Why do penises curve?

When I told Facebook readers I’d planned an article on curvature of the male member, one guy gave this hint as to why penises aren’t straight: “Let’s just say, if he’s left-handed, it will curve left, and if he’s right-handed, it will curve right.”

Yet in my extensive reading on the effects of male masturbation, 100% of the studies indicate that flogging your dolphin is good for you; it’s even good for your romantic relationships, helping you last longer in partnered sex, and taking care of your needs if your partner is not quite as randy as you are.  Not one scientific exploration of wanking showed any ill effects. In a nutshell, the “It’ll bend your dong” idea needs to go the way of “It’ll make you go blind.” Hopefully you know that isn’t true.

So if masturbation isn’t creating the penile curve, what is?

At the physiological level, one cause is a rare and painful condition known as Peyronie’s. Masturbation is definitely not a cause, but vigorous partnered sex where the penis gets traumatically injured may be a contributor; penetrating a partner who is on top of you is risky business from a broken-penis perspective! Otherwise, there’s no clear indicator of where this buildup of fibrous tissue comes from. If your curvature is causing you discomfort, or if it’s so bent that erection or intercourse is difficult or impossible, then it’s time to get thyself to a doctor to discuss an array of effective treatments.

Yet for well above 90% of men, a slight curve to the left or right is noticeable but normal; it doesn’t create pain or impair function. Despite the terms “boner” and “love muscle”, the human penis lacks muscle or bone; erection happens when three spongy areas—two along the shaft’s top, and one along its bottom– fill with blood.  But the penis does have a two-sided root that anchors it to the pubic bones. Human anatomy rarely yields perfect symmetry; if the root is shorter on one side, the penis will bend in that direction, just as most men have one testicle that hangs lower because of different lengths of the testes’ separate spermatic cords.

But why have a curve at all?

In a word: women.

Men and women shape one another’s physiology by preferentially mating with people who have what they want, and selectively shunning the rest. Male preference for large breasts has, for instance, resulted in female breasts that are much larger than any other primate’s, and much larger than needed to feed offspring.

Likewise, the penis’ size, girth, and flexibility are related to female sexual choice. Compared to the phallic fixations of other primates, it appears that ancestral women preferred sexual stimulation with a flexible, thick, long penis; some scientists believe it was more conducive to women’s orgasm. To wit, the average erect human male penis is 5.21 inches long, one inch thick, and comparatively flexible and bendable, allowing for an entire Kama Sutra of sexual positions. Compare that to the average male gorilla, endowed with a pencil-width dick just under two inches long in length; or our closest genetic relative, the chimpanzee, which sports a 3-incher with a skinny, inflexible bone.

Today, some evolutionary theorists believe that by selectively preferring larger, thicker, and more flexible penises than other primate females did, human women physically sculpted human men. Theoretically, over many thousands of generations, men who had a pleasing pecker were the genetic winners, casting their own genes forward through their sons~while less lucky guys produced fewer or no offspring. Hence, the sons have the equipment their successful, sexy dads had. And so today’s men have the longest, thickest, most flexible penises in the primate family.

Might women have preferred men with slightly curved penises, too? I think so; curvature relates to flexibility, if not overdone. Consider the humble dildo: primarily used to please women, it is often curved in much the same way as a real live pecker. If women disliked your curve, would it be selling so well in sex shops?

Worried about your size now? Don’t be. In recent studies, nearly 9 in 10 women rate themselves as extremely satisfied with their partner’s penile dimensions. Ancestral women’s preferences ensured that today, you are very likely equipped just the way we like it.

Upshot?  If your bend doesn’t hurt, it’s probably helping. Sport it with pride, touch it in private, and work all the angles with a partner.

Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., is the author of Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do (available now). For more information, or to get a free chapter, visit http://www.lovefactually.co.


Feature Image: Thinkstock



Comments 4

Paul says:
I have been with a guy that had a big penis a lot longer when it was hard and it went down the way I found it so sexy
Anonimous says:
This isn t entirely true. The penis has smooth muscle, and masturbation CAN have an impact in penis size and curvature..even a morning wood in tight underwear is said to possibly create penile curvature..It can also be fixed with many hours of traction.
Nym says:
Most male penises curve up, left or right. I’m the only guy I’ve met with a dick that curves down. It doesn’t hurt or anything, it just curves down. Why?
Anonymous says:
Maybe it’s not curved, just felling down…