Penis Envy In A Nutshell

Man with big penis

I have recently come to notice a pattern of mine that surfaces whenever male masturbators such as the Tenga Flip Zero with vibrations come into the Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres. A rush of excitement followed by envy overcomes me as I remember the fact that I will never know what it is like to use one of these adult toys. I love being a woman and I would not change it for the world yet I do imagine (probably, way too often) what it would be like to have a penis. I have spoken to countless women who agree that they are envious of men due to the fact that they have what seems to be such amazing genitalia.

From talking and working with countless men, I have discovered that in some circumstances being a man in this day and age with a penis is not all it’s cracked up to be. Here are some of the difficulties that many men encounter when it comes to their bodies, sexuality and gender identities:

Penis size

I have never met a man who hasn’t at least one time in his life felt insecurities around the size of his penis. Pornography, which happens to be many young men’s initiation into sex, portrays an unrealistic expectation of the size of an average man’s penis. This, along with the constant influence in the media saying that to have a small penis means you cannot properly please a woman means that many men feel that they are not good enough in the size department. Penises come in such unique shapes and sizes that to compare any penis to the ones you see in porn really is quite wrong.

Erection cupcakes
Image: Penis cupcakes

Performance anxiety

Many men are taught to please women. They must kiss, lick and f**k their woman right or there is something wrong with them. Being a great lover is so much more than performance and by getting caught up in the idea that they have all these things they need to do to make a woman happy in the bedroom means they can actually miss out on the experience. Connection, presence and respect just some of the qualities of great love making happens when a man is embodied. It doesn’t happen when he is in his mind, worrying about his performance and in his mind thinking about what he needs to do to give her multiple orgasms. Besides, thinking that you’re the only reason for your woman’s pleasure is disempowering to her and big headed of you… just saying!

Inability to disguise their turn on

As a woman, I take great pride in the fact that I can walk around turned on with no evidence except for a cheeky smile and glowing face. Men on the other hand have to deal with the fact that they have something reminiscent of a tent pole reaching out of their pants when they are very aroused. This, along with the fact that it can “strike out” at any given moment means they have something to worry about that us women could never comprehend. I’m not saying that there is anything to be ashamed of if this was to happen to you gentlemen, I just mean that having a penis with sometimes a mind of his own can be extremely vulnerable and exposing.

I know I’ve mentioned a few points that may seem like having a penis is a burden however plenty of men appear to get so much pleasure and enjoyment out of their genitals so it would seem that the benefits certainly out way the difficulties!! You should definitely have a read of amazing facts about the penis that’ll blow your mind to get to know your body more!

Huge erection
Image: Big erection

So how does a woman get to experience the totality of what it feels like to have a penis?

The answer is you could never experience it fully but there are some ways you can come to understand what it’s like to have your genitals so exposed…enter the strap on!!

Woman inserting a dildo in a man's anus
Image: Man being pegged

I have recommended women try on a strap on sex toy at least once in their lives to feel what it’s like to have a cock bobbing out between their legs. It is such a bizarre feeling to have it all hanging out compared to female genitals which are neatly tucked away. When you wear a strap on, you can gain an understanding of why many men are so driven by sex… they have a constant reminder of it all day every day!

It may sound silly but I really feel women can gain a great deal of insight into what it is like to be a man by the simple act of wearing a strap on. To take it one step further, perhaps the special someone in your life would be happy for you to try it out for real… I’m sure you’ll come to agree that men make hip thrusting seem so much easier than it actually is!!! And feeling the power to penetrate that comes with having a “penis” truly is not something to take lightly. I believe more compassion for men can come when we really get what it feels like to have a penis even if it is made from silicone.

Men love being pegged
Image: Pegging a man

Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

6 Tricks For When Your Man Cannot Get Hard

Erectile dysfunction

As a sexologist, I get an in-depth insight into one of the most intimate areas of people’s lives. It really is an honour to have people open up to me about their sexuality, this being something I do not take lightly. I understand sex to still be such a taboo in many people’s lives hence understand how vulnerable it can be to share one’s experiences.

Recently, I had a conversation with a man who had entered a new relationship and was unable to “get it up.” Seeing this person so filled with stress and anxiety about his perceived inability to perform got me thinking about the role us women play when the men in our lives are overcome with anxiety and pressure to perform.

