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Totally Private
By Joan Elizabeth Lloyd

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 Totally Private

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Totally Private
By Joan Elizabeth Lloyd
ISBN: 0446677183
Genre: Inspirational & Self-Help

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Chapter Excerpt from: Totally Private , by Joan Elizabeth Lloyd

Chapter 1


Women's Bodies

Dear Joan,
Okay, I'll come right out with it. I'm fat. I'm about fifty pounds over-weight, and although I keep trying to slim down, it never seems to work out. My husband loves me the way I am and wants to make love often, sometimes with the lights on. I'm embarrassed by the way I look and I want to make love in the dark. Now he's gone further. He wants me to buy some sexy lingerie and I just can't deal with it. Please help me.

Dear Mandy,
I get several letters a week from women like you who have allowed the size of their body to get in the way of great sex. They tell me that their breasts droop, they have a scar, they are too flat-chested or too big-busted, they have flabby thighs or a thousand other problems.

In a short letter I can't counter the thousands of commercials and stories that insist that the only successful women are the ones who weigh one ten, with semi-large breasts that stand up even when the woman is lying down, slender thighs, and long hair that looks like a shampoo commercial. Sorry, we real women don't look like that. At least I don't, and none of my friends do either. And we have great sex lives despite everything!

I'll admit that you've hit one of my hot buttons. This entire campaign to make us feel bad about ourselves makes me angry. I'm about ten pounds overweight, with thighs filled with cellulite. I've gone from a size ten to a fourteen over the past twenty years, slowly gaining with age, and I've got drooping breasts, which I've had since the birth of my first child.

I can still remember my six-month checkup after her birth. I was just twenty-one and I clearly recall sitting on the obstetrician's exam table putting my bra back on and listening to the doctor mumble while writing on the chart. Abdomen-normal. Breasts-pendulous. I was crushed. Pendulous, droopy breasts. I was doomed never again to be perky, if I ever was.

I'm as guilty as the next woman of that bad body image thing. I still gaze at my breasts in the bathroom mirror after my shower, wishing. Now, however, they have company. Now my tummy sags a bit, my ass is a few inches lower than it was years ago, and my thighs are definitely squishy and lumpy. And I know about all the propaganda we're fed and I'm still susceptible to those bad feelings. I recall an article I read many years ago when Farrah Fawcett was in her heyday as Jill Monroe on Charlie's Angels. Remember? She of the great body and big hair? She of the poster with the gorgeous smile and prominent nipples? The article I read said she thought she had fat thighs. I laughed out loud.

So give up, ladies. You'll never be perfect. And I'll bet you that your husband doesn't care. That shouldn't give you license, however, not to make the most of what you have. Use a bit of makeup, some perfume. Comb your hair and, in general, make yourself look attractive, most of all because that way you'll feel attractive. That's the key. You need to feel attractive.

Almost more important than the way we feel about ourselves is that we're passing this body image obsession on to our daughters. What a pity. I listen to women out in the mall with their school-age daughters, moaning about their weight, lamenting the inability of their diet to cope with ice cream and chocolate cookies. No wonder so many teenaged girls have eating disorders. Much is learned from their mothers. If you want to diet, fine, just don't make it the center of your life, and keep your mouth shut in front of your kids.

So, Mandy, relax and let your husband love you. Buy a sexy nightie and hide it in the bathroom. One evening, slip into the bathroom and turn out the lights so you don't chicken out. Then put the nightie on and ask your husband to dim the lights. Then walk out into the bedroom. The look on your husband's face should convince you of how delicious he thinks you look. Then his actions should match his look.

Since this is such a hot button topic, I posted some information on women's body image and our obsession about weight on my Web page. Here are just some of the responses.

Dear Ms. Lloyd,
I am a big, tall man and I have always been fond of large women. My wife has gained some weight recently (she has never been a small woman) and now she's quite heavy. I have to tell you that I find her as sexy and attractive as the day we met. The way a woman feels about herself directly affects how she looks. If you can, tell ladies who have problems with the way they look not to be ashamed of their body. There is nothing more sexy and provocative as a woman who carries herself with pride, holds her head up, and has a playful spirit. There is nothing worse than seeing a beautiful tall woman wearing flat shoes and hunched over trying to hide her height or a big woman who confines herself to fashions that make her look like a mountain with a head. Stand tall! Wear bright colors! Wear sexy lingerie! Show off your body. There are a lot of men like me who appreciate you.

Dear Joan,
I am a fat twenty-something married woman who comes from a family of very weight-obsessed women. I have never been exactly skinny, but I was always in great physical shape and played sports and was very popular in high school.

I met the man of my dreams in my first year of college, and for some reason I started gaining weight. I was horrified. That was several years ago, and to date I have gained over fifty pounds. Saying that I felt worthless does not even cover it. My family still reminds me all the time that I am not attractive, and every time I look in the mirror I know that. Despite diets and exercise, I still gain about five pounds a month. I went to many doctors, and they all gave me the same diet, which I have been using for two years.

I finally went to a shrink and discovered lots about myself that I won't go into here, but suffice it to say that there were lots of emotional reasons for my weight gain-first and foremost my family. Let me tell you that, over the year since, my attitude has changed entirely.

