The most accurate measurement of the human penis comes from several measurements at different times since there is natural minor variability in size due to arousal level, time of day, room temperature, frequency of sexual activity, and reliability of measurement. When compared to other primates, including large primates such as the gorilla, the human penis is largest, both in absolute terms and in relative size to the rest of the body.
Measurements vary, with studies that rely on self-measurement reporting a significantly higher average than those with staff measuring. However, the mean of an erect human penis is approximately 12.9–15.0 cm (5.1–5.9 in) in length. Flaccid penis length is a poor estimate of erect length.
The human penis is an external male sexual organ. It is a reproductive, intromittent organ that additionally serves as the urinal duct. The main parts are the root (radix); the body (corpus); and the epithelium of the penis including the shaft skin and the foreskin covering the glans penis. The body of the penis is made up of three columns of tissue: two corpora cavernosa on the dorsal side and corpus spongiosum between them on the ventral side. The human male urethra passes through the prostate gland, where it is joined by the ejaculatory duct, and then through the penis. The urethra traverses the corpus spongiosum, and its opening, the meatus //, lies on the tip of the glans penis. It is a passage both for urine and for the ejaculation of semen.
The penis is homologous to the clitoris. An erection is the stiffening and rising of the penis, which occurs during sexual arousal, though it can also happen in non-sexual situations. The most common form of genital alteration is circumcision, removal of part or all of the foreskin for various cultural, religious, and more rarely, medical reasons. There is controversy surrounding circumcision.