Male Sexual Health: Myths and Facts
May 13, 2023, by Dr Javed Iqbal
As young boys grow into adolescence, they experience a flood of information about human sexuality coming to them. Most of this information comes from friends or pornographic content in magazines, movies, or the internet. Sexual education in India is nonexistent, and sex is considered a taboo subject within families, so parents never discuss anything about it with their children. This, in turn, gives rise to a lot of myths and misconceptions about human sexuality. In our clinical practice, we often find young males have very little understanding about their genital organs, their use, and their function. And therefore, a lot of our time in our clinic is spent on counseling and guiding young men about what is normal and how to improve what is deficient. Homeopathic medicines do play an important role in recovery as they not only address the sexual issues but also the underlying psychological issues. Our experts, Dr. M. Imran Sh. and Dr. Javed Iqbal, will provide complete consultation and treatment to address some of the common myths and questions regarding male and female sexual health.
1. My penis is too short.
The medically measured statistical average length of an erect penis is 5.1 inches. Most men have an erect penile size between 4 and 6 inches. Most claims about an 8- or 9-inch penile length are lies and exaggerations. Such lengths do occur, but they are exceptions and not the norm. Also, sexual gratification does not depend on the length of the penis. Keep in mind that the average vagina is just three to five inches long. So a longer penis just stays outside and does not contribute to sexual gratification by itself.
2. My penis is too thin.
The medically measured statistical average width of an erect penis is 1.6 inches. Most men have an erect penile width between 1.2 and 1.8 inches, and it does increase through the puberty years. Also, sexual gratification does not merely depend upon the penile width. So if your penis width is in the normal statistical range, don’t worry about anything.
3. My penis is not straight.
That’s normal; a very straight, erect penis is quite rare. A slight bend to a side is called penile torsion and is normal. It may also get curved upward when erect. If you have the typical curve of 30 degrees or less, it shouldn’t cause trouble. But if your curve is more severe or if intercourse is painful, you may be among the 2% of men who have Peyronie’s disease. It’s caused by a scar inside the penis. This scar tissue doesn’t expand, and that causes the erection to curve. You might need to consult a physician in such cases.
4. My testes are not equal. One hangs lower than the other.
This is again perfectly natural. It is rare to find males with perfectly symmetrical testes. In about 80% of men, the left testis hangs slightly lower than the right one.
5. I have a bad habit of masturbation. How do I quit it?
We often come across young males who carry a huge guilt complex about masturbation. They start developing anxiety, involuntary nocturnal emissions, premature ejaculation, weekly erections, and often depression. And then they fall in love with quacks and products advertised in newspapers that claim to cure them of all ills. Medically, masturbation is not supposed to cause all this. It has been statistically recorded that at least 95% of young males masturbate regularly. Most of the problems that young men develop are because of the guilt complex that they develop once they hear that it is a ‘bad habit’ or when they read newspaper ads for products that will cure them of their ‘youthful sins’. So if you do masturbate, don’t feel guilty about it. It is considered a normal sexual practice in medicine. But do remember that an excess of everything is bad! In each ejaculation, you lose millions of sperm, which need a lot of protein, minerals, and vitamins to build. Your body has the capacity to generate such a large number of cells, but if you do it too frequently or do not take care of your nutrition and health in general, your body can suffer secondary problems.
6. I occasionally get erections while sleeping.
Involuntary erections during sleep occur in all men. It has been recorded that a young male, on average, gets five such erections per night, but you never become aware of them. It is a kind of maintenance that your body does to keep your organs healthy. If you wake up and find an erection (very rare) that you did not initiate, don’t bother and go back to sleep! Erections during sleep can also occur if your bladder is too full or due to sexual dreams and thoughts. In any case, it is nothing to be concerned about!
7. I discharge semen during sleep. How do I correct it?
It is normal to have occasional involuntary nocturnal emissions, especially in males who do not masturbate or are deprived of sex for long periods of time. If it is occasional, do not bother. If it is happening nearly every day and without sexual arousal, then you might need to consult a physician.
8. I get some mucus discharge with urine.
The prostate gland is situated at the neck of the urinary bladder. The semen is composed of sperm that are made in the testes and prostatic fluid that is made in the prostate gland. It is not unusual to occasionally get some mucus discharge (coming from the prostate) at the end of urination. If it is frequent or if the discharge is profuse or yellowish, then infections in the prostate gland and urinary tract need to be ruled out.
9. I ejaculate too early.
Young males often have the impression that a sexual act has to continue for a long time, as they see in porn movies. The fact is, a movie is a movie, and you should not take it as real. About 75% of men ejaculate within 5 minutes of penetration. Current evidence supports an average intravaginal ejaculation latency time of six and a half minutes in 18- to 30-year-olds. This may seem like a very short amount of time, but it can actually feel much longer if sex is enjoyable. And sex as a whole isn’t just about the genitals; it's about the body in its entirety. Varying activities, increasing foreplay and manual stimulation, slowing down the pace, and learning techniques to delay ejaculation can actually help men last longer. At the end of the day, there are no specifics for this variable. Whatever makes you and your partner feel satisfied is normal!
10. I occasionally do not get an erection.
Your body doesn’t work very mechanically. Sexual excitement is controlled by your brain and not by your penis. If you are under any stress, anxiety, worry, excessive work load, have some other acute illness, or just ‘don’t feel like it', then it is normal for men to not get an erection. Do not get alarmed if this happens to you at some point. Just reduce your level of stress, exercise, eat healthy, and take it in stride.