Much of the stress and anxiety that men feel when they cannot get an erection comes from outdated beliefs that to be a man means to do everything he can to please and pleasure a woman with an erect penis. It saddens me knowing that so many men do not come to understand this as a false belief which does more harm than good. Women play such an important part in this process for men with the following some of the tools and approaches I recommend to support men through what can be a challenging time in their lives:

Allow him to express his emotions

When a man places an expectation on himself to get an erection and doesn’t, he can often be overwhelmed with a great deal of shame, frustration, anger and embarrassment. Allow him the space to express his emotions in a safe container so that rather than stewing in these toxic feelings he is given an outlet to get them out of his system. This could mean bashing a pillow, shaking, yelling (though not at you) or whatever else he does when he is feeling emotionally overwhelmed (e.g. going for a run or swim). Emotions can cause a host of problems if left unexpressed so encouraging him to express can mean the difference between staying stagnant and moving forward.

Man unhappy about erectile dysfunction
Image: Man expressing emotions

Encourage him to communicate

Men are rarely encouraged to speak about their feelings and the things that are troubling them. Let your man know that it is safe to talk about what is going on for him. Be present with him when he shares with you his thoughts and feelings on what is going on for him. It is crucial he knows that he can trust you with something so vulnerable for him.

Offer him a space to receive without any expectations of what is to happen

Offering your man a chance to receive can be a really beautiful way of him experiencing pleasure that isn’t dependant on him having an erection. A penis massage or oral sex can feel exquisite even with a non-erect penis and can be a chance for him to really drop into his body, away from his mind that is incessantly pressuring him to perform. Let him know before that an erection or orgasm is not the key of the experience and that you simply want him to receive with nowhere to get to and nothing to do but enjoy the experience.

Connect with him in an intimate way

Taking time to be intimate and sensual with your man is still really important regardless of whether he has an erection. This could mean giving and receiving a massage, cuddling, kissing or engaging in oral sex. Just because a man doesn’t have an erection, doesn’t mean he still doesn’t find you attractive or want to be sexual with you. This brings me to my next point…

Refrain from personalising the “problem”

Asking “Don’t you find me attractive anymore?” is valid however it can place enormous pressure on your man to console you when he is already in a vulnerable position. Some women can get quite upset when their man does not get an erection when engaging intimately with them and its perfectly fine to feel this way but just remember that how sexy, attractive or desirable you are should never be dependent on another person. Take care of yourself and when you feel like you are not asking from a triggered place, it can be great to ask if there is anything you can do for your man. Just ensure that if you do, do so from a place of genuine care and not for validation of your worth.

Invest in your own pleasure

As great as sex with your man can be, if he has difficulties getting an erection it can be a great opportunity to really dive into your own pleasure solo. Here are some ways to invest in your own pleasure:

These are the little things that can make all the difference between feeling victimised by your partner’s inability to get an erection and being empowered by taking your pleasure into your own hands.

Being supportive, loving and compassionate with your man if and when he faces challenges with getting an erection is such a beautiful way to approach what can be an incredibly challenging time for him.

Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

The Man And Woman Within Us All

Man wrestling woman

I don’t believe that any other two words in the English language could be more open to interpretation and misunderstanding than masculine and feminine. Most people think masculine means male and feminine female, with this true to some degree however it goes a lot deeper than this in the world of Tantra.

When I initially came to know these words, I thought that masculine had to do with only men and feminine only women. To me there was no crossing over, there was only one or the other depending on what gender you were. Since entering the world of Tantra and conscious sexuality, I have learnt that every individual is made up of the qualities of both masculine and feminine, with both prevalent to certain degrees at particular times throughout one’s life.

Masculine vs feminine features
Image: Men Vs Women

In Tantra, masculine and feminine are known as the two polarities that make up the whole. Think of yin and yang, positive and negative magnetic poles or light and dark, they exist together however each represents different qualities of an individual. When we have an understanding of these qualities within ourselves, we can strive to being a whole and complete person in this world, rather than seeking outside ourselves for something that can be found within.

Yin and yang symbol
Image: Yin and yang symbol

You see, many people who are not aware that they have everything they need within can spend their whole lives looking for others to fill them up. Some call this co-dependence, others may refer to it as love addiction. Either way, these people have not awoken to the reality that they are all they’ll ever need. Many people may go through their whole lives living in this pattern, never entering into their full power as a human being.

The Analogy Of The Pole And The Pole Dancer

One of my favourite analogies describing masculine and feminine involves the pole and the pole dancer. The pole represents the masculine and the dancer represents the feminine. In order for the dancer to feel safe and supported, the pole must be solid, firmly in place and supportive of the weight and movement of the pole dancer. This is necessary in order for her to flourish and express herself in her dance. If the pole is unstable or shaky, the dancer will feel she cannot let go and dance to her full potential.

Stripper on a pole
Image: Pole Dancer

What Is The Mature Masculine?

The mature masculine found within each individual is the point of safety and solidity that is required to go through life feeling supported. Those who have developed their masculine are great at holding space for themselves and others in times of need (e.g. during emotional crisis or turbulent times) and are present to the here and now, with no expectations or pressure on themselves or others to be anything other than what they are. The mature masculine feels like the solid rock and is necessary to have ourselves so that we don’t excessively project our needs onto our fathers, partners or other men in our life.