Needless to say the "dream man" wasn't long for my world. Obviously my looks had a lot to do with the reasons that we were together, but I now know that my size wouldn't have mattered if he had really loved me.

I've met several wonderful guys since, men who like me for who I am, not what I look like. My attitude has improved dramatically, and I think that's why men are attracted to me, regardless of my weight. Yes, I still try to lose weight, but it's not the center of my life anymore.

Dear Joan,
I've been learning slowly that feeling bad about your body has nothing to do with what you really look like. I'm five feet three and I once was a little ninety-pound, skinny, gawky young girl. I'm now one fifty-five and have begun that natural aging process that makes my body soft and a bit flabby.

I had a revelation some months ago. I realized that somewhere between being unhappy and skinny at ninety pounds and unhappy and droopy at one fifty-five, I must have passed through my ideal weight. And I never knew it! I was too busy feeling bad about myself. Somewhere I missed lots of good feelings by always focusing on the negative.

Anyway, I've done a lot of thinking, and I now realize that, although I may not have a board-flat stomach anymore and I may have a bit too much skin under my arms, I can be happy with myself. I've changed my entire attitude. That's not to say that I don't often look in the mirror and wish I were different, but that doesn't affect me the way it used to. I can lament, without feeling bad about ME. I'm terrific!!!

So for those of you who might be unhappy with your ap-pearance, I say, Look deep inside. Look into your heart and ask yourself, "Am I happy with who I am?" If the answer is yes, put that damned scale away. If you're not happy, find out why—it's probably not just your weight. But whatever you do, every time you look in the mirror, smile real big and tell yourself that you are fantastic!!

Dear Joan,
I too have always been body-conscious, and I've tried many dramatic weight-loss systems and fad diets. I dieted, exercised, and got nowhere. It was important to me to get thinner, so at thirty-six I discovered that it took a conscious effort on my part, combining the right nutrition and exercise. I lost seventy-five lbs. and, sadly, I lost my husband of seven years in the process. Amazingly enough, he's now with a woman who is the size I used to be. I guess during my obsession about my weight, I forgot about him.

What all this has taught me is that I have to be who I am for me, and not for anybody else. It took me far too long to figure that out.

Dear Joan Lloyd,
I'm a forty-year-old man and I wanted to comment on women and this body image thing. I listen to talk shows and I'm amazed at how many women feel really bad about themselves. During my dating years, I went out with all kinds and sizes of women: fat, thin, short, and tall. And to me they were all beautiful. Of course I wasn't physically attracted to every woman I saw, but I found (and I still believe) that physical appearance, although it might attract me at first, wasn't what held my interest. Appearance had little if any affect on my desire to have a second date with a woman.

The most wonderful woman I ever dated was chubby and beautiful. Her smile was alive and charming, and she had a heart of gold. I knew that I would rather spend my entire life with somebody like that at my side than with a "perfect ten" who would constantly ask me, "Is my butt getting too big?"

You probably guessed that the chubby woman is now my wife. Since our marriage, she has changed her hairstyle, lost weight, gained weight, and now she's settled somewhere in the middle. All I care about is that she's happy. This whole hang-up that women have with their bodies just makes me ill. I don't care how big your butt is, just be your own beautiful self. And stay away from those horrible diet pills—is it really worth poisoning yourself just to look thinner?

Dear Joan,
I'm a forty-two-year-old man and I'm really bothered by my wife's attitude. She is concerned about her size and weight, and I cannot convince her that she is perfect to me. I love her look, her smile, her eyes—well, everything about her. Maybe she doesn't care that I find her lovely. Maybe she's more concerned about how she looks to other people than to me. I find myself comparing her appearance with that of other women, but I use her as the benchmark of good looks and not them. If a woman doesn't look like her in some aspect then that's a minus. I wish I could convince my wife of this since it adversely affects our love life. I am sure I am not the only male who feels this way.

So, Mandy, I hope you've gotten the message. Despite all the things out there pushing women to be unhappy unless they look like the model who's dishing out the low-calorie TV dinner or eating the whole-bran cereal, try to feel good about yourself. It's the attitude, not the looks, that will hold a man.

Dear Joan,
You say that a woman's personality should count more than her physical appearance, but I just don't get turned on by fat women. Like all men, I often mentally undress women. But doing that with an overweight woman just leaves me cold. I could likely become close friends with a woman like that, but not ever a lover. Is there something wrong with me?

Dear Burt,
I understand that you'd prefer to date a Playboy centerfold, and if you can find one, go for it. If not, you're going to spend a lot of cold nights waiting, and you'll miss a lot of wonderful people. You say that you could become friends with a less attractive woman; maybe that's okay. Long-lasting love affairs depend on friendship to keep them going. So if you start there, you're one step up. And when you and your "friend" discover that your friendship is becoming more than just that, undressing her will be wonderful and your worries about her appearance the furthest thing from your mind.

Dear Mrs. Lloyd,
I am a man of average height and weight. When I'm with the guys, I join them in whistling at thin women and pretend to agree with their disparaging comments about "porky" women. But when I'm alone, I like to look at my erotic magazines that feature overweight women. These are the pictures I use when masturbating.

When I date big women, I am always afraid to be seen by my friends. They would probably laugh at me. What do you think?

