This is a women's lifestyle site. This means that, automatically, we are Team Vagina. But since all of us got here with the help of a penis and many of us enjoy the company and pleasure of them as adults, I thought it would only be fair (and necessary) that since I wrote "15 Things I Bet You Didn't Know About Your Own Vagina" that I circle back around and share some interesting facts about men's genitalia too.
Something tells me that if you take five or so minutes to, at least skim this, there will be a couple of times when your eyes get big. Shoot, I write about sex for a living and about four of these points tripped me right on out. Are you ready for a little bit of semi-NSFW reading that will make you well-versed in the lane of male genitalia?
1. Baby Boys Have Erections Within the Womb
I've got an ex who used to get erections whenever he ate something that he really liked. It was the first time when I saw actual proof that men can get hard for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with sex. Another solid example? Baby boys are able to get erections while they are developing in their mother's womb (check out "It Starts in the Womb: Helping Parents Understand Infant Sexuality"). Oh, and speaking of development, a man's penis officially stops growing once he hits his early 20s.
2. There Are “Growers” and Then There Are “Showers”
Here's a great PSA for why you should never assume that grey sweatpants are telling you all that you need to know about a guy's genitalia. The reality is that some men are "growers" while others are "showers". What's the difference?
A shower is someone whose penis is basically the same size whether he is flaccid or erect while a grower is someone whose penis grows significantly in size whenever he experiences an erection. Factors like tissue elasticity, collagen and a man's overall health can determine what category he falls into.
Also, interestingly enough, it's not uncommon for some fellas to start off in one category and then move over into another as he ages. One more thing. Whatever is visible to the naked eye is only half of what a man has goin' on. The other part of his penis is housed inside of his body.
3. Smoking Can Shorten a Man’s Penis
If you're currently with a smoker, here's another motivation for him to quit. Something that smoking does is restrict blood flow to his penis. When that happens, it can prevent him from getting—or maintaining—a maximum erection; this, in turn, can result in a smaller penis. How small? Only about a centimeter. But still, since smoking is unhealthy anyway, why not convince him to get that centimeter back by stopping?
4. Erectile Dysfunction Is Not Nearly As Common As Erectile Dissatisfaction
When a man struggles with getting or maintaining an erection, the proper term for it is erectile dysfunction. While it affects approximately 30 million American men, something that I found to be fascinating is the fact that a far greater culprit is erectile dissatisfaction. No, it's not when a man is no longer interested in his partner. Erectile dissatisfaction is what happens when, as a man ages, he starts to compare his younger sexual self to his current way of being. This tends to happen to many men when they are between the ages of 40-50. Oftentimes, it's because it takes them a longer time to become erect in between sexual escapades. The remedies? Less stress and more patience from their partner are a great place to start.
5. Going by a Man’s Shoe Size Is a Total Myth
Unfortunately, I still hear people reference this myth enough to where it has to be mentioned. The size of a man's shoe has NOTHING to do with the size of his member. Matter of fact, one of my past partners had a huge foot and one of the smallest penises that I had ever been with. On the flip side, according to theInternational Journal of Impotence Research, a man's age, height and index finger length does have something to do with how much is going on down below. But still, you really won't know until…you know.
6. Semen Is a Low-Calorie “Snack”
I say it often because it's true. Sperm (the cells that actually fertilize eggs) and semen (the fluid that carries the cells) are like the ultimate multi-vitamin (check out "Do You Swallow? The Unexpected Health Benefits Of Sperm" to learn why). If you are a partaker and any part of you is curious as to how many calories you're taking in whenever you throw a shot back, you're getting somewhere between 5-25 calories. At least that's what the word on Google street says.
7. The Average Man Has Many Erections a Day
How many erections do most men have on a daily basis? The average clocks somewhere around 11 with 3-5 of them happening at night. How long do nighttime erections last? Usually somewhere between 25-35 minutes.
So, if your man happens to be all about tapping your shoulder in the middle of the night or being totally down for morning sex, this is probably why.
8. Ejaculate Moves Pretty Fast
Ever wonder how fast ejaculate comes out? It's not slow, by any means. While it does kind of vary per guy, the average is somewhere around 28 miles per hour. When you think about how that's double the amount of a lot of school zones, it reminds us why Samantha (from Sex & the City) once said, "They don't call [a blow job] a job for nothin'."
