Male Sexual Health Is Hard To Talk About

08/08/2017 01:36 pm ET Updated Aug 08, 2017
“Self-doubt is the biggest enemy of the penis!” says Dr. Dudley Danoff of <em>The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health</em>.
Photo – Flickr/ David Woo
“Self-doubt is the biggest enemy of the penis!” says Dr. Dudley Danoff of The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health.

Men like to talk about sex almost as much as we like having it. But we’d sooner giggle at a Cialis commercial than admit to our friends, and maybe even our doctors, that we have a problem with erectile dysfunction. Is it normal? It doesn’t happen in porn. Most of our friends never talk about it, so how would we know? And therein lies the problem: when it comes to male sexual health, most of us know very little about it.

I recently interviewed author Dr. Dudley Danoff, a urology oncologist who wrote The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health (August, 2017). Besides Dr. Dudley’s ridiculously long list of credentials and qualifications – a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University, a graduate of Yale Medical School, and the founding member of Cedars-Sinai’s Tower Urology Medical Group to name a few – he says, “Most importantly, I’m from Brooklyn.” Dr. Danoff is first and foremost a father and a husband with a passion for helping men live their best lives.

Danoff wrote the book to address the many problems his patients struggled to talk about, uncovering many of the taboo issues about size, performance, erections, the impact of porn, and how to keep a healthy sex life into one’s senior years. Sexual health is not only intricately tied to our overall health, but a man’s attitudes and mental outlook play a much larger part than most men think. With all of the physical issues Danoff sees in his practice, he says, “99 percent of the time the problem is between the ears, not between the legs.”

Dr. Dudley Donoff, author of <em>The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health</em>.
Dr. Dudley Donoff, author of The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health.

Just getting some men to the doctor to talk about their sexual issues can be difficult. “Men don’t want to admit to any kind of weakness,” he says. Though there has been a softening to the alpha male persona over the years, according to Danoff, “Patients are not anywhere near where they should be” when it comes to opening up and asking questions. “I listen to what people say and what they don’t say. Sometimes the loudest message is in what they don’t say.”

The reality is, he says, “Your penis is your penis. If you love it, it’s going to love you back.” Sexuality is not for a set amount of time and it’s over. “You are not dealt, at the beginning of your life, a specific number of orgasms. They are limitless,” Danoff says with a number of caveats, such as physical condition, drugs you might be taking, and the partner your with. He does not believe a person can have too much sex, and does not subscribe to the hotly contested theory of sexual addiction.

The most detrimental thing a man can do for his sexual health is choose to remain uneducated about the facts. This is certainly true when it comes to getting tested for STD’s. The Centers for Disease Control estimates 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases every year. Untreated STD’s can lead to, among other problems, an increased risk of cancer, HIV, infertility, stroke, dementia, and even death. While ignorance may be bliss, “Knowledge is power,” Danoff says. A person has to look at the “risk-to-benefit ratio in every single thing he does.” With all the treatments currently available, a diagnosis of syphilis or even HIV is no longer a matter of life or death, if caught early enough.

Interestingly, a man’s genitals do not show signs of age, like the rest of his body. The only thing that changes, Danoff says, is how that part of the body behaves. “Erections are more difficult to achieve, ejaculation is less explosive, and more recovery time is needed between sexual encounters.” Those realities don’t represent the end of a man’s sex life, but rather help him achieve sexual longevity by understanding how his body works.

“As long as you can get out of bed and brush your teeth, and have the will and a willing partner, you’re capable of having sex,” Danoff says. Yet, more than just taking care of ourselves through diet, exercise, and weight control, Danoff believes a man’s overall health is also a matter of attitude. “Sexuality into old age is a living thing,” he says. “Sometimes it takes all night long to do what I used to do all night long,” he quips, but it can still be done!

Danoff says, “Self-doubt is the biggest enemy of the penis! The nature of the brain-penis connection is so delicate that a lack of confidence or a fear of failure can easily create a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m a strong proponent of the power of positive thinking.” You can apply that concept to your relationships and apply it to your penis, he says.

From an experienced urologist’s point of view, “Men are just men,” Danoff says. It doesn’t matter if they are gay, straight, or bisexual, men all share the same psychological needs and insecurities. Male sexual health is important to all of us, and we hold the future of our sexual longevity in our own hands…so to speak.

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