Don’t Call Them ‘Private Parts’

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on email

I’m Dr Rachel Rubin, a urologist with fellowship training in sexual medicine. Today, I’d like to talk about private parts. You know: the genitals, down there.

I hate all of that. I really wish that we can get to a place where we can talk about genitals and sexual health the same way we do about high blood pressure and diabetes. In fact, when a new patient comes in and they get a new diagnosis of diabetes, you spend time explaining to them how their pancreas works. I don’t remember all the details because I’m a urologist. But you explain the details of diabetes, how it works, why therapy is important, and how it’s very important for quality of life.

I would like us to take that same understanding of anatomy and physiology and use it to explain to patients how their sexual health works because when they understand it, they then have the tools to make it better. I say to patients, “You have to know what parts you have in order to figure out how they drive, right?” We want them to drive better.


Let me give you an example. Many men come to see me with complaints of erectile dysfunction. They refuse to take sildenafil and tadalafil (Viagra and Cialis), saying, “Oh my gosh, those are magic pills. I won’t be a man if take them.” We all know that doesn’t make any sense. I explain to them how their penis works: “Your penis is a muscle. The muscle does two things. It contracts and it relaxes just like your bicep. It’s just that your penis muscle is smooth muscle, which means it responds to fight or flight. It’s on the autonomic nervous system.”


I explain that if the muscle of the penis is relaxed, it fills with blood and expands. It gets big and hard, and it traps the blood. But when the muscles of the penis are contracted, when they are tight, it squeezes out all the blood, like squeezing out a sponge. So the important thing to do if you want to have good erections is to get the muscles to relax. Relaxed muscle increases erections. I get them to understand that sildenafil and tadalafil are phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors: smooth-muscle relaxants. Instead of saying, “I need to take Viagra or Cialis because I’m broken,” it’s, “Oh hey honey, I need to take my muscle relaxants because my muscles aren’t working the way that they used to.”

Join our
Mailing List

* indicates required
/ ( mm / dd )