Dear Chris,
I think that you're perfectly normal. No one can control who turns them on, your friends' opinions notwithstanding. It's conventional wisdom that men are turned on only by gorgeous girls. If that were true, there would be zillions of single men, since there are too few cover girls to go around. Stop being afraid of who you're seen with and enjoy your dates. I know that's easier said than done, but after the first time, you'll discover that your buddies' opinions are so much less important than your own.

One more point. Are you sure that the "guys" like only skinny women with big breasts like they say they do? Maybe some of them are putting on a show because they are afraid that the "guys" will laugh at them. The fact is that sexual tastes are as variable as there are people in the world. Men like women who are small, big, skinny, fat, strong, weak, dominant, submissive, and so on and so on. Don't swallow that line the "guys" are handing you.

And if your friends criticize your date, maybe you should recon-sider their friendship.

Dear Joan,
I am thirty years old, five feet five, and I weigh one thirty. I'm a 34C, with a small waist and great hips. I wear a size 8. In addition to those stats, I have a small bone structure and an extremely fast metabolism. I couldn't gain weight if my life depended on it.

Lots of women hate me for my looks and my ability to get dates. Well, I don't find that I get any more second or third dates than other women. Listen, ladies, I get lots of first dates, I'll admit it. I'm attractive and I've got my choice of men. But many of those men just want to be seen with someone who looks like me. With those guys I soon find out that we have nothing in common and we don't have more than one or two dates. The men who stay in my life for longer than a month are interested in me as a person, not as a perfect body, just as they would be with any other woman.

Please stop worrying about women like me, and be your own charming, interesting self.
Doreen from Michigan

Dear Doreen,
Bravo!! I couldn't have said it better myself.

Dear Ms. Lloyd,
I know you have to be politically correct and all and say that men don't care about looks, but it's really all bull. No real man wants to waste time with a "dog." I'm six two, all muscle, and I go out only with babes: tall, blond, and stacked. Who cares what their personality is like, as long as they know how to give good head?

Dear Vincent,
I don't think it's just political correctness. Real men want a woman they can talk to, share interests with, enjoy in and out of bed. Of course, since you're such a hunk, I'm sure you have your pick of women to date. I wonder, however, whether you have any long-term relationships. I also wonder what you and your date do before it's time for sex, and afterward. I would guess that your evenings must be pretty dull if good head is all you care about. But if that's what makes you happy, go for it.

Dear Joan,
I'm twenty-seven and I'm skinny. I'm not fashionably slender, I'm skinny. My clothes don't fit right and I'm totally flat-chested. I sit with friends at lunch and eat everything, trying to gain weight. All I get are glares from women picking at salads. I guess they're jealous, but there's nothing here to be jealous of.

Frankly I am sick to death of people who cannot accept the way I am because of my size. Women think they're complimenting me when they tell me how thin I am and how they wish they could eat the way I do. Nonsense. It's just as difficult being in this body as it is being in theirs!! If anyone wants to be like me they can have it. I have never liked being thin and never will. Trust me, it's no picnic.

Dear Marsha,
I've never thought about this problem from your point of view, and thank you so much for opening my eyes. I've always envied tiny, underweight women as much as the next person, never realizing that many of them have as much of a problem with their self-image as anyone else. Boy, it's sad that the forces of body-evil out there are trying so hard to make us all unhappy so they can sell diet drinks, exercise equipment, and pills of every sort.
On behalf of all of us who have unwittingly insulted you, I sincerely apologize.

Dear Joan,
I'm a nineteen-year-old male, long curly hair, sharp, silver-gray eyes, six feet two inches tall... and I weigh a good two hundred sixty pounds. This may not actually sound too bad, but it's enough to make me feel insecure about myself. I'm a college sophomore and I have had a few dates, but no relationship has lasted for an extended period of time. I couldn't figure out why, until one day I accidentally overheard one of my former dates bad-mouthing my size to one of her girlfriends.

I don't understand why it is such a factor for many women when they choose a guy. So, women, don't feel alone on this one, since we men get flack for our size as well.

Dear Kirby,
Suffice it to say that you just haven't met the right woman yet. I know that sounds trite, and I guess it is, but sometimes the best advice is the oldest and most obvious. Be who you are. Find women who can look beyond the physical and find the person beneath. Only relationships based on common interests and shared ideals flourish in the long run.

While you're looking, keep yourself well groomed and wear clothing that compliments your size. Be proud of the person you are, and you'll find that many women respond as much to attitude as to appearance.


Dear Joan,
I've been having a problem I hope you can help me with. I'm a twenty-four-year-old woman and I'm kind of new at sex. My problem is that I don't seem to get soaking wet the way I read in books. Is there some problem with me? What should I do?

Dear Delia,
Probably not. If you are experiencing any other physical problems, consult your doctor. Lack of lubrication can be a symptom of diabetes or other systemic condition. You might mention it at your next gynecological checkup, just to be on the safe side.

If you're in generally good health, however, your lack of lubrication is probably just the way your body is. The fluids are produced naturally by the mucous membranes that line the vaginal canal. Some women produce copious amounts of fluid, others very little. Since lubrication is a result of hormone changes during arousal, the amount of wetness can vary from one time in your monthly cycle to another as well.

