Hypospadias: Living with hypospadias

Personal accounts of hypospadias from the visitors to this site.

Two positive stories to start

My husband has a somewhat mild form of hypospadias - the urethra opens just under the head - and thirty some years ago when he was born, the doctors did not offer the option of corrective surgery.

He had a run of urinary tract infections until he saw a doctor who actually examined him and informed him of his condition. He is secure about his "difference" and never pursued surgery to correct the defect.

The plus side is this...my uterus is tipped backwards so that my cervix points in the opposite direction of normal...I often had pain during intercourse with my ex husband but when I met my present husband and we became intimate, I didn't experience any pain. I am guessing that the "hook" took a detour around my sensitive cervix and we have wonderful lovemaking! I guess God made us to fit together!


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I ran across your website out of curiosity. I am 34 years old and have hypospadias and at one time, I too felt that I was abnormal. Admittedly, when I was growing up I have had to explain things to other boys on more than one occasion.

I didn't feel like it was that big a deal and they must have agreed since I was never made fun of. My sex life started to blossom in my college years and a glorious time it was. Contrary to girls (who had slept with me) telling other girls that I was deformed or abnormal, they would brag to their friends about how big I was.

My penis is 8 1/2 inches long, when erect, it has a strong curve downward (like a banana), and the head is huge since it is more or less separated on the bottom. My pee hole is located on the shaft very close to the head. Every girl I have ever slept with can't seem to get enough.

Maybe that's because of the curve, head size, or both. Guys with this "problem" can hit areas inside of a vagina that very few others can. Think about it - if you are doing it doggie style you have got full pressure on their g-spot! Face it, if you are capable of getting the ladies to take their clothes off and have sex, what your dick looks like will never matter one bit - it's what you do with it that counts.

Any woman will tell you this - and they mean it. I'm not trying to come off as being a "stud" I'm trying to point out that this condition shouldn't be thought of as a deformity, it is a part of you that makes you unique. It is something that a lover gets from you that she may NEVER get again if she lets you go!

[Ed's comments: Many guys with hypospadias have actually got short-changed in the size dept as well. You are right in all the comments you make, but any guy who has the condition in the form you have it will probably know the truth of what you say. But for someone who is struggling with hypospadias AND penis size, well, I don't think things are so easy. I am glad you have had such a great experience.]

I have a minor hypospadias, at the terminus, about 4--5 mm. below the normal urethral meatus of my penis. The opening is on the front of the glans, about the position where a normal frenulum would appear.

The glans itself is kind of flat and flared on the front. The opening seems to be covered by a thin flap of skin, a sort of flat valve. Apparently, I was circumcised shortly after birth, somewhere probably closer to "low and loose" than "high and tight"; unfortunately, neither of my parents is alive to ask about any of this, and furthermore, I don't know if they would have given me an answer.

I am able to urinate standing, though it helps to use a urinal to keep the splatter to a minimum. I usually sit in the mornings, rather than irritate my wife with the clean-up. I have normal erections, and no chordee or any other abnormalities. I small in size. Under normal non-erect conditions, there's little or no penile shaft appearing, just mostly the glans. When I'm low body fat (as when I was seriously ill, or had lost a lot of weight), there might be ½ inch more shaft showing.

Fully erect, my penis is is usually 4½ - 5 inches long. I don't have a girth measurement, but it is proportionately slender, I'm guessing about 4 - 4½ inches in circumference. I had often wondered if the hypospadias and small penis size were related. From what I read, there's some truth to that idea. Sexually, I am able to function normally. I have a grown son, who has neither hypospadias nor a small penis.

I guess I was first aware of my differentness as a result of some childhood discovery with a male friend. My friend Jeff urinated out the very tip of his penis, and I somewhere out of the front end. I remember both of us commenting on this upon closer examination, but neither of us thought anything of it, except when my mother complained a lot that I wasn't careful enough and tended to splatter everywhere. Well, when you're never quite sure which direction the stream will start, left, right, both, dribble . . . whatever, it's hard to take aim.

Sometimes, it would change in mid-stream, depending on how much force I used. Usually, it was about 20° to the left and mostly forward. Primarily, it still goes that way. It wasn't until I was well into my early 20's while away at college that I discovered that what I have is a known condition. The classic Gray's Anatomy helped to clarify this for me. I was quite glad to discover mine didn't open somewhere in the middle of the penile shaft!

The small size was an issue for a long time, starting in early teens and through my late 20's. I was convinced, at one point, that due to the fat tissue in my lower abdomen, that most of my length was "hiding" in there.

When I dropped to 155 lbs. (I'm 6'1), I found this was not so. Small genitals were an issue (among others), in my ambivalence to date and mingle with girls.

After 51 years of living with my penis, if someone were to ask me which would I rather have, a textbook "normal" size penis, or no hypospadias, I would opt for the latter. I am able, as I said, to function normally, and satisfy my mate (as she said, upon first touching me: "it's not the size of the boat, it's the motion of the ocean!").

Apparently, I float her boat just fine! And, sex and orgasms are completely satisfying for me. I have a normal ejaculate in quality and quantity.

However, the ability to have a nice straight stream when you urinate is something most men probably never even consider. It's even more true when your penis is small, and the stream slows a little with age; dribbling on your shoes, or worse, on your clothes in a public place is not fun. There have been more than a couple times I've had to do a quick blot and walk around with my shirt out.

That can be very frustrating and a bit demeaning, especially since it's nothing you have a whole lot of control over. I certainly wouldn't have wanted to be this way, but as I am and since nothing short of major plastic surgery will fix it, I live with it. I don't consider it a handicap by any means, just something to be "worked around." And after 40 years or so of wrestling with "what's normal," I figured out that what I have IS normal, for me.

