Male Torso

terpsichorean fantasies

“Women are from Venus and men are from Mars,” so goes the hoary cliché that is often used to describe the difference between the sexes. For want of a better way, I use the same cliché to distinguish men from women.

Not one to settle for the “birds and the bees” shtick from my parents, my teenage bout with sexuality brought me to an exhaustive research that lasted well after my college days, safely preferring oral and visual to genital explorations. Here is what I discovered:

Body build.

The ideal man is thought of as lean, muscular and hard. In reality though, there is the mesomorph (Hercules, predominantly muscle and bone), the ectomorph (linear or pencil man, thin and spindly), and the endomorph (spherical and fat) with the vast majority falling somewhere on the gradient between one of two of these types.

Compared to the vast majority of women, men tend to have bigger bones and muscles or body mass.


Having lost the hairy tegument that covered the bodies of his early ancestors, man has been described accurately as the “naked ape.” Vestiges remain on the scalp, face, the armpits and the pubic region and, for some, on the chest, abdomen and back. While hairiness is an acceptable physical characteristic in males which enhances their masculinity, it is not desirable for women to be hairy. Hence their willingness to submit to the torturous process of waxing to remove unwanted body hair.

Baldness, on the other hand, while acceptable to certain fads, is often regarded as a personal catastrophe. Men and women will spend huge amounts of money to remedy the situation. Throughout history, baldness has carried a negative connotation. The Romans cut the hair off prostitutes, adulterers and traitors while early Christians endorsed a “tonsure style” for monks as an expression of humility and religious obedience, and to make them less sexually attractive. The French shaved off the hair of women who collaborated with or were mistresses of the occupying German forces during World War II.


Although often thought of as the definition of maleness, both men and women produce it — men in their testicles, women in their ovaries, and both men and women in their adrenal glands. Men, however, produce much, much more of it. An average woman has 40 to 60 nanograms of testosterone in a deciliter of blood plasma. An average man has some 300 to 1,000, and a teenage boy’s can range up to 1,300.

Men experience a flood of testosterone three times: (1) in the womb eight weeks after conception for the development of the male sexual organs, imprinting maleness on the brain and influencing the many other characteristics of masculinity; (2) during the first few months after birth for the development of the body, emotions and the mind; and (3) at puberty — resulting in squeaky voices, facial and genital hair — that completes the process. Without testosterone, humans would essentially revert to the default sex, which is female. The lack or overabundance of it, on the other hand, is a factor that affects sexual orientation as is the case with lesbians and gays.

The Y chromosome.

The spermatozoa (in male ejaculate), which look like tadpoles, have 23 chromosomes and either an X or Y sex chromosome. If in the rush to get to a female ovum, an X-bearing sperm gets there first, the result will be a girl (XX), but if a Y-bearing sperm wins the race, it will be a boy (XY).

About one in every thousand males has an extra Y chromosome, making him an XYY male. Studies have shown that an XYY male is usually taller and bigger than the average male (XY), is not very bright, tend to lack emotional control, is more impulsive, and is predisposed to criminality unless the extra energy is redirected to something positive such as sports.


Anywhere up to 500 million sperm are present in a single ejaculate, though they make up less than one percent of the volume — the rest being seminal plasma whose principal constituent is water, the function of which is to ensure that the semen is effectively transported into the female genital tract or wherever it is targeted at the moment of ejaculation.

The brain.

Anyone who dared suggest that the male brain might be different or in certain ways superior to that of females would have been promptly labeled as sexist 10 years ago. Now, it is more permissible to tell the truth, which is that in virtually every way — anatomically, psychologically, and intellectually — the brains of the two sexes are as different as chalk from cheese.

While men are single-minded and tend to excel in mathematical and scientific aptitude, women are multi-focused and tend to excel in verbal skills and emotional responsiveness. The major anatomical difference between the brains of the two sexes is the size of the corpus callosum connecting the two sides of the brain. More recently, it has been found that the hypothalamus in the brain is smaller in women than in men. This is thought to be important in determining sexual orientation, as it is also smaller in male homosexuals.

Sweat and smell.

Try watching the various brands hawking their beauty and hygiene products and you’ll see that men’s needs are very much different from that of women’s. With the exception of female athletes, men tend to have a more active lifestyle than women, so they sweat more and are more odious.

The feet, groin, hair and breath all have quite distinct odors, but the most powerful and easily recognizable of them all is that from the armpit. The axillary sweat glands in the armpit secrete small amounts of testosterone, but this proves to be odorless. However, the presence of large amounts of bacterium known as corneyform converts this testosterone onto other metabolites which emit the urine and musk-like odor that is so typical of sweaty shirts.

The penis.

Banana, zucchini, rod, staff, shaft. Whatever you call it, the possession of a penis is the defining characteristic of maleness which combines the two quite distinct functions of urination and copulation.

The length of the flaccid penis varies from 7.5 cm to 11.5 cm, and doubles when it’s erect. Although the importance of size has long been a dead argument, the use of it has spawned such bestsellers as the Kama Sutra and its modern day equivalent — manuals for advanced sexual maneuvers, techniques, positions, multiple and extended sexual orgasms.

Those who, through either impotence or choice, do not regularly use their organ for sexual intercourse also find that it becomes smaller with time. The lesson seems clear — use it or lose it.