Prostate (n.): 1640s, from Greek prostates “leader, ruler, guardian; one standing in front,” so called from its position at the base of the bladder.
For such an important part of male anatomy, a part that has an essential role in all men’s lives, there remains a lot of confusion about what the prostate is, what it does, what it’s for and how it feels when it’s massaged. We approached a number of leading experts and educators to help us answer the most common questions about the prostate and prostate massage once and for all.
When it comes to female reproductive anatomy, we tend to be a lot more open to discussion and understanding. In the mainstream, there might still be some doubt about whether the G-spot is different from the clitoris and some might still argue that female ejaculation isn’t real. But right now, those are the two major hot topics and both are currently subject to research and conversation.
The same isn’t really true of men. Male anatomy is not so openly discussed, and as a result more interesting subjects like male anal orgasms are poorly understood. So let’s open with an obvious question:
What Is The Prostate & What Does It Do?
Charlie Glickman PhD, sex & relationship coach, author of The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure (available at www.makesexeasy.com), explains the prostate like this: “The prostate plays two roles in men’s sexual response cycle. First, it produces a portion of the fluid that becomes semen. During arousal, the prostate starts to fill up with this fluid, which is then mixed with sperm from the testicles and fluids from the seminal vesicles to become semen.”
But it’s not all cold, hard biology.
“The prostate is also part of a man’s pleasure response,” Glickman continues. “When the gland releases that fluid into the urethra, it squeezes and contracts. Many men are able to feel that sensation – it’s the “point of no return” feeling that happens just before ejaculation. Some guys say that a prostate massage feels like the “start of an orgasm,” but it can last a lot longer than a few seconds!”
Charlie’s right. Men who incorporate the sensation of edging into prostate massage report being able to maintain that sensation almost indefinitely.
Sunny Megatron, sexuality educator and host of the Showtime original series, Sex with Sunny Megatron, describes the prostate as “a small walnut-sized gland that produces prostatic fluid, one of the main components of semen. For people with prostates, orgasm occurs in two parts, emission and expulsion. Emission is when the prostate releases prostatic fluid into a portion of the urethra called the prostatic urethra. Here it is joined with the other components of semen. Expulsion is what we more commonly refer to as ejaculation.”
Emission and ejaculation, then, are clearly different things. In fact, some men who enjoy chastity play or orgasm denial often use prostate massage to release the sensation of needing to orgasm without actually orgasming.
So far, so straightforward, right? Well you’d think so.
If the prostate is quite simply a small organ, in front of the bladder that’s part of the male orgasm cycle, what’s all the controversy about?
Why is there a Taboo about Prostate Massage?
We put this question to each of our experts, and they all responded in similar ways. Charlie Glickman said: “When we wrote The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure, we asked men what concerns they had. Over and over, we heard guys say that they were worried that enjoying prostate massage meant that they were gay. That’s one of the big taboos.”
Dr. Sara Nasserzadeh, Psychosexual Therapist and Relationship Expert, puts it another way. “Regardless of the socio-cultural context, overall any anal stimulation (including prostate massage, internal massages specifically) is associated with homosexual tendencies and practices. Also psychodynamically, men have the object for “push” and there are not supposed to be “pushed upon” therefore although some men are intrigued with the idea but either they are conflicted about exploring this practice or their partners are reluctant to “de-masculinize” their partners.”Sunny Megatron recognizes that prejudice but also understands how wrong it is to make the assumption that prostate massage – or any other kind of male anal play – is somehow a statement on a man’s sexual alignment. She says, “Although people of all orientations and genders can and do enjoy prostate play, heterosexual men are the least likely to discuss it openly. The assumption is that it’s not “manly” and it’s something that only gay men engage in – but that’s simply not true. It’s important to remember that sex acts don’t change your sexual orientation. Plenty of straight men enjoy backdoor play – many more than you might imagine! Luckily over the last few years more straight men have opened up publicly about the pleasures of prostate play.”
Charlie Glickman summarizes the topic with typical candor: “Sexual orientation is about who you’re attracted to. What kinds of sensations feel good to you is about where your nerve endings are. Gay men don’t magically get born with extra nerves, and heterosexual men aren’t missing any. Your sexual orientation has nothing to do with what feels good to you.”
Prostate massage seems to come loaded with significance and presumption. But perhaps there’s more to the mystification of male anal pleasure than simple taboo. After all, that taboo has to come from somewhere. Could it perhaps come from the confusing conflict of myths and misnomers?
Why is Prostate Massage One of the Least Understood Elements of Sexuality?
According to Sara Nasserzadeh, the misunderstandings about this could be two-fold:
- Misunderstandings of the health risks and benefits of such practice.
- Our limited and relatively new knowledge base and attention towards sexual pleasure as a component of sexual relationships and explorations.
