F.Birchman / MSNBC.com
By msnbc.com contributor
msnbc.com contributor
updated 2/16/2006 1:50:34 PM ET 2006-02-16T18:50:34

How do you remedy the incredible shrinking penis? Or handle a guy with a one-track mind? And what's an "nbsp"? Sexploration answers your queries. Have an intimate question? To e-mail us, click here .

Q: I have a relatively small penis that also does not have much girth. Despite this, I've never had much of a problem satisfying my girlfriends. However, in the past couple of years I've noticed substantial declines in the size, fullness and longevity of my erections. Thankfully, I don't have a girlfriend at the moment to express dissatisfaction with my unit. I picked up smoking towards the end of college, and have been lighting up for the past six years. I'm trying to quit as part of my New Year's resolution. Could smoking be one of the causes of the decline? Will the trend reverse itself if I quit?

A: Cancer, emphysema and heart disease not enough to keep that resolution?

Here’s another reason: There is a good chance the only stiff part of the Marlboro man was his upper lip. Smoking gives you the droops.

It all has to do with the damage smoking causes to your vascular system, and the penis is one big (or in your case, small) vascular system.

Smoking decreases arterial blood flow and causes vascular restriction. That’s bad. Men who smoke often have lower quality erections.

“Smoking has a strong negative impact on male sexual life,” concluded a study last year in the International Journal of Impotence Research.

Stop now, get fit and restore your mighty mite to its former glory.

Q: I have a friend who has been giving oral sex to a guy she used to work with. He never wants to do anything for her. He calls her and wants her to come over and please him orally in the car, the house, at work. Then sometimes, to him, it’s like she doesn't exist. I told her maybe he has intimacy issues. What do you think?

A: Intimacy issues? Puh-lease. This guy has just figured out a way to get oral sex, free delivery, no waiting, no obligation.

As she long as she keeps obliging, he’ll keep calling.

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Q: My wife has had an IUD for two years. If I am not careful, sex can be painful. It feels like a semi-sharp object hitting the head of my penis. It hurts. I thought I was not suppose to feel the IUD at all.

A: You aren’t. If you are, says Dr. Katharine O’Connell, an ob-gyn and contraception expert at Columbia University in New York, “the IUD is coming out and needs to be replaced.”

According to some internet chatter, the strings of an IUD can also irritate a man’s penis, but O’Connell says that’s a myth and if you can feel it, the device is slipping through your wife’s cervix into her vagina.

“She should see her doctor immediately,” O’Connell says.

Q: I have been encountering “nbsp” in profiles on dating Web sites. People say they are “into nbsp.” I’m not sure what they mean. Can you help me?

A: Nude Bondage, Slapping and Piercing? Nummy Bananas with Syrup and Pancakes?

Alas, “NBSP” isn’t sex-related. The letters, computer code meaning “non-breaking space,” are used to prevent a line of text from breaking. Sometimes the code winds up on screen.

Of course, if somebody out there knows of some obscure “NBSP” subculture, let us know. (Nancy Boys in Shiny PVC?)

Brian Alexander is a California-based writer who covers sex, relationships and health. He is a contributing editor at Glamour and the author of "Rapture: How Biotech Became the New Religion" (Basic Books).

Sexploration appears every other Thursday.

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