I am often asked important questions about sexual health that many men are too self-conscious to consult friends and family about. Are you the kind of man who doesn’t like shelling out for a visit to the doctor unless your health concern is really serious? Try sending your questions in to me—as an experienced urologist and author of The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health, my candid and good-natured style makes it easier for men (and their partners) to talk about and handle all kinds of medical situations. What questions and concerns do you have for me?
Dear Dr. Danoff: My uncle was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, and now I’m worried that I’m more likely to get cancer too. What can I do to monitor my prostate health? Is there a way to lower my risk of getting cancer?
Dear Reader: Medical science has not yet discovered a surefire way of preventing cancer—instead, your best bet is to get tested regularly so you can catch any tumors early on when they’re easily treated (though eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise never hurts). I usually recommend that if you are forty or over, you should discuss your medical and family history with your doctor to determine whether getting your prostate checked annually is advisable. Your prostate health is checked with a screening called a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test, a digital rectal exam (a manual examination of the prostate gland), and a prostate ultrasound. Approximately one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. It is the second-most-common cancer diagnosed and the second-most-common cause of cancer death in American males. The importance of screening and early diagnosis cannot be emphasized enough. Early diagnosis and treatment are key for a long, happy, healthy life.
Dear Dr. Danoff: Hi, I’m a guy in my freshman year of college, and while I’m really enjoying being surrounded by college girls all the time, I’m nervous about what might happen if I date as much as I’d like to. How much sex can I have before I literally run out of juice? Will too much sex damage my equipment?
Dear Reader: You can have sex as frequently as you physically and emotionally are able. The number of orgasms, erections, and ejaculations you can have are limitless. Your seminal vesicles will not dry up if you ejaculate too much. Your penis will not become flaccid if you have sex a thousand times. You may get fatigued from having a lot of sex, just as you would from any physical activity, but if you use your penis frequently and vigorously, it will invigorate the rest of your body and keep your spirit young and vibrant. Penis underuse is a much bigger problem than overuse.
As for your concerns about sexual injuries, I assure you that nature designed your penis to take much more of a thrashing than other appendages. Damaging the penis is difficult, if not impossible, because it has no bones to fracture or ligaments, joints, or muscles to strain or tear. Surrounding the central channel in the penis is a fibrous tunica, tissue so tough that I have to apply extreme pressure to remove parts of it during surgery. If you have heard other guys complaining of penis injury, chances are it had to do with the most vulnerable part of the penis—the skin, which can suffer abrasions, cuts, and bruises. These occur most often from accidents like getting your penis stuck in a zipper. The most frequent sex-related injury is skin irritation caused by excessive friction. This keeps more men from having sex than any other injury and is why one of my colleagues believes that “lubricants have saved more marriages than Dear Abby.” My advice is to increase your sexual encounters to your physical and emotional limits.