Wetness is also a function of your level of arousal. As foreplay proceeds, your body produces lubricating fluids to ease penetration, but it's not automatic or immediate. It can take from ten to twenty minutes for some women to get moist, so relax and enjoy the buildup.

If lack of lubrication is harming your sexual encounters, there is an obvious solution. Use a water-based lubricant, such as K-Y Jelly or Astroglide, both available in your local drug or variety store. It feels wonderful and makes sex slippery and delightful. By the way, your partner should enjoy the slithery sensation as well.

One last thing. Don't believe all that is written in romance novels. Real women don't necessarily respond the way those ladies in the books do. Remember that they seem to be able to make love on the carpet in front of the fireplace without any carpet burns or messy wet spots. Enough said.

Dear Joan,
I don't necessarily smell so sweet "down there." Do you recommend douching before a date with my boyfriend?

Dear Annette,
No. The vagina cleans itself naturally and healthfully, all by itself, even during menstruation. Careful daily washing is usually sufficient to keep your body clean and good-smelling. Douching can increase your risk of infection by removing the natural disease-fighting organisms. So shower and enjoy.

Dear Joan,
A quick question. Can douche prevent conception?

Dear Milly,

Dear Joan,
Okay, I'll admit my ignorance. Exactly where is the clitoris?
James T.

Dear James,
The clitoris is a pea-sized structure located at the front of the vaginal area, just where the inner lips meet. When a woman isn't aroused, it can be quite difficult to find, since it retreats beneath a pad of tissue called a hood. When a woman gets excited during sex, the clitoris swells and protrudes from its covering. Stroking the clitoris gently can bring a woman great sexual pleasure, but let your lady guide you in this. Like any other part of the body, some women's clitorises are very sensitive, others find it takes quite a bit of pressure to give pleasure.

This also varies during arousal. Many women, myself included, find that too much rubbing, particularly when very excited, can be irritating.

Let her reactions guide you.

And once you've found the clitoris, James, don't decide that it's all you have to know about arousing a woman. It's a wonderful part of foreplay, but it's not the only part. Don't ignore all the other erotic parts of a woman's body: lips, breasts, legs, arms, hands, neck... You get the idea.


Dear Joan,
This is really embarrassing, but I don't have anyone else to talk to. I'm a twenty-year-old guy, and about a week ago I was with my girlfriend and we were making out. Anyway, my cock got hard, but when we were ready to do it, it wasn't. I couldn't get it inside, and despite all my efforts, I was done for the evening. Since then I've been with her once more and the same thing happened. She's been really nice about it and doesn't mention it at all, but I'm really terrified.

Is this permanent? Please help!!!

Dear PJ,
What you are probably battling is the occasional impotence that most men experience from time to time. I remember a male friend of mine saying that he was with a group of guys in their twenties and thirties and this topic came up. One man, after much stuttering and stammering, admitted that he was experiencing problems having sex with his wife. Several of the men nodded, so he said, "Okay, have any of you had problems getting or keeping an erection?" Almost every man said yes. He was amazed at how common a problem it was.

As to your difficulties, you'll probably realize that you were under a lot of stress at that time: work, classes, home problems, slight illness, and, of course, performance anxiety. Any of those conditions and dozens more can affect your ability to get or maintain an erection. Once the problem appears, it becomes its own source of stress and thus everything gets worse.

The cure? It's easy to say and much more difficult to do. You have to relax. It will help, as well, if you do discuss it with your girlfriend.

After all, she knows there's a problem and is probably frustrated at not knowing how to help you. Explain to her that you've been experiencing some stress-induced problems and that you'd like to spend time with her without any plans for intercourse. Suggest that, since there are so many ways to please a woman that don't require an erect penis, you want to make love to her with your hands, mouth, and such. Not only will that take the pressure off your body to perform, but your girlfriend, who sounds like a wonderful woman, supportive and generous, will be enjoying the experience thoroughly. Let her help by suggesting things she'd like: an erotic massage, a sensual joint bubble bath... well, you get the idea. Eventually, I think you'll find that the problem corrects itself. Of course, if it persists or there is any pain, swelling, or discharge, seek medical help.

Dear Joan,
I'm really troubled. My girlfriend and I have been doing it for several months now, and it's really pretty good. She seems happy and she comes most of the time we make love. However, I know my penis is smaller than the guy she used to date. Although she seems to come just about every time, I still worry that I'm not really satisfying her. What is the normal size of a penis, both in length and distance around? Mine's only five inches when I have an erection, and it's about three inches around.

Dear Steve,
There's an old saying: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. You say that your girlfriend seems satisfied, so you certainly must be doing things right. Keep doing what you're doing and stop worrying about the size of your penis. It's obviously making her happy. Did you know that most women don't climax from thrusting alone anyway, so the size of the organ is not terribly relevant?

Okay, I know you want an answer to your other questions: Does size really matter? How big should my penis be? You aren't alone in wondering, and worrying. I think I get questions from men about the size of the penis more often than any other. Men seem obsessed by the physical properties of their organ, and I'm sure that worry detracts from their sexual pleasure and maybe their partner's pleasure as well. The best news I can give you is that men's fears are, for the most part, groundless.