Another personal account.

I would like to share a hypospadias story with all those males who have been ashamed of their penis. When I was born, the physician noticed that I had a severe hypospadias with the urethral meatus located midway between the scrotum and the tip of the penis. I underwent four surgeries as a child to repair the problem, and they seemed to work well for about 12 years.

My penis was shaped normally, could achieve erection, and appeared "normal" as compared to others. As I reached sexual maturity, the growth of my penis caused the surgically repaired skin of the base of my penis to tear, revealing several fistulae, or holes, from the base of the penis into a free urethral opening.

Although I had a "real" urethral opening at the tip of my penis, I also had several openings on the base. This caused me to leak urine as I urinated and it would get on my pants. This embarrassment caused me to have to urinate sitting down.

I was embarrassed to tell my parents, and went until 17 years old avoiding women because if I was ever in a situation of needing to ejaculate, some semen would shoot out the bottom as well as the tip. I felt women would feel I was a freak. After many years of humiliation, I finally set up an appointment with a urologist. He performed surgery on me in order to repair the shaft leakage. This involved removing skin from my scrotum and surgically attaching it to my penis. Anyway, it held for a year and then the skin died and I am now back at stage one.

Here is the good news. Around the age of 19 I decided to forget about the problem and date women. I found that when a situation occurred (oral sex) in which she could see the scars/holes on the penis, she was not scared but curious. When I explained that it was a rather common condition in male children, they usually did not care and continued on with their sexual endeavors.

This was a good confidence booster for me. Now I am a 22 year old male in his second year of medical school. I still leak, but have worked out ways to urinate standing up without dripping on my clothes.

My fiancée actually makes a game out of my fistulas. During oral sex, if she squeezes the tip with her mouth, all of the semen will leak out the bottom, and she does not have to swallow, yet I get to ejaculate while in her mouth. It's a win-win situation.

My penis is also only 5 inches erect due to the hypospadias, yet my fiancée is more than pleased with my sexual performance. Hypospadias doesn't have to ruin one's confidence level and a smaller penis can be enjoyed by a woman due to the closer physical contact one achieves with a smaller penis and the greater inter-vaginal control.

"A hypospadias survivor".

A personal account of the experience of hypospadias. The writer is 31 and lives in the US.

At birth my urethra opened up somewhere around halfway down the penile shaft from the glans. I had the traditional hood as well as some chordee. My penis very much resembled the picture of "coronal hypospadias" with the exception of the urethra opening farther down the shaft.

I had a nice groove on the glans where the urethra should have naturally been although that groove is slightly on the lower side of the penis. There is no twist. As an adult, the chordee is slight but noticeable (I do not know if the chordee was addressed in surgery or if it would have turned out that way naturally).

As a child, once I was aware I was different, it became an issue with me. I remember as a child thinking that I could perhaps poke a hole with an ice pick through the slit where the correct opening should have been and fix the problem myself. The pain quickly discouraged me from that idea. I was very frustrated with why I was different. Kids are not really equipped to deal with the "life is not fair" reality.

My sexual orientation is straight, but I will admit a certain curiosity to this day with the normal penis. That curiosity was exhibited as a child with games of "show me yours and I'll show you mine" with boys my age.

Sex play with other males did not continue past puberty, but I know that it has affected me as an adult because the memories of those interactions are still very powerful.

The feelings attached to those memories are not of sexual desire, but rather of envy and jealousy. As an adult I have still at times experienced those same feelings when I have viewed images of normal penises. Certainly this has caused confusion at times as I question what is normal or to be expected from someone who considers himself straight.

The best I've come up with is that in my situation it is probably to be expected. A pattern of exploring others and not allowing them to explore me has continued somewhat as an adult in my sexual interactions with women. In spite of being "corrected", I still often view myself as that little boy with the deformed, "ugly" penis.

After my complete correction at the age of 22, I became very promiscuous. It was tied in to the idea that if I was a capable sex partner, than that would establish my worth. I've had dozens of sex partners in my life and that includes only those I've had intercourse with...I have no idea how many I've engaged in sex play with. Instead of causing me to become more secure and self confident, this behavior left me needy, insecure and knowing nothing about how to establish intimacy.

Perhaps I am slow to learn, but I've finally figured out that I cannot fuck my way into feeling better about myself. Better late than never. Currently I am celibate by choice and am hoping to establish a loving relationship with a woman and choosing to share my sexuality with her rather than fucking and hoping that love comes out of it.

I am happy to report that the neediness and insecurity are slowly fading as I establish respectful dating relationships. Funny how that works. Interesting note....two of the three truly loving and intimate relationships that I have ever had with women occurred between the ages of 18-22... BEFORE I had my final correction.

My parents....hmmmm...that's a tough one. My parents made mistakes, but I've forgiven them because I know that they did the best that they knew how to do with the tools they were equipped with. Two things I've always known as long as I could remember: that I was adopted and that I had hypospadias.

My parents referred to it as my "deformity" and said that they had a doctor that was going to fix it so that I would be "normal" and be able to have children (like that made any sense at that time). My father is now deceased and my mother is 70 years old. The generation from which they came did not openly discuss such matters as the penis, therefore it was not a topic to be discussed except in the most general terms.

Just throw money at the problem...bury your head in the sand...and hope the problem goes away. God forbid that we have a comfortable discussion about it or ask my opinion of how I was feeling about it.

They meant well and God bless them for the willingness to finance anything and everything to make it "alright". But in that atmosphere I grew up not researching the topic or asking probing questions of my doctors (my parents did not either).

