Excerpt: 'You: Being Beautiful' on the Biology of Sex

Normally, ejaculation cannons semen forward through a man's urethra and out the tip of his penis. Semen, by the way, contains hormones like oxytocin that also have a feel-good effect on women. The reason ejaculation never gets mixed up with urine is that there's a tiny muscle at the entrance of the bladder that prevents semen from slipping backward or urine from propelling forward during orgasm (it's a roadblock of sorts, so the only way for the semen to go is out). Now, some men suffer from what's called retrograde ejaculation, in which that tiny muscle doesn't work right, causing semen to backtrack into the bladder rather than to the promised land (causes for this include some side effects of surgery or medication).

Retrograde ejaculation doesn't affect a man's ability to achieve an erection or ejaculate, but it may affect his fertility.

The opposite of retrograde ejaculation, of course, is when semen shoots out faster than a round from an Uzi—something that can cause angst in men and stop a satisfying sex session in its tracks. Premature ejaculation can be caused by a number of things, including medication, hormonal changes, high blood pressure, and stress.*

One of the other causes—an enlarged prostate. Since the prostate generates 95 percent of the substance that comes out during ejaculation, it's no wonder that it has a lot to say about what comes out and when. Since an enlarged prostate gets more stimulation during sex, the friction can stimulate orgasm— leading a man to ejaculate whether he wants to or not.

* Premature ejaculation affects one-third of men. Some treatment options include antidepressant medications (SSRIs) and behavioral techniques. Some docs suggest the man masturbate an hour or two before sex to help delay ejaculation during sex. Another technique is called the squeeze technique, in which the woman squeezes the penis at the point where the head meets the shaft for several seconds, right before a man feels like he's going to ejaculate. That should help delay orgasm; wait 30 seconds, then continue.

YOU Tips!

Try Tantric. When you hear the term tantric sex, you may assume that we're talking about the ability to have a sexual interlude that lasts longer than a transcontinental flight. But that's not really the goal of tantric sex.

The goal stems from the desire and ability to have more of a physical and spiritual connection during sex. Physically, for men, that means developing the ability to, as tantrics say, "retain the seed"—that is, having the ability to control ejaculation to allow sexual energy to flow. But the essence of that practice—and of the tactics below—is really about mindfulness, or being deeply aware of yourself, your partner, your life, and what's called the sacred life force.

These tips can help you maximize your sexual experience—and bring deeper emotional levels to your relationship.

Change your mind-set: Stop thinking that your sexual satisfaction is the responsibility of your partner. We're all responsible for our own experience. Be open to discussions about sex with your partner, and be open in exploring your own body to help your partner help you.

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