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three pairs of lovers with space

PHYSICAL MATURITY: GROWTH OF GENITALS
BY EDWARD BRONGERSMA

 

“Growth of Genitals” is the first of the two parts of “Physical Maturity”, the first section of “Boys and their Sexuality”, the third chapter of Loving Boys, the encyclopaedic study of Greek love by the eminent Dutch lawyer, Edward Brongersma, of which the first volume (including this) was published by Global Academic Publishers in New York in 1986.

 

Growth of Genitals

Larousse 7 10 ans. Le corps humain dtl
"The human body" in Larousse dictionnaire 7-10 ans

From a purely physical standpoint, becoming mature is a very dramatic process. According to the French endocrinologist Bertrand, the preparation for this event begins as early as the sixth year, but for the moment it is outwardly imperceptible.[1] The body as a whole increases steadily in height and weight, but the genitals lag very much behind, appearing in the baby proportionally much bigger than in an immature twelve-year-old. Then suddenly the hypophysis starts to pour hormones into the blood and stimulate growth. Testicles and penis now increase rapidly in size, together with those connected organs hidden in the lower abdomen, the prostate and seminal vesicles. The colour of the skin on the genitals becomes darker; the larynx conspicuously enlarges, the voice drops, and coarse hair appears on hitherto hairless areas: the underbelly, around the anus, in the arm-pits, on upper lip, cheeks and finally the chin. Growth of secondary hair increases everywhere on the body: thighs, legs, arms; in some boys it gradually spreads across the chest and elsewhere on the trunk. Axillary perspiration increases and its odour changes. The nipples get more pigmentation and prominence. The hairline on the forehead changes. The complete evolution from the commencement of genital maturation to the adult stage takes on the average slightly less than six years (minimum of five years, maximum over seven). Boys with a long maturation span tend to have larger penises.[2] But long before all these processes have terminated the hour of puberty per se has struck: the boy’s ejaculate for the first time contains live, fertile sperm cells. Hair growth is not a very reliable indicator of sexual maturity: it may precede it but may also come later.[3] In most boys pubic hair appears prior to axillary hair, but in some this order is reversed.[4]

William A. Schonfeld[5], an American army physician, examined the genitals of 1500 healthy white boys and young men, age 0 to 25, in New York to determine their state of maturation. No simple task with these organs! The penis caused particular problems because its length and circumference should properly be measured in erection, which Schonfeld thought impractical. However, he developed methods of obtaining fairly reliable measurements. He had the subject lie on his back and stretched the flaccid penis upwards along the belly: the distance between the fold of the penis where it joined the lower abdomen and the tip of the glans was then taken as penile length. Schonfeld wrote that in a number of males this length was nearly equal to its length in erection[6], but this claim must be viewed with some skepticism since in one and the same individual the size may be different at different times: cold and disgust may cause shrinking, for example. Kremer[7] categorically denies that there is any fixed relationship between the lengths of the flaccid and erect penis. Reynolds & Wines[8] found, in a sample of 34 cases, the coefficient of correlation between length of flaccid and length of stretched penis to be 0.70.

Lacking more exact and comprehensive figures, we will nevertheless use Schonfeld’s data. He sets up six stages of genital maturation:

1. Prepubescent boys without any evidence of active genital growth or of secondary sexual characteristics (i.e. hair growth, voice changing, nipples colouring). Testes volume 0.3 - 1.5cc.; length of penis 3 - 5 cm., circumference 2 - 5 cm. To this group belonged all boys under 10 years of age, 96% of the 10-year-olds, 76% of the 11-year-olds, 44% of the 12-year-olds, 15% of the 13-year-olds and 6% of the 14-year-olds.

Larousse 7 10 ans. Le corps humain 1 dtl. genitals
"The human body" in Larousse dictionnaire 7-10 ans

2. Beginning of active growth of the testes, with some growth of penis but no pubic hair as yet. Testes volume 1.75 - 6 cc.; length of penis 4.5 - 9 cm.; circumference 4 - 6 cm. To this group belonged 4% of the 10-year-olds, 12% of the 11-year-olds, 14% of the 12-year-olds, 18% of the 13-year-olds, 15% of the 14-year-olds, 2% of the 15-year-olds and 1% of the 16-year-olds.

3. The penis, too, starts to increase quickly in length and thickness; at its base some dark hairs appear; the nipples get a deeper colour and begin to be more prominent; growth of the larynx influences the voice. It becomes evident to those around him that the boy’s maturing process has started. Testes volume 1.75 - 13 cc.; length of penis 4.5 - 12cm., circumference 4 - 8 cm. To this group belonged 12% of the 11-year-olds, 32% of the 12-year-olds, 38% of the 13- year-olds, 26% of the 14-year-olds, 16% of the 15-year-olds, 9% of the 16-year-olds, 3% of the 17-year-olds.