Growing up I was told that the reason I was placed up for adoption was because of the hypospadias and that I should consider myself lucky to have a condition that could be hidden. After all, a person with an obvious deformity such as a missing leg could not do the same.

This "advice" was SO destructive. Instead of feeling that I had an imperfection that others would understand (after all...it wasn't my fault), I grew up believing that I had something shameful to hide. While recovering from my childhood surgeries, I would be laying in the house and hear my parents tell the neighborhood kids that I was visiting relatives out of town.

The shame caused me to internalize the blame and increase focus on the negatives. The penis is such a defining object in masculinity, and for something to be wrong with that object is very difficult to deal with. Perhaps only someone who has walked in my shoes would understand.

The Operations:

The first operation was when I was an infant. I am not sure what the focus of that operation was as I do not think that the urethra was moved (perhaps it addressed the chordee). The second operation was when I was about 11. The urethral opening was moved to the coronal ridge of my penis.

Part of my foreskin was used to form the skin tube that would line the new urethra and the remainder was sewn to the bottom of the penis. It might be hard to picture, but the surgeon left the foreskin attached on the sides....slit it across the upper coronal ridge and pulled the skin over the glans to attach to the bottom side of the shaft.

The result of this surgery was that I had a urethral opening on the lower coronal ridge and loose baggy skin (foreskin) hanging from the bottom half of my penis (covering about a 3/4 inch area from the coronal ridge to the original opening). The "baggy" skin was very unsightly.

This surgery also left me with a fistula from the original opening. Great...now I had piss coming from two holes....but I could manage it by pressing my finger against the baggy skin and covering the fistula.

The third surgery was when I was 13 and it addressed the fistula. This time the fistula was corrected, but the cosmetic result was the same, with the unsightly baggy skin hanging from the bottom of my penis. At this time I was told : "that's all we can do for ya...it's the best you will ever have".

I accepted that as an answer and did what I could to hide my condition. I became sexually active at age 18 and after breaking up with my first girlfriend I contracted venereal warts in a one night stand (the warts went undiscovered for months because they attached to the skin tube inside the surgically created urethra).

I finally went to a urologist to address the problem and he asked why I never "finished" my surgeries. Long story short...my fourth surgery at age 21 was by this same urologist who attempted to move the urethral opening to the correct position on my penis.

The sutures started to come undone within 12 hours of surgery and the end result was even worse than I had before. I now had a much larger urethral opening and scarring of the glans. I was later told by a very competent urologist that the techniques used in that surgery were completely unorthodox and doomed to fail before he started. (I could write a book on this experience....most horrible thing I've ever been through.)

The fifth and final operation on my penis was completed by the competent urologist when I was 22. The fourth surgery had robbed me of the valuable baggy skin that would have been very useful in the final surgery.

Luckily, the doctor did the best with what he had and moved the urethra the correct position (vertical slit as opposed to horizontal) and also removed some of the scar tissue from my glans.

In my postoperative recovery from that surgery, I developed another fistula. This time it was from the coronal ridge opening. Of course this was not discovered until the catheter had been removed and we addressed it by taking the suggestion of a country doctor that had referred me to this urologist.

The suggestion was to insert a rubber Foley tube into the urethra below the fistula every time I urinated (it is very painful to shove a tube down a urethra that has just been operated on...trust me on this). Fortunately the fistula healed and closed on its own. I was surprised to learn that this urologist had never used this procedure before to address a fistula and he was surprised that it worked.

The end results:

My penis when erect is about 5 1/2 to 6 inches and the glans still has the traditional shape associated with hypospadias. I still have slight chordee.... my skin on the shaft is considerably tighter than normal (this has been confirmed by sex partners).....there is a moderate stricture of the urethral opening (small, tight opening).....slight scarring on the glans but improved from the last surgery.....scarring on the coronal ridge both top, bottom and sides.....and I do have hair follicles that extend up to the coronal ridge (I trim the hair at the base of my penis and occasionally pluck the ones near the top).

I can pee with fairly good aim standing up (this is sometimes affected by cold weather) and perform well in intercourse. Ejaculation is normal and I've even gone as far as to have a sperm count done. I've never tried to have kids as of yet, but I am glad that I had the count done anyway as it gives me peace of mind.

Sex partners who have gotten the full story tell me how good it looks considering what I've had done. Several have commented that the only obvious difference they notice is that the skin on the shaft is considerably tighter than other penises. Most say they would not have really noticed if I would not have said anything (I find this doubtful).

Final notes:

All in all I have been very pleased with the end result although you might not guess it. I would never trade what I have now for what I started out with. I would even endure the pain again if necessary.

Perhaps it sounds inconsistent, but I still occasionally have insecurities about how my penis looks in spite of many sex partners telling me it's PERFECTLY ALRIGHT. I have often still doubted them. For example...if an overweight woman were to ask you if she were fat, what would you say....yes? Of course not!!

You would dance around the question and tell her everything but the truth (or so my mind tells me). Why I feel the need to measure up to some other standard is beyond me, but it is what it is. The insecurity issue has been a roller coaster ride...sometimes I'm alright with it...sometimes I'm not. The biggest difference in beginning to eliminate the insecurity has been the change in dating/sex patterns and THE ABILITY TO TALK ABOUT THE CONDITION WITH OTHERS.

This has removed the shame and returns it to being something that is just another accident of nature that was NOT my fault and does not have to be some huge secret. Of course social graces demand that common sense be used in discussing the matter, but I've reached a point where I've been able to discuss it with very close friends (male and female) in general generic terms that are easy for them to understand.

