We talk about vulvas a lot here at Foria, and for good reason – but there’s so much to know about penises too, and it helps to have a great map.
JoJo Bear is a Somatic Sex & intimacy Educator located in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a certified Sexological Bodyworker, Clinical Hypnotherapist and a Wheel of Consent™ facilitator.
We sat down with him for a chat about how to map a penis, why you would, and some surprising things penis mapping can teach – whether the penis belongs to you or your partner.
Just to get our baseline covered – what is penis mapping?
For me, penis mapping is for an individual that is cock-bodied – that has a cock – to be more familiarized with their cock, and also for partners of a cock-bodied person to be more familiarized with this part of the anatomy.
I work with mostly men over 40. That's my gig. And it's amazing how many men don't know the names of the parts of their penis. There's just “my cock, my cock head, my balls,” and everything else is murky.
If I'm working with somebody, I have them hold up a mirror and we'll start identifying parts of the penis. And there's some amazing things that can happen, because there's parts of the penis that once you name them – like the frenulum, or the glans – you can attach associations to it.
Like, “Oh, this feels really good.” Or “this is an area that's really numb,” or “this is an area that I don't like being touched.” It's a great way to be familiarized with the landscape of your penis. So that's what penis mapping means to me.
Really, what I do with clients is help create language, and hold space.
What are some of the benefits of mapping your own penis or your partner’s?
I think the cock gets underestimated. A big part of my work is somatic, and there are so many ways men have disconnected from their cocks. Because of circumcision, and because of things like overuse – like how certain boys don't know how to masturbate, and they'll rub it in places where they'll injure themselves and then create some scar.
To be able to notice the parts of their cock that may have some emotional scars, or may have some associations – like “this part hurts, I don't know why”, and maybe it's where their circumcision scar was – penis mapping creates more knowledge for that area of the body.
So I think it’s helpful because you're going to be more educated about what you own. It's so important to be able to communicate that to a partner, and identify it.
And it sure helps your doctors if you ever have any issues. You can say, “hey, my frenulum is hurting!” There's an empowerment with being educated about our genitals.
What are some of the most common misconceptions about pleasure for a person with a penis?
The biggest misconception is around erections. I say “erectile difficulties,” because “dysfunction” just feels yucky to me. But the reality is that for most of the men I see, it’s usually about performance, it's about not getting hard.
And a big educational piece is that there's a lot of ways you can still feel pleasure – having a soft cock massage, or being touched in certain areas of your penis. But in order to be connected to that pleasure, you need to know what you have.
Like with every kind of genitals, it's all different for each individual. Pressure for somebody may be really amazing, and then pressure for somebody else may be excruciating. So it's really about identifying what works for you.
If you could walk someone through a very simple penis mapping, where would you start?
If you're doing this in the comfort of your home with your partner, or you’re doing this alone, first hold space. Just let yourself know, “this is what I'm doing, I'm doing this to better educate myself on my cock.”
Usually, I will have someone do it themselves. And I usually have either a list, or I'll name stuff as they're going. But if you're doing it by yourself, I would say just touch that area, and maybe in a different way than wanting to masturbate. Feeling the texture, noticing the whole anatomy of it.
And depending on whether you're uncircumcised or circumcised, I usually tell people to really spend some time around the head of the penis. Right there, that's where your glans are. For a lot of guys that are circumcised, it may be a little sensitive there.
So I would say just touch yourself softly and really be gentle, as if you're looking at an object at an antique store!
And then going to the frenulum, that is a really sensitive area. For a lot of men, that’s a beautiful area to touch to create a lot of arousal. If there's foreskin, noticing your foreskin.
Going down to your shaft, whether it's hard or not, there's so much anatomy inside the shaft. That's where a lot is happening! There’s a spongy area that fills up with blood, and that's what causes the erection.
So if you're feeling into that area, just pressing some thumbs down that area. And maybe if you get erect, you'll notice how it fills up.
And then there's all different types of skin. Some men have more skin, some men have less.
I always like to add on the testicles. A lot of men just say “the balls”, but there’s also the scrotum, and then there's the actual testicles inside. I say it's a two-for-one – it's not just one thing. There are two different things.
And for some men, one testicle is bigger than the other. One might be more sensitive than the other. Some men are really sensitive, some men you can pull and yank and do whatever you want. So there's a lot of anatomy there. And I'm giving a real brief run-through, but there are a lot more pieces that you can familiarize yourself with.
Do you also map the perineum during penis mapping? Or do you leave that more to anal mapping?
I'll talk about the whole pubic area, like the pubic bone, the perineum. So you can add all of that stuff in, and you can add anal mapping to it.
I also like to remind people – if any men are reading this – you have an extra inch. At the perineum the cock goes all the way down, and there is actually more of the penis in that area. So if you're touching the perineum, that is really part of your penis! So you learn something.
Could penis mapping help somebody who's hoping to enhance control of how soon they ejaculate in a sexual experience?
You know, that's a really good question. For me, I use penis mapping to get someone into awareness around their cock. And it’s not the biggest thing that comes into the room, but [sometimes] for performance anxiety, not [biological] problems that are happening with the body but emotional performance anxiety, where the cock is not working in front of somebody, or rapid ejaculation, or even some trauma around the cock.
A lot of cock-bodied people have had early trauma, either around shame, or religious shame, or sexual abuse, or something where it becomes so disassociated.
So specifically for your question, when someone is having ejaculations that happen quickly, I think there’s a connection if a person is really being mindful of the parts of their penis. It slows something down.
I'll say “Practice this like you're meditating. So literally schedule it and touch yourself there.” And I always say, “this is not a jerkoff session. You don't have to be in your favorite chair, watching your porn. Literally do it as meditation.”
So breathing, using a lot of breath. Having some quality time where there's no interruption, and just being mindful with it. And as you touch certain areas, remind yourself, “okay, this is my glans, this is my frenulum, this is my shaft, these are my testicles.” Just really be mindful of your cock. And bringing breath into it helps slow down the nervous system.
Especially with ejaculation and early ejaculation, it’s so interconnected with the nervous system. And so if I can regulate my nervous system, the easiest [method], apart from drugs, is breathing.
When you're doing either a penis or a vulva mapping, it is so important to just breathe, and breathe, and breathe, and have the person doing the mapping breathing. It will regulate the nervous system. Things slow down.
Is there anything else you want to add that you think it's really important for people to know about penis mapping, or any facts that surprised you, or anything that stands out that we haven't talked about yet?
I have two! One is – if you have a partner with a penis, and you maybe have [trauma] around a penis, this is a really good, healthy way to bring in some awareness around that, and also to appreciate your partner!
It's a very appreciative anchor, and very vulnerable, especially for the person with a penis to say “we're not doing this for anything but our knowledge.” It can be such a beautiful, ritualistic practice to engage in, the ability to just open up. So it can be very sexy.
Also there are a lot of men walking around with [mental and emotional] wounds in their penis. So doing a penis mapping could bring up some stuff that feels uncomfortable. If that happens, I usually recommend finding a professional that you can work with. Find somebody that you feel like you can trust.
If you could transmit one piece of information to the brains of every person with a penis on earth – that you think would improve their lives the most – what would it be?
Be willing to learn some language. That means language about who it's for, how to ask for what I need, permission limits, language around the body. Not really talking about feelings, but more like “what am I noticing? What am I aware of?”
And just for a quickie, you can have fun with a soft cock! It doesn't always have to be hard.
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