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So here’s the deal. This Primer is not a perfect guide for every single situation or problem you may encounter with your penis over the course of your entire life. But it does aim to answer your most basic, and sometimes not-so basic, questions and concerns in a clear and frank manner, with real life pictures, common, everyday English and fun facts, just to keep your attention.
As with any information published on this site, please remember that it is not to take the place of advice or consultation from a proper physician or medical provider. But most importantly, remember that scientists, researchers and medical institutions have not spent a great deal of time or money studying our community, and knowledge about the gay male body is growing almost daily.
The information below has been gathered from respected medical providers, researchers and institutions from around the world. As always, we strive to gather information and data from gay-male-friendly organizations but this is not always possible as, unfortunately, few specialize in our issues, especially from our perspective.
We will update these pages when any informational changes, or if we believe new areas need to be addressed.
Known by many names—dick, cock, dong, Johnson, meat stick, and even “junk”—whatever you call your tool, the human penis functionally has two jobs. The most obvious and appreciated is acting as the chief male external sexual organ (for procreation and/or entertainment), and the second is for sperm and urine release.
Because, as gay males, we both have dicks and want dicks, we have an interesting relationship with this particular body part. This situation has given an otherwise rather common appendage a greater community standing. Despite this, little scientific research has been conducted on our personal feelings about size, function and usage.
In addition to this, our individual and community views of the male member are slanted by our ability to sexually interact with, and view (via porn), the dicks of other men. But, most of all, the lack of proper sexual education in the North American school system—and none regarding gay male sex—leaves many guys with misinformation about their first best friend.
No matter the length or girth, your penis is made up of four distinct parts. (see diagram)
1. The Shaft, also known as the “body”, where blood flows to obtain and maintain an erection.
2. The Foreskin, filled with thousands of highly erogenous nerve endings.
3. The Glans (short for “glans penis”), the somewhat conical thick bulbous tip, which is covered by the foreskin.
4. The Meatus (three syllables me-a-tus, not meat-us), the vertical slit located at the end of the glands.
Inside of your penis, the urethra is the basic exit tube for urine release and ejaculation. Opening out at your meatus, this is the final part of the urinary tract.
Does my cock look normal?
The easy, and true, answer is yes! The male penis comes in just as many variations of size, shape, color, thickness and imperfections as there are men on the planet Earth. Think of your dick as a form of specific identifier, as unique as a finger print.
Some guys have thicker and larger glans, others a thinner spear-shaped head. You may have a thick shaft at the base which thins as it approaches the glans, or a helmet head atop a thick cylindrical shaft. From red, to pink and even purple, the glans can have many shades and even brighten with age, before growing paler after the age of 50. When you factor in the controversial procedure of circumcision of the foreskin, which itself may be long or short, tight or loose, you get an amazing spectrum of penis types to choose from. And this is all very normal.
The more important question to ask is, “Does my penis look healthy?”
Most guys have minor bumps and discolorations, usually around the corona, or head, of the penis, especially at a circumcision scar or around the ridges of the glans. Men of color are known to have a more drastic change in pigmentation at this point, but this is very natural and normal to find. Care and concern should arise when new and/or growing bumps are found anywhere from your balls to the tip of your dick. These can be a sign of illness or infection, the most common of which is genital warts caused by HPV. The Australian Family Physician has a great article, including pictures, from May of 2013 that details some of these possible concerns: http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2013/may/penile-appearance/
The complex landscape of the penis can create fertile ground for skin conditions to develop. Noninfectious penile blemishes (which are medically referred to as lesions) are not common, but may still be a serious concern for some of you. These begin as little red bumps or even a dry rash forming around the cock corona or along the shaft of your dick. Some of these lesions are more common in guys with circumcised cocks because of the lack of covering over the glans, which can create dry, itchy skin flakes. Due to genetics, other skin irritations and distortions are more common in white men than in men of color.
Because the pictures are more graphic, and lesions less common, we are placing a link from the American Family Physician as a reference. The site also gives information about the even rarer disease of penile cancer. Again, the pictures are graphic but of a medical nature: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/0115/p167.html
As always, if you notice any severe or long lasting changes to your genitals, including swelling, bumps, bruises, bleeding or non-cum milky discharges, you should immediately consult your physician.
