A Staff Report from the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board

Why does the penis shrink when it's cold?

Dear Straight Dope:

Why does the penis shrink when it's cold?

To be accurate, the testicles are the part of the apparatus that draws up close to the body when it's cold, and pulls the rest of attached body parts up with them. The reason the testicles hang below the body is because sperm can only be produced at a slightly cooler temperature than the rest of the body. They are cooler down there, but if it gets too cool, they self-regulate by snuggling closer to the warm body. My husband says that he feels his genital area shrink or withdraw when he looks over a frightening precipice or is otherwise startled. I don't have an explanation for that other than the body may see the sperm factory as it's only hope for the immortal future, so tries to protect that first.

My father lives in Singapore, and he sent me an article once about a health scare in that part of the world. Apparently they had many reported cases of men having their genitals sucked up inside their bodies, never to see the light of day again. I'm not sure why this might have happened in southeast Asia and not here, but I prefer to think it's a hoax.

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