Society sends numerous messages to men about sexuality. For example, men are taught to believe they:
- can always get an erection
- should always initiate sex
- should always want sex
- should always be in control
- give women pleasurable orgasms
- should have a big penis (or feel inadequate)
- should know what to do in the bedroom
- should succeed
- should hide any feelings of inadequacy or vulnerability
Men are taught to conform to these myths and can develop negative feelings as a result. This is especially true if their sexual needs happen to differ from societal standards. The restrictions imposed by these standards may inhibit men from exploring the full range of their sexuality.
Ultimately, men and women have the same basic requirements for a fulfilling sex life. They need self-knowledge about their bodies, accurate information about sexuality, awareness of the options available to them, and knowledge of techniques to improve their sexual skills, both physically and verbally.
Men usually get information about sex from peers and popular culture. Friends will brag about who or what they did, while men’s magazines emphasize sexual performance and virility. In this context, aspects of sexuality such as performance, competition, and accomplishment are overly—and erroneously—emphasized.
To expand your views of sexuality, try some of the following:
- Ask your partner to caress you; dictate how you would like to be touched.
- Breathe consciously during sex.
- Say yes when you want to.
- Say no when you want to.
- Self-pleasure (masturbate) slowly.
- Fantasize while you masturbate.
- Touch yourself all over; notice what feels good.
- Talk about sex with your partner; discuss what you have discovered arouses you.
- Have a sexual experience with your partner without having intercourse.
- Touch your partner’s body for your own pleasure.
ED becomes more common as men age, especially among men who are sedentary. Men who exercise regularly are more likely to avoid ED, and may even be able to reverse some of the symptoms of ED after ED appears, by improving diet and becoming more physically active. Of course, looking good often translates to feeling good. And feeling good about oneself—having self-confidence and self-esteem—has been linked to better overall sexual satisfaction among men.
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is an increasingly common option for older men with abnormally low levels of the male hormone, testosterone. This treatment remains controversial, due to concerns that testosterone may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. But some physicians have begun treating “male menopause” by boosting testosterone levels. Also known as andropause, the age-related drop in the male hormone has been linked to fatigue, weakening muscles, weight gain, mood swings, erectile dysfunction, loss of sexual desire, and even hair loss.