The fourth in a series of the most unusual questions ever sent to the Playboy Advisor (est. September 1960). Last week he tackled fellatio, oral sex, blow jobs and head. In this edition the Advisor answers questions about sex in the woods, the G-spot and penis strength.
Q: My wife and I went camping for a few days in Yellowstone. I wanted to make love, but she refused. She said that having sex in the woods might attract bears. Is that true?—T.Y., Boulder, Colorado
Advisor: Unless you're covered in honey or make love while frying bacon, you aren't putting yourself in danger. Professor Steve Herrero of the University of Calgary, who has documented nearly 900 bear attacks over the past 30 years, has found only a few where a couple reported having sex before the bear showed up. "That's probably nothing more than chance," he says. He won't dismiss a connection completely—"a bear's sense of smell is as good or better than any bloodhound's"—but the chances you'll be attacked are almost nil to begin with if you observe the standard precautions of backcountry camping, such as keeping your food properly sealed and stored (most attacks occur when the animal is surprised by hikers). Herrero has also recorded only three or four cases where a bear attacked a woman who happened to be menstruating, another common but exaggerated fear. Bears can be as unpredictable as humans, however, so triple-bag fresh and used tampons and sanitary napkins, scented soaps and colognes. Then again, if you're carrying cologne into the woods, you don't belong there.
Q: I have never gone skinny-dipping because I'm afraid a fish will bite my penis. Do you know if something like that has ever happened?—A.E., Loveland, Colorado
Advisor: As long you don't swim in a jungle river near a dam, you'll be okay. That's because the fish most likely to take a chance like that is the speckled piranha or one of its toothed cousins, and they gather near dams. They aren't aiming for your privates but for whatever flesh they can find to defend their young. Vidal Haddad Jr. of the Botucatu School of Medicine in São Paulo, an expert on fish attacks, knows of only one study that even mentions penis bites (published in 1972), and he hasn't heard of any incidents in his own research. There is a well-documented case of a tiny catfish, known as a candiru, jumping into a man's urethra as he stood thigh-deep in the Amazon to urinate. He needed surgery to remove it.
Q: I plan to get a tattoo on the shaft of my cock and perhaps the head. My girlfriend has agreed to keep me hard, but any other advice you can offer would be appreciated.—V.J., Ashland, Wisconsin
Advisor: We have never placed anything sharper than teeth near our penis, so we asked for counsel from Gerry Beckerman of Ozark Ink Tattoo in Ava, Missouri (and formerly of Phoenix and Fort Lauderdale), who has done a number of penis tattoos during his three decades in the business. He says you don't need to be erect to have it done; the skin simply needs to be pulled taut. It's usually stretched by the artist, an assistant or a girlfriend. "The tattooing isn't that painful, but it's still a sobering experience for most guys," he says. "I just did the penis of a friend who wanted 'Mary' in Old English script on his shaft and a tribal design on his scrotum. Mary pulled the skin as I worked. The skin of the shaft is thin, so it may scar unless you hire an experienced artist. The underside is less forgiving than the top. The scrotum is another matter. It's like tattooing a basketball." You can draw just about anything on a penis, Beckerman says, though most men keep it simple. "I've done more than one fly or smiley face on the head," he says. "But I also turned one guy's shaft into a barber pole."
Q: Has there ever been a successful penis transplant?—C.D., Seattle, Washington
Advisor: What might have been the world's first transplant took place in 2003 at the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College Hospital in Calcutta, India. Doctors transplanted the penis of a one-year-old who had been born with two to a seven-month-old born without one. As John Wayne Bobbitt can attest, it's more common to have your own penis reattached. There are two other cases of note: (1) German doctors twice reattached the penis of a psychiatric patient who cut it off in incidents 10 years apart; and (2) in Milwaukee in 1992 a man who lost his organ in a lawn-mower accident had it sewn beneath the skin of his forearm (with the head protruding) for a month to keep it alive while his perineum healed. The surgeons who performed this amazing operation concluded that "in penile amputation, replantation remains the treatment of choice."
Q: My husband has huge balls, and with each passing year they hang lower. Does anyone out there offer sack tucks?—D.M., San Francisco, California
Advisor: As a man ages, it's natural for his sack to droop, like everything else. If your husband feels discomfort, a plastic surgeon can do a scrotum reduction to make his balls shorter than his cock. If not, a tuck is nuts.
Q: A friend just finished a 14-month stint wearing a tugger to re-create his foreskin, which was removed shortly after his birth (as was mine). He says his orgasms are now more intense and, despite being more sensitive, he has more control. His wife told my wife that he now strokes differently and is a better lover. Is this a common experience for men who try to restore the foreskin to their circumcised penis?—J.V., New York, New York
Advisor: Hard to say; few guys finish the program. We suspect the improvement is in his head, which is fine. It's still a reality, and he has the penis he hoped for. (This is a controversial subject, but at least one study has found no difference in the sensitivity of the exposed glans of intact and cut men.) Your friend's experience sounds typical, if you can call it that; a tugger routine involves months of stretching the skin, using either tape or weights. Faced with that, most circumcised guys are content to work with what they have.
