Talk:Penis/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Is this specific to human penises?

Is this true of all penises, or just human penises? If human only, should this be a subcategory under human anatomy?

This architecture is common to the penises of a great many animals, and almost universal among mammals, with the exception of the prepuce (or foreskin). In addition, however, some animals have additional features such as the os penis in dogs (penile bone) and such. The precise description above is only human.

The plural of "penis"

the correct plural is "penes". (maybe this should be noted on the page itself).

The correct plural is also "penises", which (being regular) is more memorable. Marnanel 17:16, 6 Jul 2004 (UTC)

The readership of this article

Might I remind you all that, very likely, all of our ravings will be readable by our mothers, wives, husbands, children, and future employers? Food for thought. --LMS

I don't care :) -- SJK
One day, you will regret not having cared. :-) --LMS

The effect of penile piercings on intercourse

I have a question about penile piercings -- wouldn't they make intercourse more difficult, or painful for the other partner? We should mention something about this. -- SJK

I cannot believe that 'Penis' is one of the most frequently edited articles in Wikipedia! Can't you all find another article you can put your creative genius into? Anyway, I don't think the 'penis' article should go into too much detail about piercings, slang terms, contraception etc. Do we really need to give descriptions of whether piercings are comfortable during sex??!!! - Mark Ryan

I was only asking because the article already discusses piercings, and if its going to discuss them, it better answer my question about them also. Besides, if its true, and since a lot of people will be interested (slightly under 50% of the world's population possess one, and most of the remainder, well, they, you know :), why not include it? I think the slang terms thing is going a bit overboard (though maybe it could belong in an article like profanity). But, in general, we shouldn't exclude useful knowledge simply on the grounds of the prudish of some. -- SJK
I agree 100% with the latter statement. But I would also say that we shouldn't go out of our way to include knowledge just because some people get a kick out of demonstrating that they are not prudes. That's a sign of immaturity, I think, more than it is of a lack of prudishness. --LMS
I find it preposterous that 50% of the world's population posesses a pierced penis. Where did you get that information, SJK? Ed Poor
What I meant was that a bit under 50% of the world's population possesses a penis. -- SJK

Penis length and race

Could somebody provide a citation for the claim re penis length and race? --Robert Merkel

removed from article pending citation:

Some early studies have also suggested that African-American males have statistically larger penises than their Caucasian counterparts.

I've heard that this is just an urban legond and is not supported by anything other than anecdote. Please provide a reference or simply rephrase with what I just said. -mav

Fanon covers this subject in some detail in "Black Skin, White Masks", and tends to agree with Mav (which he backs up with statistics). Interesting historical origin for the belief, though... worth reading! Graft

The only reliable penis-size studies commonly quoted in the literature are the Kinsey study, the UCSF study, and an Italian study, none of which even attempted to correlate with race. There is an ongoing government study in India as well (commissioned with the goal of helping reduce the high condom failure rate there), but it too is unlikely to answer the question. There have been many other studies and claims of varying rigor--for example, the LifeStyles condoms study, but they are generally flawed by selection bias. --LDC

It's probably an urban legend, but I remember reading that the only race with a statistically unusually-sized penis is Native Americans, who tend to be large -- though I think there is (supposedly) one tribe in Africa that is off the scale on the large side. Just wanted to throw that out there Tokerboy
More trivia that is probably untrue but I definitely read somewhere in printed form -- the largest minority in any society is always rumored to have large penises Tokerboy
While totally unscientific, that would certainly explain why Norvegians recirculate all the Richard Pryor jokes about penis size, except with Finns as the "possessors" of the endowment. There are plenty of Finns working norwegian oil platforms and in northern fish factories. -- Cimon Avaro on a pogostick
According to the 1998 Definitive Penis size survey on the internet (which isn't really scientific, but seems to yield quite believable results nonetheless), penis size differences between Caucasians and Blacks are not statistically significant. Penis sizes of East Asians tend to be smaller, however this correlates with the smaller body sizes of the East Asians in the survey... Marcika 07:19, Apr 5, 2004 (UTC).

