Need a shrink?

Pub date March 22, 2011

Dear Andrea:

Due to a prostate operation, my penis is quite small and I cannot get a proper erection. Will the Fleshlight work for me?


Shrinky Dink

Dear Shrink:

First off, allow me to apologize for the terrible nom de Altsex I stuck you with. I am a bad person. But I am also very sorry for your woes. Postsurgical shrinkage and erectile dysfunction are both common and totally NOT FAIR.

Reading around on urology sites, the shrinkage is not supposed to be that major. Have you spoken to your urologist about what this, since it may be an ongoing process and, maybe, just maybe, something could be done to halt it? Granted, there seems to be something of a dearth of information about these effects, but yours should not go unreported or uncomplained-about.

There are products on the market purporting to restore lost length after surgery, but since I never see them mentioned on sites like WebMD, I’m not about to go touting them myself. They are there. I assume that if they prove harmful, it will be more to your wallet than to your tenderer parts, but proceed at your own risk.

What may work, both to prevent or, one hopes, restore lost length and lost function, is an element both abundant and well understood: our old friend oxygen. It would be awesome if you could just go hanging your business out in the fresh air and up it would sprout like those time-lapse movies of beanstalks unfurling. You cannot, but Viagra and its cousins, while pricier than oxygen and requiring a prescription, are hardly difficult to acquire. Here is eminent urologist Dr. Larry Goldenberg on using sildenifil citrate nightly as a postsurgical therapy, on the Prostate Cancer Canada Network’s site:

The main premise behind treating erectile dysfunction is to stimulate the circulation of blood into the penis. Doing this will protect the smooth muscles in the penis, the nerve tissue, and the blood vessel linings. Stimulating blood flow to the penis, even if it doesn’t give men an erection, is “keeping the tissues healthy while the nerves are recovering or the blood is finding its way back down there” more regularly.

I urge you to see if popping a pill at night is all it would take for you to get all your function back. It may not work, but it is so very worth investigating.

On to the Fleshlight, definitely the best-known male masturbation device. It vaguely hardware-y looking, heavily marketed, and offers a variety of disembodied orifices for your orifice-entering pleasure. It is not, however, an erectile dysfunction therapy or a magnifying glass, so I am not sure how it is supposed to either heal or enlarge you. But there’s something to be said for “use it or lose it” in these cases. Even urologists don’t seem sure if the loss of erectile function that often follows prostate surgery is due to damage or simple lack of use (or lack of faith). So yes, actually, I think a toy could help. Like Viagra itself, an uncomplaining, expectations-free inanimate object can help alleviate performance anxiety.