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Three cheers for the perineum!

Ar 190709948
Stop! Sex in progress. Jean KOULEV/Flickr Creative Commons
Ar 190709948
Stop! Sex in progress. Jean KOULEV/Flickr Creative Commons

Three cheers for the perineum!

Stop! Sex in progress. Jean KOULEV/Flickr Creative Commons

There are many different erogenous zones on the human body and each person has their favorite. For some it’s nipples or ears, for others it is the back of the neck, and still others find the back of the knee or the inside of the elbow to be the hot spot. I encourage you to explore all of your erogenous zones and try out different pressures, temperatures, and textures to see what turns you on.

Our focus here is learning all about the perineum. So often neglected in erogenous zone conversations, the perineum is a spot you should absolutely visit on yourself or a partner.

The perineum is the soft, silky skin located between the genitals and the anus. You may know it by another name – taint, gooch, choad, grundle, durf, bifkin, bifkette, male G-spot, or ABC (anus-balls connection).

Before talking about how to interact with the perineum, let’s take a moment to dive into some science. The perineal nerve is part of the pudendal nerve and has branches that connect to areas throughout the genitals. The perineum, like the glans (head) of the penis and the clitoris, is full of nerve endings waiting to be caressed. Nerve endings (specifically, mechanoreceptors) are what connect touch or pressure to our brain. When we engage with these nerve endings with fingers, tongues, or other body parts, the mechanoreceptors send messages to the brain via the spinal cord. The pleasure center of the brain releases feel-good chemicals such as oxytocin, dopamine, and vasopressin. These chemicals can be released even without an orgasm. Fun fact: Each area of the genitals is connected to a different set of nerve endings, which is why an orgasm from one area feels different from another area.

Prostate Milking vs Prostate MassageMethods and articles for prostate milking are all over the Internet. The vas deferens is the tube that runs from the testicles (connecting with the urethra) to exit the penis. The vas deferens can be pressed through the perineum and with careful technique one can close the vas deferens during ejaculation, controlling the release. This can also affect orgasm. However, this is not something to be done without a thorough understanding of the anatomy and potential consequences. Preventing semen from exiting the body can force it into other areas internally, potentially doing harm.

Prostate massage is meant to stimulate the prostate, which can be done internally or externally. Because we are focusing on the perineum, I’ll be talking about external prostate massage. Please use lube for this because the perineum is a soft, delicate section of skin that you want to be extra gentle when massaging. Prostate massage is typically used to relieve pain associated with an enlarged prostate; however, this can also be used in addition to other sexual activities to increase pleasure. One or two fingers should be plenty – apply pressure to the perineum moving in circles or figure eights. Remember to communicate if you are doing this for a partner – you’ll want them to say yes, no, maybe, harder, softer, to the left, to the right so that you are providing the best pleasure for them. There is no need to go all out at the start – begin with light pressure and slowly increase it. For some people there is a possibility of orgasming from prostate massage; that’s why the perineum is also called the male g-spot.

For folks who want to take it up a notch, there are a number of prostate massaging toys on the market that provide internal and external stimulation of the prostate. Most, if not all prostate massagers have an external part that is meant to apply pressure to the perineum. Some vibrate, some are thin, some are thick, some are rigid, and others are bendy. If you are new to anal play, it is important to start small and work your way to thicker, bigger toys. And don’t forget the lube!!

What if I don’t have a prostate?No prostate, no problem! There are still lots of nerve endings in the perineum that would enjoy some attention. Next time you give or receive oral sex, incorporate the perineum with licking, light nibbles, sucking, etc. Communicate with your partners so you know what is working and what isn’t. The same technique for external prostate massage can feel good for folks without a prostate. The easy way to discover what feels good for you is to try it out yourself. Maybe all you need is some lube and your fingers, or maybe you like the vibration from a sex toy best. Experiment! Think of the perineum as a foreplay spot before you move on to other genital stimulation or penetrative sex. And then come back to it!

When it hurts not so goodAn unfortunate side of limited or no sex education is the often missed medical issues for the genitals. I have found that it is an uphill battle to get people to talk about the feel good aspects of sex and their bodies. It is significantly worse when it comes to pain or injury related to the genitals – denial can be so strong that people refuse to seek help from a doctor. Here are a handful of medical issues that can affect the perineum:

Abscess: a swollen area caused by a bacterial infection.

Episiotomy: an incision of the perineum to assist in birthing.

Pudendal nerve: can be compressed or injured causing a number of medical problems. Common symptoms are pain, discomfort, or numbness in the pelvis or genitals.

Prostatitis: an inflamed and painful prostate.

Vulvodynia: chronic pain of the vulva, including the perineum.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: inability to control your pelvic floor muscles.

Ignoring any of these issues can seriously cramp a person’s sex life. Our genitals are magnificent and fragile. Don’t be afraid to speak up with a doctor or nurse if something is going on. This is just as important as learning about how to pleasure yourself and partners.

HomeworkThree cheers for the perineum! The next step is to include perineum massage in your next round of masturbation. When you discover what feels good for your perineum, bring it up with a partner and ask them to include it in your next sexual adventure.

Actively listen and ask for consent then pleasure yourself or pleasure a partner.

Erin Brandt (she/her/hers) has been a sexologist for 15 years. When she’s not spreading sexual knowledge, Erin can be found learning from her child, hiking with her partner, cuddling with her pitbull, knitting with her cat, dancing with friends, and searching for the nearest hammock and ocean breeze.