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Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010

What to Do When He's Too Big

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Contrary to popular belief, bigger penises are not always better. Although they may photograph well in porn and allow actors to get into all sorts of camera-friendly crazy positions not usually attempted by the average male, being photogenic does not always translate into being a source of pleasure for a sexual partner. It's not unusual for me to get questions from people who are having trouble with a partner's large penis, usually regarding pain during penetration or discomfort during deep thrusting.

Using lubricant can enhance almost all sex play, but in this circumstance it's especially important. Using lube for vaginal, anal or oral penetration can reduce friction, irritation and pain, especially during initial penetration or prolonged thrusting. If you've never used lube before but have a partner who's on the larger side, start using it now. Both water-based and silicone lubricants are condom-compatible.

Speaking of condoms, many men on the bigger side feel that condoms are too constrictive. There are many larger brands of condoms out there to solve this problem, but like all condom brands, each varies in size, so you may have to experiment to find one that feels right. A common complaint about larger condoms is that they are often thicker as well. One brand that received top marks in Condom Depot's annual ranking of best condoms is Trustex Extra Large, specifically because of its thinner, more sensitive feel. Some men find that it's not the diameter of the condom, but the amount of room at the top that makes it feel more comfortable. If that's the case for you, consider condoms with extra-sensation pouches at the tip of the condom, like the ONE Pleasure Plus.

Another important way to reduce pain during initial vaginal or anal penetration is to have fun with lots of non-penetrative sex play beforehand. It's important to be relaxed and aroused prior to penetration. The vagina, especially, will become more lubricated and more ready for penetration the more turned on a woman is. So, now is the time for clitoral stimulation, nipple play, spanking or whatever gets you hot. Move away from the idea that "sticking it in" is the main event of sex and, paradoxically, it might become easier to do so.

If you're experiencing pain during deep thrusting, experimenting with different positions may do the trick. Invest in a good sex-positions book and have fun trying new ones that feel good to both of you. Typically, side-by-side positions allow for shallower thrusting: Try spooning or lying side-by-side with both partners facing the same way and the penetrating partner in the back. Positions that put the partner being penetrated on top also allow them to control the depth of penetration a little better. During vaginal sex, a woman's level of arousal can also affect how comfortable deep penetration feels, since the top of the vagina expands and the cervix moves back when a woman is highly excited. In addition, where a woman is in her menstrual cycle affects the position of the cervix (it moves higher when she is ovulating and lower when she's not). This sometimes explains why a position that felt great two weeks ago is now painful.

Finally, remember that size is relative. What seems large to one person may seem just fine to another. If you or your partner is having difficulty with sex due to penis size, please don't feel that there's anything "wrong" with either of you. If it's worth it to make the sex work, you can find creative ways, and if it's not, there may be other partners in your future who will be a better fit for you.

Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.

Laura Anne Stuart has a master’s degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. She owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee’s East Side.

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