Because it's a package deal.
The penis is a mysterious, magical organ. (Chances are, you're already a fan), but because you don't have the appendage yourself, it can be tricky to figure out how to get—and keep—it happy. The deeper your understanding of how it works, the more satisfied and connected you'll both feel.
With that in mind, listen to what the male penis would say if it could speak up for its owner.
1. "Please toss the ruler."
When a man makes the big reveal, you may not be in love at first sight, but most penises end up being roughly the same length when they're at attention regardless of the size they are when soft. On average, a flaccid penis is four inches long, while an erect one is six; but even those that start out a bit smaller tend to catch up in the end.
For most women, satisfaction has more to do with how hard and responsive (i.e., how quickly aroused) a penis is rather than how long it is. So unless he is abnormally small and has what's called a micropenis—which is extremely rare—or is unusually large, size just isn't as significant an issue as many women think it is.
2. "Try anything...I'm not that picky, I swear."
No doubt your guy appreciates when you bust out some complicated move you gleaned from the Kama Sutra, but you don't need to break a sweat trying to get him off. The penis responds most dramatically to direct contact. It's exquisitely sensitive, especially the glans, which is the head of the penis and where Mother Nature placed the principal nerve endings that produce a guy's sexual pleasure and orgasm.
Exactly what kind of touch will arouse any particular guy is entirely a matter of individual preference, conditioning, and circumstances. Some men like it soft and gentle, while others prefer a vigorous, even rough, stroke. Some respond to the friction of a dry touch, while others favor a moist one. Some find slow, rhythmic movement a turn-on, while the rest go wild over rapid, irregular motion. Others like any of these techniques to different degrees at different times.
The point is that the penis is grateful for pretty much any kind of action, so don't be shy—test different grips to see what type of handling your man responds to most enthusiastically.
3. "You can help me when I'm nervous."
Few issues have a more chilling effect on a between-the-sheets session than performance anxiety. Sure, there are medical reasons your guy may peter out mid-act—including diabetes, heart disease, hormonal disorders, and side effects from medication—but nine times out of 10, the leading cause of penis failure is between his ears, not his legs.
Self-doubt travels from the brain to the penis in a flash, so whether you are with a man for the first time (and you're an unfamiliar partner to him) or he feels pressure to measure up to some hypothetical sexual standard, his penis may let him down. Once he starts worrying about whether he'll be able to get or stay hard, he may become clumsy, or forget about doing the things that excite you, or become too distracted to even feel the kisses and strokes you're bestowing upon him. You know the result.
When you sense he's tensing up, encourage your guy to stop what he's doing and tell you about whatever anxiety he's feeling. It happens to all men, and your acceptance is going to mean a lot to him. Ninety-nine percent of the time, candor will improve the situation by defusing stress. You can do your part by reassuring him, calming him down, and taking the pressure off. And if you don't succeed, try again and again and again. (And again.)
4. "I like it hot."
When it comes to penis superpotency, hot is better than cold. (Which is why it's a good thing more couples honeymoon in Hawaii than the Klondike.) When the penis gets hit with cold air or water (and sometimes even cooling lube), the skin contracts, the scrotal sac shrinks, and the testicles retract.
5. "You can keep me hangin' on."
You can help your guy last longer with a couple of simple moves. First, encourage him to do Kegels. Just like you, he can gain greater control over his orgasms and increase their intensity by strengthening the muscles in his perineum—the area between the scrotum and the anus. Give him a tutorial: Tell him to contract those muscles, hold the position for 10 counts, and repeat.
Second, if you're in the heat of the moment and need to delay his big finish, try the time-tested squeeze technique. When your guy feels he is close to ejaculation, he should withdraw. Then—and here's where you get involved—grip his penis just below the head with your thumb and forefinger, and squeeze forcefully. This will delay his urge to ejaculate. The amount of pressure needed varies among men, but don't be afraid to give him a good grab—his erect penis can take it. Once the urge has passed, wait a minute or two before getting back to business. It's possible he'll partially lose his erection after the squeeze, but it's not a common problem. And if it happens, don't panic. His full erection will return shortly, especially when you give him a little attention.
6. "I rise and shine."
Morning sex is an especially good way to bust out of your bedroom routine, and it's a pretty terrific wake-up call (not to knock an a.m. jog). It clears away tension and shakes the cobwebs out of both of your bodies.
And your guy's penis is actually wired for it: A lot of men like sex better bright and early because they experience the so-called morning wood. Overnight, a full bladder compresses the outflow of blood from the pelvic vessels, holding blood in the penis longer than usual. The typical result is a morning erection. Be assured that after a roll in the hay, you'll both like what you see in the mirror—you've set the right tone for a great day!
7. "Sex is my best Rx."
To help ensure prostate health, encourage your guy to get regular doctor examinations. Keeping fit will go a long way toward keeping things hot too. Your guy's arms, legs, back, and abdomen are all involved in sex. If they become flabby, his penis risks becoming flabby.
In addition, the prostate, like all organs, benefits from exercise, and the best workout it can get is getting off. When your guy ejaculates, his perineal muscles contract violently, which provides a massage of sorts for the prostate gland; that stimulation keeps its ducts open and prevents its internal fluids from becoming stagnant.
This article was originally published at Women's Health. Reprinted with permission from the author.