While I was working hard on Be Your Own Personality Coach, various research papers were piling up in my ‘in tray’. I’ve just been reading one which makes a link between gum disease and erectile dysfunction.
The research, by Pradeep, Sharma and Arjun and published in the Journal of Periodontology, found that four out of five men with severe erectile dysfunction had gum disease, while two out of five men with mild erectile dysfunction did.
I don’t see these findings on their own as conclusive but they certainly fit in with what we know about bacteria from the mouth getting into the bloodstream.
I would make one criticism. This kind of research almost always focuses on men, ignoring the fact that women, too, have erections. Obviously, the erection of the labia and the visible part of the clitoral system isn’t as spectacular as the erection of a penis. But women can have a tremendous erection internally. The female equivalent to the penis is the internal clitoral system which engorges with blood along the vagina, increasing sensitivity and excitement for the woman, and increasing sensation for men.
So the message is, if you want to have a good time in bed, both of you should get busy with the electric tooth brush.
On the Today programme last week, Sarah Montague was asking what parents should say when children see images of women ‘not wearing many clothes’. This issue of the sexualisation of children has been in the media quite a bit recently. We don’t yet know what impact online pornography will have on the adult sexuality of today’s youngsters, but we do know the impact of negative attitudes to the body and sex. That’s what I want to talk about in this blog.
Either there’s something ‘wrong’ about the body or there’s not. Either there’s something ‘wrong’ about a penis or a vulva or there’s not. Either there’s something ‘wrong’ about sex or there’s not. If there’s not, why do so many parents convey disapproval to their children? This is real damage and it takes years to undo. Some adults never ever manage to throw off their inhibitions.
I blogged a little while ago about labiaplasty (or labioplasty) – that’s to say, reduction of a woman’s labia. Through Nicci Talbot’s website (see the blog below) I’ve now discovered The Great Wall Of Vagina project. The Brighton-based artist Jamie McCartney has spent five years making life casts of 400 vulvas. Women who fear they’re not normal can see what other women look like and how varied vulvas actually are. It’s well worth having a look at http://brightonbodycasting.com/press.php
My point, as a man, is that the labia are part of a woman’s sexual apparatus. When engorged they effectively extend the vagina, caressing the penis as it moves in and out. Reduction, except in an extreme case, seems to me a very bad idea.
Returning to Jamie, you can have any part of your own body cast, if you want. I wish I’d known about him when my partner and I were renovating the mill in which we live. I wanted to have casts of our bodies on our respective walk-in wardrobes but couldn’t find a local artist who knew how to do it. Jamie is an expert. But if you can’t afford professional body casting, Jamie has a DIY vulva kit at a very reasonable price – presumably you could also use the materials on other body parts if you prefer.
Wanking has a very bad name. Just about everybody does it and yet most people would sooner admit to doing drugs. For those of you who feel embarrassed I have a solution. From now on simply consider it as practising.