Author – Anna Lynn
The penis isn’t exactly a mysterious organ. Most of it’s right out there in the open, and most guys are far from ashamed to bring it out should the right occasion arise. But macho grandstanding and fallacy (or should we say “phallusy”?) aside, there are plenty of things you probably don’t know about this important piece of the male reproductive system. Check out these interesting factoids about man’s best friend. (If you haven’t already, be sure to read 10 Things You Don’t Know About Vaginas too!)
They Are Breakable
Unlike many other mammals, a human penis may not include a bone, but that doesn’t mean it can’t break. Yup, it might sound like a scene from a horror movie (and for the unfortunate guy who experiences it, it probably is), but penile fracture does happen, although rarely, usually as a result of a run-in with an unyielding surface, such as a the bed, a partner’s pubic bone, or even a pillow. If the collision is hard enough, the corpora cavernosa inside the penis can tear, resulting in a large, cracking sound. If it happens, get to a hospital, quick; if left untreated, penile fractures can cause damage to the urethra, eliminating a man’s chance of ever missing the seat again.
Most Are Created Equal
Despite what you might have seen in the movies (ahem, “Boogie Nights” …) most penises are about the same size – between three and four inches when flaccid and five to six inches when erect. That isn’t to say that there aren’t outliers, but according to condom manufacturers, only six percent of the population needs magnum-sized protection. (Which, of course, suggests that about 94 percent of guys have a tendency to lie.) (Another thing you might not know? How to put on a condom properly. Find out where you’re going wrong in 9 Things You Didn’t Know About Putting On a Condom.)
It Isn’t a Bone … Or Is It?
The human penis does not include a bone, but that long-known fact had many insatiable scientists wondering just how it can become – and stay – so hard. Well, Diane Kelly, a senior research fellow at the University of Massachusetts, believes she has the answer. And it’s … pretty weird. As it turns out, the penis is a hydrostatic skeleton, which means it has a lot in common with invertebrate organisms like worms and snails. Unpleasant imagery aside, these animals use the pressure of fluid and the action of surrounding muscles to change shape – just like a penis. But what makes a penis truly unique is its highly organized layers of collagen fibers, which are arranged at zero and 90 degrees to the length of the penis. This is what gives an erect penis its structural integrity, allowing it to stay stiff and resist bending. Kelly calls this “a really effective solution to a very basic biological problem.” We think it’s just kinda cool.