Male Sexuality Facts
Facts, Theories, And Information on Male
Male Sexual Anatomy & Circumcision
Male Sexual Anatomy
Circumcision means the removal of the foreskin, the fold of skin that
surrounds the glans of the penis. A great many men in a great many
societies have been circumcised, either because their religion or culture
requires it or because circumcision Is thought to be more hygienic.
The operation is a very simple one which, if it is properly done, causes
little discomfort. It can be performed at any age; in some cultures it is
delayed until adolescence and performed as a puberty rite, but in Western
societies it is usually done shortly after birth.
Circumcision may or may not make a difference to a man's sexual pleasure -
it's not really clear. The debate tends to be framed by prejudice. People
sometimes think that a circumcised glans is less sensitive, because it is
always exposed, than an uncircumcised glans.
A circumcision is performed only on those boys whose parents
request it. It is a common practice in the United States, Canada
and in some other countries, but most people in Europe, for example, are
The primary reasons for circumcision are religious and
cultural. Thus Jews, Muslims and others have their male children
ceremonially circumcised to comply with religious and cultural beliefs
that have been handed down for centuries.
The secondary reason for circumcision is supposedly cleanliness, in order
to prevent the accumulation of smegma, a white, cheesy secretion, which gathers
under the foreskin and can possibly lead to irritation, infection or
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Smegma is a natural secretion from
glands in the corona area, but its accumulation can be avoided simply by
moving the foreskin back and washing the area daily. Circumcision,
although not dangerous, is seen by more and more people as an extreme step
to remedy the occurrence of smegma."
Q: "My son is 16 and his doctor says he has to have a circumcision now. Can this be true?"
A: "Yes. Although circumcision is often performed when the boy is very
young, it may be left until about the age of puberty and can in fact be
done at any age without harmful results.
Circumcision may be necessary for your friend because he has phimosis.
This is a condition in which the skin covering the head of the penis is
too tight to roll back painlessly when required during urination,
masturbation or intercourse. The discomfort that results from this
tightness of the foreskin is easily corrected by circumcision. However,
alternatives to circumcision for phimosis, which are highly
It appears that many men today
have rather angry feelings about their own circumcision. It is something
that happened to them when they were infants and they really had not
control over it.
They may accept it because the
religious aspect may be important or they may resent
circumcision as a mutilation done without
There is, apparently, no
medical advantage to circumcision. The back-to-nature movement, which says
things are best left as they naturally are unless they are defective, is
reinforcing the medical research, and many parents are now preferring not
to have their sons circumcised.
Cosmetically, some men feel
their uncircumcised penis is not as attractive looking with its wrinkled
skin around the glans.
Others, however, like not
being circumcised as the foreskin makes the penis look longer. Men are
also concerned about how women feel about circumcised and uncircumcised
penises. Generally, women are more interested in a person than in his
foreskin - or lack of it.
Culture and Religion
Circumcision is a word from
the Latin meaning "cutting round." It later acquired the sense of
"cleansing" or "purifying." Historically, it appears that the practice of
circumcision originated among the Egyptians and was then adopted by the
Hebrews. In Genesis 17: 10-13, circumcision was established as a covenant
between God and Abraham.
Abraham was over 90 years of
age after the covenant was established. Other than the religious meaning,
the origin and significance of circumcision is still unclear. Some have
called it a tribal mark used to distinguish and separate Jews from other
This may have been true in
earlier times, but today circumcision is quite a common procedure
throughout the world. In many parts of the world where circumcision has a
special cultural or religious significance there are established rituals
attending the operation.
In Australia the Aborigines called the circumcision ceremony the dhapi,
and performed it when a boy was 10 or 11 years old. The men of the
community would take the boy off and perform the ceremony away from the
women. In the ceremony, a man lay on his back with the boy on top of him
The man held the boy in
position and the foreskin was removed by a sharp stone, sometimes jagged
quartz. Bleeding was stopped with hot coals and wet leaves. This ceremony
was part of the boy's training in stoicism and suffering, preparing him
The scrotum or scrotal sac is
a thin-walled, soft, muscular pouch, containing two compartments to hold
the testicles. Each testicle is connected to a cord (spermatic cord) that
consists of blood vessels, tubes and nerve and muscle fibers.
The spermatic cord can be felt
on each side of the scrotum. Under certain conditions - cold, in
particular - the muscle fibers in the scrotum cause the entire sac to
contract or wrinkle up, drawing the testicles closer to the body. Under
other conditions - like heat or complete relaxation - the scrotum becomes
very loose and soft, with a smooth surface.
The testicles then hang farther from the
These actions point out the primary function of the scrotum as a natural
climate control center for the testicles. The temperature in the scrotum
is a degree or two lower than the usual body temperature of 98.6 degrees F or
37 degrees C.
The job of the testicles is to produce sperm, and they cannot do
this at body temperature; they need to be cooler. If the testicles are
kept at body temperature or higher for a prolonged period, infertility or
sterility can result. The scrotum continually monitors the environment and
responds automatically in the way that is best for healthy sperm
The testicles are the two
balls (their common name) that hang in the scrotum below the penis. They
are also known as testes and they produce sperm and male hormones. The
testicles are oval in shape, about 1 inch deep, 1 inch wide and 2.5 inches
An adult's testicles weigh
about an ounce each, although the left testicle may be a bit heavier and
larger and hang a little lower than the right.
