erections and "Bashful Kidneys"
I have had a number of letters from men complaining of erections that occur unexpectedly in potentially embarrassing situations,for example, in a locker room, a public shower, while having a massage, or similar
situation. Since your brain tells you when you are aroused, these responses are automatic and not under conscious control. The nerves running to the valves that control blood flow in and out of the penis are tied directly to the portion of the brain responsible for arousal and erection. Frequently, the situation in which the unexpected erections occur involve "novel" tactile stimulation from a massage, the texture or fit of an article of clothing, or something similar, There is no simple way to avoid the "problem" of an unwanted erection other than to avoid the stimulus that is causing it. The novelty of the situation is in part, responsible. Over time, when a man becomes familiar with the tactile sensations, the erections may subside, at least to a certain degree. It may be helpful to remember than men do not normally seek to avoid having erections, and erections should be enjoyed, not scorned.
Another common problem is the so-called "bashful kidney." A bashful kidney is a situation where a man has difficulty urinating in a public rest room, This problem was actually discussed in Ann Landers a number of years ago. The problem is exacerbated if the rest room is noisy, crowded, and the individual urinals offer little or no privacy. In addition, long trips in a car or on a bus or airplane seem to make the problem worse. Again, there
is no simple solution as the muscles that control the flow of urine are not entirely under voluntary control. Over time, as a man ages, the problem tends to gradually recede. A rest room with private stalls may be the only solution.
Taboo Topics: Masturbation
Masturbation remains a taboo topic within much of american society. Parents who openly discuss nearly any other sexual behavior topic with their children often are embarrassed when the subject of masturbation is approached. There are biblical passages which suggest, at least in some people's minds, that masturbation is sinful. And the "Boy Scout Manual" in the 1940s made note that masturbation was somehow harmful. Various physical maladies over time have been associated with or blamed on masturbation. Examples include pimples (nearly every adolescent boy has them, so there must be a connection) lack of agility and ability in sports, near-sightedness, and even blindness. I remember discussing the subject with a medical doctor during the 1950s when I was about 13 years old. His advice was, "I'm not going to discourage you from doing that, but I don't believe that it is a good idea, either. I thought to myself, "That is certainly strange advice, I wonder what he means." But I was too scared to ask any more questions.
Fortunately, today most medical doctors are enlightened, and now believe that masturbation is not only normal, but perhaps even necessary for good sexual health, at least for post-pubescent males who lack other "sexual outlets." A medical text published in 1975, "Funk and Wagnall's Family Medical Guide," in its discussion of treatment for enlarged prostate, notes that "All viable males need to have a periodic release of sperm. Years of such abuse can have an effect later in life." The text does not give advice, however, as to the specific techniques that should be used to ensure that this periodic release of sperm takes place.
Virtually all adolescent males masturbate, though some more frequently than others. But more interestingly, masturbation often continues throughout adulthood, even when other forms of sexual activity are available. Most adolescent males are very embarrassed about their masturbation activities, and become creative in figuring out ways and times to masturbate when they will not be discovered. While most adolescent males are fearful of their parent's discovery, they are terrified that their friends might find out. So many adolescent males learn to get it over quickly, to minimize the chance of being discovered. Only later in life do they learn that the ability to delay orgasm is very important to learn in order to maximize sexual pleasure. So all the "quickie" techniques must be unlearned.
In adult men, the frequency of masturbation tends to gradually recede as other sexual outlets become more readily available, but, interestingly, male masturbation often continues into married life. Some men try to hide this from their wives (often by picking times and places similar to what they used when they were living at home, or had a college roommate!), perhaps correctly believing that showing an interest in solo sex is the ultimate rejection of a loving partner. But I have talked to a number of men who have wives who are quite aware of their husband's masturbation practices and, indeed, encourage it. Some of the most happily married men I have encountered are those whose wives enjoy mutual masturbation, which becomes a regular part of the sexual activity. Part of the psychological problem that most men face is that this is a difficult subject to bring up with a partner, because any expressed interest in masturbation might be interpreted by the partner as a form of rejection. The men who have gotten past this point with their wives almost invariably report having a very satisfactory sex life. A favorite male sex fantasy is getting the opportunity to watch a woman masturbate, and many woman find watching men masturbate to be sexually exciting, once they get over any hang-ups with the basic idea. Unattached single men, and gay men, of course, tend to masturbate more frequently than married men. For many gay men, mutual masturbation is a primary sexual outlet.
While it is true that some women my interpret their male partner's interest in masturbation as a form of rejection, other women may interpret this somewhat differently. By masturbating in front of the woman, the man is sharing the most personal of all activities. That a man is willing to do this in front of a partner is an expression of love, not rejection. Thus, mutual masturbation could be a highly erotic and loving activity for men and women. It could also be something regularly done at the initial stages of love making.
