The penis is the the male genital organ of higher vertebrates, carrying the duct for the transfer of sperm during copulation. In humans and most other mammals, it consists largely of erectile tissue and serves also for the elimination of urine from the bladder. The penis is also used in masturbation, where a man stimulates his penis with his hand or another form of implement until he achieves climax.
Pronunciation and etymology
pe•nis |pēnis| noun ( pl. -nises or -nes |-nēz|)
Origin: late 17th century: from Latin, ‘tail, penis.’
The penis consists of three erection chambers (two on top on the dorsal side of the penis and a larger chamber on the ventral side).
The two dorsal chambers are known as 'corpora cavernosa' and the lower chamber as the 'corpus spongiosum'. The corpus spongiosum has an enlarged bulbus end which forms the head or 'glans' of the penis.
These chambers engorge with blood during an erection causing the the penis to swell and become rigid.
Penises come in an enormous variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, however, these differences diminish during an erection when most penises attain a normal deviation of dimensions.
The general consensus for the average adult male's penis when erect is between 5 and 6 inches long and 4.8 inches in circumference. (Length measurements taken from the pubic mound to the tip of the glans; girth is a circumferential measurement around the widest point of the erection - the widest point varies from person to person).
Penises fall into two categories of circumcised and uncircumcised. These procedures happen at birth, where it is normally the parents' decision as to have the baby uncircumcised or circumcised. This has arisen some issues around whether a parent has the right of consent on behalf of a child. The vast majority of men are not circumcised, however, the ratio of circumcised to uncircumcised varies greatly by geographic location.
An uncircumcised penis is also known as an uncut penis. It is a more natural cut for the penis, at birth. It is a penis with a foreskin. Circumcision is quite uncommon in Europe with the vast majority of men (about 90%) are uncircumcised. It is also uncommon in Asia; the Far East especially.
An uncircumcised penis also features the frenulum, which is a small fold of tissue that secures or restricts the motion of the glans (aka "head") of the penis.
An anti-circumcision lobbiest would like a ban on non-medical infant circumcisions, to give the child the right to choose as he matures. Here are some groups opposed to circumcision:
Some people argue that circumcision desensitizes the penis, due to the removal of the nerve rich foreskin, and constant contact of the glans with foreign objects. (i.e. clothes, underpants, etc.)
In January 2007, The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), stated "The effect of circumcision on penile sensation or sexual satisfaction is unknown. Because the epithelium of a circumcised glans becomes cornified, and because some feel nerve over-stimulation leads to desensitization, many believe that the glans of a circumcised penis is less sensitive. Opinions differ about how this decreased sensitivity, which may result in prolonged time to orgasm, affects sexual satisfaction. An investigation of the exteroceptive and light tactile discrimination of the glans of circumcised and uncircumcised men found no difference on comparison. No valid evidence to date, however, supports the notion that being circumcised affects sexual sensation or satisfaction." -Evidence-
- The Circumcision Information and Resource Pages by Geoffrey T. Falk
- Doctors Opposing Circumcision presided by George C. Dennison, MD, MPH
- National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers by Marilyn Milos, RN
Circumcision is a procedure which involves the surgical removal of all, or a portion of the foreskin. People can be circumcised for a variety of medical, religious, social or personal reasons.
Most circumcisions are performed on new born babies, however, some men do circumcise themselves, or have it done surgically,w hen they change their religious affliction. Here are some links on circumcision techniques:
- Description of an adult circumcision from the American Academy of Family Physicians.
- Description of a Plastibell circumcision from the Medical College of Georgia.
Jews, Moslems, and some Christians are circumcised for religous reasons.
A pro-circumcision lobbiest feels the benefits outway the risks. Here are some pro-circumcision groups:
- Benefits of circumcision: medical, health and sexual by Professor Brian Morris
- Circumcision: a lifetime of medical benefits by Edgar Schoen, BSc., M.D.
- Circumcision Information by Gerald N. Weiss, M.D.
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