From all I've read, the average erect penis is between five and seven inches long. The record, by the way, documented by a Dr. Robert Dickenson early in the twentieth century, was thirteen inches long. Girth? Most men have penises between two and four and a half inches in circumference, with some as large as six inches. Okay, guys, go measure.

That doesn't address the unspoken issue, however, and that is, Do women care?

Amazingly enough to men, most women neither care nor notice the size of a man's equipment after some initial curiosity. I've asked many women, and none of them seem to prefer to have intercourse with men who have larger penises. Most aren't even aware of the "normal" man's size. If the lovemaking is good, they're happy. If not, women seldom if ever discuss the size of a man's equipment—only his talent in bed.

Did you know that a woman's vaginal channel has nerve endings only in the first two inches? The remaining length is unable to feel anything anyway, so whatever length you have over the first two inches is a nonevent. As for girth, a woman's body is so flexible that it can expand to fit almost any size, and relax to hold even slender penises snugly.

A personal recollection: In the early 80s, before we needed to be concerned about AIDS, I indulged in a series of one-night stands and short-term relationships. I once spent the night with a man of amazing proportions. Although I seldom noticed the size of a man's organ, his was hard to miss, and of course he made sure I knew how "well hung" he was even before he removed his pants. I didn't have a ruler handy (evil grin) but he was larger than any man I've been with, before or since.

He, of course, was very proud of his amazing proportions. Unfortunately, he also believed that his size made up for any lack of finesse and consideration on his part. We got right to intercourse (and it wasn't lovemaking by any stretch of the imagination) with few preliminaries, and he failed to notice that I wasn't nearly lubricated enough, especially to allow penetration of his extra-large equipment. To make a very long experience short, by the end of the evening I was unsatisfied and sore, so sore in fact that I visited my gynecologist the following day. The doctor insisted on giving me a gigantic shot of penicillin, "just in case." Needless to say, that was the first and last evening I spent with Mr. Extra-large.

The moral of the story is, stop worrying about the size of your instrument and concentrate on the talent with which you play it. Become a good, considerate, communicative lover and your date will not even notice the size of your equipment.

Dear Joan,
My penis is only five inches long when erect and about three and a half inches when not. I know that's really small. Well, I'm willing to try anything to make my penis bigger—hormones, surgery, anything. What should I try first?

Dear Joan Elizabeth Lloyd,
I know you get all kinds of questions, and I hope you won't laugh at me. I've heard that hypnosis can increase the size of my penis. Is that true?

Dear Joan,
My penis is only four inches long, and I know that's too small to please a woman. Is there anything I can do to make my cock larger?

Dear Stan (and everyone else with a similar question), Most men's magazines and lots of adult websites advertise one product or another "guaranteed" to increase the size of the penis. Pills, herbal rubs, hypnosis, and even medical procedures are hyped to men who still believe that size matters. Do they work? Most don't, but even those men who succeed in getting something to happen only add a fraction of an inch.

I thought you might be interested in this letter.

Dear Joan,
I thought this tale might amuse you and help others who wonder about the size of their cock. This all happened several months ago.

For about six weeks I had been using a cream guaranteed to increase the size of my penis. I hadn't noticed anything happening, but I kept at it. Well, my wife arrived home unexpectedly one afternoon and found me rubbing the cream on. At first she thought it was a lubricant I was using to masturbate with. To cover my embarrassment, I told her what I was doing. She laughed. Actually laughed at me. I was mortified, until she told me that she had never even thought about the size of my penis. She reassured me that she loved making love with me and had no complaints at all about my size.

The ending of the story is that, since my cock was well lubricated, she spent the next hour proving to me how much she liked my penis just the way it was.
Thanks for listening,
A Guy from Kansas

So, Stan, IMHO, attempts at making your penis larger are a waste of time, energy, and money. I recently read an article on surgical penile enlargement in a men's magazine. It pointed out that, unlike breast enhancement surgery for women, with this surgery, men can't choose the size they want to be. A man can only gain an inch or two in length and less than an inch in girth. Seems like a lot of pain for a quite small gain. I think the time, energy, and even money would be much better spent on making yourself a better lover. Take time to flirt, tempt, and generally seduce your partner. Touch, stroke, and tease until the size of your equipment is the last thing on her mind. Just remember that it's not the size of the violin but the talent of the virtuoso.
I hope this helps.

Dear Ms. Lloyd,
I've been reading a lot about penis pumps and how they can make it bigger and harder. I know you've never tried one yourself (grin), but do you know anything about them? Do they work? Is it painful?

Dear Lee,
As you so correctly point out, I have no direct experience, but I have a few letters that might help. I can't, of course, vouch for the truth of any of the statements, but the letters seemed honest and informative, so I've included a few here for you.

Dear Joan,
My name is Andy and I'm a thirty-one-year-old man. Several years ago I decided to try a penis pump to increase the size of my cock. I really wanted the pump to work to make me bigger and sexier, so I did quite a bit of research before buying and trying. I read all the articles I could find, and all the advertisements; I watched videos and visited several websites (mostly devoted to gay men). I also visited a few chat rooms where men who used pumps gathered. All very interesting and educational.

I learned that most of the users of penis pumps were originally looking for a permanent increase in penis size, but finally understood that it just doesn't happen that way. If you get any permanent increase in size at all it will be only fractions of an inch with dedicated use for many, many months. Not what I had in mind when I began my search, but I pressed on.

