College Sex Talk

Real people real answers

A student from UNC wants to know.....

Does it matter whether or not I'm circumcized to a woman?

Female, Sophomore

Dr. Caron's Response:

You raise a really good question. I think it'sfairly common for men to worry about the look of their penis -especially when it comes to circumcision. I read somewhere that about 80% of American males have a circumcised penis, whereas 80% of European males have an uncircumcised penis. So if you are uncircumsized, your partner might not be used to seeing a penis with the foreskin still intact. I do think it would be important to mention the difference and assure her of the normalcy of it all. Most women do not find things like penis shape or size to be an issue when it comes to the sexual interaction. It's important to know there is no relationship between circumcision of a man's penis and his ability to have sexual intercourse or to excite his partner. An uncircumcised penis will not make a woman have an orgasm any more than a circumcised one will.

A student from University of Buffalo wants to know.....

My friend says she feel shy about the way her vagina looks. What should she do? Female, First-Year

Female, First-year

Dr. Caron's Response:

Join the club. There are many women who are a bit uncomfortable about the way their vulva/vagina looks. Unfortunately, many little girls gather negative messages about their bodies. Starting in early childhood they are taught that touching their genitals is “not nice” or ‘dirty,” a message that is reinforced during toilet training when the little girl is told to “wipe carefully” and “clean yourself up.” Little girls absorb the social message that their female genitalsare ugly and unclean. Menstruation reinforces this message with “sanitary napkins” and embarrassed secrecy. Later, young women are urged to buy unnecessary vaginal sprays and douches to hide odors. Such sprays can be potentially irritating, and frequent douching can be harmful because it upsets the vagina’s natural chemical balance, thus increasing susceptibility to infections. Finally, given the taboo about touching and looking, many women have not taken a look at their own genitals and cannot accurately describe their own anatomy. A place for this woman to start is with a mirror and a basic drawing of her anatomy (see any anatomy/human sexuality text). By becoming familiar with herself, hopefully she can learn to see the beauty in this part of her body.

A student from University of North Texas wants to know.....

This is not directly about sex, but close enough. I have inverted nipples and am so nervous about other people will react to them when I begin to get sexually active. I know I should be "proud" of my body, which I am, but I feel so strange and different. I don't want guys to scream and run away. I heard there is a surgery that can fix them. Is this true and where can I get more information?

Female, First-year

Dr. Caron's Response:

Despite what is presented in the media, inverted nipples are normal. Just as women's breasts come in all different shapes and sizes, their nipples do as well: they may be flat, raised, or inverted - all are common. I believe you are in a good position to educate your partner about how every body is unique - and that includes yours. Just like belly buttons, nipples also range in appearance. And I certainly hope your partner will be interested in having a relationship with you, not a body part!

If you are seriously interested in looking into surgery in an attempt to alter your nipples, there is plastic surgery. You can talk to a medical doctor (such as a gynecologist or someone who specializes in women's health) about this option. However, be forewarned: it is very expensive, often leads to loss of sensitivity and ability to become aroused, and can also interfere with your ability to breastfeed later on. Ask yourself: Is it really worth it? I hope you will recognize the gift your uniqueness and learn to accept and celebrate it

A student from Hofstra wants to know.....

Why are men so into their penis size? It seems they are either bragging about it or unhappy about it

Female, Senior

Dr. Caron's Response:

Woody Allen once said that he was the only man he knew who suffered from penis envy. I think he was wrong. It's fairly common for men to worry about their penis size. Some people have suggested that since the growth of the penis is one of the marks of puberty, somehow the association between penis size and manhood is made. Unfortunately, men's magazine's frequently advertise penis enlargers which exploit male anxieties (and don't work, by the way!). There are still many myths floating around about the actual size of the penis, and about the relationship between penis size and performance/ability to please. For example, despite what might be portrayed in certain movies, in its unerect or unaroused state the penis is usually between 2-4 inches; in its erect state the penis is usually 5 to 7 inches in length. It's also important to know there is no relationship between the size of a man's penis and his ability to have sexual intercourse or to excite his partner. A larger penis will not make a woman have an orgasm any more than a smaller one will. Please recognize that the size of a man's penis seems to be more important in the locker room than in the bedroom.

A student from Cal State -Fullerton wants to know.....

Why are women made to feel unattractive if they are average-looking as opposed to model-looking.

Female, Sophomore

Dr. Caron's Response:

If by "average-looking" you mean the majority of women, then logically the majority must be attractive since they attract others and the human race continues. If only people who look like models were attractive, the birth rate would drop precipitously. Not all men look for the same characteristics, despite the messages from the media about the ideal female form. In fact, over time the ideal changes. I have a friend who's rosy gentle curves would make her an ideal in the 17th century. Relax and look for a guy who's ideal is not the media stereotype.

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