All About The Penis, Men & Male Sexuality

The beauty of the male body

I've just come back from an event that few men have the chance to enjoy or participate in - a men's weekend with a session of communal nude swimming and sitting together naked, with penis and testicles, or if you prefer cock and balls, on show, around the fire. (Well, clothing was optional, really, but many of the men chose to go naked.)

I went because I love the company of men, the refreshing directness, the male energy, the camaraderie. It's always so different in a single sex group from a mixed sex group - there's no adaptation to the perceived demands of the opposite sex, and things always seem much more straightforward.

Men understand men - at least, they understand them more than they understand women, and that's great for affirming your masculinity. But what about getting your penis out in front of other men? Well, I am not gay, nor do I have what has become known in America as USSA or "unwanted same sex attraction", but I do admire the male body.

This isn't even, I think, about homo-eroticism. I believe it's much more about the esthetic appreciation of the penis and balls, the shape and refinement of the male body, the glorious variation of the masculine form in general, and the penis and balls in particular, as a vital and beautiful part of nature.

You have to be relaxed about nudity to appreciate this. If you're uptight, then the beauty of male creation and the power of the penis, are obscured by your own perceptions, your own inhibitions, your own lack of comfort with your body. So how does this play out in a group of naked men? First and foremost, there are some men who just won't get naked.

For them, the concept of "penis" is too laden with emotional baggage. Who knows why? It's not the sort of question you can go up to a man and ask, especially if you're trying not to shame him.

But here are a few possibilities: that they were shamed by other boys at school for the shape, size or development of their cock. Furthermore, you have to be relaxed about sex, too I believe - and that means you don't have any sexual hang-ups - including those that might arise as a result of having premature ejaculation.

Or, as I have heard, that their mothers shamed them for being naturally sexual when small - in other words, for getting an erection, or playing with their penis, shooting themselves straight into the heart of their mother's shame about sexuality or rage against men.

Or, for an increasing number of men, there is the distinct possibility that their penis is different from everyone else's: made different by hypospadias or Peyronie's, or small in size......not that this should matter, but of course it does, so firmly is the concept of the big swinging dick written into our culture.

And I do think there is some deeper truth here too: the growth of the penis around adolescence is the most obvious symbol of a boy's emerging masculinity, and without that growth, what is the boy to assume about himself, as the penises of his peers go through a growth spurt and his remains small?

And of course, there is the obvious possibility that many of the men who choose not to get naked have been sexually abused. For them, nudity may be threatening enough, and the presence of naked men perhaps even more frightening.

There's a tragedy here, of course. And that is that we care so much what size our penis happens to be. After all, they all work, more or less.

(One man told me his problems began when he was enjoying very active sex with his wife and smashed his penis into her pubic bone. After the pain and surgery he was left with a smaller penis, that did not become so firm on erection.

Since then, he had felt inadequate as a man, and shamed because of his smaller penis.... though he did not mention how big it was. And in any event, the thing that really makes men feel inadequate is premature ejaculation, a fact amply elucidated here, where you can find a definition of premature ejaculation. I believe this may be a bigger problem than penis size.

After all, most men, even those with a small penis, eventually find a way of having sex. But men with premature ejaculation rarely seek treatment, and often the condition goes on shaming them for years.

Another man told me that he felt elated when his wife told him that penis size really did not matter; all his life he had felt inadequate, thinking he would be unable to please a woman, while another told me that even though his wife had said the same thing about penis size to him, he did not really believe her, and still felt inadequate because of the size of his penis.

To me, though, the most ironic thing is that all of these men had perfectly normal penises. There were short stubby penises, long thin penises, long fat penises, very long and very fat penises, very short and fat penises, and so on....all different, all masculine, all capable of erection and giving great pleasure to their owners.

As I sat there, catching a surreptitious glance now and again, it occurred to me that what these men really needed was to see each other erect, so that they would then know the truth of the statement that all penises are pretty much the same size when erect, regardless of how big or small they may be when flaccid.

And going beyond the men's penises, the sight of their bodies was glorious too. The sweeping arch of the chest, the curve of the spine, the flow of the back down into the buttocks and the narrow male pelvis - all of this is a magnificent act of creation, and to be admired and honored.