9. Some Men Can Climax Without Erections
Never assume that just because a man doesn't ejaculate during sex that he didn't have a really good time. When a guy climaxes without releasing any semen, it's called a dry orgasm. Matter of fact, it's not uncommon for guys to "reach the peak" without ever having an orgasm at all.
10. Broken Penises Are A Real Thing
A man who says his penis is "broke" is someone who is basically expressing that the blood vessels that are inside of his penis ended up bursting which resulted in some pretty painful swelling. And what causes a broken penis (or penile fracture) to happen most often? Rigorous masturbation, his partner being on top (and moving too vigorously at an awkward angle) or him bumping into something—pardon the pun—hard (like a door) while his penis is erect. If it does happen, ice packs and ibuprofen can help with the healing process.
11. Some Men Can Give Themselves Fellatio
This might just be the most random (and fascinating) penis point on this entire list. While some call it "auto-fellatio" and others refer to it as being "self-fellatio", there are men who are actually limber enough to give themselves head. I read somewhere that approximately 1 in 400 men are able to do it. Does the same go for women and cunnilingus? Maybe if you're a contortionist, but since we don't have anything that "sticks out" when we're aroused, it's a lot more difficult. (I don't know if you consider that to be good or bad news. Report back.)
12. Blue Balls Are Also Real (and Have a Scientific Name)
Whenever you hear a man talk about having blue balls, it's best not to roll your eyes. Yes, it's a very real thing and the scientific name for it is prostatic congestion (or epididymal hypertension, depending on who you ask). It's basically what happens when blood gets trapped inside of his testicles, resulting in some pretty extreme achiness and discomfort. Now here's what guys may not tell you.
Blue balls don't only transpire when a man is horny and unable to get a release. It can also come as the result of having too much sex, masturbating too often, having a cold, drinking excessively or even eating too much spicy food. That's why an orgasm isn't the only remedy for prostatic congestion. Taking a warm shower or an aspirin can oftentimes bring relatively quick relief too.
13. Very Few Men Actually Need Magnum Condoms. XL, That Is.
I don't know about you but, back in my sexually active days, it always used to tickle me that almost every man I was with had a pack of Magnums, even though every man I was with wasn't in need of one—if you know what I mean.
From what I've read, only six percent of men should actually purchase that brand, if it's the "XL variety" that they are after (which is exactly what they typically choose to buy). The reason why is because Magnums measure at a little over eight inches long and a little over two inches wide. While the average size of most penises (erect) is 5.16 inches.
That's why it really is best, for all parties involved, for men to ditch the ego boost of a Magnum and utilize an actual condom chart before actually purchasing this kind of prophylactic. Condoms are most effective (and feel best) when they actually…fit correctly.
14. Stress DEFINITELY Affects a Man’s Erections and Orgasms
When a man has a difficult time maintaining an erection or having an orgasm, more times than not, stress is the root cause. In some instances, this is referred to as "orgasmic dysfunction" which can be brought on by age and medications but also shyness, low self-esteem, relationship problems, sexual guilt (that's sometimes brought on by religious beliefs and upbringing) or even—get this—nagging. The reason why this is a good thing to keep in mind is because, a lot of times, we think that only women need to be "mentally in tune" in order to enjoy coitus. But, as you can see, if men aren't in a place of peace and calm, it can wreak havoc on their sex lives too.
15. Black Men Do Lead the “Pack”. But Only Slightly.
I believe it's a man by the name of Roberto Esquivel Cabrera who currently holds the record for having the largest penis in the world. How large is it? You ain't ready—it's a whopping 18.9"! He's not a Black man which makes him the perfect lead in for my final penis fact. While it has been stereotyped since, forever, that Black men have the biggest penises out of all ethnicities, that is only "a little bit true". What I mean is, according to another study conducted by the International Journal of Impotence Research, "We have shown that the man's mean penis length who identifies himself as black is just a little bit bigger than the one who identifies himself as white. However, there were no significant differences between groups regarding self-assessment of genital body image." This is a nice way of saying that you shouldn't assume our Black kings are always "large and in charge" or that Karen's brothers are teeny-tiny. It's kind of a crap shoot, so require more than penis size when selecting a partner; even when it comes to sex.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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If you are looking to bring a little spice into your life, dating a fire sign is the way to do it. These bold lovers are confident enough to take the lead but may surprise you with how generous they are as well. Fire signs are the heat, the passion, the charisma, and the heart of the zodiac. They are often the initiators in love, and don’t mind making the first move. The three fire signs: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, love uniquely in their own way, but all have a lasting impact on those they meet.