Q: In an attempt to stimulate the G spots of his lovers, a friend inserted a six-millimeter plastic bead under the skin of his penis. He used a sharp toothpick to make the opening, then let the wound heal (it took about a week). Have you ever heard of this? Does it work?—L.S., Loretto, Pennsylvania
Advisor: A bead won't do anything except make your penis swell from infection. And after all that effort, your partner might think it's a wart. Penile inserts are most common in southeast Asia, where tribesmen have traditionally implanted bells, stones, jewels, ivory, gold, pearls, balls and shells in their shafts or gland. According to the book The Penis Inserts of Southeast Asia (really), some objects are the size of a small chicken egg. "As many as a dozen might be inserted," the authors note. "Kings might remove one of theirs to bestow it on a person deserving great honor." In India, where inserts may have originated, prostitutes sold gold, silver and bronze bells to teenagers to sew into the skin of their penises to impress lovers. Japanese mobsters insert beads out of machismo—each represents a year spent in prison. One mobster's ex-lover said she could feel his 13 "pearls" but that they didn't make the sex any better. In fact, she described the bumps as "hokey." If that sort of feedback turns you on, at least hire an experienced piercer to do the job right.
Q: I've done a lot of research and testing and found a new pleasure that involves stretching my scrotum with chrome-plated rings. It's hard to describe the epicness of a loose, hanging scrotum slapping the butt and/or vulva of my lover. I have tried all the tie methods, including rubber lassos, shoestrings, etc., and nothing compares. But I worry: Are there negative side effects from this practice? Would stainless steel be safer? I use shea butter to increase skin elasticity. Is that okay?—S.G., Tucson, Arizona
Advisor: From what we've read, yes. The world authority on this practice is Jarod Jasper Johansen, whose online FAQ will answer all your technical questions. It's posted at secretleather.com, a U.K.-based site that sells steel rings, weighted leather "bull" bags, leather straps and other contraptions. (Some guys also inject saline, but that's weird.) In the book Modern Primitives, a musician says steel rings on the scrotum feels like "having your balls licked and sucked and being played with by someone's hand. You tend to have a semi-hard-on all the time when you wear them." He also claims to have seen photos of a man who had 14 rings that pushed his testicles to his knees. Johansen believes men enjoy tugging because our testicles are designed to hang away from the body to keep the sperm factory at an optimum temperature, and as with everything, a few men always attempt to stretch any pleasurable sensation to its extreme. As you would expect, there are risks to racking your balls, and if you feel pain or more than slight discomfort, you're doing it wrong. Your scrotum should not turn blue or feel cold, which indicates you have cut off circulation. As an aficionado known as the Bagman explains, "This is a gentle process, done with patience rather than power."
Q: I bought a jelq device (the thing with a handle and rollers) for enlarging my penis, but it didn't come with directions. I get the general idea: You place your penis between the rollers and push toward the head. Are the rollers supposed to move?—J.H., Atlanta, Georgia
Advisor: No. But it hardly matters, because making cock taffy won't add inches. The idea behind jelqing, a.k.a. milking, is that if you tug on your penis enough, it will become significantly longer. How does this occur? The explanation offered by the hucksters who sell the devices is a fantastical version of a concept known as tensegrity. In biology it refers to the ability to change the structure of cells by mechanically altering the tensions that stabilize their shape and size. The claim here is that if you force more blood into the penis's spongy chambers, the cells will accept more blood or break down, prompting the body to rebuild them stronger and larger. Of course there have been precisely zero studies to test this premise, and even if it's valid, it's hard to believe anyone has seen significant growth in their size or confidence. You'd do better to practice Kegel exercises by squeezing as if stopping the flow of urine, which will strengthen the muscles that put the hard in hard-on. No guy wants to hear this, but there is no sane or scientifically proven method to increase your (most likely totally normal and sufficient) size.
Q: How strong is the penis?—R.T., New York, New York
Advisor: Thanks to kung fu grandmaster Tu Jin-Sheng of Taiwan, a.k.a. the Iron Crotch, we know a flaccid human penis can pull at least 8,100 pounds without being torn off. That's the weight of the rental truck Tu pulled in 2005 with a rope tied around his penis and testicles. (He did a second pull using only his testicles, setting a new record there as well.) Tu has also moved an 8,000-pound airplane. He claims his most accomplished students can break ice blocks and cut coconuts. Please don't try this at home—and never while erect; it requires specialized training that involves squatting with weights swinging between your legs. "Penis training is often ridiculed in the martial arts," writes Gene Ching of Kung Fu magazine. "But as Tu sees it, people train every other part of their body except their sexual organs." There is a higher purpose: Tu claims penis qigong, besides improving sexual stamina, can treat diabetes, arterial blockages, allergies, earaches and other ailments.
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