There’s probably no part of your body that you spend more time thinking about than your penis. If you’re a gay guy, you also spend quite a bit of time also thinking about the penis of other guys.
But how well do you know your penis? Here’s some penis-related facts you might find useful in a pub quiz or if you’re running out of dinner party conversation.
What are the bits that make up the penis?
There’s three key parts that you need to be familiar with.
Radix. Corpus. Epithelium.
- The root of the penis — this is referred to as the radix. The radix is the attached part, consisting of the bulb of penis in the middle and the crus of the penis, one on either side of the bulb. It lies within the superficial perineal pouch.
- The body of the penis — this is referred to as the corpus. The corpus has two surfaces: dorsal — posterosuperior in the erect penis, and ventral or urethral — facing downwards and backwards in the flaccid penis. The ventral surface is marked by a groove in a lateral direction.
- The epithelium of the penis consists of the shaft skin, the foreskin, and the preputial mucosa on the inside of the foreskin and covering the glans penis. The epithelium is not attached to the underlying shaft so it’s free to glide to and fro.
What’s the structure of the penis?
A man’s penis is made up of three columns of tissue — two corpora cavernosa lie next to each other on the dorsal side and one corpus spongiosum lies between them on the ventral side.
A man’s penis is made up of three columns of tissue.
The enlarged and bulbous-shaped end of the corpus spongiosum forms the glans penis, which supports the foreskin, or prepuce, a loose fold of skin that in adults can retract to expose the glans. The area on the underside of the penis, where the foreskin is attached, is called the frenum, or frenulum. The rounded base of the glans is called the corona. The perineal raphe is the noticeable line along the underside of the penis.
The perineal raphe is the noticeable line along the underside of the penis.
The urethra, which is the last part of the urinary tract, traverses the corpus spongiosum, and its opening, known as the meatus, lies on the tip of the glans penis. It’s a passage both for urine and for the ejaculation of semen.
The raphe is the visible ridge between the lateral halves of the penis, found on the ventral or underside of the penis, running from the meatus — the opening of the urethra — across the scrotum to the perineum, which is the area between the scrotum and the anus.
The human penis differs from those of most other mammals, as it has no baculum, or erectile bone, and instead relies entirely on engorgement with blood to reach its erect state. It can’t be withdrawn into the groin, and it’s larger than average in the animal kingdom in proportion to body mass.
How big should a penis be?
Measurements vary, with studies that rely on self-measurement reporting a significantly higher average than those with a health professional measuring. A 2015 review of 15,521 men — measured by health professionals — concluded that the average length of an erect human penis is 13.12 cm (5.17 inches) long, while the average circumference of an erect human penis is 11.66 cm (4.59 inches).
The average length of an erect human penis is 13.12 cm.
On entering puberty, the penis, scrotum and testicles will enlarge toward maturity. During the process, pubic hair grows above and around the penis. A large-scale study concluded that penile growth is typically complete not later than age 17, and possibly earlier.
Penile growth is typically complete not later than age 17.
Penis size difference is most likely caused by genetics, but there are some studies that suggest that environmental factors such as fertility medications, diet, or exposure to chemical pollution could have an impact.
How do erections work?
An erection is the stiffening and rising of the penis, which occurs during sexual arousal, though it can also happen in non-sexual situations. Spontaneous erections frequently occur during adolescence due to friction with clothing, a full bladder or large intestine, hormone fluctuations, nervousness, and undressing in a non-sexual situation. It’s also normal for erections to occur during sleep and upon waking.
The primary physiological mechanism that brings about erection is the autonomic dilation of arteries supplying blood to the penis, which allows more blood to fill the three spongy erectile tissue chambers in the penis, causing it to lengthen and stiffen. The now-engorged erectile tissue presses against and constricts the veins that carry blood away from the penis. More blood enters than leaves the penis until an equilibrium is reached where an equal volume of blood flows into the dilated arteries and out of the constricted veins; a constant erectile size is achieved at this equilibrium. The scrotum will usually tighten during erection.
How does an ejaculation work?
Ejaculation is the ejecting of semen from the penis, and is usually accompanied by orgasm. A series of muscular contractions delivers semen, containing male gametes known as sperm cells or spermatozoa, from the penis. It’s usually the result of sexual stimulation, which may include prostate stimulation. Ejaculation may occur spontaneously during sleep — this is known as a nocturnal emission or wet dream.
Ejaculation has two phases — emission and ejaculation proper. The emission phase of the ejaculatory reflex is under control of the sympathetic nervous system, while the ejaculatory phase is under control of a spinal reflex at the level of the spinal nerves. A refractory period succeeds the ejaculation, and sexual stimulation precedes it.
