Thursday, May 15, 2014

Speaking of Performance Anxiety by Guest blogger: Simon Sheppard


 "I'm a versatile guy," says one fellow. "But I keep having performance anxiety whenever I top."

He's not alone, of course. Many a willie will wither when it counts. Stiffies are fickle things, and even the hottest screw can go awry, more commonly than macho myth allows. Our nervous top confides, "A partner can tell me not to be concerned, and that sort of thing happens all the time. Which doesn't make me feel one bit better."

But it does happen all the time. All sorts of things - depression, distractions, drink, drugs - can deflate a dingus. And HIV hasn't helped matters, adding a whole new level of concern, and inserting a penis-defeating pause while a rubber gets unrolled. What's more, a single bout of impotence can spiral, instilling doubts the next time around.

The advent of shaft-stiffening pharmaceuticals, such as Cialis and Viagra, can divert possible disaster, though it's dangerous to use prescription drugs without a doctor's supervision. Worse, pills can mask serious underlying conditions - physical or psychological - that require treatment.

There are also simple, non-medicinal tricks to keep’em happy. Relaxation helps, but that can be tough to achieve. One fellow who's managed to deal with his fears says, "I've learned to remember that sex isn't a contest, and that no one's keeping score. As long as my partner and I enjoy ourselves and one another, that's what counts. And if I'm less than fully hard, well...that may be the time to forget about anal sex and try something else instead."

And, beyond the brain, there are physical solutions, too. A cock ring can keep a guy's wood hard as...wood. Using sufficient amounts of good lube can make penetration smooth as silk; there are few things more dick-discouraging than a non-slippery hole. And knowing that nagging details are taken care of can keep a man's mind focused on fun. Says a safe-sex fan, "If I'm expecting a date, I'll put out condoms and lube where they can be easily reached. There's nothing less sexy than fumbling in a dresser drawer."

Performance anxiety can be equally edgy with a permanent partner. "It's inevitable that desire ebbs and flows with time," says a fellow who's in a decade-long relationship. "But I've learned not to take a temporary low point too personally. And I've come to realize that my boyfriend rarely stays hard when he bottoms, which doesn't mean he's not having a great time."

Though the phrase "performance anxiety" implies "can't keep it up," a man's worries can be broader than that. Whatever the specifics, there's the problem of pleasing a partner. No one, after all, wants to be regarded as a sexual flop. A perceptive observer of the gay scene says, "In many segments of the gay community, we're under all this pressure to be studs, to perform like sexual supermen. Not only is that unfair, it's kind of homophobic, as though being a 'real man' means ever-erect and always invulnerable. That's even stupid - while an orgasm is great, it's not everything."

Going into a new situation always produces some anxiety, and being naked doesn't help matters. "They say that one cure for stage fright is imagining your audience with no clothes," continues the scene-observer. "Maybe a cure for sex fright is imagining your partner clothed - as though he's a fully rounded human being with fears of his own - rather than a sex machine that requires mastering."

Performance anxiety has no single cause or cure. But remember that a non-trophy-winning bout in bed isn't a final judgment on one's worthiness, and that most men are, deep down at least, pretty damn nice and understanding.

And if they aren't, screw 'em.

Simon Sheppard is the author of Man on Man: The Best of Simon Sheppard, The Dirty Boys' Club, Sex Parties 101 and Jockboys. Visit him at www.simonsheppard.com, and email him at simon@simonsheppard.com.

5 Tips for Putting Sexual Topics on the Table


Our culture has created a wealth of taboo subjects and masturbation is merely one of them.  Whether wanting to discuss living out a fantasy together, trying a new sex position, experimenting with anal sex for the first time, or asking about getting tested for STDs, how does one broach the topic without sounding like you are unhappy with the present state of your relationship or without fearing rejection of your ideas?

In our last article Masturbation, My Favorite Pastime, we mention open communication and we say this often--open, honest communication drives intimacy.  While it should be easy to discuss sex with your partner, it isn’t always so simple. Even couples who have been together a long time can find it difficult to bring up new topics since people’s needs change over time.
How do you bring up that saucy subject? Here are some tips to remember before you start the discussion:

1.Have a Goal: First be clear on your own goals for the topic and how you feel. Do some self-reflection to understand what it is you really want, need, or desire and know where you might want to end up before you begin.  Stay focused on the topic.  Don’t allow other issues to creep into the conversation.

2.Find the Right Place and Time: Try to wait until you are at home or somewhere private.  If necessary, make a date or appointment to talk about it.Talking about sex in a public place may make your partner feel uncomfortable. It is better to do it somewhere that you can make eye contact and give it your full attention.  In the car while driving is not a good time or place for this.Don’t start the conversation if it’s time for the kids to take a bath, or your partner just stepped into the house from a long day at work.Stress and exhaustion could lead you down a negative result when all you wanted was a clear, frank discussion about your wants and needs.
 
3.Use Neutral Language: Don’t use any confrontational language or finger pointing. Be sure any topic you bring up is in the nature of exploration and state up front that you are trying to make your wants, needs, and desires heard and that you will feel better in your relationship if you are allowed the opportunity.

4.Explain What You Want (and/or Don’t Want).  Be specific.  If you aren’t exactly sure what you want, now would be a good time to go through a yes, no, maybe list.  What is that?  Your new best friend.  Check out one Austin’s That Other Paper.  Ask your partner to fill out the chart as well.  It is a quick way to determine what your playing field really is.  Everyone is different in terms of what turns them on and what turns them off.  The better you become at communicating these things to each other, the easier it is for them to help you fulfill them.  Remember to respect what is a turn off to them.

