What's it like to have a penis?

This question was posed in another node, so I shall do my objective best to answer it. Keep in mind, as it was rightly pointed out in the originating writeup, that having had a penis all my life makes this kinda difficult to be 100% objective, but I shall certainly do my best to try.

One of the first things that should be made clear about having a penis is that it can be a very annoying thing sometimes. Peeing with an erection, shifting, sweating, sensitivity, itching... that whole jock itch thing is not the big joke people might expect. Imagine your foot itching really, really bad, but not being able to publicly scratch it for fear of offending someone's societal mores- or your own. I mean, blatantly itching one's member is not exactly something that can be done in the open without someone noticing. Men, if they're smart, learn over the years how to be as surreptitious about this activity as possible because, while women are loathe to wave their soiled panties in the air, men are just as reluctant to have everyone and their dog know that jock itch is an "issue" at any given moment. Another thing about jock itch is that it is not permanent. The best way to avoid it, as with any other kind of itching, is to keep one's undershorts clean as well as the affected area.

I'm sure that many women have made the mistake of thinking that it is the penis which lends many men a certain measure of empowerment. This is a falsehood; it's not the penis itself which empowers us, but it is the idea of it. It is a visual affirmation of our maleness (aside from angular physiological geometries and muscular definition), it is the thing which gives life to the womb and it is often a status symbol (if size isn't an issue to women, it most certainly is to most men, whether they admit it or not). Yes, penis envy exists just as much as breast envy. But, as with women's breasts, there are limits to the matter of jealousy. A man whose member is significatly larger than "necessary" is not as lucky as you would think. For starters, any women such an individual encounters sexually are hopefully endowed with patience, endurance and perhaps just a little humor. Any man who is actually interested in making a woman feel physically uncomfortable while having sex, due solely to the size of his penis, is missing the whole point of sex, isn't he? I mean, sex is supposed to feel good for both (or more) parties involved. And therein lies the greatest reason men feel empowered by their penises... used properly, a penis can be capable of inspiring massive amounts of pleasure in one area while the hands are free to pleasure other areas as well. At the base level, men more often than not feel empowered by their penises because of the convenience it offers them during sex. Plus, there's the whole writing-your-name-in-the-snow thing, which is a feat I have yet to hear a woman claim. When I meet a woman who can reliably prove to me that she can write her name in the snow while urinating, I will stand up, walk out of the room and demand a refund on that thing between my legs.

Heft: do not discount the feeling of it or the sense of awareness it can inspire in a man. When a man stands up and feels his cock shift slightly in one direction or another, he is suddenly and acutely aware of the fact that is, indeed, male. Don't be fooled- regardless of a man's intellect, I would swear that we sometimes forget our genders. Actually feeling that thing down there moving as it is wont to do is a gentle reminder and, sometimes, it can be quiet pleasurable. Remember: the male genital area is extremely sensitive. The slightest sensation can be felt like a thunderclap, under the right circumstances.

There is a supposed fact that men think of sex an average of every seven seconds. Women's genitalia are concealed and secreted away; a man's is not. Because of this protrusion at our groins, which is sensitive and reactionary, is it any wonder that we think of sex so often with such an insistent reminder? I am sure that there are many groups out there who would have you mentally associate the "natural" male tendency towards aggression and sex, but the simple fact of the matter is that we think of sex so often because we can't really hide our sexual organs except by cosmetic or fabicated means (by this I mean clothing). Believe me, it can be very distracting. I have, on countless occasions, been involved in engrossing conversations with members of the female half of our species and felt at a crossroads simply because something down there twitched unexpectedly- and the twitching wasn't necessarily inspired by her. It often was caused by crossing or uncrossing my legs, walking, being bumped... in short, physical stimulation that had absolutely nothing to do with her, but caused a physical and mental response which resulted in carnal thoughts- if only briefly.

