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We all have our theories about penises. For instance, I am of the opinion that all of my male Internet haters have teeny tiny ones. Again, just theories. But here are the facts.
1. Napoleon’s Penis
This one’s a real doozy. When Napoleon Bonaparte died, apparently his doctor cut off his penis for the autopsy. In 1977, the penis was eventually sold for a whopping $2,900 (this feels cheap?) to a urologist in New Jersey and was apparently 1.5 inches at the time it was sold. But during the interim period, people had much to say about it. Because it was ill-preserved, the penis was allegedly compared to a piece of leather, a shriveled eel, and to beef jerky. And when it was put for up public display in Manhattan in 1927, TIME remarked that it looked like a “maltreated strip of buckskin shoelace.”
Men everywhere, meet your worst enemy. Candiru is a type of catfish found in South America, specifically in the Amazon river. It’s typically less than an inch long, scaleless, translucent, and looks similar to an eel. And they have this mean little habit of swimming up the urethra of men’s penises. The first documented incident of this was in 1977. What happens is, once the little guy has swam fully up the urethra, it settles in there by anchoring their short spines into the surrounding tissue. They then gain access to the man’s blood supply, which can cause inflammation, hemorrhage, and even death. The only way to remove this is surgically.
A rare condition that affects one in 5-6 million males, diphallus is when a man is born with two penises. Unfortunately it’s rare that both are fully functional, and it often comes in tandem with other deformities that also require surgery.
4. Penises used to have spines
Though they were lost before Neanderthals and modern humans diverged. Scientists are still not quite certain of their purpose, but they speculate that it correlated with sluttiness as these spines apparently quickened the pace of an erection and is more common in promiscuous species. If you’re wondering what constitutes a promiscuous species, apparently that would be a cat.
5. The foreskin has an abundance of Langerhans cells
Which are immune cells that are infiltrated by HIV. This may explain why circumcised men in Africa have a 60% lower rate of HIV infection from heterosexual intercourse.
6. Fetuses can have erections
Incase you missed that, that’d be a fetus with an erection, or, an erection inside your pregnant belly.
7. Kim Jong-il’s penis was 3 feet, 4 inches
…according to the North Korean version of the Guinness Book of Records.
8. Jonah Falcon, ladies and gentlemen
The man with the world’s largest penis. He is 42-years-old, with a 9-inch penis (13.5 inches when hard).
9. King Fatefehi of Tonga, AKA Pimp Daddy
Between the years of 1770 and 1784, he apparently deflowered 37,800 women.
10. No brain necessary for ejaculation (or, the Pope is Catholic)
The order to ejaculate comes from the spinal cord, not the brain.
11. Animals with the biggest and smallest penises
The Blue Whale is the animal with the biggest recorded penis to date, at 8 feet long. The adult male elephant has the biggest recorded penis for land animals, at 6 feet (and S-shaped when erect). And coming in with the smallest penis is the shrew, at .2 inches.
Koro is this really weird culture-specific syndrome, where a man (or a woman) is overcome with a debilitating fear that his penis (or her nipples) is shrinking and will eventually disappear. Interestingly, this fear is borne out of no real proof or evidence. It is also known as “penis panic” and has been said to provoke mass hysteria.
13. “Angel Lust”
I’m sorry in advance for this one. This is when a man gets an erection after being hanged, also known as a “death erection.” I said I was sorry.
14. King of ancient tribes ate penises
In ancient tribes, the king would often eat the penis of his predecessor to apparently absorb his holy power. This practice was allegedly banned by the ancient Hebrews (what up Eliezer?).
15. “Shaved” guardians in Muslim empires
In great Muslim empires, there would be a guardian assigned to each harem’s bed. The guardians had to be “shaved,” which meant having his testicles and penis removed.
16. Kellogg’s original purpose
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Graham Crackers were originally invented to suppress masturbation. Inventors Sylvester Graham and john Kellogg believed the problem of masturbating could be fixed by keeping body heat out of the penis, which they attributed to food intake.
17. Semen cures depression
Apparently semen contains chemicals that elevate mood, increase affection, induce sleep, and contain at least three antidepressants. It also contains cortisol, which is known to increase affection; as well as estrone, which elevates mood; oxytocin, which also elevates mood; thyrotropin-releasing hormone, which is another antidepressant; melatonin, which is a sleep aid; and serotonin, which is a well-known antidepressant neurotransmitter.
Reprinted with permission from Thought Catalog. Want More?