5.Above All – Listen. Once the conversation is started, it is important that you listen with respect and wait before responding.  Often  a miscommunication arises when one thinks they understand and jump in to explain and that makes people get defensive. Wait. Listen. Relax. And if you have chosen the right time, refrained from defensive or accusatory language, the discussion should go better.

Conversation starters:

What would you think if I wanted to _____?

How often do you think about sex?

How would you feel if you found me watching porn without you? Turned on? Upset?

Tell me about a sexual fantasy you haven’t told me about before.

What was has been our hottest sexual experience together?

What is the most erotic thing two people can do together?

I feel like our sex life could be more exciting if we could try _________.  How do you feel about that?

Masturbation, my favorite past time


In case you didn’t know, May is Masturbation Month and in honor of this most excellent celebration, we decided to run a contest to find the best euphemisms for one of our favorite pastimes. This led me down a path of self-discovery.

I love masturbation as a pastime.  It’s free, it’s safe and it’s the one thing in your life where you have total say over when you want it, where you want it, how you want it, and how long you want to do it.

Wikipedia defines masturbation as
the sexual stimulation of one's own genitals.  That could mean that you are stimulating yourself by yourself or you could be stimulating yourself while being intimate with someone else.  There is an art to stimulating yourself and many people become highly skilled at it.  Your partner can learn a lot about you from watching you master your craft.

Pleasuring oneself by oneself used to be considered the height of taboo and in some cultures this is still a serious no-no but that doesn’t seem to stop so many people from enjoying themselves…literally.  When I decided to write on this topic, I Googled it to get a deeper understanding of where we are on the subject.   It was interesting to see that religious sites opining a variety of thoughts on masturbation popped up frequently.  Many with healthier views than I would have imagined.  There were also a slew of sites advocating the practice for health and pleasure.  Mainstream publications such as Men’s Health Magazine, routinely discuss the topic in positive ways, yet, there remains a strong puritanical stance against the idea of masturbation and these publications are often criticized for their content.  With all of this information at our fingertips, why do we still giggle like sixth graders at the phrase Jerkin’ the Gherkin?

We find the need to create euphemisms and expressions for masturbation in order to even mention this strongly tabooed subject.  These euphemisms have been finding their way into pop culture for decades. Take The Sex Pistols’ ‘Friggin’ in the Riggin’ for example, the song’s title is a nod to a sailor’s self-delight and it includes another slang phrase commonly used in the U.K., ‘wanking in the planking’.  Those raucous young lads were edgy.  Euphemisms like these are still in use today because the topic still makes us generally uncomfortable.  This is why we came up with the Masturbation May contest.  We hope to help reduce the stigma associated with masturbation.

Why the taboo?  For one, religious thought has historically been that masturbation goes against God’s plan for procreation. That any spilled seed is wasted when the act of masturbation is performed. And it was also commonly thought that masturbation was highly addictive.  Therefore, if masturbation was not ‘nipped in the bud’ so to speak, then it could create all sorts of problems.  If the masses were too busy pleasuring themselves then they couldn’t become highly-functioning citizens contributing to the greater good. 

Let’s face it, if it feels good, then, why not?  The stigma of masturbation seems to be inching its way towards greater acceptance in this culture.  But, while a majority of men have no problems with it, it is still considered a tough subject for some. Maybe they got caught in the act at a young age which resulted in fear and anxiety.  Some prefer to do it only in private, some with their partners, but make no mistake, everyone does it.

Discussing and encouraging self-pleasure can be daunting for some, while other couples are completely open and honest about their masturbation habits.  As always, communication is the key for any healthy sexual relationship.  Your partner may have different needs than you do in this arena and it is healthy to talk about it. Masturbating is an important part of life and there are many benefits. When couples have been together for a long time, it can manage the libido differences between partners.

For those not in a relationship or those who prefer to stay celibate, it is a natural expression of self-love and a healthy outlet for fantasies. Orgasms have been shown to reduce stress, decrease depression and certainly help avoid STIs. For men, orgasms may even prevent prostate cancer! All single people out there should be reaping the benefits of orgasms!

OK, in case you still want to giggle like a sixth grader
…some of the phrases submitted to our Masturbation May contest included:  Spank the monkey, Hit the clit, I’m off to give the kitty some overdue attention, I’m going downstairs to stroke my ego, Buff the banana and Burp the worm. And make no mistake, this is not a purely American thing. Many other countries have their own euphemisms.  The French say “Tirer la pipe” which translates to pull the pipe, Mexican’s say, “Me fui a mi casa con Manuel”, I went home with Manuel (my hand), and I love the German “Fünf gegen einen”, five against one.  Suffice it to say, they all mean the same thing… “I’m off to… Master my Domain.

Feel free to Google Masturbation for yourself and start your own self-discovery.  Let’s see if we can get the topic trending and really give it the attention it deserves.

Carry on…and #LubeYourTube.   Twitter @Wetplatinumman

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Win a Gift Basket of Lube! Enter our Giveaway today!

Give us your best names for masturbation, and the winner will receive, well, let's just say...enough to keep him happy for awhile... Here are some examples we have seen so far: "Jerkin the gerkin", "Rub the nub", "Spank the Monkey" Ok, Ready? Set? Go!  With the naming that is...jeez.


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