There's no better way of affirming your masculinity than being among a group of naked men, where distinctions are swept away, equality is the order of the day, where everyone is comfortable with their sexuality, and where the size of your penis does not matter.

So you may be wondering at this point whether any man got an erection. As it happens, no one did. But let me ask you this: why would it have mattered if a man had become erect?

Would it have mattered at all in fact?

Yes, to some men it would have been a matter of great embarrassment - a sign of gayness, or just embarrassing.

But one has to ask "why"?

Every single male on the planet has been erect many times, and it is the most natural expression of make sexuality. We all recall those interesting teenage years when our penis popped up a stiffy without so much as a by-your-leave!

Being erect comes with being male, like having a period comes with being female. It's natural, glorious, and a tribute to the potency of the male phallus, the generative power of the penis, the ultimate symbol of the capacity to create new life. Why be embarrassed if your penis gets erect around the campfire?

Such, I fear, is the baggage loaded onto the penis that we still have some way to go to complete openness and emotional freedom. Still for those of you who can enjoy the sight of a penis, without fears about being gay, or getting erect, I thoroughly recommend the experience of being naked together with other men if the chance ever comes your way.

One of the more interesting aspects of aging is the effect it has on our bodies and our perception of our bodies. I've described the male body above as a glorious thing, and so it is: but is it quite so glorious when the breast is sagging, the buttocks have lost their tone, and the skin is less elastic?

Regrettably, I think for most people in our society the answer to this question would be "no" -- the aged male body is far from glorious; in fact, it's something that might be described by some folk as repulsive. It's an interesting reflection on our immaturity, I think, that we should regard a body that has merely gone through the normal process of aging as being repulsive, and yet the desire to look at beautiful bodies is very strong in both men and women.

You only have to see the way in which men look at a young woman to know that something biological is going on: our predilection for youth isn't just an appreciation of the beauty of youth - it's about finding youth itself appealing and desirable.

How sad then, that we should be alienated from our own bodies by the advancing years that inevitably come upon us.

After all, we have no option but to take what the passage of time gives us, a lottery that leaves some men looking handsome and dignified, and leaves others wracked with medical problems such as arthritis, gout, hernias, coronary heart disease, and so on.

Perhaps we can overlook these, but not, maybe, the very worst of them: prostate trouble and erectile dysfunction - which may or may not be linked.

When a man loses his potency, he loses some vital aspect of his own self; he loses something that he believes is absolutely essential to his attractiveness to women; he loses the overt symbol of his potency as a man.

And what's to be done about this? Clearly one thing that can be done is to keep yourself in shape, with a good diet and moderate exercise.

But to do that, you have to feel enough self-worth to want to do it, and self-worth is a commodity that I've discovered is in very short supply in our society. There is, it seems to me, no simple answer to the question of aging, except a fundamental shift in culture which will allow us to regard older men as being just as beautiful as younger men.

In the meantime, all that is left to us "oldies" is to address each and every illness and conditions that represents one of the travails of age with as much dignity and enthusiasm as we're able to muster.

Gout, for example, is a condition that not only can make the feet look very unappealing, but can provide a man with enough pain to distract him from any of the things that would normally occupy his mind. I highly recommend you take responsibility for your own well-being in old age.

And that isn't just about ensuring that you continue to get erections, by avoiding those causes of erectile dysfunction which appear to be due to lifestyle issues (such as high fat consumption). It's about using any kind of remedy or knowing what foods to avoid with gout.

See this information on gout remedies to learn more. You need to know what to do about all the other conditions mentioned on this page which inevitably develop with age, so that you can maintain a modicum of good health and fitness.

When all is said and done, being fit and healthy is an absolutely essential prerequisite to having sex, and having sex more than anything else allows a man to feel good about himself and to enjoy his old age.

Other pages of penis problems

The penis and the phallus
Beauty of the penis
Penis, phallus and the male ego
A cultural history of the penis
Evolution and the penis
How important is size?

Other sections on the site

The penis, masculinity and sex
A Cultural History Of The Penis
Penile & Other Problems