Penis FAQ

You may not want to talk about it in public. But a lot of guys have questions about their penis.

Here are answers to some of the most common questions guys have.

When does the penis grow?

Your penis grows longer and wider during puberty. That's the time major changes occur in the body that make you look more like a man and less like a child. Most guys start puberty between ages 10 and 14.

But, puberty happens at different times for everyone. You may have a penis that's grown to its full size as early as age 13 or as late as age 18.

When does a penis stop growing?

Your penis stops growing when you finish puberty. Exactly when that happens, though, varies from person to person. Everyone develops at a different pace. You may take longer than your friends or less time than them to finish puberty. But by 16, your body and its parts should be close to your adult size.

Is my penis size normal?

There is no such thing as a "normal" penis size. The size of your penis depends on your genes, just like the size of your hands, feet, and eye color. Keep in mind, penis size has nothing to do with manliness or sexual ability.

Can I change my penis size?

No. You can't change the size of your penis. Despite what you may hear, no exercises, vitamins, or diets can change the size of your penis or make it grow faster.

What is a morning erection?

An erection is when your penis fills with blood and becomes hard. A morning erection is an erection you wake up with in the morning.

Morning erections are very common. In fact, most guys have about three to five erections each night while they sleep. They just don't know it.

What is a wet dream?

A wet dream is when you ejaculate (release semen from your penis) in your sleep and wake up wet. Wet dreams often occur from having sexual dreams. Sometimes, though, they just happen. Wet dreams are a normal part of puberty. Usually, they stop as you get older.

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How can I prevent having an involuntary erection?

Unfortunately, you can't. During puberty, erections just happen. There isn't much you can do to stop them. Even thinking of the most non-sexy thing you can imagine won't help. But, over time, involuntary erections will become less frequent.

What is masturbation?

When you masturbate, you release sexual tension. You'll have what's called an ejaculation. Ejaculation is the release of semen from your penis. Semen is made up of fluid and sperm.

Many guys masturbate. In fact, one study found that 75% of boys ages 15 and 16 masturbate.

There are many myths about masturbation. For example, some people say it will stunt your growth. But there is nothing wrong with doing it, as long as it doesn't become a constant desire or get in the way of other things you want or need to do.

What is an STD?

STD stands for sexually transmitted disease. An STD is a disease you can get by having sex with someone who has one.

You do not have to have sexual intercourse to get an STD, either. You can get STDs from oral sex, anal sex, or from rubbing naked against someone who is infected.

If left untreated, many STDs can cause long-term health problems. Some STDS, like HIV/AIDS, can be life threatening.

STDs include:

If you get an STD, be sure to ask your doctor what you need to do to avoid passing it on to someone else.

How do I know if I have an STD?

Depending on the type of STD, symptoms may include the following:

  • Burning when peeing
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Burning and itching around the opening of the penis
  • Irritation inside the penis
  • Painful and swollen testicles
  • Sores on or around the penis
  • Warts, or painless growths, on the penis, testicles, groin, thighs, or anus
  • Itching in the genital area

If you are worried you may have an STD, see a doctor or visit a health clinic to get screened. Most STDs are treated with antibiotics.

You can also call an STD hotline, including National STD Hotline at 800-227-8922 to get your questions answered.

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What does penile discharge mean?

Penile discharge is any unusual fluid that comes out of the penis that is not semen or urine. The discharge may be clear or yellowish green and may or may not have an odor. It depends on the cause of the discharge. Penile discharge is often a sign of an STD and should be looked at by a doctor.

What does it mean if I feel burning when I pee?

If it burns when you pee, you may have an infection, like a urinary tract infection or an STD. Other symptoms of infection are:

  • Feeling like you have to pee constantly but, when you go, hardly anything comes out
  • Seeing pink pee (from peeing blood)
  • Having strong, distinct-smelling pee, especially in the morning
  • Pain above the pubic bone

If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor or go to a health clinic to get checked. If left untreated, urinary infections and STDs can cause much bigger health problems.

What is a circumcision?

All guys are born with foreskin. That's a fold of skin at the head of the penis. A circumcision is a procedure performed by a doctor or clergy person in which the foreskin is cut away from the penis. Many parents choose to have the foreskin removed from their baby's penis for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Cultural traditions
  • Religious beliefs
  • Hygiene purposes

Circumcision is not usually medically necessary.

What is the difference between a circumcised and an uncircumcised penis?

The only difference between a circumcised penis and an uncircumcised penis is that the uncircumcised penis still has foreskin. The circumcised penis does not. Other than that, there is no difference. Both penises work and feel the same.

What are some problems with foreskin?

Many uncircumcised guys don't have any problems with foreskin. However, some problems associated with foreskin in uncircumcised guys include:

  • Inflammation or infection of the penis head
  • The foreskin can't be pulled back behind the head of the penis because it is too tight
  • The foreskin, after being pulled back, becomes trapped behind the head of the penis; this is a medical emergency because it can cause permanent damage to the penis. You should see your doctor immediately.
  • A rare condition where scar tissue forms at the tip of the penis, tightening the foreskin around the penis head; this makes it difficult for the foreskin to be pulled back.

If you have any of these problems, see your doctor.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on December 05, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

The Nemours Foundation: "A Guy's Guide to Body Image;" "Is My Penis Normal?;" "Is It Normal to Get Erections?;" "Everything You Wanted to Know About Puberty;" "What Are Wet Dreams?;" "Is It Normal to Have an Erection When Waking Up?;" and "About Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)."

Columbia University's Health Service: "Go Ask Alice! Burning when I pee?"

CDC: "STDs."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Physical Development in Boys: What to Expect," "Masturbation."

Andrology Australia: "Penis Problems."

Netdoctor: "Penile Discharge."

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