Many women are not familiar with the fact that they have all the masculine qualities within to make them feel safe and supported. Some women (myself included once upon a time) have what I like to refer to as the “knight in shining armour complex.” They go around looking for a man who is going to be their saviour and make everything better. Little do they know that they can be all of that for themselves and then can enter into a relationship with a man from a whole and complete place.

What Is The Mature Feminine?

The qualities of the mature feminine include intuition, playfulness, emotionally expressive, vulnerable, grounded, love and compassion. When men and women are in their feminine, they are expressive with their creativity so often the most exquisite art comes from people who allow their feminine within to be free. Like I explained with the pole/pole dancer analogy, the feminine expresses herself the greatest when the masculine is supporting her. Men most definitely have an inner feminine and sadly are often shamed for their emotions from an early age therefore suppress this part of themselves. This can lead to a whole range of issues including stagnation with creativity, blocked emotions leading to physical and psychological issues and seeking a woman outside of themselves for what they truly yearn from within.

Human Energy Systems Diagram
Image: Human Energy Systems

The Masculine And Feminine Dynamics In A Relationship

In a relationship between two people, the qualities of the masculine and feminine naturally fluctuate between the two. Sometimes the man, who may be predominantly in his masculine within the relationship, goes through an emotionally turbulent time, meaning that he is living in his feminine. This may mean that the woman who is predominantly in her feminine enters into her masculine in order to hold space and support her partner. It is great for women to experience what it is like to be the more masculine partner and vice versa.

In August, I will be assisting the International School of Temple Arts Level 1 training in Sydney, Australia where the qualities of masculine and feminine will be explored in greater depth. This is a life changing opportunity to really step into your power and become the whole and complete person you always have been but may have forgotten.

International School Of Arts (ISTA)
Image: International School Of Arts

*Throughout this article, I speak from a heteronormative and cisgender perspective, this being for simplicity with wording. Each person no matter what gender or what sexual identity they identify with have an inner masculine and feminine within.

Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

RISE Above And Rescue Sex Ed

Sexual health education

Today I am going to discuss something I feel incredibly passionate about, something that I feel is important for all people to have awareness around and that is sexuality and relationship education for young people. It is no secret that there exists a huge lack in the sex and relationship education that is provided to children and teenagers today, with the school system offering the bare minimum of a sex education program for what should be a priority.

How Big Is The Sexual Health Education Problem?

The fact that rates of several sexually transmitted infections have markedly increased over time, as well as the unacceptable rates of sexual violence and assault happening all over the world should be enough to draw attention to the fact that the education that young people are currently receiving is not good enough. These are some of the negative repercussions of a lack of positive sex and relationship education and the extent runs so much deeper than rates and statistics of STI’s and sexual assault. Relationships play such an important role in our overall health and happiness in our lives so knowing how to do them well can mean all the difference between a good and great life.

Most children and teenagers receive education related to sexuality and relationships from parents and school teachers, with the information they gain from this dependant on where they go to school and what their parent’s attitude towards sex is. Now, it is all well and good to leave this education in the hands of parents and school teachers to deliver however when they are not equipped to do so, the consequences of poor sex education can be troublesome.

Talking to parents can be a great way to learn about sex for children and teenagers if their parents have positive views of sex, which unfortunately is not always the case. If parents have negative views and attitudes towards sexuality attached to a history of negative unresolved experiences with sex and relationships, then they are not in the greatest position to impact their children in a positive way. I am not yet a parent but one thing I have come to notice is that the children who grow up with positive views of sex and sexuality have been exposed to parents who are confident and empowered in their own sexuality.

A study completed in 2010 by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society showed that many school teachers offering sex education in their classes (usually PD/H/PE teachers) felt ill equipped to offer such information to their students, with the majority having no or minimal training in sex education. So despite their best intentions, school teachers can often lack the necessary skills to educate young people on sex and relationships.

Many young people growing up today are exposed to pornography early on in their sexual development (sadly before sexual development for some) and this can have some negative repercussions to what they come to believe about sex throughout their lives.

Pornography displays an unrealistic portrayal of sex, with the clips easily accessible on the internet intended to entertain rather than educate. When young people are exposed to pornography without the awareness of its true intent (i.e. entertainment) they come to believe that the way that sex occurs in porn is the only way. Considering that a large proportion of pornography depicts violence against women, this spells disaster. The actors in porn are having sex in a way that excites the viewer and not in a way that is necessarily pleasurable for them. Pornography does not make for appropriate sex education. Teachers and parents often lack the skills and qualities to teach it effectively so what needs to be done?

