Welcome to The Sprout! Please sign up or login

Information » Health » Sexuality and Sexual Health » Male Genitals



Male Genitals

The Penis

The male penis has two main parts – the head and the shaft.

The foreskin is the sleeve of skin that surrounds the head of the penis. All males are born with foreskin but some have it removed – this is called circumcision (see below).

The average adult penis is usually two to four inches (6-10cm) long when soft and four to seven inches (12-19cm) long when erect. The thickness of a man’s erect penis is usually about one and half inches (3-4cm) across.

It's very common for males to have a penis that curves to the left or right. There is nothing unusual about having a curved penis. Also there is no ‘right’ size for a penis – everyone is different so don’t compare yourself to your friends.

Smegma

Smegma is a yellowish-white creamy substance, and it appears on the head of your penis as it's a natural lubricant that keeps your penis moist. If you don’t wash your penis every day, smegma can build up. This can cause inflammation (redness and swelling) of the head of your penis, called balanitis. See your GP if you think you may have balanitis.

Erections and ejaculation

When a male gets sexually excited, blood rushes to the penis making it hard and giving him an erection. This is when the penis goes stiff, grows longer and wider and sticks outwards from the body.

Ejaculation is when a small amount of semen is squirted out of an erect penis and can occur during sex, masturbation or even in your sleep (otherwise known as a wet dream). Condoms should always be worn over the penis during sex to protect against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. See the Contraception section.

Circumcision

Circumcision is when the foreskin is completely removed, usually for religious or medical reasons. It makes no difference to a man’s ability to give or receive sexual pleasure.

Sexual health

If you experience any changes to your penis, such as spots, red patches or an unusual discharge, please visit your GP or local clinic immediately. Don’t be embarrassed – they have seen everything before and will be happy to help you.

Testicles and Scrotum

As well as the penis, the male genitals consist of two testicles, which hang in a sack of skin called a scrotum.

Testicles are two small oval-shaped organs that are part of the male reproductive system and produce the sperm used in reproduction and are connected to the penis by a long tube (the urethra), which also carries urine. One testicle will usually hang lower than the other to aid movement. Testicles hang in the scrotum, which hangs outside the body to keep sperm cool as sperm can be killed by heat.

Testicular cancer

Testicular cancer mainly affects young men between the ages of 15 and 35, but almost 100 per cent of all cancers of the testicles can be cured if detected early. Warning signs for testicular cancer include a dull ache in the testicles, small, hard painless lump, one testicle larger or heavier than the other and blood coming from the penis.

Males should examine their testicles each month for changes in the shape, size or weight of each testicle and for any lumps. This is most effectively done standing up. Don’t be embarrassed - visit your doctor immediately if you detect anything unusual.

Related Media

Useful Links

Got something to say?

You must be logged in to post comments on this website.

Login or Register.

Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. It will help us find out how you use the website so we can keep improving it for you. Everyone who completes the survey will get the chance to win £50.