Of course I don't pull it out and show them...but they get the general idea. They don't seem to think it's nearly the big deal that I've made it out to be and that has made it not seem such a big deal to me. Very positive progress for me to be able to talk about it.

As a teenager I struggled with a weight problem and as a young adult I struggled with alcohol and drug addiction problems. Now I certainly cannot blame those on my hypospadias, but I certainly know that the condition did add fuel to the fire. I've now been sober for almost 6 years.

This is important to the story because I would not have been able to make the behavioral changes necessary to face this problem (admittedly slow progress...even in sobriety) if I had not addressed the addiction issues. Perhaps somebody reading this story has hypospadias (or know someone who does) and will relate to what I've described. If so, then it has been well worth it.

It is important for those of us with this condition to know that we are not alone and that others have had amazingly similar feelings and experiences. I do not promote having surgery necessarily, as that is a personal decision each must make for himself. If you do elect to have surgery, then make sure you check the credentials of the surgeon and don't be afraid to ask questions and get references.

It may also help to know that you can check the credentials of any doctor in the U.S. through the AMA homepage. Remember also that there is no shame in seeking assistance from a professional counselor for emotional problems caused by this condition. Best wishes to all.

Another personal account from a viewer of this web-site:

It is an obvious statement to make, but I will make it anyway: as far as a man's sexual identity is concerned, the most important part of his body is his penis. (Except perhaps, for his brain, but most men have nothing wrong with their brains.) The effect of abnormality in the penis is, therefore, profound at all levels of his being.

Any boy born with an abnormal penis will see himself as different to the rest of the boys and men around him in a very fundamental way: and indeed, all of the men I have met who have a hypospadic penis have repeatedly told me that they’ve always felt themselves to be different. And also they have experienced, over the years, an immense burden of depression and anxiety, very often with isolation and loneliness thrown in for good measure.

I sometimes wonder how men put up with this condition and manage to keep going. But the answer of course is the same as it is for anyone with a condition that assaults their sense of self-identity: they struggle on, albeit burdened by the sense of difference, inadequacy and low self-esteem.

For me, it is certainly true that my hypospadias has shaped my life. For years I avoided the possibility of any sexual encounter with a woman, because I was terrified that I would be seen as inadequate, different, or worst of all, be laughed at. It was easier of course to get on with men, because after all I am a man, albeit one with a slight feeling of difference to other men!

It is also true that for years I have been interested in the shape and size of other men's penises, a fact which I believe stems directly from my desire to compare myself with "normal" men. The problem with this is that one never finds anybody with whom one can compare oneself, and all the sneaky looks in the changing rooms at the swimming baths - while very carefully making sure that no one could see my penis - did nothing but reinforce my sense of difference and inadequacy.

I was born not only with a hypospadic penis but also with a small one. This has given me two things to worry about: the size issue, that plagues so many men anyway, and also the abnormality, which in my case has been quite severe. I have the very common condition of a hooded foreskin which extends only partially over the top surface of the glans.

Although I didn’t know it when I was growing up, this distorted foreskin was in fact attached to the top surface of the glans with some adhesions that had not separated when I was a baby.

They separated when I was about fourteen and of course having never inspected a penis very closely I thought mine was falling to pieces! I guess I got over that trauma quite quickly, but the late separation of the adhesions has left me with an incredibly over-sensitive glans, which of course is not adequately covered by any foreskin.

In addition, the shaft of my penis is twisted from base to tip through about sixty degrees. This varies according to the temperature the degree of contraction and the degree of erection of my penis - when erect it is more or less straight - but again it is a constant reminder of the difference that I have been born with. It may not surprise you to learn that exposing myself in changing rooms at school was a nightmare - an ordeal which even now I look back on with horror.

Every day that we were required to undress in the communal changing rooms I spent in a complete state of anxiety that I would be exposed, exposed for both a small penis and an abnormal one. Indeed on a number of occasions this actually happened, a fact that cannot have helped my self-esteem much.

If I had a son I would with the condition, I would very seriously consider having him medically excused sports (if he wanted this) so as to spare him the threat of public humiliation. It was a long time before I managed to actually enter into a sexual relationship with anybody and when I did so it was with a man, for the fear of being exposed to a woman and not seen as masculine was so great that I simply could not face it.

I should have realized that women would not be ridiculing in that way; but somehow the assumption had grown in my mind that men would be more understanding about deformity in such a fundamental part of their anatomy.

So for many years I spent my sexual life with men, and although I enjoyed it, it will probably come as no surprise to learn that when I finally got it together with a woman there was no problem and it was the most enjoyable experience of my life.

This doesn't mean, however, that the effects of the hypospadias have been overcome. As it happens I am taking counseling from a sexual therapist, and that is helping. I do not know what the outcome will be in the long term, although better emotional health would be nice. It is probably an understatement to say that it is shaped my life.

What in fact it has actually done is to lower my self-confidence, reduce my self-esteem, hold me back from competing with other men, hold me back from intimate relationships, and prevented me from achieving anything like my full potential in life so far. As to what the future holds, well, my aspiration would be to enter into a loving relationship with a woman, but I feel there is a long way to go before that objective is achieved.

And from a gay man:

Here are some thoughts that were stimulated by the hypospadias information on the-penis.com. This was the most complete explanation I'd ever seen, about the way I'm built, and it answered some questions I've had for many years.

I've worried off and on about a penis that is different than it was "supposed to be", but once I became sexually active as a gay man in my early 30's I realized that the differences weren't particularly important to me or my partners.

