Penises and testicles

Everyone's body is different, and, like other parts of you, penises and testicles come in all different shapes and sizes.




The penis has a shaft which is surrounded by the foreskin (a hood of loose skin that surrounds the penis). On most men two testicles hang outside the body, just behind the penis in a small pouch of skin called the scrotum. The testicles are roughly the size of small plums.











The underside of the penis has a fraenulum, (or frenum) connects the foreskin to the base of the head of the penis.





The foreskin

When the penis is soft, the foreskin covers the head of the penis. When the penis is hard, the foreskin moves back, so the head of the penis is exposed. Some men have a foreskin long enough to cover the head of their penis even during an erection.




All men are born with a foreskin but some are circumcised, usually as babies. This is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin and is usually carried out for a variety of reasons.A circumcised penis will not have a foreskin covering the head.





Tight Foreskin

Some men find that they have a tight foreskin which does not easily roll back over the head of the penis when they have an erection. This can feel really uncomfortable. There is a gentle stretching technique that some boys with a tight foreskin find helpful:

When you're in the bath or the shower, you can try easing your foreskin back, using a non- perfumed soap or shower gel. Make sure you do this slowly and gently. The trick to the gentle stretching technique is to pull your foreskin back just a little further each day. This can be done easier in the bath, because the warm water tends to make your skin more flexible.

You can pull your foreskin back as far as it will comfortably go, and hold it in this stretched position for several minutes. If you gently pull it back a little bit more each day (but not all the way at once), with time you should notice your foreskin loosening up.

Be careful not to rush the process. Pulling it back far enough to hurt can create small tears in your foreskin, which can make the problem worse. So take care when you do it.

It can take time to see any changes, so try it for at least a few weeks. If, after trying this technique, your foreskin is still tight and it's causing you discomfort during an erection, masturbation or sex, you can speak to a doctor or nurse at your GP surgery.

Does size matter?

Many young men worry about the size of their penis, and feel self-conscious that it's perhaps too small.
In general, adult penis size is usually 6 - 10cms or 2.5 - 4 inches when soft, and 12 - 19cms or 4.5 -7 inches long when erect. The thickness of a man's erect penis is usually about 3 - 5cms across. The average girth is approximately 10 - 13cms.

It's very common for men to have a penis that curves to the left or right. There is nothing unusual about having a curved penis.

The size of your penis does not have an effect on how good you are at sex. Every penis is different, and you just need to learn how to use it!


Smegma is a yellowish-white creamy substance, and it appears on the head of your penis, and under your foreskin. It's a natural lubricant that keeps your penis moist. but smegma can have an unpleasant smell (a bit like cheese)

Men with foreskins need to be extra careful about washing smegma away. Try washing carefully under your foreskin, and see if the yellowish stuff disappears. You might like to use some un-perfumed shower gel, and rub it with your fingers. Once it goes, make sure you wash under your foreskin every day, to avoid smegma building up again.


Erections tend to happen at the most awkward and embarrassing moments, especially when you are in your teens, because your hormones are racing. It's normal for erections to appear without any warning at all, even when you're not thinking about anything sexy whatsoever!

If you get an erection at a very awkward or inappropriate moment, you could put a jumper on your lap to cover it. If someone notices, try not to react. The less you react, the sooner they'll get tired of making a scene about it.

You may find it helpful to think of something really dull and boring and unsexy, and if you concentrate hard enough, this should make your erection disappear.

Getting very frequent erections tends to settle down as you come out of your teens. The chances are your mates have the same experiences, but maybe don't chat to you about it, as they may find it embarrassing to talk about.

Lumps and bumps

It's common to get spots and bumps on the scrotum, and they are often completely harmless. However, it's important to get to know your testicles, so that you can tell if something doesn't feel quite right.

It's a good idea to examine your testicles when you're in the bath or shower. Support your scrotum in the palm of your hand, and become familiar with the size and weight of each testicle. Examine each testicle by rolling it between your fingers and thumb. Gently feel for lumps, swellings, or changes in firmness. Check for lumps on the surface or within the body of each testicle.

If you notice a lump, or something doesn't feel quite right, or you get sharp pains or a dull ache in your testicles, it's important to see a doctor or nurse. Other reasons to go to the doctor are if you get a sensation of heaviness in your scrotum, or a dull ache in your lower abdomen or groin.

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