First off … Happy Pride! I came out to myself and a few friends in 1987. The year 1988 saw me in my first Pride parade dressed in my Boy Scout uniform in order to make a statement. A lot has happened in the 32 years since coming out and I am proud of our community on a global and local level! I honor those who came before me to fight for the rights I had when I came out so that I may fight for the rights we now enjoy and hope that people today won’t personally experience the struggles of yesteryears. I also honor our future elders, our young people today who have inherited the challenges and rewards of championing for the rights of all people, everywhere. Forward ho!

June is also men’s health month (Eeks! How binary! Maybe we should call it “genitally male health month?” What do you think?). I didn’t make the holiday but since it is here in front of us, let’s talk a bit about it, especially since I’m a pelvic floor specialist with a focus on men and transgender health. April was testicular cancer month … how are you guys doing checking “the boys”? Don’t forget that with this being Pride month, you can get a friend to help you! Make the block party work for you this time!

Seriously, while they are down there you might as well let them check things out a bit. If this is a bit too bold for you then you always have the shower where you lather everything up well with soap and then going exploring to make sure everything is smooth. If it hurts, then you are pressing too hard, lighten up, because you could miss something important with too heavy a hand. If something doesn’t feel right then you should see your doctor and let them take a picture with an ultrasound. I’ve had it done and it’s painless. This applies to the trans community too! Keep in mind that trans men on hormone-replacement therapy can still get pregnant and still have their cycle because they still have their “duterus.” Same applies for trans women, if you are on HRT and have testicles then you should be checking them once a month or have a buddy help you even if you are planning for them to be removed.

Next on the agenda for “genitally male” health month, ED – erectile dysfunction. There. I said it. This is not just an elders problem. This is a problem that can start in a person’s 20s with subtle signs of taking longer to get an erection, not able to maintain it as long as you would like, or not as firm as you would like. Blood flow is part of the equation but so are the pelvic floor muscles that support getting and maintaining the erection. If they are not working correctly due to avoiding pain, or are weak, stretched out or are super tight and high strung, then your hard drive may be reduced to a floppy disk. Viagra is $70 or more per pill and the military filled 900,000 prescriptions for it in 2018. This is not including Cialis and other ED remedies. The downside here is that if you are on blood pressure medicine or prone to taking poppers then you can (and people have) pass out. Now everything is a floppy disk! There is Trimix, an injection into the penis each time you want to play. This can also get costly and also comes at some risk – bruising and Peyronie’s are just two of the side effects. Surgical pump or flexible metal rod … sure, you can do that, but it is surgery and again comes at some risk.

The bottom line is that if you want to upgrade your floppy disk to a hard drive then the first thing after seeing your doctor to make sure nothing is seriously wrong, is to see a pelvic floor physical therapist who knows the ins and outs of these issues and can assess the ins and outs of how your pelvic floor muscles are working, including electromyography (EMG) and biofeedback. That would be me. I will be at the Pride festival in Druid Hill Park on Sunday the 16th. I look forward to talking with you!