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Savage Love

Sexual pleasure is highly subjective — one gay man's hot role-play scenario is likely someone else's nightmare.

I am uncircumcised, and the opening at the end of my foreskin is not large enough for the head of my penis to pass through. This means my foreskin doesn't pull back when I get an erection. The internet says this is a condition called "phimosis," and a lot of medical websites recommend circumcision. I'm not super-excited by that idea. I don't have any pain or difficulty with sex or urination, and I've never had any health problems related to being uncircumcised. The foreskin isn't stuck or fused to the glans — the hole is just small. Is there a safe, nonsurgical way to enlarge the opening in the foreskin?

Dick Hole Panic

"Tell Dick Hole Panic not to panic," said Stephen H. King, MD, a urologist in Washington State and my new go-to guy for all questions dick. "Phimosis occurs in an uncircumcised penis when a circular ring of the foreskin becomes scarred, often from prior infection, inflammation or trauma. This scar prevents the normally elastic tissue of the foreskin from fully retracting to expose the head of the penis."

Roughly one in a hundred men have phimosis, said Dr. King, "and depending on the degree of narrowing, complications can vary widely. These can include difficulty with cleaning/hygiene, infection, pain with erection, bleeding from skin cracking and paraphimosis." Paraphimosis "occurs when a narrow foreskin is pulled back to expose the head of the penis but then can't be pulled back over the head, which then constricts blood flow to the glans," said Dr. King. Paraphimosis can cut off blood flow to the head of the penis, which can cause the head of your cock to become gangrenous and die, which is why anyone suffering from it should head to the ER immediately. Here's something else to worry about: "Although extremely rare, penile cancer can arise, usually in older patients with recurrent infections/inflammation."

You're probably panicking now — hell, hearing about paraphimosis has me panicking, and I'm circumcised. But the doctor said your case doesn't sound serious: You aren't experiencing any pain, your dick seems to work fine, you haven't suffered from a series of infections. You don't need to do anything for now, said Dr. King, but if you're worried about complications in the future, or if you want your sex partners to see the head of your dick someday, there are nonsurgical remedies.

"‘Preputial gymnastics' is one way to resolve phimosis," said Dr. King. "It involves gently pulling the foreskin back to expose the tip of the glans to the point where the ring of scar is exposed." In other words, pull your foreskin back until you can't pull it back anymore, and you'll be looking at the scar tissue. "Hold this position for one minute and repeat three to four times a day," Dr. King continued. "In combination with topical application of a steroid cream twice daily, typically betamethasone 0.05 percent (needs a prescription), more than 90 percent of cases will dramatically improve or resolve within four to six weeks."

And if your case doesn't improve?

"Then he should break out the Manischewitz for his impending bris," said Dr. King.

I have rarely been able to have an orgasm during intercourse. But recently, I started mixing pot and sex. It is incredible! Marijuana relaxes my body and heightens my senses so that when my BF and I have sex, I come! And come and come! Before, I smoked pot only once a month or so. Now I'm doing it once a week at least. Three questions: (1) Does this sound like a problem? (2) Should I be worried? (3) What do you suggest?

Blazing Orgasms Newly Gained

1. It does sound like a problem — a problem that's been solved.

2. Not if you live in Colorado or Washington state, where voters legalized pot use last November.

3. A vaporizer.

I am in a relationship with a sexy and open-minded woman. Recently she mentioned "role-play scenes." This is something I've never engaged in. However, since I am more on the dominant side in our relationship, I'd rather not ask her a lot of questions. I'm hoping to find out something about it on my own. Unfortunately, my web searches have been fruitless. Cosmo, Glamour and men's sites have articles about "role-play," but they seem to be written for juveniles. Do you have any ideas about role-play scenarios — especially ones that could be initiated by a man?

Apprehensive About Role Play

I have plenty of ideas about role-play scenarios that could be initiated by a man, AARP, but sexual pleasure is highly subjective — one gay man's hot role-play scenario is likely someone else's nightmare. So you're going to have to talk with your woman about what scenarios turn her on.

Some people have a hard time talking about kinks. Saying the words "I'm into role-play" or "I want to try bondage" is such a struggle that a nervous kinkster feels like she's done the hard part — she said "role-play" or "bondage" out loud! — and her partner should do the rest, i.e., make their fantasies come true without asking them to talk about it anymore. But you can't fly blind into someone else's sexual fantasies. If she's turned on by something mild like a sexy-cop-and-speeding-driver scenario, surprising her with a serial-killer-and-his-terrified-victim scenario is likely to backfire. 

She's going to have to give you more information, and you're going to have to let go of the notion that being the Dom means not asking questions. A dominant's first job — before role-play begins, before anyone gets tied up — is to find out what his submissive wants to experience. The trick is to give her what she wants while building in small surprises and gradually, over time, pushing into new territories together.

If she's too shy to talk about her kinks face-to-face, have the convo over email.

This week on the Savage Lovecast, I talk with author Emily Bazelon about sexting, slut-shaming, bullying and suicide:

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