Though "perineum" may sound like some ancient Roman town - the summer home of Julius Caesar, perhaps - it's actually much closer to home. Situated smack-dab between the balls and the butthole, the perineum is unjustly neglected real estate.

Also known slangily as the "taint," because it "t'aint one, nor t'other," the perineum's a nerve-rich spot with pleasures all its own. "There's nothing sexier," says one man, "than feeling a man's mouth on my hard-on, moving down over my sac, and then licking and sucking at that ridge between my legs."

Located right in the thick of a man's most popular erogenous zones, the perineum responds nicely to stimulation, from the whisper-soft to the hard-edged. Indeed, a firm-but-not-harsh touch in the right spot can even hasten orgasm, something to remember when your jaws are getting tired.

The perineum isn't as pleasure-packed as the penis, true, but many a man has found that a deep massaging motion amplifies the heat of a hard-on, and a bit of lube can make things even nicer. It can be a pleasant place for an electric vibrator, too, sending waves of sensation running both up into the shaft and back to the butthole. Those into gentle sex find it a nice place to sniff, stroke, and nuzzle, while those into rougher stuff find it an inviting spot to slap, gently punch, or apply a steel-toed boot. As with lots of other sex stuff, the best way to discover the possibilities is most likely through a bit of experimental self-stimulation.

And let's not forget that inboard of the perineum lies the prostate gland, also known as "the male G-spot." Prostate play can be even more fun when pressure on the perineum's brought into the act, providing extra stimulation from another angle; conveniently enough, the hand?s designed so while a thumb's diddling the gland, the fingers can play outside.

Unlike toys for the shaft and balls, perineum-specific gizmos are rare, but there is one popular way of adorning the area. The guiche is a piercing that places a steel ring or barbell through the perineal skin. As one happy guiche-wearer says, "It feels better than I'd anticipated. Every time I walk, I get a little thrill." Many guiched guys enjoy amping this up by hanging weights from the jewelry. And if your play partner has a guiche, pulling on it, especially right before orgasm, might well send him through the roof.

Just watching a guiching can be voyeuristic fun. "When my pal got pierced," says one man, "I went along to watch. The piercer shaved and scrubbed the area, then got him on all fours, doggy-style, and ran the end of a wand over his perineum. When the stimulation hit his 'sweet spot,' my friend's hole quivered and dilated, and that's where the piercing was done." Unfortunately, not every guiche is problem-free. Like other piercings done through essentially flat flesh, some guiche rings eventually migrate out of the skin. And a perineum piercing can be really hard to heal, so keep the area scrupulously clean and plan on not riding that Harley for a while.

Much of gay male sex seems centered on the cock, with the butt and nipples close runners-up. But the body's full of places which, properly stimulated, give rise to waves of pleasure, so why not head on down to the "taint" and explore?