Men employ a variety of masturbation techniques. The simplest technique is to begin by simply squeezing the penis. Once the penis becomes semi-erect, stroking normally takes place, from tip to base. By concentrating at first on the base of the penis and avoiding the tip permits the erection to proceed and is a basic technique for delaying ejaculation. The entire groin area, including the penis, scrotum and the groin itself, gradually becomes more sensitive to the touch. Once the erection is underway, many men enjoy gently pressing on and massaging the scrotum. Gentle touch anywhere within the area can be sexually exciting, and even on other parts of the body, such as the male nipples.
Some men prefer to masturbate while lying prone on a bed, with the underside of the penis rubbing against the bed.
Many men enjoy masturbating using a lubricant, rather than dry. Pre-ejaculate is an excellent lubricant, although the supply may be somewhat limited. Hand lotion or Vaseline can be used, though, since these contain oils, they are probably not the best choice if intercourse with a condom is to follow. A clear, water based gel, such as KY gel, is made for this purpose and does not destroy condoms.
Some men enjoy using devices while masturbating--a vibrator, a shower massage unit or similar. Many of these devices produce an interesting, though short-lived effect. A shower massage unit or tub jet, for example, puts stimulation on the penis such that the feeling is much like having a giant vacuum cleaner sucking the semen out of the body. The whole thing is over in about 30 seconds, even without much of an erection. Interesting, but not something one might want to do on a regular basis, Then there is masturbation employing articles of clothing, which can also be classified as a sexual fetish.
Taboo Topics: Fetishes
Fetishes are actually quite common among males, although men who enjoy fetishes are often very embarrassed by their turn-ons. Generally, a fetish is any situation where arousal occurs as the result of an inanimate object, most often an article of clothing. Fetishes are absolutely harmless, except for the possible psychological harm for a partner who does not understand what is going on. Fetishes are virtually entirely a male domain, and few if any women can relate to enjoying anything similar. I do not know for certain if a majority of men enjoy fetishes, but certainly a large number of men do, and they are quite "normal."
College students who engage in "panty raids" of women's dormitories are revealing a very mild, and perhaps socially acceptable form of a fetish. Men who enjoy seeing women dressed up in clothing that is over the edge of feminine attire--4 inch heels, fish-net stockings etc, are probably exhibiting a mild fetish. Most men, however, see this fetish as part of their overall heterosexual interest in women, and few men would regard this as "abnormal."
Transvestites--that is, men who are sexually aroused by dressing up in women's clothing, are sometimes treated by society as being abnormal, but many of these men are married to women and have otherwise normal sex lives. The only consequence of this fetish for many of these men is that they are sexually aroused by actually dressing in women's clothing.
Then there are underwear, swimwear and jock- strap fetishes, and even fetishes involving other mens clothing items, such as lycra cycling shorts or tight-fitting blue jeans. An internet site is devoted to discussions by men who have underwear fetishes, and there is a newsgroup, alt.society.underwear, largely devoted to discussions among men who have underwear fetishes. There is also an internet newsgroup, alt.support.jock-strap, devoted to discussions by those jock-strap fetishes. Many fetishes involve items of clothing normally worn in conjunction with sports activities Those with swimwear or blue jeans fetishes have yet to form their own internet newsgroups!
In most instances, the clothing item that is responsible is worn, and is used in conjunction with masturbation or other forms of sex play. The recent popularity of boxer shorts made from silk is, at least in part, due to the fact that many men find the feel of silk against the skin arousing. Those who have underwear fetishes appear to be about equally divided between those who have a preference for briefs, bikinis and thong-type underwear, and those who have a preference for boxer-style shorts. The group interested in boxer- style shorts seem disinterested in other underwear styles, and vice versa.
Based on the internet sites and newsgroup activity, it may appear that underwear and jock- strap and similar fetishes are largely a gay activity, but straights engage in these activities as well. I have visited with very happily married men whose wives not only knew about the underwear fetish, but help their husbands pick out underwear that is particularly arousing to them! In these instances, the underwear was simply part of the overall sexual chemistry between the man and his wife.
However, gays usually seem more willing to discuss fetishes, perhaps because they see many of the fetishes as merely a part of their overall interest in other men as objects of sexual attraction. One unique activity engaged in my many men with underwear fetishes is underwear trading. This activity appears to take on a particular importance in gay society. The newsgroups are filled with requests by gay men to trade underwear, jock-straps, or other similar garments. Though there may be straight men who also engage in this activity, I have yet to hear from one, although some of the gay men I have visited with claim that their interest in underwear is incidental to their sexual orientation.
