If the penis is the class clown and the testicles are the sensitive nerds everyone wants to protect, then the prostate is the quiet kid who sits in the back. He may not get the same attention, but he certainly deserves it.

Fortunately—and not only for the sake of rescuing us from that belabored metaphor—the popularity of prostate massage has grown. That’s a good thing, because a healthy prostate is essential to sexual function.

Prostate massage basics

The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland located behind the bladder that works as a sort of mechanical switch between urination and ejaculation. It surrounds the urethra and is responsible for producing part of the fluid that makes up semen. Big deal, right? Well, the pulsing a man feels when he ejaculates is the prostate’s smooth muscle contracting as it expels prostatic fluid.

Ah, now you’re paying attention.

Plenty of anecdotal evidence touts the benefits of prostate massage, as does data from numerous small studies. But the lack of large-scale prostate massage studies means the medical profession as a whole is hesitant to support it as therapeutic.

What is known is that massaging the prostate, when performed in a therapeutic