You can feel a fire sign’s energy from a mile away, and getting close to them on a romantic level is a whole other type of heat.
Fire Signs in Love: What Is It Like To Date a Fire Sign?
Dating a fire sign is exciting, heartfelt, intense, and sexy. Fire signs are some of the most independent of the zodiac signs, yet they are also some of the most loyal. Their inner fire will warm your heart, but treat them badly, and it can just as easily burn. Due to fire signs' nature of feeling everything a little more heightened, they make empathic lovers, but they can also let their feelings overwhelm them and become easily irrational or agitated.
Fire signs can get heated quickly, and dating an unevolved one can get messy as they love to put on a show. They need a partner who is a good balance to their fierce nature, but someone who isn’t going to put out their inner fire in the process.
When it comes to who fire signs are looking to date, they look for partners who can love just as passionately as they can, and expect an unwavering type of loyalty. They are also looking for confident lovers, as they aren’t one to play games or beat around the bush. They are the type of partner to be your biggest cheerleader and will support you in all your endeavors, building up your self-esteem in the process.
These lovers are ready to risk it all when it comes to their relationships and love, and dating them is a fun adventure, to say the least. These are creative, confident, romantic, and heart-warming souls, and dating a fire sign is inspiring.
Dating an Aries
Aries are independent lovers. They are free spirits that are a little hard to settle down with, as most fire signs are, yet you will know how much they are willing to give and put into the relationship through their efforts. You have to be going at the same pace as them in life, and they need to see you as someone who can keep up with them to gain their respect and commitment. Aries have a vision when it comes to their life and love, and are looking for a partner that aligns with their plans or goals that they have for themselves.
Aries, at their best, are loyal and exciting; at their worst, they are competitive and brash.
When it comes to dating an Aries, they want to do things that keep their energy moving and stimulate them. They are fun lovers and are constantly doing things as a young soul does, fueling their spirit. Aries doesn’t want to feel restricted or limited in any way and seek relationships where there is a certain amount of freedom, which in turn sometimes leads them into emotionally unavailable relationships. An evolved Aries seeks their balance and finds themselves in long-lasting partnerships where they can still feel authentically themselves.
Dating an Aries is a compelling adventure.
Learn how an Aries pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
Dating a Leo
Dating a Leo is like entering a rom-com movie. Leos are bold, outspoken, and dramatic lovers. They tend to prefer a spotlight on them, but when it comes to love, they are usually willing to share the stage. Leos want a grand love. They are all about outrageous romantic gestures, complete and utter loyalty, and a little spice. Leos want to be adored, and when you are dating one, they want all of your attention to be on them. Evolved Leos understand they cannot be the center of everyone's world, but Leo’s still going through their love journey may find themselves entertaining drama and controlling the scenario.
Leo’s, at their best, are playful and loving; at their worst, they are irrational and disruptive.
All in all, however, Leos can make some of the best partners to date as they rule the 5th house, the house of romance, dating, love, and flirtation. They are fun partners and are often the ones planning the dates or outings, and creating an atmosphere that is happy and inviting. They are the type to create an uplifting energy in their relationships, and you can expect a lot of laughs in this pairing. Leos don’t hold back when it comes to most things in life, including love. They will express their love and admiration for you often and will expect the same respect in turn.
Dating a Leo is a statement.
Learn how a Leo pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
Dating a Sagittarius
Sagittariuses are hard to grasp, but if they decide to let you into their world, you’ll find a space of wonder, adventure, and magic. There are many different stages a Sagittarius moves through in love, and as much as they like to do things quickly in all other aspects of their lives, when it comes to dating, they tend to take it more slowly. They are not the type to be in a rush to define the relationship and take their time when opening their heart. You will feel their love, their personality, and their attention, but getting to know their deepest selves, their goals, and their dreams is going to take time for Sagittarius, and they prefer to have some fun with you while they get there.
Sagittarius, at their best, are warm and hopeful; at their worst, they are harsh and disingenuous.
Being ruled by abundant Jupiter, Sagittarius lives larger than life. They want a love that feels like it was destined by the stars, and it needs to make sense and fall into place for them with ease. They are looking for all types of synchronicities and signs when dating you, and once you make it past this stage, they truly have their eyes open to you. Sagittarius wants to go on adventures, learn, travel, and explore the world and you while dating. This is a spontaneous sign, and if you can match their energy of passion and wanderlust, then this is a good match for you when it comes to love.
Dating a Sagittarius is a journey.
Learn how a Sagittarius pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
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