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Fitness Routine’ usually conjures up whatever gets you more endurance or stronger muscles. But devoting a little time to a few routines and developing new habits can also result in a stronger, healthier penis. Think of this penis training plan as your Third Leg Day. 

Peak-performing junk (penis, balls, prostate and pelvis – the whole enchilada) puts bathroom breaks under your control and houses sperm that are both plentiful and swift. Whether you think your package is working great, struggling or doing something in between, these tips will help you get your gear in gear.  

How to optimise if you are: Basically Fine 

Everything is working okay – you just want to keep it that way.

Raise the frequency

Men who had sex less than once a week had a higher risk of erectile dysfunction than guys who did it at least once a week, according to a study in The American Journal of Medicine, making it one of the most useful (and fun!) ways to keep your penis strong. Even better, DIY sex is good, too. If you’ve noticed that you have a hard time maintaining an erection or reaching orgasm without, say, watching certain videos on the Internet, then you might want to try an orgasm ban during sex, even for a day, says sex educator Lawrence A. Siegel. This shifts the focus away from the endpoint and towards pleasure in the moment. 

Find the Right Stuff for Your Stuff 

When jock itch is driving you nuts, bypass online advice to apply apple-­cider vinegar, cocoa butter or Vicks VapoRub – they can leave you more uncomfortable without helping – and start with an OTC antifungal cream (like Lotrimin). Then avoid repeat infections: put those boxer briefs on carefully at the gym and treat athlete’s foot and sweaty shoes with an antifungal powder, says dermatologist Corey L. Hartman.

Wrap It

Rates of the most reportable sexually transmitted infections have surpassed prepandemic levels, according to health authorities. At last estimate, one in six people in Australia contract an STI in their lifetime. If you’re convinced condoms are still nothing but barriers to pleasure, you haven’t checked out the market for a while. Choose
well and you’ll see the old raincoat-in-the-shower analogy no longer holds true.

How to optimise if you are: Sort of Fine 

You have problems getting or keeping it up – and maybe bladder leakage. Things may also look slightly … off?

Add a Daily Workout

Treat your pelvic floor like the muscles it’s made of and do isometric contraction sets. These Kegels improve bladder control and “have been shown to allow men to control ejaculations and enhance orgasm,” says Dr Jamin Brahmbhatt, an assistant professor of urology at UCF College of Medicine. Tighten the muscles that stop your pee midstream for three seconds, relax them for three, and repeat 10 times. Aim for three sets per day.

Get That Checked Out

Pimples? Bumps? Rashes? Go to a doctor to figure out what’s going on. Yes, there are apps out there, but urologist Elizabeth Kavaler, says that using an app to detect an STI is “totally crazy”. You can order an at-home STI test kit, but if what you have isn’t an STI, the kit can’t tell you what the trouble actually is. Only a real live doctor can do that.

 penis training plan
Photography by Dan FORBES.

How to optimise if you are: Not Fine 

You can’t maintain an erection. And the urge to urinate is basically all the time.

Bolster your bladder

If drip describes your latest bathroom trip, you may have benign prostatic hyperplasia, a usually innocuous yet annoying enlarged prostate gland. The good news is that there are many treatments after diagnosis. Talk to your doctor about saw-palmetto extract, a supplement that can reduce urinary symptoms for some men, says Kavaler. Prescription drugs and minimally invasive surgeries can also help.

Eliminate the negative

Having a hard time staying hard? Maybe it’s your attitude. Men with higher levels of suspicious jealousy concerning their mate tend to have higher levels of erectile dysfunction, according to research by Gavin Vance at Oakland University. One way to cut through the envy is with sensate-­focus therapy, a technique that uses touch, like holding hands, to decrease anxiety and increase intimacy.

Seek Treatment for ED

If you’ve ruled out pills due to side effects or preexisting conditions, consider injectables. Sounds scary, but intracavernosal injections do the same thing as pills – increase blood flow – and people who use them consistently have high satisfaction rates, according to a 2019 study. Just stay sceptical of shock-wave therapy, says Kavaler. Using high-frequency ultrasound to irritate the penis lining as a way to help new cells grow and increase blood flow is being investigated, but its marketing may be stronger than the evidence­ – at least right now. 

My Somewhat Horrifying (but not at all regrettable)  Vasectomy Experience

And what you can learn from the usually routine procedure that men are lining up for.

Here is what I don’t want to see when lying on a table with my pants down: a doctor, wielding sharp instruments, digging around in the numb valley of my groin, looking for something he can’t find. I feel a dull pressure and hear a snip. I peek out beneath my eyelids at the frustrated doc; he exhales, shakes his head. Back into the fray he goes. 

One week before my 41st birthday, I lay prone under harsh fluorescent lights for an hour and let a young doctor poke into my genitals. He was looking for something he described as “the size of a piece of spaghetti”. Two pieces, actually: one vas deferens – the tube that supplies sperm to the urethra – for the left testicle and another for the right. My vasectomy was supposed to be over by now.1 With every empty snip, I began to wonder if I wasn’t supposed to be doing this.

I’d opted for a local anesthetic instead of a sedative. Big mistake: those meds help the important parts get all nice and droopy.2 Apparently I was a bit tense, which made it hard for the doc to grab what he was looking for, and the excess cutting and poking causes the area to swell up, which makes it even harder to apprehend the offending party.

Dr Larry Lipshultz, at Baylor College of Medicine, tells me my procedure was highly unusual. “Once you get the vas [deferens] in your clamp, it’s minutes before you’re done,” he says. “Once you find it, doing the rest of it is – snip, snip, snip.”

Perhaps the hardest thing to find is the courage to make that first appointment. Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, urologists say they’ve seen men come out of the proverbial woodwork to do the deed. 

Which makes me think men’s previous collective indifference had as much to do with our own apathy – we knew if something unexpected happened, our partner could always take care of it – as with misconceptions about vasectomies. About those myths: will the big V hurt your sex life or change your ejaculation? No. The only difference will be a lack of sperm in your semen. That’s it. 

In the days after, my balls went from looking like a chewed-up fig to a small, overripe avocado.3 Now they’re back to their wrinkled, pink selves. I did take a picture of the tool tray before I left. I realise it’s almost the exact opposite of a dick pic: evidence of a penis rendered powerless. Strangely absent are the scissors, despite the symphony of snipping sounds I heard.

All I know is that my wife will soon be off the Pill, her body resuming its rhythms after decades of being held hostage by hormone pills, our sex life cleansed of the terror of unintended consequences.4 If my experience can break the ice – which rested on my newly unproductive scrotum – then perhaps we men can take a more active part in the conversation about sex and reproduction. Even if it means never having Bolognese again. – J. I.

This story originally appeared in the February 2023 issue of Men’s Health.


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