Although most men are quite familiar with most aspects of their penis, there are some things that you might not know about this particular appendage. Here, we let you in on eight interesting penis facts that you might not know, including the very first erection and how cornflakes and masturbation are linked. Read on to find out more.
- Your penis is twice as long as it looks
Don’t get too excited! We’re not referring to the increase in girth and length that comes with an erection. In fact, about half of the length of the penis is internal.
Even though you might wish more of it was outside your body, it’s probably better that it isn’t as enough of it needs to be connected to the rest of the anatomy, from the pubic bone to remain secure.
If you’ve ever seen an MRI of your penis, you’ll know that the entire penis, including the part that’s external, is actually shaped like a big boomerang.
- Your penis has its own ecosystem
Did you know that your penis is home to a large and varied community of bacteria?
Researchers in a study conducted at the Translational Genomics Research Institute used genetic testing to identify bacteria found on men’s penises. They discovered that there were a total of 42 different kinds of bacteria living on the skin of the penis.
However, it was also found that the variety and abundance of bacteria differed between circumcised and uncircumcised penises. On taking samples from men before and after they underwent circumcision, most of the bacteria that were missing was anaerobic, meaning that it doesn’t need oxygen to grow.
- Penises can shrink
It’s true, certain unhealthy habits can decrease the size of your member. One of those being smoking. Smoking can shorten your penis by as much as a centiemtre due to calcified blood vessels that can reduce blood circulation down there.
Aging and obesity can also contribute to penis shrinkage. As you get older, the build up of fatty deposits in your arteries can reduce the flow of blood to your penis. This results in the muscle cells inside the erectile tubes of the penis becoming weaker and less blood flow means smaller or fewer firm erections.
Not getting enough erections can also shrink your penis because it can cause it to become less elastic. Moral of the story: if you don’t use it, lose it. Keep reading to find out other benefits of regular erections.
- Your penis can break
Yes, it’s true, penises are fragile things. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider that the human penis has no bone, which is unusual for mammals.
Penis breakages are actually referred to as penile fractures, which is a rupture of the fibrous covering of the corpora cavernosa – the tissue that becomes erect when blood flow is increased.
A breakage usually occurs during vigorous sex, although there have been some instances where men have fallen out of bed with an erection and broken their penis!
- The signal to ejaculate comes from the spine
Another interesting fact about your penis that you may not know is that the signal to ejaculate comes from the spinal ejaculation generator, not your brain. Although you can delay your ejaculation to some extent, by thinking about something else, the spinal cord is responsible for coordinating the whole process and is in control of the necessary functions.
During intercourse, the spinal ejaculation generator coordinates the sympathetic, parasympathetic and somatic nervous systems in order to incite ejaculation.
- Your penis is an indicator of your heart health
Since the heart is responsible for pumping blood around your body and your penis relies on blood for an erection, it’s no surprise that the health of the two are connected.
If you are suffering from erectile dysfunction, it could be a sign of heart disease. Likewise, if you have heart disease, getting the right treatment could help alleviate the symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction commonly preceding heart problems is believed to be due to the dysfunction of the inner lining of blood vessels (endothelium) and smooth muscle. Endothelium dysfunction leads to the heart not receiving enough blood as well as impaired blood supply to the penis.
Lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, increasing your physical activity and cutting down on alcohol consumption can help improve the health of your heart, and in turn the health of your penis.
- The shoe size theory is a myth
Most people have heard of the shoe size theory – that your shoe size correlates to the length of your penis. However, a study published in 2002 revealed that the theory is completely false.
A later study, published in 2006 also found that age, height and index finger length may play a role in penis length, but not foot size.
- Regular erections keep your penis healthy
Here’s a penis health fact you’re unlikely to know. According to Dr Tobias Kohler, assistant professor of urology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, in order for your penis to maintain a healthy muscle tone, it must be routinely “exercised”. By getting regular erections, the penis is filled with oxygen by the rush of blood that causes a hard on.
However, if you don’t have regular erotic experiences to cause erections, the body has an “automatic penis maintenance function” – brain impulses cause erections during the REM sleep phase. But, for men with erectile dysfunction, a vacuum pump could help the situation, says Dr Kohler.