A Guide on Sex for Men
The key to men having better sex and orgasms is to know their own body as well as that of their partner.
One of the biggest differences between sex for males and sex for females is what happens at the point of orgasm.
"While in most men, orgasm and ejaculation occur simultaneously, it is important to note that they are two different physiological processes," explained Danae Maragouthakis, M.B.B.S., the medical director at Yoxly, a provider of at-home STI test kits based in Oxford, England.
There are two different types of ejaculation: antegrade and retrograde. In typical antegrade ejaculation, the semen is pushed out of the penis through the urethra, but in retrograde ejaculation, it is pushed back into the bladder.
Semen is a combination of sperm from the testes and seminal fluid from the bulbourethral glands, prostate gland and seminal vesicles. Ejaculation has two phases: emission, where the semen moves into the prostatic urethra, and ejection, when it is forced out of the body or into the bladder.
During the male orgasm and ejaculation, Maragouthakis noted that the following physiological changes can happen:
- An increase in breathing rate, heart rate and blood pressure.
- The skin has increased sensitivity to touch.
- The penile tissues fill with blood to create an erection.
- Involuntary rhythmic contractions of the pelvic muscles, anal musculature and feet.
- Men expel semen, usually from the urethra.
- After orgasm, a release allows these tissues to return to their usual size.
These are the chemicals released after orgasm:
- Oxytocin. The "love hormone" for connection and bonding.
- Dopamine. The "pleasure hormone" and neurotransmitter that excites the reward center in the brain and promotes feelings of desire and happiness.
- Endorphins. Hormones that help to relieve pain, reduce stress and lift your mood.
After orgasm, men may experience a temporary inability to have sex, known as the "refractory period." This is thought to be caused by an increase in the prolactin hormone, which suppresses dopamine, making men feel sexually satisfied in that moment.
Types of sex for men
Men can partake in several different types of sex:
- Anal sex. When a person is penetrated or penetrates someone else with a penis or another object, such as a finger or sex toy, in the anus.
- Coitus (sexual intercourse). When a vagina is penetrated by a penis, finger or another object.
- Oral sex. When a person's genitals are stimulated by the other person's mouth. Sometimes there can be penetration in the vagina or anus using a tongue, fingers or sex toy at the same time.
- Mutual masturbation. When a couple stimulates each other's genitals using their hands or other objects. Sometimes there can be penetration but not necessarily.
- Solo masturbation. This can involve any sex act that you can do alone, to yourself. Masturbation is a useful way to find out what you like and need during sex with a partner.
It is important to note that what individuals consider sex differs from person to person. With the addition of sex toys (like strap-ons), a man could receive anal penetration from someone who doesn't have a penis, for example, which is known as pegging.
How to make sex better
Consent and mutual respect are the two pillars on which any sexual relationship is based. Open communication is the most effective way to build a positive rapport on top of that.
"Sexually speaking, it turns out the most issues in a couple's sex life have more to do with each partner's relationship to sex than the act itself," said Edward Ratush, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist and co-founder of SohoMD in New York City.
His advice for men is to embrace their emotions in order to be in an optimal mental zone to have sex.
"In American culture, specifically, men can work on getting better insights into their emotions and developing a larger vocabulary to help understand the complexity of their emotional experiences," Ratush said.
He added that aggressive portrayals of male sexuality have distorted men's ability to connect to their sexuality in a more meaningful way, but this can be changed with work over time.
In terms of the physical nature of sex, there is much men can do to improve their experiences and pleasure.
Certified sexpert Isabelle Uren, from Bedbible.com, a sex toy review site based in Denmark, has some sex tips for men:
- Always check with your partner before trying something new.
- Ensure full arousal or lubrication before penetration, whether anally or vaginally.
- Use a positioning pillow to adjust the angle of penetration for maximum pleasure or greater depth.
- Use a silicone ring on the penis to create a buffer if deep penetration is uncomfortable.
- Incorporate clitoral stimulation using fingers or a sex toy if you're having vaginal sex.
- Build arousal by exploring different areas of the body, such as inner thighs, labia, perineum, anus and scrotum.
- For anal sex, make sure to stimulate the area first because feeling relaxed is important for comfortable penetration.
- A long lube applicator can help get better internal coverage, especially for anal sex.
- Warm up before penetration by using a finger, anal beads or a small dildo first.
- Become pleasure-focused rather than orgasm-focused to best avoid the distraction of the race to the finish line.
These are her masturbation tips:
- Use masturbation to explore your sexual interests without the pressure of a partner being present.
- Take your time to slowly tease and explore yourself.
- Practice self-love and connection to your body.
She also highlighted the importance of aftercare (also known as "afterplay") as a post-sex activity. Even though its origins lie in BDSM play, aftercare can be any activity that helps you navigate the wave of post-sex feelings and enhances your connection to your partner, Uren explained.
Aftercare can include:
- Enjoying a snack or meal
- Having a drink
- Reflecting on your experience
One of the great aspects of sex in today's world is that there are so many ways you can learn about it. Whether it's sex positions, anatomy, safer sex or boundary setting, tremendous resources are available to make up for any lack of education in a school setting.
Ultimately, having a fundamental understanding of each other's desires and your own is the best way to ensure you both have a consensual, pleasurable and memorable experience.
"Being able to communicate is the foundation of safe and satisfying sex," Uren explained. "This includes communicating your boundaries and being able to direct a partner in how to pleasure you."