October 24, 2007

Q&A: Normal Penis Appearance, Bend In Penis and Peyronie’s Disease

I have a bend in my penis – is this normal? Also, sometimes it feels uncomfortable. I am in my twenties and feel embarrassed about this situation.

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Question: I have a bend in my penis – is this normal? Also, sometimes it feels uncomfortable. I am in my twenties and feel embarrassed about this situation. What do you think?

Here at The Kinsey Institute, we receive many questions from women and men of all ages who want to learn more about their most private and intimate body parts – what’s normal, what’s not in terms of color, shape, size, symmetry and (for men) the way that penises point or bend.

No “Normal” Genital Appearance

The short answer is that there is no ‘normal’ when it comes to how male or female genitals look. While most penises tend to be around 4 to 6 inches long, some are shorter and some are longer.

While most women tend to have a rather small glans clitoris (the part of the clitoris that peeks out from beneath the clitoral hood, and sits just above the vaginal entrance), some women have a larger or longer or more prominent glans clitoris. Some women have labia minora (inner lips) that are several inches long and other women have labia that are barely even noticeable.

The longer answer is a little more complex. Even though there is no “standard” for how genitals look, there are times when you might want to talk with your healthcare provider about your genitals and how they look or feel.

In your case, you have noticed a bend in your penis. Quite a lot of men have a bend in their penis – some men are puzzled or troubled by the bend and others like the way that it looks or have found ways to use it during sexual activity with a partner that makes them feel like their bend packs an extra punch, adding a unique way of stimulating their partner.

If Intercourse is Difficult or Impossible

But sometimes the bend is such that intercourse with a partner becomes physically difficult or even impossible. Other times a man might notice discomfort or penis at or around the site of his bend, either when he gets an erection or just in general.

These are examples of when a man should check in with his healthcare provider (a urologist is a particularly good specialist for men to see when they have questions about their penis, scrotum, testicles, ejaculation or other aspects of sexual function).

Peyronie’s Disease

One condition that affects fewer than 5% of men is called Peyronie’s disease. Peyronie’s is often described as a connective tissue problem or disorder in which scar tissue develops in the penis.

The development of this scar tissue can create a curve or bend to the penis, can be associated with discomfort or pain, and can eventually cause erectile problems for some men. Though it is more common among men older than 40, younger men can be diagnosed with Peyronie’s too.

Penile Trauma or Injury

Other times men experience pain or discomfort in their penis after having had trauma or injury to their penis as can happen during sports, falls, taking hits to the groin area, or even during sexual activity (some men – seemingly more often when a partner is on top during sexual activity – have found that they slip out and then hit their erect penis against their partner’s body, making a “popping” sound; men who have this experience should check in with their healthcare provider).

It will also help to let your healthcare provider know where, precisely, you are experiencing discomfort – for example, is the discomfort at the bend, or is it at the scrotum? Also, under what circumstances do you feel discomfort – during masturbation, sex with a partner, at the point of ejaculation, when urinating, or during daily activities.

The more information that you are able to provide your healthcare provider, the easier it may be for him or her to provide helpful information and, if necessary, treatment.