My first recollection of my penis was a curious and unexplained visit to the hospital when I was perhaps 8 years old. A doctor I didn't know pulled the hood of my penis back and exposed my glans for the first time.... I thought for several years that I had been damaged because the red ridge never went away!

When I was ten or eleven, a neighbor boy showed me that he could make what looked like milk come out of his penis when he rubbed it, and it took several years of intense effort before I could make my penis do something similar.

But my penis seemed to be defective - all I could get was spurts of fluid that was kind of milky but soon turned clear... But the daily sessions were the start of a life-long habit of attention - should I say love affair? - with my penis. And, I've enjoyed making those milky spurts many thousands of times since!

At fifteen or so I was very proud of my hard penis, and one day I showed it to a bunch of my friends - who teased me because I had a down-turned "dork". They didn't bother to mention - and it was years until I figured it out - that my penis was bigger than most - about 6-3/4" long and 5-3/4" around when hard.

Playing with other boys, I also became aware of differences... No one else had two pee openings - on in the glans and another just under the head. I've also got a hood that partially covers just the top of my glans - actually quite convenient as a handle when I pee.

Of course, having 2 openings means that the direction of peeing is kind of unpredictable - enough for a urinal to handle but I'm always missing the toilet at the start. It's annoying.... I'm also kind of pee shy, which I find kind of ironic for someone who likes to show his cock and lead erotic massage rituals.

When I sought counseling in college to try and figure things out the psychiatrist sent me to a urologist, who massaged my cock hard and said I had nothing to worry about since my cock would work just fine and was bigger than most.

If he mentioned hypospadias, I don't remember. But I still worried that because my hard cock curved down, I wouldn't be able to perform intercourse, although my growing gay consciousness made that less of a worry.

The head is also shorter than most, so my cock seems blunt, but that might just be the effect of the width - about 2 inches when hard. When I was in high school I incorrectly attributed the downward curvature to the confining influence of my briefs on my constant hard-ons - another of the ideas I came up with when explanations weren't offered.

I didn't really come to terms with my gay nature until 1975 when I was 32, and then quickly came out and entered into a long relationship in which sex and intimacy were very important. It was my lover who introduced me to the Body Electric School of Massage, and in the last dozen years I've done a number of their workshops, which use the power of erotic energy for community, play, personal growth, and healing, and I've also come to lead group erotic massage sessions and frequently trade massage.

The Body Electric work has made me much more relaxed about sex, and helped me to integrate my erotic nature into the rest of my life. Occasionally someone comments about the extra urethral opening, but I've heard no complaints. Actually I never think about it anymore when I'm with someone. As for when I'm pleasuring myself, I always use lots of oil - almond or coconut- so I can keep going for a long, long time!

In the last few years I've started being the inserting partner in anal intercourse and found that the college doc was correct.

Some positions work better than others (I could write volumes...) and while a few can be uncomfortable, my long experience as a receptive partner has taught me that's true for any man - each with his unique attributes of length, stiffness, curvature and sensitivity. I'm proud to say that I do a very effective and pleasing job as a top!

If I have any regrets, it's that I wasted a lot of energy worrying about being different because no one dared to explain my penis to me while I was growing up.

My advice to someone else with hypospadias would be to learn about yourself, learn that yours is just one of a rich variety of penises that nature has given us and try the many pleasant and enriching ways of employing it.

You'll soon find yours to be quite serviceable and appreciated. And if you're in the Boston area and want a massage, I'll be happy to demonstrate and appreciate! harussell@aol.com

Another account:

I have very mild hypospadias and chordee. Unfortunately, it has caused me so much psychological and emotional suffering that it's as if I had been born crippled.

The problem is cosmetic, but when you're talking about something like the penis, it doesn't matter whether it's cosmetic or functional...any abnormalities are significant, and a large part about being male and having a penis IS cosmetic.

I cannot have sex without it constantly being a worry for me, and I simply don't have a feeling of comfort with myself that I suspect most men have when it comes to sex. In any case, the reason I'm writing is to share my advice on 2 things I think anyone with this problem, or any parents who have a son with this problem should read:

1 If your son has any kind of penis abnormality, it is FAR better to have the problem fixed while he is young (6-12 months) rather than wait and "have him choose" like the Intersex Society of America suggest. [NB: Editor's note: The INSA emphasis on hypospadias is as an Intersex condition.

This is clearly not relevant in cases of abnormality where the individual has normal male genetics and a mild to severe hypospadic penis.] Any surgery at that age most likely won't even be remembered by the child....and the psychological effect of having even the slightest abnormalities when older will most likely be psychologically very difficult.

2 Be sure to find a doctor who has extensive, extensive, experience in reconstructive urology and don't just go to your local doctor. Very few urologists know how to do hypospadias repairs properly and successfully.

I don't know what your policy is for posting doctor references on your page, but I'm sure people with this problem would benefit from knowing who's good and who isn't. I wonder every day whether it's even worth going through with having my penis fixed, considering the risks and just the thought "why can't I just have a normal penis?"

Editor's note: I have received many emails from men speaking of suicide and the desire to end the struggle. But I have also received just as many emails from men who have been able to establish happy lives with a partner - gay or straight - and I know that these are not wishful thinking, since I have met some of these men in person.

The best advice I can give is this: the Hypospadias Association is compiling a list of surgical and counseling experts in the field. Contact them for more information. But whatever you do, tell someone about the problem, in person or on an Internet Club, because "getting it out of your head" is crucial to your emotional well-being.

And another.

Yep, I've got it. A very mild case, to be sure; but I've got it all the same. I never realized that my penis was abnormal, and I certainly had never heard the term "hypospadias" until a female cousin of mine, who is a Registered Nurse, mentioned it to me about 7 years ago.