I was told that, although most gains are temporary, there is a short-term increase in length and girth. For example, an erect seven-inch cock that is five inches around can increase to eight inches in length and six inches around with forty-five minutes of careful pumping.

Here are some of the things I learned about the pump itself. First, you have to have a good-quality cylinder that is the right size for the man's penis. Second, the pump has to have a safety bleed valve and a good pressure gauge calibrated in inches of water. To get the desired results, I also learned that I had to shave my balls and pubic area and use lots of lubricant on my entire cock and groin area to get a good vacuum seal.

I was still willing to give it a try, so with that information in mind I bought a really good pump and tried it out. Following the instructions, I started at a low pressure and built carefully to five inches of pressure. I once tried going to a pressure higher than the recommended limit of seven inches and I got several bruises as blood vessels in my skin burst. I'll never do that again. I gather that you can even get something called a "donut" below your corona from a swollen foreskin.

After several weeks of using the pump, I came to these conclusions. First, despite claims, the increase is not permanent. Like a lot of pumpers, I liked the feel of my swollen cock, and I must admit that a pumped cock hangs heavier for a while. And hang it does, because any pumping of reasonable length diminishes erectile function for a few days after the pumping session. Hmm. I stopped using it when this happened to me, since this wasn't what I had in mind at all.

Well, I still have the pump, a good one that cost me $150.00. For a while, I used it as a sex toy, and it always gets me super hard, but as I think about it now, I realize that I haven't used it in over a year. I guess the extra inches are just not worth the fuss and risk. A hand, mouth, or vagina is ever so much better.

Dear Joan,
I recently tried a penis pump and found out that I do not like it. Although I guess most men want some kind of permanent enlargement, I just wanted the pump as a sex toy. I thought it might make me temporarily harder or bigger, better able to satisfy my wife. We also thought it would add some kind of spice to our love life.

When it first arrived my wife and I couldn't wait to give it a try. We got it out of the box and started kissing and fondling each other. After I had gotten hard we decided to see what it could do. At first it was just uncomfortable, but as I continued to use it, it actually started to hurt. It pressed into my pubic hairs and groin area too much. We released the pressure and then gave it a few more tries. No luck. I never got any real pleasure from it at all.

In my opinion it was a total waste of money, but you never know until you try. We'll keep looking for ways to add that little something extra.

I hope these letters answer most of your questions, Lee.

Dear Joan,
I have wanted to write to you for quite a while on the subject of small penises. My husband and I have been married for almost eight years, and we have a pretty good sex life, with one exception. His penis is quite small, only about five inches, and it just isn't enough for me. Before I met him, I went with a guy who was really large. I never measured, but I would estimate that he was about nine inches erect. I guess my body just grew accustomed to his size. When I started to go out with my now husband, it was unsatisfying, but I thought my body would adjust to him as it had to my "big guy." It didn't. Let me say right here that he's a great lover and he seldom leaves me unsatisfied. He's got great hands and a very talented mouth, so I usually climax. I just miss that wonderful "filled" feeling.
Any suggestions?

Dear Bea,
You freely admit that you've got a truly satisfying love life, which is so much more than many women can say. You've got a guy who sounds like a keeper. Do. If you occasionally long for a larger penis, get a gigantic dildo and play, either alone or with him. That might just scratch that itch.

Dear Joan,
I don't know whether you can answer this question, but when my penis is hard it curves to the right. Is there anything wrong with me? Will my lovers notice?
Thanks for any help.

Dear Stuart,
If you aren't having any pain during intercourse, or at any other time, I wouldn't worry about it. Many penises curve naturally, and it shouldn't make any difference in your sexual response or hers. If it has always curved it will probably stay that way forever. If something has changed recently, however, although it can correct itself naturally in time, you might want a urologist to check just in case. If you are having any pain or any difficulties during intercourse, the curvature of your penis might be a result of something called Peyronnie's disease, a condition that a urologist, a doctor specializing in problems with the urinary tract, should be made aware of. The cause of Peyronnie's disease isn't known, and treatments vary from doing nothing to radiation to steroids to surgery. No one is sure whether any of these treatments actually cures the condition or improvement is a result of a spontaneous remission. Only your doctor can be sure of the cause of this problem and recommend treatment.

Dear Joan,
I've never had relations with a woman, but I'm worried. My penis curves downward and my balls seem to be larger than others I've seen. Why is that? Should I expect any problems during sex?

Dear Dennis,
Your penis probably curves downward for the same reason a nose curves up or down. It's just the way your body was made. Likewise the size of your testicles. Genitals are no different than any other part of the body. They just are the way they are. As I've written to others, if you have any pain, discharge, or swelling, either during intercourse or at any other time, seek medical advice. Otherwise, just accept the way your body is and enjoy it. I know your lady-friends will.

On Circumcision

Dear Joan,
I'm a forty-two-year-old uncircumcised man and I was wondering whether the fact that I'm not circumcised makes a difference in the way a woman feels while we're making love. No one I've ever been with has ever commented on it, but I notice that the first time with a woman, she's very curious about my foreskin, since I guess it's unusual. Does it feel different for a woman? Is there anything I should do differently when we're making love?
Eugene from Paris

Dear Eugene,
Since I'm of an age where most of the men of my generation were circumcised as a matter of course just after they were born, I've been with only one man who was not circumcised, and that was a long time ago. I don't remember noticing anything different, but who knows?

