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The Penis

Everything you need to know about the penis.

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health

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Introducing... the penis:

The penis has two main parts, a head (or glans) and a shaft. The head of the penis, particularly its rim, is much more sensitive than the shaft. Many men worry about the size of their penis, but the size has nothing to do with how well it works. All young men develop in different ways and at different rates.


  • The penis is used for two jobs, peeing and sex. When your penis is erect, you can't pee easily because a muscle closes the bladder off. The shape of an erect penis varies. It usually curves upwards slightly, and may point to the one side. Erections (hard-ons, boners, stiffies) occur in males of all ages, including babies and old men.
  • Erections can come and go without warning. They can happen at a moment's notice, sometimes in embarrassing circumstances. And they can vanish just as easily. Alcohol can cause an erection to droop. So can fear of being laughed at, of coming too soon or of causing pregnancy.
  • During an erection, more blood flows into the penis than usual and less blood flows out. This makes the penis become larger and harder and it stands out from the body.

Penis size

  • Penis sizes do vary, but not by as much as you might think. The soft penis usually shrinks when it is cold or when the man is anxious.
  • As a rough rule, the longer a penis is when soft, the less it grows when hard. It increases in size when it is erect. If it is small when soft, it may increase relatively more in size when it becomes erect.

The foreskin

  • The foreskin is a sleeve of skin that surrounds the head of the penis. When you get an erection, the foreskin stretches. The head of the penis is then completely exposed. In some cases, the foreskin can be tight. If there seems to be a problem, talk to a doctor.


  • Testicles, (testes, balls, nuts), hang in a bag (scrotum) outside the body, just behind the penis. The balls produce sperm (cum / spunk). Both semen and urine pass down a tube through the penis called the urethra. The semen is then stored at the base of the penis until the next ejaculation.
  • Balls hang in a soft bag–the scrotum. The scrotum hangs outside the body because sperm need to be kept cooler than your internal body temperature of 37C. Sperm are damaged by heat.
  • The scrotum is usually darker in colour than the rest of the skin, and is hairy. When it's cold, the scrotum becomes very wrinkled but when it is warm, the balls hang loose, and the surface of the scrotum is smooth.

Mind your balls

  • Spots, bumps and moles are common on the scrotum and penis, and don't usually mean anything.
  • If you play a sport where a blow, boot, or ball could damage your testicles, wear a plastic protector or shield.


The condom is rolled onto the shaft of the penis during sex to prevent the spread of sexual disease. It also reduces the chance of an unplanned pregnancy.


  • Semen is a combination of seminal fluid and sperm and is usually white/yellow milky liquid in which the sperm swim. Sperm are needed to fertilise an egg in the woman to make a baby.
  • When a man comes, he squirts out on average a teaspoon of semen containing up to 300 million sperm. Some men can come several times a day, others, fewer times.


  • Most men rub themselves to get an erection and to have an orgasm. Masturbation (wanking) leads to ejaculation. Masturbation is completely harmless, no matter how often you masturbate. It won't make you go blind!
  • Assuming you're not spending all of your time masturbating and you don't masturbate in public places, there is hardly any danger to it at all.
  • One slight danger with masturbation is infection if you masturbate with something unclean. Also, you may irritate your sex organs by rubbing too hard for too long. If that happens, stop.
  • It helps you to know your body better, and what you like and don't like. Of course, you don't have to do it.

Wet dreams

  • Wet dreams are when you ejaculate in your sleep. You may be embarrassed when you have a wet dream, but it's totally normal. All boys have them and they usually stop as you mature physically.


  • Most young men ejaculate (cum, come, have an orgasm) for the first time between the ages of 10 and 18, usually at age 13 or 14. It takes some by surprise–others work at it. Sexual excitement causes muscles at the base of the penis to contract hard and semen to spurt out.
  • During a man's orgasm, about 3 to 15 contractions occur. Each lasts about a second. The first three or so are usually the most intense.
  • Sometimes ejaculation may pump semen quite a distance. At other times, it just dribbles out. Semen may be thick and almost yellow or thin and watery.

Premature ejaculation

  • It occurs when a man ejaculates before or immediately after penetration in intercourse. It happens a lot more in young men who have not been having sex for a very long time or who have not done it for a while. It can be due to excitement. Using a condom can help.


  • This is the removal of the foreskin, the protective layer of flexible skin on the penis.
  • Circumcision is a simple operation and may be done for religious or medical reasons, but it doesn't affect the way the penis works.
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Published January 3rd, 2013
Last updated March 30th, 2017
Tags penis sexual health men's health
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