I remember always having a difficult time pissing "in a straight line" growing up, and even now.

But it never occurred to me that something was wrong, even though it was extremely frustrating trying to piss without hitting the rim of the bowl at least some of the time while standing there. I was more likely to hit the rim when I first started pissing and I would have to adjust the aim of my penis so as to get as much into the toilet as possible.

It was impossible to determine exactly where the piss was going to go when I would first start. Those rare occasions when all of the piss would go in the toilet bowl from start to finish I regarded as a major accomplishment; in the back of my mind I could never understand why I couldn't do that all the time.

Well, now I know. It isn't something I think about very much now, though.

As a youngster in grade school and high school, I would notice other guys' penises in the bathroom or gym locker room and be aware of the different shapes & sizes.

On a subconscious level, it dawned on me that there was no definitive shape or size. Each one was unique to its owner and it never really entered my mind that there was a certain standard by which all should be judged.

Penis size was never a concern of mine; but to be fair, I knew that my own wasn't really small, although it certainly wasn't large. If mine had happened to be say 3 or 4 inches fully erect, then I probably wouldn't be so complacent about this. As for circumcised vs. uncircumcised, I belong in the former category.

Again, while growing up, I was subconsciously aware of the uncircumcised penises (I had some male first cousins that I was close with, as well as others I noticed at school), but it wasn't something I paid a whole lot of attention to nor thought about very much.

They were just oddly different and that's as far as it went in my mind. On the subject of masturbation, I didn't pick up on that until about 3 and a half months after turning 14 - I was a late bloomer. But having hypospadias never seemed to be a problem in that regard. Same thing when I discovered sex.

My penis size is right on average, sex has never been a problem (I'm strictly heterosexual), and at this stage of my life (I'm just a few days from turning 44) I see no need for corrective surgery. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones with this condition. I realize now from reading your hypospadias information web page that it could've been a hell of a lot worse. Indeed, it bears repeating here that I am truly one of the lucky ones with this condition.

It goes without saying that it would be better if I didn't have this condition at all; but I would definitely take my case over all the others I've seen. At any rate, I hope this personal account will be helpful in some way to others with this malady.

Thanks so very much for having this tremendously important information available on your website. I feel a lot better knowing more about this condition, and I'm sure I speak for many, many other men in the same boat. Anonymous in N.C.

And again.

Living with Hypospadias - my story

I have noted with interest the various tales told above and elsewhere on the internet by people who have had some experience of hypospadias. The more I read, the happier I become because my parents had the wisdom to ignore the surgeons and do nothing about my hypospadias.

To be perfectly honest, they probably would have had something done if I had been born in the current era, as it always bothered them that they may have taken the wrong decision.

However, I am now 52 years old, and their decision was taken at the end of the Second World War when plastic surgery was in its infancy. Therefore, they probably had good advice that really, the risks far outweighed any cosmetic results they may have achieved.

So I was saved the pain of the surgery, and scars and uncertain results. I still have my hypospadias. I eventually told my father (my mother died when I was 23) that I was very happy at what they hadn’t done, but what had hurt was that they told me absolutely nothing about it.

For the record I have a moderate hypospadias with the opening not far back from the base of the glans. And what do you know, it all works fairly well without any pain, strictures, scar tissue or misshapen erections. (If anyone wants further pictorial information, including a full erection for the record, please contact me direct).

My penis is not perfectly straight and it is sometimes hard to pee in a straight line and needs a lot of control but can be done. I got better at it as I got older and can control it fairly well so that I can pee with accuracy and without it spraying everywhere. I also have full sexual function and never had any problem with achieving fatherhood. Frankly I have even become somewhat fond of it. It is different after all!

I have two children, boy and girl, and they are both great kids, now 29 and 24 years old. Oh and my son also had a hypospadias. Although it is not strictly inherited, the chances are that once one male in the family has it, about 1 in 14 of his direct male relations will also have it.

Since the original condition has about a 1 in 300 rate in the male population, that makes the chances of two in the same family at about 1 in 4000 of male births, and since there are two births of them - that means one in 2000 chance of them both having it.

I have checked my family tree and believe that it is likely that it has occurred in at least 5 other male relatives over 5 or 6 generations. Why? One person was named Charlotte at birth and mysteriously was to be married as Charles, but the marriage never happened.

We have guessed that this was a severe hypospadias where he superficially looked female at birth, but became obviously male as his hormones kicked in at puberty, but then could not consummate his marriage, so it was not recorded. I also know of at least 4 other males who “never married” with little explanation.

At least two of my close male relatives, brothers, also live together in seclusion never having married. My great great great great grandfather was also a foundling child (hence the funny name which we were told was made up).

Was it possible that he also had a hypospadias and was rejected and abandoned by his mother in about 1780 when he was born? Maybe it is all speculation, but there is enough evidence to convince me of the 1 in 14 ratio when you count me and my son in as well.

And yes, to save my son some of the embarrassment I had as a kid growing up in school, we had his hypospadias corrected. Two operations were carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London at the age of between 2 and 3, fortunately with no ill effects (he told me).

I doubt that I would have done the same thing today, but at that time, I knew nothing of the risks and he has said he was glad we did it. Fortunately, I think we went to the right place as the surgeons there were paediatric trained being the pre-eminent London children’s hospital. Still is.

When I look back on the problems I had as a child, they were absolutely nothing when thinking about the pain and suffering some kids go through for a correction - which has a failure rate above 10% for many of the procedures.

