Think you’ve got him all figured out below the belt? Think again. Our man-atomy review is filled with little-known facts that will lead to big pleasure for him — and guaranteed satisfaction for you.
By Steve Mazzucchi, Women’s Health
I thought writing about my below the belt anatomy would be easy. After all, I’ve had access to the equipment for 29 years. But the very first expert I spoke with told me something I didn’t know: “There’s a difference between ejaculation and orgasm,” says Edward Ratush, M.D., creator of lovelifemd.com. There is? And the more experts I called, the more I learned. Three kinds of erections? Guys faking it? A male body part called the raphe? Once my head stopped spinning, I put together this explanatory guide to a man’s twig and berries. Get ready to double your pleasure and teach the guy in your life a thing or two about what he’s made of.
The Big Fella
The penis is far more complex than the fresh Polish sausage it resembles. At the top is the nerve-packed, helmet-shaped head called the glans. The thick, rounded rim of the glans is the corona. Right below the point where the corona curves up (on the side of the penis facing you when it’s, er, happy), you’ll find an ultrasensitive ridge called the frenulum. This stretchy band of tissue is attached to the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis. Your man sports a tailored turtleneck? His frenulum’s only function is to register good vibes.
Moving down, the bulk of the shaft is made up of corpora cavernosa, two columns of spongy tissue that fill with blood to produce an erection. Similar tissue composes the corpus spongiosum, which surrounds the urethra, aka the handy hose that transports urine and sperm from their respective sources to the opening at the tip of the head.
Yes, it all feels good when handled, but a discerning touch goes a long way. “The upper areas — near the head — respond to friction,” says Ian Kerner, Ph.D., sex therapist and author of He Comes Next. “The lower parts — nearer the base — respond to pressure.” To provide the perfect combo (not that you asked): During foreplay, tightly encircle the base of the penis with your fingers. The pressure restricts blood flow out of the shaft, making his erection harder and delaying orgasm. Supply friction at the head with your mouth or other hand and — ta-da! — we promise to take out the recycling for a whole month.
A couple more fun phallus facts:
“There are three kinds of erections,” says Karen Boyle, M.D., director of reproductive medicine and surgery at the Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Reflexogenic occur from actual contact, psychogenic ones result from fantasy or audiovisual stimulation, and nocturnal erections take place (duh) at night.
The average erect penis ranges in length from 5.5 to 6.2 inches. To make your man’s penis seem bigger, get on top, tilt your pelvis in the direction that feels most pleasurable, and push down for greater depth, suggests sexuality educator Amy Levine, founder of sexedsolutions.com. Or, in missionary, place your feet on his chest, which will make your vaginal canal feel shorter and better angle you for G-spot stimulation.
Which country’s women are the most satisfied sexually? Find out about the world’s best orgasm.