A Gland Old Time 

The prostate is a pleasure zone, says Dr. Charlie Glickman.

When was the last time you said the word "prostate" and it didn't precede "cancer"? Slightly larger than a walnut and surrounding the male urethra, the gland serves other purposes beyond giving middle-aged men another reason to fear rectal exams. It's a much-neglected source of ecstasy, says sex educator Charlie Glickman, who discusses toys, techniques, and more in a talk titled "Prostate Play and Pleasure" at Good Vibrations (2504 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley) on Wednesday, April 7.

"Most men have never even considered their prostates outside the context of a medical exam, and that's too bad, because it means a lot of men are missing out on something that's really pleasurable," said Glickman. "There are a lot of reasons for this, but the main reason is in order to do prostate play, you have to be able to do anal play, and a lot of heterosexual men have concerns about what that might mean." To relish prostate pleasure, men must be penetrated.

"They have to be on the receiving end," Glickman continued. "Many have mental barriers against that. And most women have never been on the giving end of penetrative sex, unless they've had sex with other women. So there are all these ideas that it's not masculine or not feminine to do this or that."

After becoming an HIV counselor in 1986, Glickman realized that "effective safer sex education had to include information on sexuality, relationship issues, and communication and negotiation," he said. "So I decided to start learning about these different topics and quickly discovered that talking and teaching about sex was the path I wanted to take." He has since worked with survivors of sexual assault and, as Good Vibrations' education program manager, taught dozens of workshops on BDSM, polyamory, sexual shame, sexual authenticity, and the relationships between sexuality and spirituality.

In this week's workshop, he will discuss how to stimulate the prostate safely "and combine it with other forms of stimulation so that it's more successful," Glickman said. "There are lots ways to pleasure the prostate, but the easiest way is to use a couple of fingers in that 'come-hither' movement. And many of the toys that work for G-spot play also work for prostate play. We don't have to reinvent the wheel."

Glickman wishes so many people didn't derive their ideas about how to have anal sex from watching porn. "Among other things, you wouldn't know from watching porn that you need a lubricant or any warmup. You do, and both of those happen in porn, but they happen before the camera starts rolling."

As he sees it, open minds make all the difference: "The world would be a much different place if more heterosexual men had been on the receiving end of penetrative sex. And for women, being on the giving end of penetrative sex makes them realize how much work it can be. It's another version of walking a mile in someone's shoes." 6:30 p.m., free. GoodVibes.com

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