“Our knowledge of sexual pleasure,” Sara elaborates, “is pretty new and somehow still limited. There are still misconceptions about the external organs let alone the internal ones. Also pleasure has not always been a part of our conversations when we talk about our sexuality. It was meant for procreation and reproduction, a more advanced discourse was created not long ago to talk about the emotional elements involved and now for the past couple of decades we are talking about “what gives us pleasure” in a proactive way.”
Charlie Glickman has written extensively on exactly this topic, and told us how men reacted to the discussion of prostate massage. “The idea that anal play is painful often comes up, though I notice that it’s a lot more common when we’re talking about men receiving than when we’re talking about women.
“And in addition to all of that, until we wrote The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure, there wasn’t a book you could read that explained everything you needed to know. The lack of information kept people from trying it, which meant that there wasn’t a demand for a guide like that, and so forth. But ever since the book came out, we’ve heard from hundreds of men and their partners and I can promise you that more folks are trying it than ever before!”
So prostate massage is still shrouded in taboo and mystery. But it’s growing in popularity very slowly, thanks to the pleasure and the benefits it can offer. Let’s take a look.
What are the Benefits of Prostate Massage?
Is prostate massage healthy? Is it good for you? These are important question and right now, they’re hard to answer clearly because part of the problem of understanding this topic is that there is so little research on it. We have a pretty good understanding of what the prostate is made of and what it’s for, for example, but we don’t know much about how we can live with it and improve it. It comes down to a simple question: is prostate massage good for you?
Luckily, Charlie Glickman, has done research. He shared some findings with us, along with a caution that this there is little medically funded proof – most of what we know is common sense.
“Massage increases blood flow, especially if it’s part of a sexual experience. That’s definitely a good thing for the prostate,” says Glickman. He continues: “There are a lot of muscles all through the pelvis and many men are chronically tight in that part of the body. That can compress the prostate and limit your range of motion. Massage can help improve that, and some men report that they have firmer erections because the pelvic muscles are more able to do their job.”
Sex educator Sunny agrees. “A number of health practitioners believe regular prostate massage helps protect against prostate related health ailments including prostate cancer. Studies indicate it flushes out toxins, fluids, and helps clear blockages that aren’t affected by ejaculation alone. In addition, it relieves tension and increases blood flow to the area which also positively affects health.”
Glickman expands on the science behind Sunny Megatron’s comments: “The prostate is actually full of tiny, fluid-producing glands. And just as glands in your skin can get blocked, so can the glands in your prostate. Although ejaculation also squeezes fluids out of the prostate, it might not be strong enough to do the job if anything is trapped, so massage may be more effective.”
“Disrupting the Biofilm”
For those reasons and more, that’s why prostate massage is especially important. Bacterial prostatitis, which is a swelling and inflammation of the prostate doesn’t respond to antibiotics and one of the causes is the presence of a biofilm. Glickman explains: “That’s when a colony of bacteria produces a shield that protects them from the environment. Massaging the prostate may disrupt the biofilm, which would allow antibiotics to be more effective.”
Dr. Sara Nasserzadeh does have access to some solid research information to support the health benefits of prostate research.
She tells us: “It has been reported that regular prostate massages could help with men’s quality of erections and even elicit one (we have solid research among men with spinal cord injury who report having an erection after prostate massage).”
Is a Prostate Orgasm Different from Other Orgasms?Dr. Sara Nasserzadeh shared some information with us that really goes deep into the science behind this.
“Our colleagues at Rutgers University completed a study under Dr. Komisaruk’s, mapping the male genital system including the prostate and are analyzing the more complete data. What they found is that sensory input from the prostate projects to the same region of the genital sensory cortex as the rest of the genital structures. This is probably the basis for men claiming that prostate stimulation can feel erotic. The study first was done to find out more about the sensory innervation of the prostate because it may be sensate in men with complete spinal cord injury; but of course it will take further research.”
How do You Massage the Prostate?
This question is succinctly answered by Sunny Megatron: “Although the prostate can be reached with fingers it’s near impossible to do solo without the aid of a tool. If you have a partner to help with the massage it can be very stressful on their fingers, hands, and wrists making it difficult to maintain for long periods. Massagers not only make things easier in that regard, the vibration also gives more pleasure options than a stationary object.”
So let’s recap our findings. Orgasm can be achieved through prostate orgasm alone. That taboos around prostate massage are unfounded. That there are tangible, provable health benefits to prostate massage, and that vibrating prostate massagers are the best way for men to attain this kind of pleasure. Oh, we didn’t cover that? Well we’ll let Charlie Glickman do it for us.
“Massagers make it a lot easier to explore prostate play on your own. It can be tricky to reach your own, so a pleasure product can help a lot. Plus, many men enjoy prostate massage for longer than their hands or their partner’s hands can keep going. A toy will have you feeling amazing for a lot longer, so you can enjoy that much more pleasure. Plus, massagers are easy to combine with partnered sex, like oral sex or intercourse. So you have a lot more options.”