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Penises & testicles, My Body

Penis and Testicle FAQs

How do I know if my penis is normal?

Penises come in lots of different shapes, sizes and colours. Read more about this on our page Love your penis.

Do I need to see a doctor about my penis? 

If you have noticed changes or are experiencing symptoms such as itchiness, dryness, discharge or soreness of your penis or testicles, it is recommended that you see a doctor. See our page on this for more information.

Does size matter?

Penises come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and all of them are valid. 

The size of your penis has no connection to how much pleasure you will be able to bring a partner. What is important is that you check with your partner(s) about what they like to do during sex, as everyone will enjoy different things, and that is part of what makes sex fun! 

What does matter, however, is what size condoms you are using, as if you use a condom that is too big, it might fall off, and if it is too small, it might break.

See our page on condoms for more information.

Can I do anything to change my penis if I am unhappy with how it looks?

There is a big industry selling lots of ways to make your penis bigger, and many of these have little to no evidence of working. There are some, like surgery, which can make your penis bigger but can come with complications. Experts say these operations do not have a medical justification and are considered to be cosmetic surgery.

For this reason, Brook thinks it is important that we educate young people about how our bodies can vary, celebrate diversity, and learn to love our penises the way they are. After all, the penis and testicles are amazing parts of the body, especially when it comes to feeling pleasure.

Should I remove my pubic hair?

Lots of people choose to leave their pubic hair exactly the way it is. Some people like to trim or remove some or all of it. Everyone is different and the way you choose to keep your pubic hair is entirely up to you.

Bear in mind though that pubic hair does exist for a reason. It is designed to provide protection from bacteria and reduce friction during penetrative sex. Removing it can result in soreness and ingrown hairs.

What contraception can I use?

Condoms are a method of contraception that protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.

They are made of very thin latex (rubber) and are designed to cover the penis in order to stop the sperm in semen coming into contact with the vagina. Condoms also stop sexual fluids being transferred between partners which provides protection against STIs. Read about STIs here.

When condoms are used correctly they are 98% effective at protecting against pregnancy and you can get them free from Brook services, contraception clinics, young people’s services, GUM clinics and some GP surgeries.

Read more about condoms here.

Will something bad happen to my penis if I masturbate?

There are lots of myths about long term damage to genitals caused by masturbation, but they are false. If you masturbate a lot in a short space of time, the skin of your genitals may become temporarily irritated, but this will not be permanent. Read more about masturbation here.

Are blue balls a real thing?

‘Blue balls’ is the informal term for a condition called epididymal hypertension. It refers to aching or painful testicles, which some people may experience after sexual arousal that does not result in orgasm. During arousal, blood builds up in the testicles, which can cause them to ache if the person remains aroused for a long time. Although it may be uncomfortable, it does not usually last long, and it will not cause you any harm. Once your erection subsides and blood flow to the genitals returns to normal, the discomfort should subside. 

To help in the meantime, some things which may help ease the discomfort are:

  • Ejaculation, either through masturbation or sex with a consenting partner. You should never use ‘blue balls’ as a reason to pressure someone into having sex. Read about consent here.
  • Focusing on solving a problem or puzzle as a distraction.
  • Taking a cold shower to help restrict blood flow to the genitals.
  • Lying down to increase blood flow away from the testicles.
  • Exercising to encourage normal blood flow in the body.
  • Applying a warm compress to the testicles to ease the pain.
Can a penis break or tear?

It is possible to ‘break’ a penis if it is dramatically bent or twisted while it is erect. There are no bones in a penis, but the tubes that fill with blood during an erection can burst. This is known as a penile fracture, and is quite rare, but if this does happen it requires emergency surgical treatment

Something else which can happen to penises during sexual activity is that the ‘frenulum’ can tear. The frenulum is a taught piece of skin which connects the foreskin to the shaft of the penis. Find out more about the anatomy of the penis and testicles here.

The frenulum is quite resilient but it can tear under the pressure of rough sex or vigorous masturbation. It can be very painful and bleed a lot.

In most cases, this tear will get better without any treatment, but you should avoid all sexual activity (including masturbation) until this has fully healed. Once it has healed it is a good idea to use lube during sex and when masturbating to avoid it from tearing again.

If it doesn’t heal then you should see your GP or visit a sexual health clinic.

I am trans – how will medically transitioning affect my penis and testicles?

There are a range of ways of medically transitioning, which fall under either hormone therapy or gender affirming surgery. Some of these methods may change the size, shape and functionality of your penis and testicles. Only you can decide if you want to opt for these methods of transitioning, and there are plenty of ways of transitioning, including medically, which don’t affect your genitals. Read more about transitioning here.

What should I do if I find a lump on my penis/testicles?

There are lots of reasons penises and testicles get lumps and bumps on them, some of which are benign, and some of which might have a medical cause. If you find a new lump on your genitals, visit your doctor so they can see what it is. 

In general, it is a good idea to check your penis and testicles regularly so you notice if any changes happen. Read more about how to do that here.

Is it a bad sign if my penis smells bad?

Your genitals in general should have a minimal smell, so this might be due to hygiene. You should wash your penis and testicles every day with warm water and soap, and if you have a foreskin make sure to wash underneath it to prevent the build up of smegma. 

If you have any kind of discharge which smells bad, this could be a sign of infection or an STI, so you should visit your GP or nearest sexual health clinic.

Why does it burn when I wee?

If you have a burning sensation or pain when weeing, this could indicate that you have an inflammation of the bladder (cystitis) or urethra (urethritis). However it could also be the symptom of a sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea or trichomoniasis. Use this symptom checker to see what you should do next.

Why is my penis and/or testicles itchy?

An itchy penis and/or testicles can be a sign of skin conditions or STIs, so you should see a doctor or go to a sexual health clinic to find out the cause. Find your nearest sexual health clinic.

I have had unprotected sex but have no symptoms of STIs. Do I need to get tested?

Yes! Not all STIs will give you symptoms so don’t delay, get an STI test for your peace of mind. Testing is quick, easy and painless and if left untreated, some STIs can cause you more serious problems such as infertility.


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