Let me give you a few facts, then I'll add some letters from visitors to my website. As most people already know, circumcision—the removal of the foreskin-is a practice that goes back to antiquity. However, like breast-feeding and the use of pacifiers, circumcision goes into and out of fashion. It was widespread in the forties, fifties, and sixties, when doctors and parents were convinced that it was a good idea for hygiene. Now, circumcision rates in America are below sixty percent, and elsewhere, the number of boys who are circumcised at birth varies tremendously from country to country.

What should you do differently? For the uncircumcised man, careful cleaning is important. I've received several letters from women who enjoy performing oral sex but find that their uncircumcised partner has an unpleasant odor. Enough said. Other than that, nothing different is necessary during lovemaking. As for the feel of a circumcised penis, here are some responses from visitors. The mix of responses is, I think, a reflection of the fact that everyone is different and responds differently to varied situations. And, of course, anything new is exciting.

Dear Mrs. Lloyd,
My former husband was circumcised, my current lover is not, and I can tell you that uncircumcised is absolutely the FINEST! I just love the way my guy's foreskin slides down when he gets hard and ready for me. There is something very primal and exciting in that.

I love to play with the foreskin when I give him oral sex, too. I just call it an "added attraction." So don't let anyone tell you that uncut is necessarily messy or dirty. It's not. Hygiene is dependent on the individual, and of course good habits are important. My lover is squeaky clean and a real joy. Give me an uncircumcised man any time. And I find that since his sexual responses are greater, I find myself coming just over his pleasure.

Dear Joan,
My husband was uncircumcised when we were first married and we enjoyed wonderful lovemaking. Since he had had an injury to his foreskin years before we met and it caused him increasing discomfort, his doctor eventually recommended that he be circumcised. After he had the surgery, our lovemaking became even better. I like the feel of the ridges on the head of his penis when he enters me, and when I nibble the head of his penis there seems to be more enjoyment for him. So yes, we both felt the difference.

Dear Joan,
I've been with a lot of guys, some circumcised, some not, and I really don't notice any difference when we make love. Some men are good lovers and some aren't, and the way their penises are "arranged" doesn't matter to me at all. I have lots of girlfriends, and we've had some pretty frank discussions on all topics. One day recently the subject of circumcision came up, and it was really interesting. Some of my girlfriends say it feels different, but most don't, and they argued about it for a long time. "It feels better." "It doesn't feel any different." I guess it's all a matter of taste.

Dear Joan,
I was a little taken aback and surprised when I first discovered that my boyfriend hadn't been snipped, but then I discovered that the foreskin was wonderful for spontaneous hand jobs, as there is no other lubrication required. He is aware of the potential odor and other problems, so he takes really good care of himself and I never have a problem with how he tastes or smells. In truth, the actual sex doesn't really feel all that different, as once he's truly hard, the extra skin pulls down towards the base and out of the way.

I have a theory that uncircumcised men have more sensitivity on and around the head of their penis because the foreskin protects it when wearing jeans, etc. I know that my nipples aren't as sensitive as my vagina, maybe also due to constant contact with my bra and other clothing. I haven't been able to prove whether it's true or not, but I sure do enjoy playing with him.

So, Eugene, does it feel different? I guess it depends on the individual. I'm sorry I can't give you a definitive answer.

Dear Joan,
I'm an uncircumcised man and I'm wondering about adult circumcision. Is it painful? Will it feel different for me when I make love?

Dear Kurt,
The best thing for you to do is talk to a doctor, either your internist or urologist, about the process and the changes it might bring. Let him or her explain, in detail, what to expect as far as the actual procedure, the recovery, and the effect on your love life. Don't be embarrassed to ask all kinds of questions, and keep asking until you're satisfied with the answers. You can also do some research online. Use any search engine, and look for "circumcision." You'll probably have to wade through lots of X-rated sites advertising photos of both circumcised and uncircumcised men, but eventually you should find lots of good information.

A word on surfing the Net for information. Please be careful to check the source of any material you find. Remember that sites hosted by the best hospitals will be mixed with Joe Blow's opinion and, even worse, John Smith's misinformation. Take care. I thought I'd also send you two letters from visitors to my web-site who had it done. They had far different experiences.

Dear Joan,
Until the age of almost forty I was uncircumcised. Sex was great and I never thought about having myself changed. Then I met my current wife, and for religious reasons she asked me to be circumcised. I loved her and had no problem with undergoing the simple procedure.

I had the operation, which was no problem at all. I did have one small problem during the healing process; I found that it was difficult to control my erections due to the new sensations, including the stitches. After a few weeks, however, my penis was fully healed and we could finally make love. Wow, what a feeling. I could feel a lot more, and I got so hard that it seemed that my penis hardly fit in my skin. After a while the excitement of this diminished somewhat.

I have to say that masturbation is also different. Before, I would rub the head of my penis while rolling my foreskin up and down, and obviously that is no longer possible. I now masturbate holding the shaft of my penis, and the tightness of my skin on the head is very exciting. My wife definitely prefers the new model and says that she now can feel the head of my penis better than before. And what's more, we both love the look of my new penis!

