10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Penis (and Balls)
You might think you’re an expert on your own package. After all, keeping it happy and healthy is a central goal for most men. But despite how frequently you think about your penis and testicles, they contain a few mystical secrets you still haven’t uncovered.
1. You Can Deadlift With Your Dong
The practice of “iron crotch” is a legitimate—albeit niche—form of kung fu. In his martial arts studio in Los Angeles, Grandmaster Tu Jin-Sheng teaches students how to lift more weight with straps wrapped around their flaccid penises than you can bench press. In the early 2000s, he gained some media attention for towing a tractor trailer with his junk, and a couple years later followed up that stunt by pulling an 8,000-pound World War II-era fighter plane down a runway for the National Geographic. Jin-Sheng claims that in addition to improving your virility and the length of your penis, strapping heavy weights to your groin also relieves a variety of ailments from diabetes to heart disease—and it’s safe to say those claims haven’t been confirmed.
2. Your Erections Can Be Graded
Tumescence—you know, the stiffness of your soldier—can be measured on a four-step scale: Bigger but not yet rigid; not hard enough for penetration; firm for intercourse, but not rock-hard; and fully engorged. The “erection hardness scale” was developed by scientists who were testing the drug Viagra during the 1990s. The primary method used at the time, the International Index of Erectile Function, asked men to rate their boner based on their self-confidence, and how often they could have sex. But while the original study showing that Viagra works was going to press, the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine suggested a simpler way of quantifying erection outcome data, says study author Irwin Goldstein, M.D.
Related: 8 Ways to Protect Your Erection
3. Men Are Just As Sensitive As Women
We’re talking about sensitivity to touch, of course. When it comes to sensation on your genitals, men and women are almost identical. Separate studies at Cornell University (for women) and Michigan State University (for men) used a scientific device that measures the lightest amount of pressure a person can feel on their skin. For guys, the most sensitive areas were the tip of the foreskin, and the area on the underside of the penis just below the glans called the frenulum. For the ladies, the most receptive regions were the inner labia. But according to the sensitivity scale, men and women were in a dead heat. Both genders responded to the same level of touch: Just two-tenths of a gram of pressure could be felt.
4. Bacteria On Your Junk Can Lead To Aids
You’re probably aware that your colon is full of different bacteria, most of which are helpful. The tip of your penis also harbours its own colony of bacteria, but those tiny critters may affect your risk of HIV infection. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have shown that uncircumcised men harbour harmful bacteria underneath their foreskin that thrives in the oxygen-starved environment. “The anaerobic bacteria or other organisms there cause inflammation, which attracts the immune system’s T-cells that HIV targets and makes them more susceptible to infection,” says study author Ronald Gray, M.D., a professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins. Of course, if you’re uncircumcised and want to avoid STDs, you could simply wear a condom.
5. Morning Wood Can Hurt
Whether you’re dreaming of a sexy encounter or not, you probably wake up ready for action on most mornings. In fact, men typically experience between three and five full erections at night, typically during the deep, rapid-eye movement phase of sleep. So imagine then how miserable it would be to become afflicted with “sleep-related painful erections.” It’s a rare condition (a little more than 30 cases have been reported so far) in which the erections you achieve in dreamland—but not necessarily the ones you get while awake—are painful instead of pleasurable, and they hurt enough to wake you up. Doctors still aren’t sure why exactly these erections cause pain during sleep.
6. Your Penis Tricks Women Into Thinking It’s A Monster
Chalk it up to wishful thinking or memory’s way of making things seem better than reality, but a recent study found that women remember penises as being larger than they really were. Researchers at the University of California had 41 women handle a 3D-printed dildo for 30 seconds. Then the study participants completed a short survey, after which they had to reach into a bin of 32 other fake penises and pick the one they held before. As it turns out, the women generally pulled out a phony phallus that was bigger than the original one. Score!
7. You Can Pierce Your Prick As Many Times As You Like
The opening of your urethra at the tip of your penis has a name: the meatus. (Add your own joke here.) If that doesn’t seem to be an adequate number of holes in your family jewels, you could take after Rolf Bucholz, a German man who holds the official record for the most body piercings. According to the official count by the Guinness World Records, out of Bucholz’s 453 piercings, 278 are on his genitals.
8. Some Guys Like Getting Kicked In The Balls
A swift kick to the crotch is probably at the bottom of the list of things you want to have happen to you during sex. But for some guys, “ballbusting” is a sado-masochistic sexual fetish—part of the menu of services you might hire a dominatrix to perform. Close to 10,000 members (including men and women) of the kinky social networking site FetLife list it as a personal interest, and there are 33,000 results for “ballbusting” on YouTube. (Search at your own risk.) The Japanese even have a specific name for it: Tamakeri.
9. A Twisted Testicles Can Leave You With One Nut
First, the good news: Your balls can’t get tangled with each other like your iPod earbuds, since your scrotum contains two separate compartments divided by a thin membrane. What can happen, however, is an individual testicle can spin around, which twists the spermatic cord until it cuts off blood flow. It’s incredibly painful, and “testicular torsion” can cost you the nut if not treated quickly enough. While it’s most likely to occur when your gonads are developing either as an infant or a teenager, a British study reported that cyclists are at increased risk of testicular torsion due to the rocking motion they make while seated on bike saddle.
10. Erections Cause You To Make Bad Decisions
Back in 2005, scientists at MIT and Carnegie Mellon University had 35 men answer a survey both in a normal state and while masturbating to what the researchers called “a high but sub-orgasmic level of arousal.” When the men were turned on, they rated just about everything the scientists asked about as much more sexually attractive, including women’s shoes, the idea of a guy-guy-girl threesome, and even the smell of cigarette smoke. At the same time, during masturbation the guys said they were willing to work harder to get laid, whether it was as simple as telling your date “I love you” to get her to sleep with you, or the immoral act of intentionally getting her more drunk. That doesn’t necessarily mean all guys think with their penis, but being horny has more sway over your decisions that you probably realised.
Originally published on menshealth.com