4. Further growth of the genitals; the shape of the face changes, becomes longer, the chin more pointed; the nipples often protrude considerably, resembling those of girls in their first stage of maturing; on the underbelly the hair forms a real bush. Testes volume 2 - 20 cc.; length of penis 8 - 15 cm., circumference 4.5 - 10 cm. To this group belonged 10% of the 12-year-olds, 21% of the 13-year-olds, 26% of the 14-year-olds, 22% of the 15-year-olds, 11% of the 16-yearolds, 7% of the 17-year-olds, 7% of the 18-year-olds.

5. All aforesaid processes continue. The larynx gets its final shape, the voice its adult tone. The hair growth on the underbelly is triangular with its peak pointing downwards. Testes volume 6 - 20 cc.; length of penis 9 - 15 cm. Circumference 6 - 10 cm. To this group belonged 8% of the 13-year-olds, 27% of the 14-year-olds, 53% of the 15-year-olds, 59% of the 16-year-olds, 39% of the 17-year-olds, 30% of the 18-year-olds, 26% of the 19-year-olds, 17% of the 20- and 21-year-olds.

6. The genitals attain their final size. Male hair growth on the face (beard) and in many cases also on the chest. The hairline above the forehead changes from the one continued childish curve into two half-curves. Testes volume 8 - 25 cc.; length of penis 10.5 - 18 cm., circumference 6 - 10.5 cm. To this group belonged 7% of the 15-year-olds, 20% of the 16-year-olds, 51% of the 17-year-olds, 63% of the 18-year-olds, 74% of the 19-year-olds, 83% of the 20- and 21-year-olds, 100% of the 22-25-year-olds.

In the latest Dutch research, 10% of the boys had full-sized genitals at the age of 13.5 years, 50% at 15.3 years, and 90% at 18.6 years.[9]

The penis grows first in length, then in diameter. During early adolescence it “tends, consequently, to be thinner in proportion to its length than it is in the adult”.[10] Reynolds & Wines[11] comment on the “sculpting” of the penis during its development, showing the shape of the glans even when covered by the foreskin. At the same time the colour of the skin darkens. At the end of growth, the skin has, in white boys, a reddish brown colour and is loose, while the sculpting becomes less pronounced. It seems that, in the sixth phase, “the penis size decreases slightly from the immediately post-adolescent peak.[12] This decrease is clearly visible in some photo series in the archives of the Brongersma Foundation. It seems to be more pronounced in the large penises than in the smaller ones.

Five Tanner stages of male genitalia The Adolescent Period by F. K. Shuttleworth 1951
              "The five Tanner stages of male genitalia" from The Adolescent Period by F. K. Shuttleworth, 1951

At birth, the foreskin often adheres to the glans and cannot be drawn back. This condition disappears spontaneously. In a research project involving 1044 Dutch boys, adhesions were found in 58.3% of the 7-11-year-olds, 51.3% of the 12-year-olds, 33.0% of the 13-year-olds, 25.9% of the 14-year-olds, 11.1% of the 15-year-olds, 3.0% of the 16-year-olds and 0.0% of the 17-year-olds. Thus circumcision is not needed to eliminate these adhesions. Phimosis (a foreskin which is too tight) often corrects itself in time. Of the Dutch boys, 2.6% were circumcised, and of the non-circumcised boys, only 0.8% still had, by the time they reached 17, foreskins too tight for cleaning and intercourse, thus necessitating circumcision.[13] In the USA, where nearly all newborn boys are circumcised, an average of 230 babies die every year as a result of this unnecessary mutilation.[14]

The characteristic variability of sexual data, which we have already discussed, reaches enormous proportions if we look at penis size, as the figures show. Kinsey, after making some thousands of measurements, found that the average American male had a penile size of 6.3 inches in erection.[15] Average figures, however, are rather unreliable, because a few extreme cases on top or bottom may influence the outcome considerably. It is better, therefore, to establish median values. If you want to say something, for instance, about body height of 14-year-olds and you have 150 subjects in your research sample, you would do best to arrange them according to their heights, then take the values for numbers 75 and 76. The median height of the sample will be the average height of these two boys. Heights of the shortest and tallest of the group, the dwarf and the giant, are matters of curiosity but give us little real informational value. To make an even better survey we would divide the 150 subjects, still arranged according to their height, into 10 groups of 15 boys each and then take the average height of the two boys either side of the dividing line (first “decile”) between the first and second groups (very small boys) and the same for the two boys either side of the line between the ninth and tenth groups (ninth “decile” – very big boys).

