Ask Debby Herbenick | The spark is gone and uncircumcised penises
TOC's sexpert tackles your most penetrating questions.
Q I was sitting around with my roomies and we got onto the topic of uncircumcised penises. Two of my roommates have never seen one before and I was wondering if you have any good links to show them. My roomie also wants to know if we can find a video of an uncircumcised flaccid penis getting hard.
A Great questions. You can find a good range of photos in the Genital Art Gallery section of Betty Dodson’s website (bettydodson.com)—you may remember Dodson as the so-called Mother of Masturbation, as she used to lead masturbation workshops out of her NYC apartment. In terms of videos, you can find numerous uncircumcised penises on Xtube (xtube.com; its tagline “log on and get off” pretty much sums it up). Try searching by uncircumcised or uncut. The video “Brit guy jerks off uncut cock” (look, I never said the titles of the videos were creative) doesn’t show the penis from its flaccid state, but it does give a close-up of an erect uncircumcised penis. Otherwise, have fun browsing for the ultimate soft-to-hard visual. “Foreskin wanking for Dan” is another close-up. It’s difficult to tell how flaccid his penis begins, but it does start with the foreskin pulled over the head and then as the wanking in question begins, you get a detailed look at how the foreskin moves when erect. Keep in mind that men’s foreskin varies, so should your roomies come into contact with a real live uncircumcised penis, they can expect some variation. Some people who are unfamiliar with uncircumcised penises worry that they will be unclean. However, as long as men follow basic hygiene practices by retracting their foreskin when washing, they should have a clean, yummy penis. Plus—and this is something that seems to be rarely discussed—women can sometimes feel a man’s foreskin slide up and down his penis while it is in the vagina. Yay for unexpected fun with a penis! That assumes, of course, that you’re not using condoms (and I always recommend condoms if you are trying to reduce your risk of infection or pregnancy).
Q My girlfriend and I are essentially roommates. There is no spark whatsoever. We have been together for five years. The stereotype is that lesbian relationships are sexless, but that wasn’t the case for us until recently, and honestly, I don’t even know what got us to this point. Help!
A Regardless of sexual orientation, it is common for people to find that both frequency of sex and desire for sex dwindle in long-term relationships. Sometimes desire ebbs and flows and you might find that, if you stick it out, it returns. Other times you have to work hard at it. The whole thing can feel so sad, especially when worries like “does this mean our relationship is over?” sink in (and no, loss of desire doesn’t mean that). The Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Guide for All of Us (Cleis Press, $24.95) might spark some ideas and remind you of your more passionate days.
Q Your reply to “I don’t get sex” intrigued me [“In & Out,” TOC 145]. I’ve been in that position on and off, and examined my frustration to determine what caused it. I decided that physical need wasn’t the driving force, and that what I craved was validation. We live in a culture that’s awash in sex, and not participating means we risk disapproval. A person feels ostracized if he or she isn’t doing what everyone else is doing, and that includes having sex as well as wearing trendy fashions, and criticizing Bush, broccoli and Britney Spears. The solution is to find other ways to be validated, e.g. holding public office, volunteering or having pets that love unconditionally. Running is what works for me. Loping along, I fantasize about crossing the finish line first in the Boston, Chicago and New York marathons, then waving to the adoring crowds. At night in bed I fall into restful and refreshing sleep, after masturbating. It’s satisfying to think that women who rejected and dumped me would be furious if they knew that I’ve found the key to serenity. What do you think?
A I’ll skip over the part about the women (because really, I can’t imagine being “furious” to learn that any guy I have ever rejected is now happy; it’s good for people to be happy). However, I agree that many people, like you, don’t “get” sex because they’re mistaking it for something that it is not. If you’re clear that sex is validation for you, then it might work out for you to pursue it for that reason…or to avoid it for that reason. I think quite a lot of people are clued in to the fact that they go after sex for attention or to feel like they are desirable. Again, I think if you’re clear that that’s what you’re doing, it may work out fine. It seems to me that it’s the people who mindlessly go after sex without realizing what they’re in search of who tend to be more dissatisfied. If you want a blow job, and can find a consensual one (paid or unpaid) then by all means get one—just don’t kid yourself that it’s something it’s not. You seem to have figured out your own motivations and are able to pinpoint ways to help yourself feel validated, though it seems like there’s at least a hint of Western puritanical thought in there, too. Why is it better to feel validated from running or holding office than from seeking intimate contact with another human being? What is it about running, or caring for pets that we value more as a culture than the joy of coming together physically?
Q I am a relatively attractive, fairly successful 28-year-old. I have been divorced for over a year. My ex was the first and only relationship (including sex partner) I’d ever had. I can usually walk up to a girl and say hi without any problem. However, I have not actually been able to get past that first exchange. How and where does a guy meet a great girl outside the typical bar scene? I know the online world is out there, but my job puts me in the public eye and requires discretion. I can’t really afford to be posting personal details online.
A Sometimes I think we focus too much on finding “dates” and not enough on making new friends. “Dating pressure” makes many people clam up, but if you’re skilled enough to be in the public eye for work, then my guess is that you’re skilled enough at small talk (with nondates) that if you just focus on finding friends, you’re likely to eventually find a date. After all, many friendships turn into dates, or new friends may introduce you to their dateworthy pals. If you like sports, check out the Chicago Sport and Social Club (chicagosportandsocialclub.com) or the Chicago Park District (chicagoparkdistrict.com) for info about joining a coed league. Then there are the fascinating Mac ’n Cheese dinner parties (macncheeseproductions.com), organized specifically to introduce men and women to local, interesting people around a fun, no-pressure dinner. Meet Market Adventures (meetmarketadventures.com) offers a wide range of interesting dating opportunities, including snowboarding, pottery and pool/cards nights, so even if you don’t leave with a number, you’ll still have a good time. Not to mention that Time Out Chicago hosts a range of events for singles (timeoutchicago.com).