Among the underwear traders, there are specialists. Some prefer to trade underwear or jock-straps that are new, and still in the original packaging, much the same as someone might collect coins or model trains. They may catalog their collection in detail for other participants in the newsgroup to read. Other men, gays primarily, are interested in trading underwear, jockstraps or swimwear that are "used." A number of men have admitted to stealing (they call it liberating) these kinds of clothing items from laundry rooms, locker-rooms etc, when they are left unattended. Many of these men prefer, used, stained, garments, particularly if stained with semen. It's unclear as to whether the primary sexual interest is in the garment or the wearer. Garments from other gay men who are of a similar age and build appear to be most preferred. Underwear trading among gay men appears to be the first step in an internet dating ritual that, if the underwear seems ok, may eventually involve first a phone conversation and then perhaps actually meeting the underwear trader. In addition, many gay bars have underwear nights in which men dress up in underwear.
Sexual Orientation Issues
I have visited with many men who are well past their teens and are still quite uncertain of their sexual preference. I conclude that this is actually quite common. The media portray male sexuality as if most men are either straight or gay, with but a few men falling in a middle category that is potentially aroused by members of either sex. I have visited with many gays who were aware of their sexual preference at a very early age, perhaps nearly from the moment they realized they were male. Obviously there are many men who are clearly heterosexual, or straight, and have no same-sex interests whatsoever.
However, I have visited with a surprising number of men where the preference is not nearly that clear. One book I have--Sexual Happiness for Men: A Practical Approach--that discusses sexual orientation issues lists seven different categories of sexual preference, depending on the relative arousal in and preference for same-sex versus different-sex activities. These categories are based on the original work by Kinsey. Using this categorization, bisexuals are only those who are equally aroused by both same- and different-sex activities, and thus have no preference for one over the other. Most men, however do have some preference for one or the other.
You don't get to tell your brain what you find arousing: your brain tells you! Very few straight men are so straight that there are not certain kinds of same sex activities that are at least slightly arousing. Most heterosexual men, for example, would likely get a bit aroused if they were placed in a room with a group of other men who were all masturbating! Similarly, few gay men are so gay that they would not be aroused by any form of different- sex activity. Sexual preference for most men is just that, a preference. Once a man discovers an activity that he finds very arousing, other activities that are less arousing normally recede into the background. Thus, if a predominately heterosexual individual determines that certain kinds of different-sex activities are highly arousing, interests he might have had in same sex activities will likely recede. To that degree, it is possible for a man with some same-sex interests to go through life as a straight. I'm convinced this is part of what makes "coming out" difficult for many men with an interest in certain same-sex activities, because making a final decision as to preference is often not easy, and is a decision that cannot be easily reversed. A may who has come out as a gay will have difficulty if he decides that he wants to attempt to begin dating women, for example.
Men who do not appear to have a preference often face a lot of problems, and are largely treated as if they were gays by the straight community, but these individuals are frequently rejected by the gay community as well for not being truly gay or comfortable with their "true" sexual orientation.
I had a chance to discuss sexual orientation issues with two different men, both in their 30s or 40s who both were married, and both, I believe, also had families. Both claimed to have "normal" sex lives with their wives. Interestingly, however, both of these men occasionally had same-sex encounters (not with each other but each with another man) leading to orgasm. The wives in each instance were apparently unaware of the gay relationship. The decisions these two men faced were not simple. In one of the two cases, I was able to help the man come to the conclusion that ultimately the gay relationship could mean that he would have to leave his wife and family. He ultimately reached the conclusion that this was not a price he was willing to pay for the same-sex relationship.
In the other case, however, it was clear that the man was gradually leaning toward leaving his wife for the man he was having the affair with. I never did hear exactly what happened in this case, but I suspect very strongly that this man is no longer living with his wife. Despite the similar circumstances, each man likely made a different choice. I cite these cases to illustrate how complicated sexual preference can become! No one yet fully understands the mechanism by which sexual preference is ultimately determined, and theories cite genetic and environmental factors, with the theories involving primarily genetic factors gaining increasing support, in part based on studies of identical twins. In addition, the fact that many gays appear to have already determined a sexual preference at a very early age supports theories which suggest only a limited role for the environment and family-related factors. The determination of what is arousing and what is not is not a matter of conscious decision.
Gay men are very much like straight men, except for the fact that the sexual arousal mechanism is primarily if not exclusively triggered by persons of the same sex. Gays are just as mystified by why women trigger the arousal mechanism in straights as straights are mystified by why other men trigger the arousal mechanism in gays. From the gay perspective, it is the straight world that is "abnormal." Other than the problems in dealing with discrimination while living as a gay in a predominately straight world, I have yet to visit with a gay man who has expressed an interest in waking up tomorrow morning as a straight. The vast majority of gay men are not in any way dissatisfied with their sexual preference, which these see as the very essence of their being.
