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.
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.
What can a man do if his erection suddenly fades away during sex? The most important thing is not to get anxious. It’s most likely to happen in a woman-on-top position due to the effect of gravity. So the first thing to do is separate and simply relax. Anxiety is the enemy of erection. Reflect that women, too, often ‘lose erection’ but it just isn’t so noticeable. So your partner will understand.
When you feel calm, try stimulating yourself – you’re the best one to do it. Hopefully you’re perfectly open with one another about masturbation and can do this in front of your partner without feeling guilty – otherwise it just won’t work. If you’re not used to masturbating together then that’s something you need to work on. Saliva is a readily-available lubricant but there are commercial ones that are better – so that’s something else to investigate, if you’re not already using lubricants. Just focus your mind on the underside of the glans (the most sensitive spot) and gently stroke it with your lubricated fingers. You’ll soon know whether or not it’s working.
If you’re not responsive it could be that something about the ‘atmosphere’ is affecting you at the unconscious level. Have there been some disturbing noises from outside? Is the music all right? Sometimes the wrong kind of music can put you off. Is the light too bright? Too dark for you to be visually stimulated?
The scent of a woman’s vagina is an especially powerful aphrodisiac, so giving her a little more oral may help. The effect will be magnified if she recounts your favourite fantasy at the same time.
If your erection returns, resume lovemaking in an ‘easy’ position (in which gravity is a help rather than a hindrance). If not, you can still caress and cuddle one another, and, of course, you can still give your partner orgasms with your fingers and tongue. How to deal with a slightly more intractable erection problem is something I’ll blog about another time.