Soon after discovering masturbation at age 13, I jerked off eight times in one day.
The eighth completion, however, was interrupted by the horrifying sight of my own penis dripping in blood. Naive to the virtues of lubricant, the ferocity and ungainliness of my almost nonstop adolescent wank had created an archipelago of pustules beneath my glans, resembling a blistered map of Hawaii. And so, as I eased into a record-setting, never-to-be-seen eighth release, two of them audibly exploded.
A harrowing couple of weeks followed. At lacrosse practice, an errant stick glanced my protective cup and made direct contact with the open wound on my dick, which had momentarily escaped through my boxers’ dick flap, resulting in a prolonged, emasculating sobbing fit while my coach delicately investigated the situation.
I mention this because it all recently came rushing back to me when I spotted a Medium comment on one of my stories that evangelized the therapeutic and healing benefits of something called “penis health creme.”
I, of course, couldn’t not Google it. Because while my teenage wound had obviously since healed, it turned me into a connoisseur of lotions, lubricants and cooking oils, which I haven’t masturbated without since. So I can say with all humility that, other than a few more wrinkles than I’d like, my dick skin is looking pretty, pretty good. Nevertheless, in the name of gonzo journalism, I ordered a bottle of Man1 Man Oil, a three-month supply of which runs about 30 bucks. And over the last week-and-a-half, I’ve applied it daily, exactly as directed.
“Whose penis is not wrinkled? That’s what makes them so cute,” says Paul Nelson, a male sexuality educator and clinical sexologist at The Men’s Sexual Health Project in New York when I catch him up on things. “Besides, it’s the moistest place on your body. Your hands get dried out. Your face gets chafed. Your lips get chapped. But your penis just hanging out in your underwear? Never.”
That said, he adds that as men age, a lifetime of masturbation can cause the penis to desensitize. “I have 60-year-old patients who complain that their penis doesn’t feel as much anymore. They think it’s their wife’s vagina or their boyfriend’s mouth. No, it’s just that their penis doesn’t feel like it did when they were 25.” With that in mind, he concedes applying some Man1 Man Oil may be beneficial for men in their 50s and 60s who are looking to awaken their weathered Johnson.
Jamin Brahmbhatt, a board-certified urologist in Orlando is more skeptical. “If a guy tries it and it works for him, great. It’s nothing that’s going to be detrimental to his health. But from a health standpoint, since no legitimate studies have validated the use of these products, it’s not something I’d use in my clinical practice.”
I exchange emails with Wendy Mardas, vice president of operations at Lenoc, Inc., the manufacturer of Man1 Man Oil. But when I ask if she can point me to any studies to back up her product’s claims, she goes silent. (Lecoc, Inc. doesn’t have a website.)
Instead, I attempt to track down Michael Harrington, the Man1 evangelizer whose comment started my Man Oil journey in the first place. While I can’t find any social profiles or professional bios, I do land on a number of near-identical comments from Michael Harrington — here, here and here — casually employing the fraternal term “fellas” and commiserating with his cyber-brethren about a totally-not-made-up dick ailment they’re enduring together.
The good news for Harrington et al is that Man1 is hardly the only game in town. There are seemingly an endless list of brands you’ve never heard of hocking dick creme for $20 to $30. For instance: Signature Black Bottle Premium Penile Health Conditioning Tonic ($21.99); Wick & Strom Advanced Penile Care Formula ($22.47); Organic Penile Health Cream By BeeFriendly ($34.99); and Gold Bond Men’s Essentials Intensive Therapy Lotion ($6.39).
I send the list of ingredients — vitamin A, vitamin C, L-Carnitine, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, vitamin B5, L-Arginine, vitamin D3, shea butter and vitamin E — to another one of my go-to urologists, Alex Shteynshlyuger, to see if he’d recommend a product like this to his patients. But he, too, was nonplussed. “It’s the equivalent of lubricant or ‘butter,’” he points out. “It might help with minor irritation, but in my opinion, there are better solutions for men with balanitis (i.e., inflammation, infection and skin cracks and cuts).”
“You can find the exact same ingredients in something much cheaper,” adds Brahmbhatt. “The only difference is a bottle that says, ‘This is for the penis.’ The skin on your penis is the same skin that’s on your face. Whatever you’re using to moisturize your face or your legs would be sufficient to use on your penis.”
“I’d never prescribe penis oil for balanitis,” says L.A. urologist Faisal Ahmed, likening Man1 Man Oil to supplements found at the gas station that give skewed information derived from legitimate data. For example, he says, “The L-Arginine these creams contain have a well-studied antioxidant effect, and we do use it in oral form to help with sperm count and quality. But improving circulation or nerve health in the penis by just applying a cream is highly unlikely.”
Another product Nelson mentions, Circum Serum, is specifically designed for circumcised men whose penis heads gets dried out — the idea being that application of a pseudo foreskin oil will allow circumcised men to fuck like their hooded brethren. “I do sometimes see circumcised guys with scarring around the foreskin, which can lead to cracks when they penetrate,” Brahmbhatt notes. “But if they simply masturbated with lotion for a week, they’d essentially be doing the same as applying any kind of penis health creme.” (FWIW, he adds, studies show that there’s little difference in sexual sensation between circumsized and uncircumsized guys.)
As you might expect then, nearly two weeks of daily application of Man1 Man Oil has had a negligible effect on my member. Sure, it’s a bit softer to the touch, but what wouldn’t be following 10 days of dutiful moisturization? So instead of succumbing to hype and fictitious afflictions, Nelson recommends a dab of “natural, affordable and edible” coconut oil every once in a while. After all, as he says, “If you’re trying to watch what you eat, why not watch what you put on your dick as well?”