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I was in college when I received a handbill for a show called Penis Monologues. The pieces were written and performed by people in my community about their dicks and I was so excited to support this project and learn from the stories. The theater was above a bar, a small old stage for union meetings. One person after another stood in lights and shared their experiences having a penis. As a budding sexologist I thought this was brilliant and approached one of the performers afterward to ask if he would be willing to perform again for the classes I was teaching. He declined but sent me the written version of Penis Memories and gave permission for someone else to perform it on his behalf. Every semester thereafter I asked a student in my class to read the monologue to the class and on many occasions we were brought to tears, belly laughs, and realizations about sexuality. When I stopped teaching, I asked the author of the piece if he would be okay with someone performing Penis Memories to the Sexplanations' audience. With his consent we've been working for years on the right moment and the right actor to present this very video. Elijah (the performer) is in graduate school for acting. He was very easy to work with and put a lot of thought into how best to share these memories. I hope you enjoy this episode and feel free to share your own experiences in the comments below.


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This episode of Sexplanations is brought to you by BetterHelp.com, a website for online counseling I use and recommend, especially for individuals with irregular schedules or for whatever reason aren’t able to go to a therapist’s office each week. [WHIP CRACKING, COUGH].

I’m Dr. Lindsey Doe, clinical sexologist and host of this sex curious show Sexplanations.

I’ve done a few episodes of Sexplanations about my vagina memories. The idea comes from Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues. There’s a Penis Monologues too, and this piece, titled “Penis Memories” (performed by Ejliah) is one I’m really fond of.

Memory: I don’t remember it, but I know it hurt.

Memory: Young enough to still take showers with my Dad and my sister. Dad is so tall compared to me. I am at eye level with my father’s penis.

Memory: I get boners all the time. In elementary school, at camp, in showers by myself, in showers with other boys, in showers with men. At home, in bed, in the car. I think I do a pretty good job hiding them.

Memory: I am eight. My best friend and I are playing “comfort”, and I can’t remember who came up with the game or when. We are 69ing, and we know to lock the door. At least once we were interrupted by his mother’s knocking.

We quickly dress, come to the bottom of the stairs, and tell his mother that we were playing. Star Wars or something. I’m pretty sure I am a good liar.

After she leaves us, we stand at the stairs and agree to stop before we get caught.

Memory: That same best friend has a little sister. I am eight, he is nine, and she is six. We have her do the “naked hula dance”, which literally just that. I get a boner.

I have no idea what she takes from that experience.

Memory: I’m eleven. Pubic hair is just starting to come in on either side of my penis. I spend at least twenty minutes examining it closely, inspecting every hair and how it connects to my body. I pull at it to see how it makes my skin rise.

I love it, and am turned on. I recently saw an uncircumcised penis at the pool, and I note how mine differs. The familiar scar...

Then I remember that I am in a restaurant’s bathroom, that my dinner is certainly at the table by now, and that my Dad and my sister are probably beginning to wonder where I am.

Memory: I love to think about the girls in my class, and I look forward to them developing breasts. My fantasies will be better with breasts.

Memory: I am in a mad rush with my cabin mates at camp to have my first kiss before seventh grade. Her name is Molly. We are french-kissing in the trees before lights out. I am bad at it, and I have never been more excited.

She breaks up with me three days later. I am crying uncontrollably as my counselor tells me it will be okay.

Memory: Sarah is my new girlfriend now that I’m back home. I am so over Molly. Sarah is gorgeous and from a different school. We talk on the phone.

We go to the movies. We love the movies. We never watch them.

Instead, we sit in the back row and make out for two hours. I get to feel her up, sometimes under her bra. My testicles begin to hurt, though, after a few hours of this.

I want her to touch my penis.

Memory: Sarah and I are at the fair. I have a boner the entire time. I feel my butt muscles twitch and throb... but in a good way. When I am about to pee at home, I notice a drop of clear, sticky liquid at the top of my penis.

I instantly know what it is because I read about it in the What’s Happening to My Body? Book for Boys. I have been waiting so long for this!

I quickly pee and then run to my bedroom. I masturbate for hours, determined to ejaculate as I know I can. And when I do... [CHUCKLES].

Memory: I masturbate every night now. For the first few months it takes me forty five minutes to over an hour to ejaculate. I often leave outlines of sweat on my sheets.

Memory: Sarah will move her hand back after I spend what seems like hours slowly moving it toward my penis. I want Sarah to touch my penis so bad! She won’t.

Memory: But Nicole will! I am fifteen; and she will touch and suck it. I can feel her up, kiss her breasts, and even finger her. I have no plans of breaking up with Nicole.

Memory: I trade blow jobs with a boy. I swallow his semen and he mine. I will fantasize about this until the day I die.

Memory: I am so angry. I am angry that I don’t see my Dad enough, that I feel so small and wretched when I am with him, that my stepfather is not my Dad. I am angry that I feel the same way at school. I am angry that I am diabetic.

Memory: Johanna understands me. She helps me through my emotional problems. We are having sex while she does. Johanna is taking my virginity.

We do it in the only place possible: on the floor in the corner of the fitness room at the hotel. People pass through frequently, but I don’t think they see us. Also, I can see a clock the entire time.

I am nervous. At eighteen, it only takes one or two minutes when I masturbate; but after forty five minutes of thrusting, I give up.

Memory: I don’t come more than a few times while I am having sex with girls at college. I am starting to worry that there is something wrong with me.

Memory: I am very angry. Twenty three is too young to experience frequent erectile dysfunction. My doctor reminds me that nerve degeneration is common among diabetics. She prescribes Viagra.

I am so angry and so embarrassed.

Memory: There are men who seem to always be ready to have sex. These men don’t seem to care about details like where, when, or with whom. Are they that way because they can talk openly with their fathers? Did their fathers teach them about sex?

Did their first times set a better precedent than mine? Or is it because they haven’t yet felt the humiliation and frustration of not ejaculating or, worse yet, not being able to get or keep it up? Do they not have the nagging fear -- every time -- that it will happen again?

Regardless of what gives them their power, I am not one of those men. I love sex and fear it. I am not always ready to have sex.

When I do have sex, I am paranoid because I know that I am not the master of my body. It lets me down every day. And when I masturbate, I’m not sure whether I am trying to pleasure my penis or tear it off.

These aren’t Elijah’s actual experiences. They belong to someone else who gave us the incredible privilege of sharing them with you but wants to remain anonymous. I hope they were enlightening.

Many thanks to Elijah for performing. Stay curious. I asked BetterHelp to partner with Sexplanations on this episode because they are an excellent resource.

They carefully match clients with licensed counselors and therapists who can help process memories. If you’re struggling with sexuality, body image, disappointment, shame, and fear, I recommend trying BetterHelp -- even if it's just going to their website BetterHelp.com/sexplanations -- and learning how it works. You’ll find that they take great care to select professionals who are trained and talented.

Appointments are relatively cheap compared to other mental health options, and the relationship is on your terms in many, many ways. You decide if you want to text, call, and/or email. You decide if it doesn’t feel right and want to get matched with someone else.

You decide how much or little you share. BetterHelp.com/sexplanations - by going to this link, you not only get support for yourself through online counseling, you also support sex education.