Whether subincision splits the glans

It's my understanding that subincision, as a practice, does NOT bifurcate the glans penis. In its milder form, I believe it just slits the foreskin on the underside so that it hangs partially open; the Australian Aborigine practice, if I recall correctly, is to slit open not only the foreskin but the entire urethra to the base of the penis, but without bifurcating the head. --John Knouse

Whether erection is necessary for intercourse

I'd like to change this sentence:

Erection is required for sexual intercourse and other sexual activities.

-- because erection is not essential to intercourse. However it's certainly helpful -- Tarquin 23:28 Jan 11, 2003 (UTC)

Is it really intercourse without an erection? -- 20:17 Jul 10, 2004 (UTC)
If it's sexually pleasurable and it involves insertion of the penis in the vagina, then I'd say it's probably intercourse. The wording as it stands "for some activities" is ugly, I'll try to find something better. --Minority Report 01:51, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"Showers" and "growers"

The following could be greatly improved by slang:

For example a man with a relatively small flaccid penis may have an above average length penis when fully aroused. The opposite is also true.

if we added something about showers and growers. Ortolan88

Whether the foreskin is part of the penis

Over in talk:circumcision there was a thrilling debate over whether the foreskin is in fact part of the penis. I move this talk here in order that experts in the field may examine the issue and provide relevant information. Martin

What the hell is the foreskin if not part of the penis?

The problem (and this isn't your fault) is that most people have accepted a social bias which misunderstands basic human biology. Non-biologists are usually confused about the human body, and imagine that parts that are near each other are really the same. This is very common, and I can't blame anyone for thinking this way. But its wrong. Biologically, one can trace the development of both the penis and the foreskin surrounding the penis from separate embryological tissues. Even at birth the penis and foreskin are separate; you can even grab the foreskin and pull it far back, totally exposing the penis. You can remove some, or all, of the foreskin, without touching any of the penis itself. RK
I'm no doctor or biologist, but I have a foreskin and it's definitely part of my penis. Theanthrope 02:41 Apr 24, 2003 (UTC)
RK, your statement doesn't really prove anything; one could just as easily say, "Biologically, one can trace the development of the foreskin and the rest of the penis from separate embryological tissus. Even at birth the foreskin is separate from the rest of the penis; you can even grab the foreskin and pull it far back, totally exposing the rest of the penis. You can remove some, or all, of the foreskin, without touching any of the rest of the penis." It's a question of definition. Ruakh 16:08, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I'm sorry to be rude about this, but it's ridiculous to assert that the foreskin is not part of the penis. It is attached to the penis, distal from the body itself, and not attached to any part of the body but the penis. Its function specifically accrues to the penis itself; it has no function for any other body part. When a penis is fully erect and the foreskin is retracted, it is not even apparent as a separate part of the penis! And many body parts or organs have more than one embryological derivation -- the adrenal glands, for instance. Or the penis itself. The nervous tissues and the skin tissues differentiate from the ectoderm so early on that they are effectively different embryonic paths. Do we then say that the nerves in the penis are not part of the penis? Or do we say that the hair on your head is not part of the head? Or this: the spinal cord originates separately from the vertebrae: do we say that because of this, the spinal column only includes one, and not the other? jaknouse 20:48, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Whether we should include a picture

We need a picture....

Your prayers have been answered! :-P All the images come from and I searched around the site trying to find a copyright notice but to no avail and due to the nature of the page (a faq for I think they should be OK. --BL

You should probably email Elf Sternberg <> to ask for permission. See wikipedia:boilerplate request for permission. Martin 13:05 13 Jul 2003 (UTC)
The address is dead --BL
I found Elf's current address and emailed him. Here's the reply:
The original asfaq was placed under a Creative Commons license, but it has been a long time since I did any work on any of the FAQ materials. ... I think at this point I would be comfortable putting the work under the GFDL, yes.
So the copyright issue is now solved. Hooray! --Card 19 Nov 2003

It's strange that photos of Penis are allowed but photos of Vulva have been removed, though both originate from the same site ( FAQ, -- 18:41, 7 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Personally I don't find that half as insulting as the "image" of "an erect penis." Even without extensive medical expetise, the image is clearly one of a penis at best going through the early stages of detumescence. (I don't have a digital camera, so there...) -- Cimon Avaro on a pogo-stick 08:34, Sep 9, 2003 (EDT)


Thanks everybody for this excellent article. I've learned a lot!