While it has been said that it is not the size of the boat but the motion of the ocean, most guys do have a preference in their partner’s – and a strong opinion about their own – cock size. So, let’s get one basic fact about dick size out of the way—it is almost totally based on heredity. Some rare studies believe that culture, food, nutrition and environment, might play some minor role as well, but this is still being debated.
Despite the overwhelming influence of heredity, many a man is still looking for a way to permanently increase his inheritance of the family jewels. Penis pumps, saline injections, and cockrings produce only temporary effects, and surgery has proven not to be worth the money and pain only for an increase in girth, but not substantial or even noticeable length. The trick is to learn to not only live with what you got, but love it, and make the most of it.
Even though the Ancient Greeks considered a small, uncircumcised penis to be ideal, modern Western gay culture celebrates a much larger, often cut, version. Bombarded with pornographic imagery, the average man comes away with a small opinion of his mini-me. The perception of one’s penis has been linked to low self-esteem for the smaller, and higher self-esteem in those who believe they have been blessed with a larger sexual organ. The truth of the man’s actual penis size seems to be irrelevant to how he feels about himself. Unfortunately, this view can be dangerous as a level of “penis panic” can occur, and literally shrink the size of the guy’s dick due to anxiety. This strengthens his negative perception, even if only temporarily.
These findings were confirmed in 2006 by a Dutch Study at Utrecht University by Liesbeth Woertman, a psychologist, sexologist and senior lecturer in clinical psychology. Surveying 251 gay men (average age 29), she also found that “how a gay man views his penis, has a considerable influence on how they view themselves”. On the whole, her subjects viewed having a large dick as ideal, and that their penises were the most attractive part of their bodies.
Germany performs the largest amount of penis enlargement surgeries in the world, as reported by the International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, performing 2,786 of the estimated 15,414, or 18% of enlargements worldwide.
A man’s penis size will vary with age, the time of day, his mental/emotional state, room and water temperature and, of course, with the amount of sexual arousal. The human cock has two major growth spurts beginning between the ages of one to five years of age, and, as expected, during puberty. Most men will have achieved their full adult erect length and girth just before the end of puberty (around 17 to18). A few new studies show a very slight decrease in penis length with age, but more research is needed for confirmation. There is no statistically significant correlation between the size of a man’s penis and his hands, feet, nose, ears, fingers (any of them) or any other body part. So, stop searching for guys wearing size 11 shoes or extra-large gloves.
Dicks are usually darker in skin tone than the rest of their owners’ bodies.
With rare exceptions, most guys have done a double take in gym showers, sneaked a peak at another at the urinals or compared his family jewels with those of a sexual partner. These comparisons are normal—but proceed with caution. The objects seen through your eyes may not be as large or small as they appear. Because of optical perspective, from a distance it is difficult for us to properly perceive how we measure up to another dude’s junk. Looking downward, your penis may seem smaller than the one you see across the bedroom or locker room. Add to this the issues of “showers versus growers” and the proliferation of pornography filled with men specifically selected for their extra large endowments, many gay males believe themselves to be below-average in size. Yet, most likely due to low self-esteem and confidence issues, they self-report to researchers an exaggerated length.
Leonardo da Vinci once noted: “A man who is ashamed to show or name the penis is wrong. Instead of being anxious to hide it, man ought to display it”.
If, after all of this, you still feel the need to have an actual number of inches to tattoo along the side of your dick shaft, here is a website to show you how to measure with accuracy, to list on your on-line profile.
One final note on dick size. Men lie (surprise!). In our travels to bring you this fact-filled body of work on your cock, we found this from the website 11points.com:
“A previous study found men exaggerate by anywhere from one to 1.7 inches. This new report includes a 2010 study from New York that had men self-report, then actually measured them and compared. Here is what they found:
All of this data points out a few important facts and issues:
If you enjoy being the receptive partner during anal sex, most of this does not matter, as your prostate (or G spot) is located just at the top of your anal canal, which is roughly 2 inches long. Also the most sensitive part of the anus is the first 1.5 inches or so. It takes only 2.5 inches of hard cock, or tongue, to get the job done!