It’s one of the truisms of sexuality that women’s sexuality is elusive, and men’s is obvious. It’s obvious, because -presumably – an erection is conspicuously obvious. It’s obvious, because the point of an erection – surely – is to ejaculate. So it’s ‘blindingly obvious’ that men’s sexuality is about ejaculation. And so from there, we imagine the penis to be in a somewhat detached relationship from the rest of the male body, stuck on at the pubic bone like volatile plasticine, with the scrotum underneath, and made up of two parts: the glands/head, where the action is, and the visible rest of it, which doesn’t seem to do or feel much.
Almost all of this isn’t true. Did you know, for instance, that one third of the penis isn’t visible? it isn’t hidden away in some mysterious place, it’s plainly there, but nobody talks about it. Specifically, it runs down the centre of the scrotum underneath the skin and attaches to the pelvic floor, and it’s very sensitive. But, it seems, nobody talks about it because of the assumptions I’ve just detailed. Prior to tumescence, you can’t really feel it, and after tumescence, well, the circus has headed north.
Why does this matter?
If our focus is on (mistaken) anatomy rather than what we feel, we are much more inclined to dicotomise men and women’s experience. Or we are likely to seize upon mistaken analogies, thinking, for example, of the clitoris as being like the penis, rather than thinking of both as each being part of a much larger whole, which enables us to understand both sets of genital systems as being remarkably similar. Not in terms of appearance obviously, which is trivial, but in terms of what they can experience, because the nerve connections – what makes us feel what we feel – are essentially the same.
We are also in our assumptions very likely to think of male sexuality in binary terms: there’s either an exuberant tumescence or there isn’t, whereas if we expand the area of pleasure then we also – crucially – expand the palette of pleasure, which in turn integrates our sexuality both with our feelings, and also with the rest of our lives. The body is full of feeling: it’s not like a machine which is either turned on or off, there is a whole spectrum of feeling sensation. If men can be engaged with prostate pleasure, that obviously helps, because they can experience something happening to them internally, but without an expansion of pleasure into the whole area between the glands and the prostate, the man is like an anaesthetised person, who feels sensation in his head and his feet, but everywhere in between is numb.
In my work with women who want to learn how to touch men, I emphasise this largely unknown greater structure, and how a knowledge of how to touch all these areas opens a man up to whole areas of feeling which have little to do with whether he ejaculates or not. And that in turn changes sex from being about performance and orgasm to being about heartful connection.
In a limited field, I would strongly recommend you read a brilliant book about male anatomy by R. Louis Schultz: “Out In The Open – The Complete Male Pelvis”
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