The male sex
organs are more visible and accessible than the female sex organs. Unlike
the clitoris or vagina the penis is involved directly in the
process of urination so that boys become accustomed to touching
and handling their penises at a relatively early age. The sexual
aspects of male organ are hard for a boy to miss. He learns
about them by watching , touching, and playing with his penis as
it becomes erect ( pleasurable experience) or by hearing stories
and jokes that graphically portray the sexual and reproductive
purposes of the penis. Despite such exposure, many males are not
fully informed about the details of the anatomy and function of
their sex organs.
The penis is
an external organ that consists primarily of three parallel cylinders of spongy tissue bound in thick membrance sheaths. The
cylinderical body on the underside of the penis is called the spongy
body (corpus spongiosum). The urethra ( a tube
that carries urine or semen) runs through the middle of the
spongy body and exits at the tip of the penis via the urinary
opening ( urethral meatus). When the penis is erect , the
spongy body on the underside looks and feels like straight
ridge. the other two cylinders, called the cavernous bodies (
corpora cavernosa), are positioned side- by - side above the
spongy body. All three consist of irregular sponge like tissue
dotted with small blood vessels. the tissue swells with blood
during sexual arousal, causing the penis to become erect.
beyond the point where the penis attaches to the body the
cavernous bodies branch apart to form tips ( crura) that are
firmly attaches to the pelvic bones. The penis has numerous
blood vessels, both inside and apart from the cylindrical bodies;
a pattern of veins is often visible on the outer skin of the
erect penis. the penis also has many nerves, making it highly
sensitive to touch, pressure, and temperature.
The tip of the
penis, the glans or head, consists entirely of corpus spongiosum.
This region has a higher concentration of sensory nerve endings
than the shaft of the penis and is thus particularly sensitive
to physical stimulation. Two
other areas particularly sensitive to touch are the rim of
tissue that separates the glans from the shaft of the penis (
the frenulum) attaches to the glans. Many males find that direct
stimulation of the glans may become painful or irritating and
prefer to masturbate by rubbing or stroking the penile shaft.
The skin that
covers the penis is freely movable and forms the foreskin , or
prepuce, at the glans. Inflammation or infection of the foreskin
or glans may cause pain during sexual activity. Sometimes the
foreskin sticks to the underlying glans when smegma, a naturally
occurring substance of cheesy consistency made up of oily
secretions, dead skin cells, dirt particles, sweat, and
bacteria, is not regularly washed away from underneath the foreskin. This
type of problem occurs only uncircumcised men and is one
argument in favor of routine circumcision.
is the surgical removal of the foreskin. As a result of this
minor operation, usually done shortly after birth, the glans of
the penis is fully exposed. Circumcision is sometimes a
religious practice, as in Islamic or in Judaism.
of circumcision are primarily related to hygiene and health :
smegma does not collect, the glans of the penis is easier to
clean, conditions of inflammation or infection are less likely
to occur, and cancer of the penis is less frequent. Although the
rate of cancer of cervix is considerably lower in the spouses of
circumcised men, it is not certain that this is a cause -
effect relationship. Opponents of routine circumcision see
no clear reason for this operation and suggest that removing the
skin protecting the glans weakens the regions sexual sensitivity
since it constantly rubs directly against clothing.
that circumcision increases the risk of premature ejaculation (
this is probably not true , since the foreskin of the erect
uncircumcised penis retracts , exposing the glans, and
researchers have not found a difference in the rates of
premature ejaculation in circumcised versus uncircumcised men).
We are not
aware of any believable evidence demonstrating that circumcised
affects male sexual function one way or the other. in any event,
uncircumcised men who practice routine hygienic care are unlikely
to be at any major health disadvantage.
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