All dudes should take penis protection seriously. After all, a guy has only one penis and it has to last him a lifetime. That’s why paying special attention to penis health makes so much sense. So with that in mind, below are several penis protection hacks – many of them common sense in nature – that guys need to be sure to follow.

1) Don’t skip the jock. Sure, a jock strap can be very uncomfortable. That’s the point, bro. It’s supposed to gather up the penis and balls and squish them together. That results in protection that makes it more difficult for them to fall prey to a fastball from a pitcher or a kick – inadvertent or on purpose – from a linebacker. Even amateur athletes should suffer the inconvenience and wear a jock when getting into heavy contact sports.

2) Wear a condom. As penis hacks go, this one is pretty obvious. Forget for the moment about the role a condom can play in preventing an unwanted pregnancy; focus on what unprotected sex can do to a dude’s penis. One study looked at 245 couples in which one member of each couple was infected with HIV. Of the 123 couples that used condoms every time, there were no new infections. Of the 122 that did not use them every time, there were 12 newly infected partners. Condoms cannot provide foolproof protection; for example, when a sexually-transmitted infection is transmitted through sores or ulcers, a lot depends on where the lesion is located and whether the condom fully covers it. But not using a condom increases the risk of transmission significantly.

3) Wear a real condom. Sure, DIY hacks are all the rage now – but not where condoms are concerned. Balloons, plastic bags and plastic wrap are no substitute for reliably manufactured condoms that are specifically designed for penis protection. A DIY condom is simply asking for trouble.

4) Drink water. Proper hydration helps in the prevention of many penis-related issues, including kidney stones, urinary tract infections, penis rashes and dry penis skin. It also has an impact on the health and quantity of semen.

5) Ejaculate frequently. Whether via masturbation or partner sex, ejaculation helps to keep the penis in good health – and, according to some studies, also reduces the risk of prostate disorders later in life.

6) But watch the death grip. Often men masturbate with a grip that is too tight – and that can, over time, lead to a loss of sensation in the penis. Which may cause a man to grip it even tighter. Which makes it even less sensitive. It’s a vicious cycle a man wants to avoid.

7) Avoid harsh chemicals. Because penis odor can be a big problem, many men resort to using soaps or shampoos with heavy scents. But strong chemicals and fragrances can do damage to penis skin, which is especially delicate.

8) Use a dependable penis health crème. This is one of the most important penis protection hacks, and one that is easy to follow. Regularly apply a first rate penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). Men who have experienced some loss of penis sensitivity (due to death grip masturbation or other reasons) want to be sure the crème includes L-carnitine, which is neuroprotective and can help to restore loss of sensation in the penis. The best crèmes also help repair damaged penis skin, especially when lack of hydration is responsible. Look for a crème with both a high-end emollient (like Shea butter) and a natural moisturizing agent (vitamin E is good). Daily use of the proper penis health crème can make a big difference.

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