Myth vs Fact

Fact Check: Is The Reddit Guy With 2 Penises For Real?

January 6, 2014 by Justin Lehmiller


I came across a fascinating Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Reddit the other day entitled: “I am the guy with two penises.” It was written by a very sexually active man who claims to have been born with two “100% functional” penises (of which he posted some NSFW photos for the curious among us). After learning about his sexual exploits (including a seven-person orgy involving some acrobatic feats of coordination), relationship status (he’s currently in a committed relationship with a man and a woman), and what it was like to grow up with an extra penis, I couldn’t help but ask one question: “Is this for real, or just a clever story crafted by someone who is very good with Photoshop?” So, I did a bit digging into the medical literature to see what I could find out. Although my research cannot directly speak to the authenticity of this particular Reddit author and his life story, what I discovered is that having two functional penises is indeed possible and this would not be the first documented case.

In medical terms, having two penises is known as diphallus or diphallia, which is an exceedingly rare anatomical variation that is thought to occur in about one out of every 5-6 million births [1]. At least 100 cases of diphallus have been documented in the medical literature over the last 400 years, but the details of each case vary widely. Having a complete duplication of the penis like the guy on Reddit where each one is capable of erection and ejaculation is certainly possible, but highly unusual [2]. Beyond having a duplicate penis, other diphallic configurations include having one penile shaft with two heads at the end, a single penile shaft that splits into two at the midpoint, or one full-size penis accompanied by a small “accessory penis” [1,2].

In addition, the secondary penis is not always functional, and there are sometimes functionality issues with the primary penis as well. For instance, in one case study I uncovered, the patient had one larger penis that was capable of becoming erect, but that penis did not have a urinary opening (meaning he could not use it for urination or ejaculation); at the same time, however, he also had a smaller penis that did not become erect, but did have a urinary opening [3]. Between the two, he could do everything he needed to, but neither was complete in and of itself.

When diphallus occurs, the scrotum often is not fused into one sac (this is known medically as a “bifid scrotum”), and there are usually other duplicate structures in the body, such as an extra bladder or colon [1,2]. Unusual formations of the kidneys, urethra, and anus are also common, and may result in problems with urination and defecation [2]. The end result is that many cases of diphallus require surgical treatments to allow the patient to excrete normally and/or to enhance erectile and ejaculatory function. Thus, before you go wishing that you had diphallus, keep in mind that the case presented on Reddit is not what most people end up with.

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering why diphallus occurs. Unfortunately, we do not fully understand and there is not one single theory that can account for all of the anatomic variations we have seen in the literature [2]. However, the basic thought is that something is happening during a very early stage of embryological development in which certain bodily tissues are not fusing together like they normally do and this is producing duplicate structures.

You may also be wondering if this can happen to women, and the answer is yes. There are some documented cases of women with a diphallic equivalent (i.e., having a double clitoris) [4]. Not only that, but I have seen news reports about women having two vaginas as well!

All in all, while I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the double penis guy on Reddit, the premise of having two fully functional penises is certainly within the realm of possibilities; however, keep in mind that such a case would be extraordinarily rare and most people with diphallus would probably be telling very different stories, likely involving fewer orgies and love triangles.

Want to learn more about Sex and Psychology? Click here for more from the blog or here to listen to the podcast. Follow Sex and Psychology on Facebook, Twitter (@JustinLehmiller), or Reddit to receive updates. You can also follow Dr. Lehmiller on YouTube and Instagram.

[1] Mirshemirani, A., Sadeghyian, N., Mohajerzadeh, L., Molayee, H., & Ghaffari, P. (2010). Diphallus: Report on six cases and review of the literature. Iranian Journal of Pediatrics, 20, 353-357.

[2] Tirtayasa, P.M.W., Prasetyo, R.B., & Rodjani, A. (2013). Diphallia with associated anomalies: A case report and literature review. Case Reports in Urology.

[3] Sahay, S.C., Dogra, P.N., & Rai, P.K. (2012). A rare case of adult diphallus with anorectal malformation. Uroradiology, 28, 357-358.

[4] Bell, B. (1925). Diphallus in the female. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 32, 112-113.

Image Source: iStockphoto

You Might Also Like:

Post Featured Image
Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

Read full bio >