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Meet the vegan body-builder
Alexander Kosztowny is building mass without harm.
I caught up with aspiring bodybuilder Alexander Kosztowny to talk fitness, food, and life as a vegan body-builder.
Were you into sports at school?
No. Growing up, I was a heavy-set kid, and not very active at all. In school, I was very academic, and focused mainly on my studies rather than athletics. I didn’t dread gym class, and always worked hard and enjoyed certain sports like tennis and volleyball, but the lack of variety of activities in gym class limited my view on the variety of types of activities out there. If I’d tried a weight lifting class, or yoga, or karate, my attitude may have changed earlier in life. My sister was always active, but I come from a family who are not very big on physical activity or sports. Of course, like most, I wish I’d started earlier, but better late than never.
Can you remember what your first experience of a gym was?
I lost a lot of weight in high school with the onset of puberty, and with the gaining knowledge of nutrition, portion control, and cardiovascular activity. When I went to college, I found myself putting a lot of the weight back on, and knew I had to prevent that. I joined a gym, and hired a personal trainer for the first time to help me get back on track.
I absolutely fell in love with pumping iron. I was able to coordinate working out into being a part of my schedule, as opposed to limiting it only to ‘when I have time’ and having a trainer not only motivated me and taught me technique, but also kept me accountable for my actions. He helped me with adding strength while paying attention to form, and meal planning, The excess weight fell off, and I became addicted.
Now I’m in the gym every day, pushing my body and transforming both my health, my appearance, and my outlook.
When did you decide to get serious about your fitness and bodybuilding?
About four years ago. But I’ve only been super-serious for about a year, and I’ve only been extremely strict in terms of diet for about six months. I’m still a beginner.
What’s your aspiration as a bodybuilder?
To get huge. That’s it.
As someone who’s plant-based, I’d also like to show others what’s possible on a non-traditional diet. That there are other forms of nutrition and protein, and you can build muscle, look great, and have tons of energy without harm.
What’s the difference between your body as it is now and the way that you want your body to look?
I’d still call my self thick or chubby-muscular. The interesting thing about bodybuilding is that there never really is an end goal. You just lift and grow bigger and you’re never quite big or strong enough. I’m just trying to push myself as far as I possibly can. It’s exciting to see the changes you can make that way.
What’s your work-out regime like?
I’m in the gym six or seven times a week. This seems excessive to some people, and I know others who only go three or four times a week, and that works for them. For me, the gym is therapeutic and a stress reliever, as well as a hobby.
I usually spend about one hour doing weight lifting — machines and free weights — and then I wrap up with about 35 minutes of cardio. I focus on one body part per day. It’s a traditional bodybuilding split, so muscles have a chance to rest. This routine works for me — I know some people have luck doing high-intensity, full body workouts, but I like the focus of working each muscle group in isolation.
Do you have a work-out buddy?
Not currently, but I’ve always enjoyed it when I do. It really is vital for really heavy spotting, and the dependability is nice if they’re as motivated as you. If anyone is in Los Angeles and wants to train with me, hit me up!
How important is controlling your diet?
Controlling diet is extremely important. It makes or breaks your progress in the gym. if you lift but don’t eat right, you won’t get anywhere. I’ve seen this happen both for myself and others. When I finally got on the right meal plan, the results happened in no time at all — abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.
I eat about five times a day, and I’m plant-based, just like Tom Brady. My diet consists of lots of legumes, lentils, tofu, peas, broccoli, peanut butter, protein shakes, and other natural, nutrient-rich foods that contain protein without resorting to animal products.
Besides the ethical and environmental sides of going vegan, I find I have more energy, need less time to recover, and am less sore, as well as having clearer skin. I count my macros — calories, carbs, proteins, and fats — and eat the same foods every day to stay on track. I’ve pretty much eliminated bread, gluten, alcohol, refined sugars, and beverages besides water from my diet, except for special occasions. I’m super-strict, but do let myself enjoy food.
Are your friends and family supportive of your bodybuilding aspirations?
For the most part. They’re always impressed at my progress and dedication, but I need a lot of willpower when I have a family who loves to cook, bake, and tempt me with treats. That’s why having a partner or workout buddy who is on a similar plan is helpful, if you’re lucky enough to find one. It keeps you on track.
Are you competing?
Nope, and no plans to either. But that may change as I grow bigger.
What are some of your priorities for the months ahead?
I’m currently in the best shape I’ve ever been in, so I want to just keep on progressing. It’s a slow process, and takes a lot of time, so you have to be patient.
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