I have corresponded with many of those affected by failures over the last few years, and for most of the tales I hear I cannot give any advice as they are already disasters. It amazes me the fortitude of some of them, with multiple operations having been performed with (it seems) often only worse and worse results.

I sometimes hear from adults from the Middle East or India who have not been able to have anything done as youngsters, but are now thinking about it before they get married. My advice to them is always the same.

If you do not have any physical difficulty with the uncorrected penis, even if it is small and/or bent and causes you embarrassment, it is still probably not worth the risks associated with a correction. But I also emphasize that the decision is that of the owner of the penis, not mine or anyone else’s.

In other words, be aware of the risks and make your own decision based on that knowledge. If you have already reached adulthood, then the worst times for embarrassment are over.

What you need is an open honest relationship with a partner where you explain to them exactly what you have before or as any serious relationship starts. Then it will not be a shock to that person when it is seen for the first time. In fact you can learn to enjoy the difference in exploring your capabilities together. Now, there will always be a proportion of women who will then run away from you too embarrassed to discuss it. That’s their problem not yours.

It is better to find that out before you commit to a marriage with the embarrassment deferred to the wedding night. I told my future wife about it very early in our relationship (after about 4 weeks) and although she was mildly interested, it made no difference to our relationship and we have been married for over thirty years.

This was made a little easier for me because she was also a nurse and understood what it was all about. She also now says that I am obsessed with it. As she is so used to it, she cannot understand that it might still be an issue with me, if only in discussing it like here on the internet.

When living apart from my wife for a few years (mainly as a job I had kept us 600km apart for 3 years), I also had a second relationship with another woman who absolutely adored it and we couldn’t get enough sex.

I actually needed that relationship if only to prove to myself that the hypospadias was not an issue for me. Indeed, it seems that the very shape of the glans being wider than normal is good for a lover as it increases her pleasure. That is a positive you can tell your sons to look forward to, something they have that no one else can.

For adults who are thinking about getting a correction because they have been too embarrassed to approach women for marriage or sex, or even to have as a girl friend, I have in the past suggested that they rather find out about their sexual capabilities before deciding on a correction.

Often the difficulties they are afraid of are more imagined than real, and should not be a reason for surgery, except possibly in the most extreme cases of chordee where the bend is so great as to make penetration either impossible or very painful.

To find out about their capabilities or possibly problems, this can be by an honest approach to the prospective girlfriend or wife to trial sex, not an impossibility in our more enlightened age, or if that is just not possible, even by paying for sex.

This allows them to find out about their own limitations before having to discuss it with a girl friend or there being irreconcilable problems in marriage.

Again, this is for each person to decide for himself based on his own personal circumstances and beliefs. It never occurred to me to go to a prostitute as a young adult, but I was lucky that I found someone understanding when I was 20, and it was then no longer an issue between us.

For some of the young men I have talked to on the internet, many are coming up to 30 or older and are still virgins. They are too afraid of ridicule and have not tried to approach a woman for sex. They have not had any guidance as children or through puberty and so need psychological help much more than surgical.

I believe that living with a hypospadias need not be the end of the world that the doctors seem to think it will be, and it is a lot safer than their rather discredited operations. When I try to discus this with them, they cannot believe that anyone with hypospadias wouldn’t want to have their wonderful ops!!!

I cannot understand why they always recommend that youngsters have the corrections done so early. I was not aware of the difference until I was at least 8, so there really is no rush to make any decision, and by 8 you can also involve your son in any decision making, quite apart from the fact that the penis is bigger and easier to work on.

But you do have to talk to your son about it from day one, in the same way that you will slowly introduce him to the facts of life as soon as he can handle them.

I have never ever felt suicidal over my hypospadias, but I have spoken to some with butchered penises who have certainly felt that their life was ruined and have contemplated it.

Remember there is a risk with any op and a depressingly high failure rate is well known (at least 8%). From what I read, there is an even higher rate for what many have described to me as “problems” needing follow up surgery (eg fistulas, scarring etc), but may not actually be called “failures” by the doctors which they seem to reserve for complete breakdown of the repair.

Sometimes the penis can become devitalized altogether. A very high price to pay and it has happened over things as simple as circumcision. Just remember how hard it is for someone with problems in this area, just to take it to a surgeon to ask for help or for further painful work on it.

From what I read from others, quite often they have all the problems of the surgery and the original problem, a urinary meatus on the shaft of the penis, has not actually been fixed.

What a young boy with hypospadias needs is what I did not have. Information early on about what it is, and a connection to others with the condition, so that they do not think they are the only one.

So when your sons are old enough to understand, encourage them to find out about it as much as possible and talk to others with the same condition. The internet is so useful to be able to do this impersonally. This will help them to get through the difficult times whether it is corrected or not. Then they can talk to an old bugger like me and learn that they can live with it.

Only when they are old enough to understand the risks, should you and they together take decisions on whether they want to do anything about it or not. Don’t do it just to make little Johnny right to be able to show your friends. Whose penis is it anyway?

As I said before, I only started to realize I was different from the other boys at school at about 8. This was when a group of us tried to put out a small fire we had started using the only means of spraying water at our immediate disposal.

I somehow managed to pee on the foot of my best friend, and everyone became a bit curious as to how it was that mine peed downwards when pointing horizontally.

I could not tell them why it was like it was and the incident was soon forgotten by them as a mild oddity, and they had no further interest. However I was very confused as to why I was so different. I had grown up with my sister and I knew what SHE looked like. What was I? Was I some sort of hybrid?

It was noticed a few more times at my senior school as I grew up. We had a gym and indoor heated swimming pool at the ‘all boys’ English private school I went to. We were expected after gym to take a shower in the open communal shower (no privacy) and then plunge into the pool, still naked, to swim and cool down.