Gays are largely mystified as to why they are treated as they are solely on the basis of their sexual preference. Discrimination against and other acts of hatred toward gay men is a sad component of American culture as
well as in cultures of many other countries. I have a theory that many of the men who discriminate against and otherwise preach hatred toward gays are themselves struggling with their own inner unresolved conflicts with
respect to their own sexual orientation. Acting in anger against gays is a way of dealing with their own anger with regard to inner conflicts about their own sexual preference!
Those who cite religious and biblical teaching against gays are on shaky ground as well. First, the biblical passages relating to this topic are not at all clear, and can have many different interpretations. The basic message of Christianity deals a lot with topics like acceptance, understanding and love, and speaks out boldly on issues such as hatred and discrimination. How anger and discrimination toward gays can be rationalized on the basis of religious doctrine remains a great mystery to me.
Many of the sexual stereotypes of gay men portrayed in the media are inaccurate. Many straights believe that most gay men are really women living in men's bodies, that is, men who would have preferred to be women, if given a choice. I have found that this characterization, popular in the media, to be a description of only a tiny percentage of gays. The vast majority of gay men are very happy being male, have no interest in dressing or acting like a woman, or undergoing a sex-change operation. Indeed, from all outward appearances, they are indistinguishable from their heterosexual counterparts--except that their sexual arousal mechanism is triggered by persons of the same sex. In our predominantly heterosexual culture, this one tiny difference presents some major issues for our society.
Straights often assume that the behavior of all gays is similar to what they see of a few gays in the news media. The vast majority of gays are living lives very similar to men in the straight culture, holding down stable jobs in all types of work and searching for loving, lifelong relationships with a partner--just as straights attempt to do. Sadly, based on the conversations I have had with gay men, relationships, on average, tend to be much shorter lived than in the straight community, often measured in weeks or months, but usually not in years.
Straight society is often somewhat mystified by the specific sexual activities that gays engage in. Current thinking in psychology is that perhaps as much as one-third of the adult male population has, at one time or another, engaged in some form of same-sex activity leading to orgasm. It's not uncommon, according to psychologists, for boys only recently past puberty to engage in mutual masturbation, or "jerk-off" sessions, with their male friends. Psychologists attach little significance to this sort of same-sex activity in terms of its implications for sexual preference. Psychologists refer to such activity as "incidental homosexuality, and do not necessarily believe that simply because young person, or even an adult man, irregularly engages in such activity that the man is gay.
However, many gay men are also very interested in mutual masturbation sessions where both partners manipulate their own or each other's sex organs. Such activity may involve more than two men. The sex-oriented newsgroups are filled with personal ads from men who are looking for jerk- off partners, and internet newsgroups have largely replace public restrooms for advertising. The true sexual orientation (preference) of many of these men can be ambiguous. Some men appear to attach no more significance to the activity than, say, going out for beer and a pizza, and simply treat it as an enjoyable way to spend an evening. I've visited with married men who occasionally "go out with the boys" to engage in mutual masturbation. These men claim to very much enjoy sex with their wives as well, have no intentions of leaving their wives, and simply regard the jerk-off sessions as a different and interesting sexual activity. In the instances I am aware of, the wives are unaware of what goes on when the husband has a night out with the boys. Another common activity is watching erotic videotapes while engaging in mutual masturbation by male friends.
Oral sex among gay couples is the next step, although even here some psychologists regard the oral sex as simply another manifestation of incidental homosexuality that does not provide sufficient evidence that the men involved are gay. Anal intercourse is the type of sexual activity many psychologists regard as only taking place between men who are gay.
Why anal intercourse has assumed such an important role in the gay community remains something of a mystery to me, in particular because the rectum and the penis are not very well designed to fit together very well. Gay couples have written to me to describe in detail some of the difficulties they were having with anal intercourse and complaining that the sensations they were experiencing in anal intercourse were not very interesting. The rectum is just a hollow tube, and contains no structure that plugs the end as the cervix does in the woman. Still, many gay couples appear to regard anal intercourse as a very necessary part of the relationship. This is the one activity that straight men probably have the most difficulty understanding and dealing with.
Sadly, anal intercourse is the primary mechanism by which the AIDS virus is transmitted, responsible for the vast majority of cases. While the AIDS virus can be transmitted via oral sex, the probability of transmission is very low, and would usually require open sores in the mouth. The rectum is very fragile and is easily torn. Thus, anal intercourse can provide an excellent path for the transmission of the AIDS virus from semen to blood. The fact that gay relationships tend to be fragile and short lived coupled with the easy transmission of the AIDS virus through the rectum has in large measure been responsible for the AIDS epidemic among the gay community. Sadly, there are many sexual activities that gays could enjoy which would pose essentially zero risk of disease transmission--mutual masturbation, sex play involving clothing sex toys and the like.
This concludes my essay on "Understanding Male Sexuality." Human sexuality is a fascinating topic. I hope that I have dealt openly and fairly with these topics and provided some information that, till now, has not been readily available, and, in some cases, even widely known.
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