PENIS EDUCATION AT HOME
I am often asked by fathers, and occasionally by single mothers, “How do I educate my son about his penis?” “When do we have that ‘birds and bees’ dialogue?” “How do I promote a positive penis image for my son?” As a father, you are your son’s primary penis role model. The smallest message from you—a nod, a grunt, a shrug, a casual remark—gets carved into his memory deeper and more permanently than anything he picks up in a sex education class or schoolyard. Set a good example, a responsible example, with a superpotent attitude.
A father who keeps his genitals under cover all the time and never mentions the word “penis” or who avoids his son’s questions about sexuality will raise a self-conscious, and probably self-doubting, son. If you are open and honest and demonstrate penis pride, your son will absorb the right education by example.
You can reinforce your example by being candid and up-front about penis matters without making too big a deal about them. Treat the penis as a fact of life, not as something dirty to be hidden behind a zipper or something of great mystery that cannot be spoken about in public.
Make sure you are your son’s main source of information, which means your top priority is to be as educated as possible about penis issues. Boys are extremely curious about their penises. If they suppress their curiosity because their parents evade the topic, they will come of age in ignorance or get their penis education the wrong way—from their peers.
Do not pull punches, hide behind cute euphemisms, or limit the discussion of these issues to brief moments of off-hand comments. It is important to be frank with your son, just as it is important to be casual and lighthearted.
A Case Study
Let me give you an example. When my son turned seven, he asked me, “When will my penis be as big as yours, Dad?” I said, “Put your hand in mine. When your fingers are as long as mine, which they definitely will be, then your penis will be as big as my penis.”
I knew perfectly well that the penis is a special body part. (My son would not have bothered asking me when his hands and feet would be as big as mine.) I treated it as a simple fact of life, no different from fingers or toes.
Naturally, the mere fact that a son can ask that question suggests that he grew up in an atmosphere of openness and had occasion to be naked with his father. As your son grows, make sure he understands penis matters on a level commensurate with his age. Let him know you are there for him and that you have answers should he have penis questions.
Puberty & Adolescence
When boys go through puberty and adolescence, all of them wonder if their organ is normal. Let your son know that his penis is perfectly fine and help build and reinforce his self-confidence by describing the unique and special qualities of the penis—that it is a pleasure-giving appendage that should be appreciated, respected, and used wisely.
If you do that, your son will grow into a fully formed, superpotent man whose penis is as big as he thinks it is, as reliable as he thinks it is, and above all the only one he will ever have and his best friend—there to bring lifelong pleasure to him and his partner.
Let me give you another simple example from my own life. When I was a teenager, I was very self-conscious about being shorter than many girls at school. I once came home from a party feeling awful. I told my father, “I am really popular. I am a good dancer, but half the girls are taller than me, and I am embarrassed to dance with them.” My father responded with a big smile that let me know I was okay. Then he said, “You know, Son, all girls are the same size lying down.”
It was a simple man-to-man moment, but it had a big impact on me. In a subtle way, it instilled in me the confidence to approach any girl. (Later on, by the way, I learned that my father was somewhat right anatomically: there is relatively little size difference among most people if you measure from the pubic bone to the neck; it is mainly the length of the legs that creates height differences. When you are horizontal for sexual purposes, height becomes irrelevant except in extreme cases.)
Too Much Information
One caveat is worth mentioning regarding educating your son: sexual candor does not entail prying into your child’s life. Teenagers need privacy. If you are too meddlesome and too up-front, you can intimidate your child. Unnecessary pressure has no place in your relationship with your son. Some fathers think they are instilling positive sexual attitudes by sharing sexy books or movies or alluding to their own exploits. Do not defeat your purpose by creating standards that make your child apprehensive and uncertain.
Your son should get the message that he and his penis are okay just the way they are. Given that message in every possible way, superpotency is a matter of penis attitude, and penis attitude is a direct reflection of self-image. Do everything in your power to raise your child to have a healthy self-esteem. Let him know that he is loved unconditionally and appreciated for who he is without regard to his performance in school or on the playing field. Teach your child to judge himself by his own standards, not by yours or anyone else’s.
The Female Perspective
If you are a single mother, your challenge is a bit more difficult. The most important steps you can take as a single parent are to provide your son with unconditional love and let him know at every possible opportunity that he is worthy of his own self-respect. If you raise a healthy, self-assured son, the chances are that he will feel secure in his penis image.
As to the details of a young man’s penis education, you can provide him with facts as easily as a man can, but you cannot speak from experience and you cannot be a role model. If you have a male relative or close male friend whom you and your son trust, someone who can take your son under his wing and teach him about his body and sexuality, then you can compensate to some degree for the absence of a father. If the surrogate is a man of true superpotency, his presence might serve your son’s penis education better than a real father who neither cares nor is around.
Dudley S. Danoff, MD, FACS is the attending urologic surgeon and founder/president of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Tower Urology Group in Los Angeles, California. He is the author of Penis Power: The Ultimate Guide To Male Sexual Health (Del Monaco Press, 2011) and Superpotency (Warner Books).
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