Dear Joan Elizabeth Lloyd,
Several years ago I decided to have my penis cut. You know, have the foreskin removed. I visited the doc and he said it was going to be a simple procedure, and I know that it is for many men. It wasn't for me. For some reason the local anesthetic didn't work properly and it hurt like hell. The healing was slow and, according to the doc, more painful than it should have been.

I guess it's pretty simple for most people, but for me it was a nightmare. I had a friend tell me that the definition of minor surgery is "someone else's." Well, this was mine and it certainly wasn't minor.

Kurt, I guess it depends on who you ask, but the majority of letters have been from men who had little problem with the procedure. Check it out with your doctor, and good luck with it.

Dear Joan,
I'm not circumcised and I'm worried. When I get aroused my fore-skin doesn't pull all the way back and sometimes it's a bit uncomfortable. What can I do?

Dear Mark,
My best advice for you is to see a urologist. If the lack of complete retraction didn't give you any pain or other problems, I would suggest just ignoring it, but if you're having any kind of discomfort, seek professional help. It seems to me that a doctor can make a tiny slit in the foreskin to allow it to comfortably retract.

Dear Joan,
My boyfriend is not circumcised. During lovemaking, I like to play with the foreskin and slide it back and forth over the head of his penis. Am I doing any harm? My boyfriend seems to enjoy it, but I worry.

Dear Samantha,
I don't think you're doing any harm. The foreskin is lined with a mucus membrane which helps to lubricate the end of the penis. As long as he enjoys it, go for it.

My new boyfriend isn't circumcised and I notice that when I try to perform oral sex, there's a bad smell. From everything I read, it's just because he's not cleaning himself well enough. How can I tell him? I really care for him and I want to do these things, but I'm really repelled by the odor.

Dear Jane,
Telling a man that he's not "kissing sweet" is always difficult. You might blame it on your unusually heightened sense of smell that's "Always given you a problem." If that's too difficult, try making love in the shower or tub. You can wash his penis as part of foreplay and then perform oral sex. He might get the message.

You also might cover the odor with chocolate syrup or whipped cream. However, there's no substitute for just telling him. Since most men, your lover included, really enjoy receiving oral sex, I would think that if there's something he needs to do to make it easier for you, he'll probably be more than willing.

Remember to be sure not to blame him. Keep it light so he doesn't get his feelings hurt or get defensive. If it doesn't improve, I'm sorry to say that you might have to leave oral sex out of your lovemaking.

On Vasectomies

Dear Joan,
I'm considering having a vasectomy. I've visited my doctor and gotten all the information I can. There's one thing they don't tell you. Can you tell me whether a woman can notice the difference when she gives head?

Dear Tommy,
In my varied past, I've probably been with men who had had vasectomies, but I've never been able to tell that from the look or taste. I have gotten a few letters from other women on that subject.

Dear Joan,
My husband had a vasectomy after the birth of our last child and it was the best decision that we have ever made. I'm here to report that almost nothing is different! I truly enjoy oral sex and was somewhat concerned about possible changes, but if there is a difference in taste or amount, I can't tell. The only difference is the appearance. Due to lack of sperm, his semen is now practically clear instead of milky white.

Dear Joan,
My now ex had a vasectomy after our third child was born. It was a while before we could do anything after the procedure, and when we finally did get back to our "playtime" I did not find any difference in the taste or quantity. He did seem to be more sensitive in the scrotum area (where the cuts are made). I hope this information helps those with questions.

Dear Joan,
Yes, come does taste different after a vasectomy! Not better or worse, just different. If you have difficulty with the taste you might want your lover to drink pineapple juice, as it makes his come taste sweeter, but it takes a few weeks.

Tommy, if you want to have it done, do it, and don't worry about the taste. It's obvious that the change, if there is one, is minor and certainly not unpleasant.

Male Nipples

Dear Joan,
Here's a strange question for you. In novels, men always seem to have sensitive nipples. Well, I've never noticed any man I've been with who's enjoyed any kind of nipple play. Have you?

Dear Jeanine,
I'll admit that I've never been with a man with sensitive nipples either. I did get a letter recently from a man who tells me his are very sensitive. I asked him to elaborate, and here's the letter he sent to me.

Dear Joan,
My nipples weren't always sensitive, but over years with my wife, they've become really hot. In the beginning she loved to play with them and it didn't really do anything for me. But as time passed, they began to get really erect when she did, and now all she has to do to get me in the mood is tweak me. Maybe it's just habit, or knowing that she's telling me she's in the mood for lovemaking. Who knows? Who cares?

And here's one from a woman whose husband enjoys nipple play.

Dear Joan,
My husband just loves to have his nipples played with. At first I was surprised when his nipples became erect just like mine do, but I learned that his body seems to react the same way mine does in lots of ways. When he's excited his nipples swell, and so does another part of him (giggle). So now I tweak his nipples to get him hot.

One more thing we enjoy. Slow dancing in the living room, naked to the waist with our nipples rubbing together. What a blast!

Some men obviously get a thrill from having their nipples played with, so try it and see what reaction you get.

Excerpted from Totally Private , by Joan Elizabeth Lloyd . Copyright (c) 2001 by Joan Elizabeth Lloyd . Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

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