A penis, like anything else on a human body, is like a snowflake: no two are exactly alike. This is a truism that I'm sure goes without saying except that it is a setup for a very important issue: appearances can be deceiving. What I mean is, the way a man looks has almost nothing to do with the shape of his penis. That old yarn about a man's hands and feet or his nose having a direct correlation with the size of his penis is utter nonsense, a myth. The surest way to find out what a man's size/girth is like is to, well, see for yourself and stop trying to second-guess genetics. And that is what is at the heart of the matter, where size is concerned. As with everything else in life, that wonderful gambling game we call genetics makes it a crap-shoot. A man's size is based purely on luck (or not, depending on your perspective). His hands have nothing to do with it, nor do his feet or his nose. Furthermore, it is extremely unlikely that a man can improve the size of his penis through mechanical means, barring cosmetic surgery. This means that giving your husband/boyfriend a penis enlargement system (pump) is about as pointless as him sending away to Mazatlan for the oft-fabled Spanish Fly- both are moot and can actually cause more harm than good. Even cosmetic surgery, as with any sort of "elective" surgery, has its pitfalls and should be considered with the utmost care. After all, it's not the size of the sword.....

Here's an interesting issue: to nip the tip or not? What purpose does the hood of a man's uncircumcised penis have? Well, to be perfectly blunt, none in this day and age, but it's nature is to keep the penis' only opening protected from various forms of bateria and general foreign matter. In many ways, the "excess" skin on an uncircumcise penis has the exact same function as the hood which covers the clitoris on a woman's genitalia. What does this mean, exactly? Nothing much except that a man who has not been modified (as such) will have to make certain that he keeps the head of his penis clean. This involves (usually) gently pulling the skin away from the glans (head) and washing with soapy water. For a man who has been circumcised, he has nothing to really worry about as far as cleanliness is concerned- as long as he bathes regularly. The reason circumcision was instituted, far back in the past (far longer than I can probably count, though a Jew might be able to shed more practical light on when it was started), had everything to do with cleanliness and general health. At the time, humankind hadn't developed running water and plumbing systems. Baths, when they could be taken, were generally had at public bath houses or in rivers/creek beds. I don't know if you've given it much thought, but both such places can tend to be very unsanitary locales. Men were dying in large numbers from gonorrhoea and syphilis, and probably early forms of hepatitis as well, and it was deduced that many of these men had been infected while bathing. The excess skin of the male penis would inadvertantly retain certain microbes, which could find their way into the ureter and thereby infect with fantastic ease. Someone eventually realized that it was possible to "snip" off this bit of skin and make it easier for men to keep their genitals clean and, hopefully, avoid infection. Over time this very practical and medically sound concept managed to get some pseudo-religious traditions attached to it and then having your son's bris became all the rage. Fact is, due to our advancements in personal hygiene, circumcision is not exactly necessary, but it is some minor convenience- one less thing (pun intended) to pay extra attention to when showering. Can a man get circumcised later in life? Certainly, though it hurts like a four-alarm bitch and the healing process takes longer, but it doesn't diminish a man's sexual prowess any- nor does doing so improve it.

I won't go into describing the actual sensation of an orgasm or even urination- I leave that to more prolific, if more risqué, writers. Since I have never been a woman, I find it difficult, at best, to even form a comparison or simile. All I can say on the topic is that it feels really damn good to have an orgasm and, sometimes, just as good to take a piss- I don't know exactly why this is, but I suspect it has something to do with all of our sexual nerve endings being located in the same exact place where both fluids exit our bodies. Hrm... perhaps I can give the whole why-does-urinating-feel-good-to-a-man question an interesting corrollary.... From what I hear, women enjoy feeling warm, wet kisses on their clitorises, yes? I'm sure most if not all of you women have experienced the sensation of having warm water trickle over the clitoris while showering. Question: did it feel really damn good? If so, that's probably a close approximation to what a man feels when he's urinating, only times ten because the fluid is 1) body-temp and 2) prolonged. Beyond that, I'm at a loss for words to describe it. An orgasm is right up there with trying to describe snow to a man who has never seen it and likely never will: impossible to convey with words.

If anyone else has some reliable anecdote for what it's like to have a penis (a practical anecdote!), then please don't hesitate to contribute. Like I said earlier, they're like snowflakes: no two are exactly alike. One man's perspective could be drastically different from another's. I hope this was informative enough to allow the female members of our species at least a glimpse into what it's like to have one of these things. Sometimes its an inconvenience, but it's also pretty damn interesting and even, yes, fun. After all, sometimes they're fun to point at and giggle- perhaps even laugh out loud at the strange, cylindrical thing dangling between our legs. That they can cause so much trouble and still prove useful is nothing short of amazing to me, but there ya go.