Men's Health

Testicular Self Exam | Premature Ejaculation
Health Needs of Gay and Bisexual Men | More Information

Testicular Self Exam

A testicular self-exam is used in the detection of cancer in the male genitalia. Testicular cancer is the most common tumor in men ages 20-25. If left untreated, testicular cancer may spread to the lymph nodes and lungs where advanced cancer is even more difficult to treat successfully. Males age 15 and up should examine themselves regularly and continue the process through their 30s. Self-examination is particularly important because cancer of the testes is usually asymptomatic. There are no symptoms such as stomach aches, fever, or pain which might clue you in to a potential medical problem.

There are, however, warning signs:

  • one testicle may swell, or feel abnormally heavy
  • male breast may enlarge and feel tender
  • a sore may develop which does not heal
  • a small painless lump may develop on a testicle

How to Conduct a Self Exam

College age men should examine themselves once a month using the following procedure:

  • Check yourself right after a hot shower. The scrotal skin is then relaxed and soft.
  • Become familiar with the normal size, shape and weight of your testicles. One testicle may be lower than the other, and one may be slightly larger. This is normal.
  • Using both hands, gently roll each testicle between your fingers.
  • Identify the epididymis, a rope-like structure on the top and back of each testicle. This structure is not an abnormal lump.
  • Be on the alert for a tiny lump under the skin, in the front or along the sides of either testicle. A lump may remind you of a kernel of uncooked rice or a small, hard pea.
  • If you find any swellings or lumps, see a medical provider.

If you have any lumps or other symptoms, it does not necessarily mean you have cancer, but you must be checked by a provider. Call Health Services at 245-5736 to schedule an appointment if you have any concerns based on your self-exam.

Premature Ejaculation

Premature ejaculation is defined as consistently ejaculating before you want to. Unfortunately, the cultural emphasis on male ejaculation as the focal point of intercourse tends to exacerbate the "performance anxiety" that often causes premature ejaculation in the first place. While many couples find mutual orgasm desirable, overemphasizing the importance of male ejaculation as the only satisfying pinnacle of intercourse can lead to a great deal of anxiety. Some men attempt a variety of strategies to delay their orgasms (thinking of baseball scores, doing multiplication tables) that cause them to be emotionally detached during intercourse. Many men find once they place less importance on delaying their orgasm, they actually stay erect longer and are able to explore other ways to stimulate their partners without experiencing erectile dysfunction.

What You Can Do

  • Take a more global, less phalli-centric approach to pleasure.
  • Try the "squeeze technique." Simply squeeze the head of the penis by hand as ejaculation approaches, wait until the response passes, and then continue. This can be done either during masturbation or during sex with a partner.
  • Use an extra strong (and thereby less thin, more sensitive) condom.
  • Increase the frequency of ejaculations.
  • Talk to a therapist.

Health Needs of Gay and Bisexual Men

The Centers for Disease Control published a new series of guidelines in May 2002; included in these guidelines were specific recommendations for men having sex with men. Sexually active gay and bisexual men are advised to obtain annual screenings for HIV, chlamydia (anal, urethral), syphillis, and gonorrhea (anal, pharyngeal, urethral). In addition, it is suggested that they obtain vaccinations against Hepatitis A and B.

More Information

For more information about issues specific to men's health, the Health and Counseling department has many brochures available in the following locations: the Self-Care Center (1st floor), the Reproductive Health Center waiting room (2nd floor, room 206), and the Health Promotion brochure rack (2nd floor, outside room 208).

Some of the above information was adapted from Duke University's health pages; thanks!