Penis Pleasure 101
Sexual Wellness

Penis Pleasure 101

25/06/2023

Culturally, we have this idea that when it comes to pleasure, vulvas are complicated and penises are simple. 

Professionally, I’m calling bullshit on both ideas. Vulvar pleasure isn’t inherently complicated — and penises aren’t inherently simple. While it’s true that people with penises have orgasms more frequently and reliably, and that they tend to take less time to reach orgasm, it isn’t because they’re less anatomically complex. 

In fact, the vulva (including the clitoral body) and the penis are considered homologous structures — basically, they’re the same fundamental anatomical components, just oriented slightly differently. 

So if the internal anatomy is so similar, why are vulvas seen as too complicated while penises are seen as simple, almost boring? 

Well, it would take a while to unpack all of that cultural baggage. And no matter how we got here, these beliefs get in the way of us having pleasurable, fulfilling sexual experiences. Here at Dame, we’ve written a lot about clitoral pleasure (because hey, the orgasm gap is still very real, and many people with clitorises are never taught about their anatomy). 

But today, we’re diving into everything you need to know about penises and sexual pleasure. Whether you have a penis of your own, are a seasoned penis pro, or are new to the world of cocks, these tips will help you feel confident exploring! 

Communicate 

It might seem like common sense, but just to say it — every person with a penis is different and will enjoy different things. Some people might like a really firm grip, while others prefer a softer touch. Some people with foreskins might like for them to be touched, and others might prefer for them to be left alone.

So, use these tips as a starting point to guide your conversation. Then, actually ask your partner what feels good to them and what doesn’t. 

Use Lube

Whether you’re playing around with handjobs, oral sex, vaginal penetration, anal play, or using a vibrator on a penis, lube is pretty important. Lube helps to reduce friction, transmit sensation, and generally increase sexual pleasure. 

If someone has a foreskin, the foreskin should be able to move around pretty easily on its own (if it hurts to move your foreskin, talk with your medical provider, because this can cause further issues). Still, lubricant can help reduce surface-level friction on both the head and shaft of the penis, all while increasing pleasure. And for circumcised folks, lubricant helps protect the head of the penis, reducing the likelihood of skin irritation and abrasions. 

When it comes to handjobs, lube is absolutely essential, and saliva does. not. count. Have you ever had a rug burn? Well, while giving a dry-handed hand job isn’t going to give you quite the same level of a burn, it can still cause significant irritation and create small tears in the skin. Using lube alleviates that concern. 

Ditto for other kinds of sex, too. Using the right amount of lube should increase your pleasure (and your partner’s)! If you find that lube decreases your level of sensation, try using less or switch the type you’re using. Not all lubricants are created equal, so it’s worth shopping around

Know Your Condom Size

Believe it or not, condoms aren’t one-size-fits-all. In fact, they’re not even one-size-fits-most. So, if wearing condoms feels uncomfortable, painful, or if they slip around too much, try adjusting your size! 

You might need a condom that is slender and long, or that is girthy but shorter. You might have a latex allergy and need a latex-free option. Or, if you’re uncircumcised, you might need a condom with more room at the head for your foreskin to move freely. 

There’s no shame in needing a different size or type of condom than what you picked up at the grocery store, so try a few different types and sizes out. When you wear the right size, style, and material condom, you should only minimally notice it. It should be comfortable, secure, and still allow you to feel sensations. 

You can look toward online condom retailers, like Lucky Bloke or ONE Condoms’ MyONE program, to figure out what your perfect fit is. 

Remember that Soft Penises Still Feel Pleasure

When it comes to cocks, harder isn’t inherently better. Many of us hold the belief that if someone can’t get an erection, then there’s nothing you can do. 

The reality is that soft penises still feel pleasurable sensations, and sex doesn’t have to be off the table just because someone isn’t able to get an erection. 

There are so many reasons why someone might experience erectile difficulties. The inability to get or maintain and erection can be caused by spinal cord damage, depression, alcohol use, tobacco use, cardiovascular issues, gender-affirming medications, and more. 

A lack of erection doesn’t inherently indicate that someone doesn’t want to have sex. So, if you or your partner can’t get it up, take a breath and have a conversation about what types of stimulation feel good for them when they’re soft. 

While penetrative vaginal or anal sex might not be available, there are plenty of other pleasurable sex acts that are. Expanding your definition of what “counts” as sex opens up so many opportunities for pleasure, communication, and connection. 

But if you or your partner is experiencing chronic erectile issues, call your doctor and get a cardiovascular workup — no matter your age. Erectile issues can be an early indicator of cardiovascular disease, and catching it early makes a huge difference. 

Experiment with Grip, Speed, and Technique 

When it comes to penile stimulation, using the same grip strength and stroke speed can become a little boring. Plus, sticking to the same strokes means that we’re overlooking how different parts of the penis respond to different types of touch. 

For example, the head of the penis is the most sensitive penile zone. For many people, even a light touch can feel powerful here. And because the frenulum (the small ridge on the underside of the head of your penis) is super-packed with nerve endings, penile head stimulation can be both delightful and overwhelming. 

So, around the head of the penis (including the frenulum) start with soft touches, slow strokes with a relaxed tongue, gentle fingers, and vibrators on their lowest setting. Small circular motions around the head or focused on the frenulum can be really pleasurable here, too. 

The shaft of the penis is less touch-sensitive than the head and can handle more pressure and a firmer grip. Still, you should always start off gentle and increase grip from there. 

Using a high amount of pressure every time you play with your penis can make you less responsive to lower-pressure stimulation, so instead of jumping straight to firm pressure, switch it up. 

You can try up-and-down strokes, gently twisting your hands around the shaft (like you’re drying off a water bottle), or using a vibrator along the underside of your penis. You can also take a two-handed approach, using one hand to grip and massage at the base and the other the stroke up and down the shaft.

When it comes to oral sex, many folks feel like they have to deepthroat in order for their experience to be worthwhile. While deepthroating can make for an incredible visual experience for the receiver, it isn’t the only way to give head. 

If you have a strong gag reflex or just don’t enjoy deepthroating, you can use your tongue and hands to stimulate up and down the penile shaft, alternating your speeds, tongue pressure, and even your moans to create new sensations. The shaft of the penis is often responsive to long, firm licks and using your hands to supplement what your mouth is doing. Don’t be afraid to switch it up! 

Don’t forget that the base of your penis (where it connects with your pelvis and your balls) is also sensitive. This area tends to be responsive to massage, enjoying slow, mid-pressure stimulation. For example, if you’re giving someone head, you might use one hand to massage the base of their penis while you use your tongue to stimulate the head and shaft. 

And finally, penile pleasure doesn’t stop at the base — you can include the balls, too. Testicles are pretty touch-sensitive and using too much pressure can hurt them, so use the same light, gliding touch that you would use for the head in this area. 

Remember, these tips are just starting points. The strongest tool in your sexual toolkit will always be communication, so listen to your body, communicate your desires, and ask for adjustments. Pleasure will follow!   

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