Again it was noticed a few times (no more than two or three times) and generated some local interest and some finger pointing. At those times I would be embarrassed but simply go and dry off and put on my clothes.

If my classmates discussed it any further they didn’t ask me about it. It however never hurt me physically and I got on with the more important things in my life, probably becoming progressively more shy as time went on.

On one occasion I was at the pool on my own with another much older boy and he came up behind me and took my penis out of my trunks. I didn’t know what to do and got an erection as he handled it. He asked me why it was like it was and I explained it was like that when I was born.

After satisfying his curiosity (he had probably noticed it from a distance previously or heard about it from others), he left me alone and I heard no more about it. That is the sum total of my embarrassing experiences over 12 years of school. Painful at the time, but certainly not enough to have justified any risks to correct it surgically.

I also remember going to an agricultural show with my father at about 14 or so and the men’s toilet was a screened off area with an open trough at ground level. I remember being embarrassed at having to pee into that with everyone else watching as I couldn’t get it to go in the right place, but I don’t know if anyone else actually noticed it or not.

On the way out however, I noticed someone peeing into a corner and looked as I went past. I was amazed to see he (an adult) also had a penis that looked exactly like mine, except it was much bigger and fatter (possibly as he had a slight erection as well).

By this time I was fairly obsessed with the idea that I was unique and used to take every opportunity to try to see others. I had seen many of my school friends in the showers, and some with strong erections showing off, but to my disappointment never saw anything like mine.

So when I finally saw another one at the agricultural show, I was exultant as I knew at last that I was not the only one.

Finally, when I was 17, I found out from a biology text book in the school library that I was not only not unique, but had a well known condition.

It was the first time I learned what it was called and that it was also fairly common (although I couldn’t pronounce the name). I think that was the point when I also started to live with it and stop worrying, which reached finality after I left school, went on to university and I lost my virginity at 20.

I have also all my life been much more comfortable in the company of women and find it hard to make friends with men. I think this stems from both growing up with a sister and my uncomfortable days at my all boys school, where I withdrew from the bulk of my class mates and only trusted a very few of my closest friends with a close up view of my “secret”.

I soon found women to be much less judgmental and therefore easier to get on with and I could trust them more.

The rest of my life has been totally uneventful as far as the hypospadias is concerned. Although I would not have discussed it with anyone except my lovers (there have been one or two over the years) until a few years ago, I have subsequently discussed it over the internet with many people, and face to face with one or two good friends (all female of course).

I never could discuss it with another man unless he already knew what it was. Even then I would start the conversation about my son having it first and wait till the penny drops that I know a lot about it because it has affected me too.

I have also learned that it can be caused by many different things and is not just something that my family or others pass on from time to time to the unlucky boy.

I am an environmental scientist and have become involved in the debate over endocrine disruptors which appear may be causing the increase in incidence of hypospadias amongst other things.

Interestingly, from the CDC study, it is the frequency of the more severe forms of hypospadias that are increasing - not the milder forms like mine that are most probably hereditary.

Therefore, it is imperative that we bring our debates further and further into the open, so that those who are unaware of the condition and the possible causes become familiar with it and our sons can avoid having surgery purely for cosmetic reasons as it will be seen just as one extreme of the natural range of variation.

I remember talking to someone at a conference where hypospadias was mentioned as a result of endocrine disruption in the mother, that I and my son also had it. A woman listening to our conversation eventually asked me privately what it was. I explained and she rushed off in embarrassment, probably wishing she had never asked.

But the incident left me totally unaffected and I felt sorry for her as she was someone working in the field and had obviously not realized that such things could occur. She needed the help in coming to terms with it, not me. The more people know about it, the more it will also not be an issue for our sons.

For those of you who are thinking about surgery, please pause awhile and think about involving your son(s) in any decisions. There is no hurry - it is not a life or death decision and take the old carpenters adage - measure twice and cut once.

If anyone wants to discuss this privately with me - send an email to kenmi@melbourne.hotkey.net.au

Another story

Was just checking out your site on Hypospadias. I have this abnormality of the penis and I'm not sure about sharing my story. I'm not one for writing but I can tell you a few things about myself.

The first time I ever heard about this was when I was being examined by a doctor for my entrance physical into the services. It was just casually mentioned....."oh, you have Hypospadias".

I had to go home and look in up in the dictionary to find out what I had. Mine, by the way, is just on the underside of the glans. The second time it was brought to my attention was when I was in the hospital for a urinary problem.....had a blockage and was unable to urinate.......and one night, after drinking fluids all day, I was unable to urinate and the nurses were trying to insert a catheter in my bladder and one of the nurses noticed the Hypospadias and said her little boy had the same thing.

She was interested as to whether it had affected me or my functions concerning the penis in any way. Because of where my opening is situated it really wasn't a problem physically cause you couldn't really tell unless I held my penis up.

Sometimes when urinating it can get out of control........sort of a spray instead of a stream. As for ejaculations I guess I don't have the "shooting" power (distance) that a normal penis would have cause of the large opening. The underside of the penis is not closed together like a normal penis.

Now, I must add that I've had other problems.....related or not I do not know.....but I also developed Peyronie's disease and obstructions to the bladder neck when I was in my early 40's.....I'm presently 61yrs old. I was married for 24yrs, have six children and at present am living a gay life.

The Hypospadias has had no effect on either life style. I was never promiscuous during my marriage and my wife never complained. I've had more positive comments from the gay community about liking the size of the urethral opening (at least we have one plus out of all of this).

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