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9 Fascinating Things You May Not Know About the Penis

There’s all kinds of interesting facts and facets to the human penis. Here's your chance to learn more.

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3. The adventurous penises of the argonauts.

So the human penis is strong, but not strong enough to run away and mate on its own, leaving the rest of the guy to relax and watch TV. 

One animal that does have that ability is the argonaut octopus. Stefan Anitei writes on Softpedia that in octopi, the third right arm of the male is the penis, which is detachable and is called the hectocotylus. The hectocotylus deposits sperm packets called spermatophores into the gills’ cavity of the female and will regenerate a new third arm next season.  

Some human males will be jealous of the fact that the male argonaut doesn’t ever have to bother with any intimacy hooey. Some other octopi will at least get close -- they recognize their partners by smell and touch. But the argonaut’s hectocotylus wanders off on its own when the spermatophores are formed and goes into the “mantle cavity to fecundate the eggs.” 

Wow, just imagine how much more the argonaut can get done in a day! He can go to the bank, the post office and the liquor store all while helping perpetuate the speceis.

4. While you were sleeping.

The human penis may not be that much of a multitasker, but it does get some exercise while the rest of the body is busy with something else: sleeping. 

One of the  8 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Penis pointed out by Martin Downs on WebMD is that to keep it healthy you’ve got to use it, i.e., get erections. But if something is going on in your waking life that’s preventing that from happening, your penis has your back: it works out while you snooze. Doesn’t matter what they’re dreaming about; most men have 3-5 erections a night.

The technical name for these nightly weiner workouts is NPT -- nocturnal penile tumescence -- and they are one of the things  a doctor might check if you’re concerned about erectile dysfunction. Men who don’t get erections during waking hours will still get NPT; if they don’t, there may be a physical problem.

To add insult to difficulty, “Without regular erections, penile tissue can become less elastic and shrink, making the penis 1-2 centimeters shorter,” Downs writes. 

Jeez, way to kick a guy when he’s down. It’s just like when the bank charges you a fee…because you don’t have enough money in your account. Either way you’re unfairly shortchanged.

5. What a drag.

If you want to help your penis help you, there’s something you might want to do: quit smoking.

Web M.D. Jeanie Lerche Davis reports that a study of Chinese men found, among other things, that “Men who currently -- and formerly -- smoked were about 30% more likely to suffer from impotence.” Smoking and erectile dysfunction are both connected (individually) with plaque that builds up in the arteries: it restricts blood flow and potentially causes ED, among other problems. The habit could also be making your erections smaller. 

Men’s Health reports in  8 Strategies for Stronger Erections that "In addition to damaging blood vessels, smoking may cause damage to penile tissue itself, making it less elastic and preventing it from stretching," says urologist Irwin Goldstein.

So where there’s smoke…there may not as much fire as you’d like. 

6. Those amazing animals.

The variation nature has gone to the trouble of putting into the penises of the world is dizzying. And sometimes dwarfing. 

Elephants are big (you learn something new every time we talk, don’t you?) and their penises are proportionately enormous to the point where if you click the link to this piece by science writer Ed Yong, you’ll see how you could almost mistake this elephant’s schlong for a skinny leg. Yong says the elephant also swatted flies and scratched his belly with it. Elephant penises are referred to as “prehensile,” although it doesn’t say in the piece that he picked up anything with it...except, we suspect, a lucky lady elephant. 

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