Variations in Appearance of the Penis:

Skin blemishes and variations of the penile shaft and glans

Many variations of the normal penis are cause by circumcision: skin bridges are the prime example of this.

Frenulum breve and other variations are congenital; while Fordyce spots and papules are a feature of the penile skin that develops through life, often causing great distress to the owner of the penis concerned.

Frenulum breve

Refers to a situation where the frenulum is too short. The example on the left is rather a mild case; the one on the right is not.

This will certainly make intercourse uncomfortable, and if the frenulum tears during sex, as it may well do, it will heal with a scar which effectively makes it even shorter than it already is, leading to a repeated cycle of tearing, bleeding and healing. Simple surgery can solve the problem. R Stuart has a comprehensive website on frenulum breve. Click here to go to it.

frenulum breve frenulum breve

Webbed penis

Refers to a situation where the skin of the penis and the scrotum is connected so that it looks like they are webbed. This can produce discomfort during intercourse and may look unsightly. If the webbing is extensive, surgical correction may be possible.

webbed penis webbed scrotum penis webbed penis - penile skin attached to scrotum

Circumcision scars and skin tags

Incompetent circumcision may result in protruding skin tags and uneven development of the penis at puberty. This website has a comprehensive collection of pictures showing what can happen as a result of a botched circumcision. A page with some relevant pictures is located here.

Note that the circumcision scar seems to produce a ring where the color of the skin of the penile shaft changes. This represents the point at which the inner and outer foreskin were separated during circumcision. It is "normal", at least in the sense that it occurs on all men who have had the enforced removal of their penile skin imposed on them at birth.

circumcision scar circumcision scar

Skin bridges

These little tags between the coronal rim of the glans and the skin of the shaft are formed as a result of a botched circumcision. This is a useful link for more information.

skin bridges on the penis skin bridges between glans and penile shaft

A reader writes:

A skin bridge, more properly called in medical terminology a "penile adhesion," is not the result of a poor circumcision so much as it is a result of poor or improper care of the penis during healing after the procedure.

Here comes the medical portion:

At birth, in a vast majority of males (about 96%) are born with the foreskin and glans firmly attached to each other by a stratified squamous (connective) layer of epithelial tissue (sources: ุster, J.: "Further Fate of the Foreskin: Incidence of Preputial Adhesions, Phimosis, and Smegma among Danish Schoolboys." Archives of Diseases in Childhood, 1968, 43; pp. 200-3.) During circumcision, the glans and foreskin are forcibly separated, breaking the aforementioned epithelial layer (a process that should be quite painful). Later, the freshly cut flesh around the circumference of the penis after the circumcision, if not properly kept away from the corona where adhesions are typical or any other portion of the penis, is capable of adhering to any other portion of the penis with which it contacts for a prolonged period of time during the healing process.

The resulting adhesion may result in a simple bridge, under which cleaning may become difficult but a probe may be fit (source: ), smaller bridges along the shaft, or complete fusion of the shaft of the penis to the glans/corona (source: ).

Respectfully, I decline from submitting a photo, and wish to remain anonymous, as admitting to having an abnormal penis is something of a leap of faith I do not feel ready to undergo.

According to 15% of cases of her 150 patients examined showed adhesions. This is the ONLY statistic on the prevalence of skin bridges that I could find.

I will admit that this subject has become something of a personal matter for me, but how could it not in my case? Armed only with case studies, and my one weak statistic, I have been trying to inform others about the side of circumcision that they will quite probably never hear from their doctors. On that note, I am admittedly disturbed by the lack of statistics in this matter. There are others out there like me, documenting their conditions and attempting to better inform the masses so that parents may make better informed decisions in the interest of their child.

There is little more objective information that I can offer you, but if you ever want stories or experiences related to this subject matter, (what was it like growing up with this, things that happened in locker rooms), I would be happy to provide them.

This photo is not from the correspondent above.

"Double" urethral meatus

Although this occurs rarely, the penis can form two urethrae during its development. The duplication may be complete or partial, and the duplicated urethrae may be functional or non-functional. In the photo here, there appears to be two urethral meati (openings) separated by a thin piece of tissue. If it is only the opening which is affected in this way, the dividing tissue may be removed. In more serious cases of extensive urethral duplication, surgical intervention may be need to correct the problem. This should not be confused with hypospadias, where two openings may develop on the shaft of the penis, one representing the correct location of a normal urethral meatus and one representing a hypospadic meatus.

split urethra

The raphe

The raphe is a normal element of penile development; it is the line along which the component parts of the penis fused during their development in the uterus. It is more prominent in some men than others and extends along the surface of the scrotum.

penile raphe penis raphe raphe

Fordyce spots

These cause men a great deal of distress and anxiety, and it is true that they can be unsightly when whole areas of the penis are covered with them. However, they are normal, in the sense that all men have them (and so do some women, on the skin of their labia). They are modified sweat glands, of a type which form only on the skin of the genitals, and they cannot be removed by washing, scrubbing, ointments, lotions or potions. A more complete discussion of Fordyce spots can be found on

fordyce spots Fordyce Spots Fordyce Spots fordyce spots spots on the penile skin spots on the penile skin

Pearly penile papules

Another every distressing skin blemish, though I believe this one can actually be treated by a dermatologist (I think by using cryogenic freezing techniques). Anyone with personal experience of their removal is most welcome to write in and let me know how its done. Or you can research the subject on Google.

pearly penile papules pearly penile papules

pearly penis papules pearly penile papules pearly penile papules


Tightening of the foreskin so that it will not draw back over the head of the erect penis is known as a phimosis. Phimosis is often present from birth, but since the foreskin can only be drawn back in boys as it gradually separates from the glans from the age of about five onwards, this is often not discovered until the boy has grown up a bit and begins to enjoy penile play or starts trying to draw his foreskin back to wash underneath it. In many cases the phimosis is only discovered when a boy begins to masturbate at puberty, when he finds that his foreskin won't slide back and forth over his glans, or the tightness of the skin over his erect penis produces an uncomfortable erection.

In some cases the cause of the phimosis is a fungal infection, which may mean circumcision is needed. However, there is a simple enough stretching technique which a boy can try to resolve the problem. It's described here.

R Stuart has a very good website on the subject.

phimosis of the foreskin phimosis of the penis - foreskin tightness

phimosis and foreskin tightness phimosis and foreskin tightness

foreskin slit for phimosis cure - dorsal circumcision

Prominent veins

If your penis has a load of prominent veins on it, there isn't unfortunately much you can do about it other than learn to live with it. It might be an idea to thrust gently during intercourse because exposed and prominent veins like this can sometimes responds with inflammation to vigorous rubbing. Or maybe you should just use extra lube!

prominent veins on the penis

Wrinkly skin on soft penis

Although I have had a few queries from bys about how they can solve their "wrinkly skin problem", I don't think there is anything abnormal about this. The penile skin has to expand and contract as a penis gets larger and smaller during its erection, and when it retreats into its sheath of foreskin, as in the first picture, it will naturally assume a wrinkled look. As you can see from the images of that penis getting erect, when it is bigger, the wrinkled appearance disappears.

wrinkled skin on penile shaft wrinkled skin on penile shaft

wrinkly skin on penis shaft

Click Here For The Contents Page Of Site

Pictorial Guide To The Penis

Pictorial Guide To The Penis
The foreskin & circumcision
Penile shaft & glans variations
Erect penis size, shape & angle
Hypospadias and Epispadias
Flaccid penis size, shape & angle
Small and retractile penises
Testicles - Pictures