Okay, this probably doesn’t need to be said, but just in case: Don’t put toothpaste on your penis.
Or anyone else’s for that matter. Unless they ask you to. And even then maybe don’t.
There’s been a rash of articles in local news and British tabloids — like The Sun and the Daily Mail — declaring that men have been applying toothpaste to their junk in order to combat premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. Is it true? Probably not. Like millennials eating Tide Pods, this seems to be just another dumb internet rumor made up and passed around by the gullible.
No doctors have come forward to say that there’s been an increase in people doing this — only an increase in articles written about it.
The rumor seems to have started with some weird YouTube videos that recommended toothpaste as some kind of sexual aid, with grammatically creative voiceovers that sound like awkward translations. “See what happens when rub toothpaste in the secret area,” drones a robot-voice in one such video that has, incredibly, over three milllion views.
“In toothpaste is more than you can clean your teeth,” says another robotically-narrated video, this one with over a million views.
Videos like these are cheaply produced, consisting of low-quality clip-art and text-to-speech narration with a link to spammy snake-oil sites in the description. That they have so many views is probably more of an indication that YouTube is a broken platform than that anyone is actually following the advice.
Of course, people with penises are likely to try rubbing all kinds of strange substances on themselves. But toothpaste is a particularly bad one to experiment with, which is why it’s an old sleepaway camp prank to put toothpaste in someone’s underwear.
If someone were to apply toothpaste to their penis — and they shouldn’t — it would tingle and sting, which they could possibly mistake for a positive effect, particularly if lack of sensation has been an issue in the past. But that feeling is actually the skin becoming irritated and damaged. In fact, prolonged exposure could cause a painful chemical burn.
Depending on what brand you use, there are abrasive substances in toothpaste, as well as bleaching agents and irritating oils. Toothpaste is only meant for use on teeth; extended contact on any other part of the body can cause pain and injury.
If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, there are plenty of other solutions: Breathing exercises are one useful technique or trying different lubricants. You might benefit from talking to a therapist. And of course, there are plenty of pharmaceuticals like Viagra that promise to assist.
In fact, the availability of more clinically validated sexual aids could be another reason that various websites like The Sun and local news channels have run so many articles about this mostly nonexistent problem. Those sites run ads for other sexual aids, and people looking for help with their genitals may be lured in my headlines about toothpaste before clicking on affiliate links and banner ads, thereby garnering a few cents’ worth of traffic.
In the same way that shoddy YouTube videos market weird sexual remedies, tabloids are here to market weird sexual remedies of their own. An article in The Sun that debunks toothpaste also links to breathless coverage of a “penis spray” that “helps men last longer in bed” — it’s just a bottle of the same numbing agent in sore-throat medicine.
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