Ah, the penis. What an interesting organ. Did you know it is much more complex than you might have thought?
Our genitals are a never-ending source of interest. Yet, we know very little about our reproductive organs, sexuality, or pleasure. We’re often not taught these things in school; if we were lucky, we might have had a conversation with our parents, but this isn’t the case for many people.
So, in the interest of sexual education, let’s talk penises. The penis is a unique, fascinating piece of anatomy. Here are seven penis facts you probably didn’t know.
1. Average penis size is not some huge thing, literally.
It’s no secret that penis size is an insecurity at the forefront of most men’s minds. We put a ton of pressure on men to be “huge.” This is not only unrealistic, but isn’t particularly desired by partners in general.
The average penis is about five and half inches (varying between five to seven inches). When men are constantly exposed to monster peens in porn, this can lead to copious discomfort about their bodies.
It’s important to know the facts. Studies have shown that the ideal penis size is about six and half inches long. It’s also widely believed that length is a less important factor than girth for sexual pleasure.
2. The penis has four main parts.
The penile area is very complicated—the whole structure is actually ten parts—but if we get into the nitty gritty, it can get very scientific and confusing. So let’s stick with the basics. The penis is made up of four parts: the glans, shaft, testicles, and foreskin.
The glans is the head of the penis, the part that looks like a crown. The lifted area around the bottom of the head is called the corona. The most sensitive area is on the bottom of the corona, where the penis has a heart-shaped indent. The glans contains 4,000 nerves.
The shaft is the base of the penis. During an erection, the arteries in the penis relax, allowing for more blood flow to the shaft, while the veins close simultaneously. Once the blood is in the penis, it is trapped there, leading to an erection.
The testicles contain male sperm and are encased in the scrotum, commonly called the man's “balls.”
The foreskin is a layer of tissue that protects the glans, only seen on uncircumcised penises. In case you are one of those people who shudder a little at the thought of an uncircumcised peen, studies show that uncircumcised penises actually have greater sensitivity.
3. There are three types of erections.
Erections are not all cut from the same cloth. There are three different types that a male-bodied person can experience. You can have reflexogenic, psychogenic, and nocturnal erections. But what does it all mean?!
Here is a breakdown:
Reflexogenic: Where the penis receives direct tactile stimulation (i.e. a handy or blowjob). Psychogenic: Having an erection through fantasy or mental stimuli. Nocturnal: When an erection occurs during sleep.
4. Doing your Kegels is important for men too.
The PC muscle (pubococcygeus) is an important factor in sexual wellness for both men and women. This muscle controls the pelvic floor and bowels. Strong PCs can lead to stronger erections and more controlled orgasm.
To workout the PC, tighten and release your anus. Try to do this 50 to 100 times per day—it will make a big difference.
5. Men have a longer refractory period than women, generally.
After orgasm, men and women both go through a refractory period, a slot of time wherein one cannot become aroused again. It is the “coming down” after ejaculation.
For male-bodied people, this period will vary. It can last a few minutes, hours, or even days.
Women can usually jump back into round-two more quickly than men can. This is where that old trope comes from, the one in which a man rolls over and falls asleep right after sex. Turns out, this has some scientific merit!
6. A penis CAN break.
While uncommon, penile fracture does exist and can occur. This happens when too much pressure is placed on the shaft during erection, causing a break.
The most common way penile injuries occur is during vigorous intercourse, wherein the penis falls out and misses the entryway upon the following thrust. Ouch.
7. Penises are as unique as unicorns!
There is no “perfect penis” just like there is no “perfect vagina.” Penises come in all shapes, sizes, colors, girths, and lengths. We have to stop idealizing the penis (and genitals in general). They are all as unique as the people they are attached to.
Let’s celebrate bodies and embrace their majesty rather than putting pressure on ourselves and other to measure up to impossible standards.