Male at 11.3 yo prepubertal 12.5 yo 14.9 yo and 16.3 yo. From H.R. Stolz. somatic develpm. of adolescent boys 1951
Boys aged 11.3, 12.5, 14.9 and 16.3 years. From H.R. Stolz, Somatic Develpment of Adolescent Boys (1951)

The chart in the Appendix on Page 223 shows Schonfeld’s data for penis size in 1500 young subjects (first decile, median, ninth decile) and illustrates how the process of growth is suddenly accelerated.

This sudden growth spurt is even more pronounced in the testicles, the volume of which may increase in a few years from 1.5 to 25 cc. In addition, there is a change in the inner tissue: they will first seem softer to the touch, and later become firmer again.

In about 50% of the subjects the testicles remained equal in size; in about 25% the left one is larger and in 25% the right one is larger. There is great variation in the phenomena accompanying nipple growth. In puberty they often become extremely sensitive – ticklish, so that the boy doubles up with uncontrollable laughter at the lightest touch, or easily hurt. It is not at all unusual to see the nipples and surrounding tissue swollen like the budding breasts of a pubertal girl. In 80% of the boys this swelling is palpable, in 20% it becomes visible.[16] Later this growth will disappear and the male shape will establish itself: a small to large, deep brown disk with a more or less prominent protrusion in the centre. The size reduction may take from 12 to 18 months.[17]

 

Continue to Physical Maturity: Ejaculation

 

[1] Schérer 1981, 81 [Author’s reference, unidentifiable in his bibliography].

[2] Greulich. W. E. et al, Somatic and Endocrine Studies of Pubertal and Adolescent Boys. Millwood: Kraus Reprint, 1942, 1976, pp. 13-14 ; Reynolds, E. L. & Vines, J. V., Physical Changes Associated with Adolescence in Boys. American Journal of Diseases of Children, 82, 1951, pp. 533, 543. [Author's reference}

[3] Reynolds, E. L. & Vines, J. V., Physical Changes Associated with Adolescence in Boys. American Journal of Diseases of Children, 82, 1951, p. 539. [Author's reference}

[4] Greulich. W. E. et al, Somatic and Endocrine Studies of Pubertal and Adolescent Boys. Millwood: Kraus Reprint, 1942, 1976, 8. [Author’s reference]

[5] Schonfeld, W. & Beebe, G. W., Normal Growth and Variation in the Male Genitalia from Birth to Maturity. Journal of Urology 48: 759-777, 1942, and another article published in 1943 [Author’s references, of which the latter unidentifiable in his bibliography].

[6] Schonfeld, W. & Beebe, G. W., Normal Growth and Variation in the Male Genitalia from Birth to Maturity. Journal of Urology 48: 759-777, 1942. [Author’s reference]

[7] Kremer, J., Stoornissen in de ontwikkeling van de genitalia. In: Hart de Ruyter, Th. et al, De seksuele ontwikkeling van kind tot volwassene. Leiden: Stafleu, 1976, 271. [Author’s reference]

[8] Reynolds, E. L. & Vines, J. V., Physical Changes Associated with Adolescence in Boys. American Journal of Diseases of Children, 82, 1951, 536. [Author’s reference]

[9] Werff ten Bosch, J. J. van der, Endocriene Aspccten van Seksualiteit. In: Moors-Mommers et al (Eds.), Handboek seksuele hulpverlening. Deventer: van Loghum Slaterus, 1983, p. 17. [Author’s reference]

[10] Greulich. W. E. et al, Somatic and Endocrine Studies of Pubertal and Adolescent Boys. Millwood: Kraus Reprint, 1942, 1976, p. 3. [Author's reference}

[11] Reynolds, E. L. & Vines, J. V., Physical Changes Associated with Adolescence in Boys. American Journal of Diseases of Children, 82, 1951, p. 530. [Author’s reference]

[12] Tanner, J. M., Growth at Adolescence. Oxford: Blackwell, 1962, p. 32; Reynolds, E. L. & Vines, J. V., Physical Changes Associated with Adolescence in Boys. American Journal of Diseases of Children, 82, 1951,p.  534. [Author’s references]

[13] Wafelbakker, F., De voorhuid in de adolescentie. Tijdschrift Sociale Geneeskunde 54: 1976, p. 886. [Author’s reference]

[14] Szasz, Th., Sex op recept. Meppel: Infopers, 1982. 69. [Author’s reference]

[15] Burton, R., The Perfumed Garden of the Shaykh Nefzai. London: Spearman, 1963, 79. [Author’s reference]

[16] Wafelbakker, F., De top-twintig van de adolescent. Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde 122, 40: 1978, p. 1484. [Author’s reference]

[17] Greulich. W. E. et al, Somatic and Endocrine Studies of Pubertal and Adolescent Boys. Millwood: Kraus Reprint, 1942, 1976, p. 12. [Author’s reference]