The reason why this should be
so is not known, but it may be to stop the testicles from striking each
other as the man walks.
production from the testicles is evident at birth, but increases
enormously around puberty and maintains a high level throughout adulthood
until it shows a decrease during the later years of life.
Also, sperm are produced in each testicle in special structures called
These tubes are in the center of each testicle and
connect with a series of passageways that convey the sperm to other
important organs, and ultimately out of the penis if required.
Near the seminiferous tubules in each testicle there are numerous cells
called interstitial or Leydig's cells.
These are responsible for
producing male sex hormone (testosterone), which is secreted directly into
nearby blood vessels.
At puberty, the majority of
the changes in a boy are due to the increased amount of testosterone
flowing through his body.
sexual excitement, the
testicles increase in size. Blood fills the vessels in the testicles,
causing them to increase by 50 or more percent.
After ejaculation they return
to their usual size. The testicles are drawn closer to the body just prior
to ejaculation. After ejaculation the testicles move back to their usual
position in the scrotum.
drawing-up of the
testicles close to the body occurs during times of anxiety, fear, anger or
when the man feels cold.
In hot weather or a warm bath
they hang lower - farther away from the body and its warmth; conversely in
cold weather they move up closer to the body's heat to maintain optimum
temperature. If they are kept at body temperature, testicles fail to
produce sperm and so the man is sterile.
When a man's muscles tense - as
when he prepares for flight or aggression, or just before ejaculation - a
set of muscles in the scrotum automatically pulls the testicles up.
Q. "What are blue balls?"
A: "When a man becomes
sexually excited, blood fills the vessels in the genital area, causing
erection of the penis and enlargement. If he does not ejaculate, he may
feel a general discomfort and perhaps some tenderness in the testicles.
This unpleasant feeling is
called "blue balls," probably because of the bluish tint that appears when
blood engorges the vessels. The condition usually does not last long and
the real pain associated with blue balls can be exaggerated.
Psychologically, men have been
socialized to ejaculate when they get an erection during sexual activity,
and failure to ejaculate at orgasm often adds frustration and
disappointment to the reality of the physical condition.
Some men find masturbation to
be a successful remedy. Fortunately, men are beginning to learn that
ejaculation is not a requirement in every sexual situation, and that
sexual pleasure and meaning can exist even when a man can't ejaculate
This emerging maturity
is allowing both men and their partners to relax more, to be more
spontaneous and to avoid the need to scramble around in each and every
sexual situation to reach ejaculation and orgasm. But watch out if you
happen to be one of the boyfriends and partners who can't ejaculate during
intercourse or maybe any sexual activity with a partner present."
Testicle growth is prompted in the early months of pregnancy by the
presence in the fetus of hormones which have masculinizing properties. The
testicles drop into the scrotum around the seventh month of pregnancy.
testosterone is produced by the testicles in small amounts. Signals from
the brain cause the testicles to produce substantially more testosterone
during puberty, and this leads to the distinct physical changes seen
The testosterone level
generally remains constant from adolescence through to the 60s and 70s,
when it falls off somewhat.
Testicles grow more in puberty
than at any other period in a man's life, achieving full size at around
the age of 16 to 18. The size and weight of the testicles remain constant
thereafter, with only a weight decrease in the sixth or seventh decade.
After about age 50, the
testicles do not move completely next to the pelvis before ejaculation.
Elevation does occur, but the testicles move only halfway up from their
Very early in life, babies
discover their testicles and spend varying amounts of time touching and
tugging the scrotum. It is clear from observation that children derive
pleasure from this, and it is an entirely appropriate form of sensuous
exploration at this stage.
Attention to the testicles and
the scrotum continues in varying amounts throughout adolescence and
adulthood. Fondling the testicles by preadolescents, adolescents and
adults is as much erotic as sensuous in nature.
It is a significant part of
autoerotic pleasure, leading to general sexual satisfaction. Learning the
kinds of touch on the testicles that bring pleasure is helpful because it
enables you to inform sex partners about what you like.
CULTURE AND RELIGION
The word "testicle" possibly
derives from the Latin testis, meaning "witness," "testimony," or
"testament" (to a man's virility).
Certainly some cultures have
apparently taken this to be the meaning: in Arab and some other Eastern
cultures, men still swear to tell the truth not by placing a hand on the
heart, but on the testicles, the center of their manliness. Both Genesis
and Chronicles describe this practice.
Testicles have become a symbol
of virility to such an extent that it is common for men to be accused of
"having no balls" if they do not act in the way that society has decreed
to be manly.Because of this equation of
testicles and virile roles, women who speak and act in an aggressive way
toward men have commonly been said to have "balls."
The idea here is that when
a man is dominated by a woman, or is in a position where the woman is in
control of his situation, the man has lost his balls,
the core of his maleness.
This is part of sexism and is
based in the belief that men are superior to women, and that their
testicles are visible symbols of their natural superiority.
problems with the scrotum and testes
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Other pages on the site
[ The Penis and Penile Probems ] [ Internal Male Sexual Anatomy 1 ] [ Internal Male Sexual Anatomy 2 ]