Relationship, Intimacy And Sexuality Education Program

A greater emphasis on young people learning about relationships and sex is necessary if we are to see better outcomes for young people. For this reason, I, along with my partner Nic Tovey, have decided to create an educational program specifically for young people to learn skills that will equip them with the confidence to navigate the world of relationships, intimacy and sexuality in a healthy and empowered way. Focusing on and then expanding on the relationship with oneself, this program will teach young people embodied tools and skills that will empower them to make healthy decisions when it comes to sex and relationships.

Relationship, Intimacy and Sexuality Education program
Image: Rise Program

We are running a forum in Sydney, Australia on March 15th to ascertain the desires and feelings of parents and their teenage children when it comes to sexuality and relationship education. We want our Relationship, Intimacy and Sexuality Education (RISE) program to be informed by the very young people we will be teaching and this opportunity gives parents a say on what they feel is important for their children to learn. The event is open to parents of teenagers and teenagers 12-16 years of age. Event details can be found on Facebook’s RISE forum event page and on Adultsmart’s RISE forum event page. I look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible.

It’s all well and good to notice that changes in sex and relationship education is necessary but if we do not take action, we will see no progression in the way that young people are learning about relationships and sex. There is no better time for change then right now!!

Author: Stephanie Curtis – Sexologist, BA Nursing

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

Rethinking Infidelity In Loving Relationships

Man cheating on girlfriend

I came across a recent news article detailing a woman who had put out a Reddit post asking readers whether her husband cheating on her was warranted. She explained that they had a dwindling sex life for the year leading up to him cheating, this on top of already mismatched sex drives.

The majority of the comments were swaying on the side of “Leave the bas**rd” and “Cheating is never ok.” It is blatantly obvious that many in society see cheating as an inexcusable and unforgiveable act and it got me thinking about how couples come to know what cheating means for them.

Cheating and monogamous relationships: What does that mean for each individual?

From my experience, it seems it is rarely a conversation that people entering into a relationship have with one another, with many assumptions made in regards to what qualifies cheating in a loving monogamous relationship. It is only when unspoken boundaries are crossed and people feel betrayed that these conversations are had (and even then, sometimes people cannot get past the betrayal so they may not even have the conversation). I am curious as to how realistic or right it is to make such drastic decisions such as divorcing or separating from your partner when they have cheated if you never communicated to them what is and is not acceptable behaviour for you.

Would much of the pain and heartbreak caused by cheating be avoided if the conversation was had early on in a relationship? Could understanding the values and boundaries of your partner from the very start mean that feelings are not hurt from doing something that seems acceptable to you but isn’t to them? And could starting these kinds of conversations early on lead to ongoing healthy communication through the entirety of the relationship meaning cheating is less likely to occur?

Monogamy and, more specifically, cheating is a uniquely fluid concept for each person, with some acts considered acceptable for some while for others they would feel betrayed. Some people consider messaging an old boyfriend or girlfriend for a coffee catch up cheating while others may feel this is perfectly ok yet will see their partner watching pornography as a betrayal. Every relationship is different, with the boundaries of each individual in a monogamous relationship unique.

I believe that for it to work, monogamy needs to be a conscious choice. Today in western culture, monogamy seems to be the default relationship style for the vast majority of people. The problem with this is that these monogamous relationships are usually entered into from an unconscious place. There is often no questioning of what monogamy actually means for each person or why the relationship is monogamous, in fact most people are not even aware that there exist other possibilities.

I don’t believe that monogamy is bad or unhealthy in any way, quite the opposite in fact. I see monogamy as one relationship style that can be amazing for certain people when done with awareness. Monogamy is a beautiful commitment that can be made between two people however does not necessarily suit every person.

Monogamy can be unrealistic for certain people especially if approached in a way that puts a weight of expectations on them to be our everything. One of my favourite professionals in the field of relationships and sex, Esther Perel, said it perfectly when she described the pressure people put on their partner in monogamous relationships;

“Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all?”

Expecting the person we are in relationship with to be our everything can be a huge and unrealistic ask. I see the need for this to change if monogamy is to work for people.

In order to do monogamy in a healthy way, I believe it is beneficial for couples to have an open conversation about what that means for each of them and what cheating means for each of them. Before entering into a committed relationship with someone, you want to know that you both share the same values and morals right? You may want to ask questions related to possible outcomes such as “would you feel betrayed if I contacted my ex-partner?”, “how would it be for you if I went out with a male friend for lunch?”, “are you comfortable with me watching pornography when you are not home?” or simply “what does monogamy mean to you?”

These conversations are really important to have as it helps avoid potential pain and heartbreak in the future. Communication is key in any relationship no matter what the dynamic is so starting a new one with open, authentic and honest communication can make a world of difference.

Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.