Smegma, Your Friend and Mine
March 24, 2005 4:35 PM   Subscribe

(so NSFW it isn't funny at all, most links are not safe either)
'The animal kingdom would probably cease to exist without smegma.' - Thomas Ritter, MD.
Smegma's a widely misunderstood substance, rather than being a noxious waste product it moisturizes the glans and keeps it smooth, soft, and supple. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties keep the penis clean and healthy though a build up can result in balanitis. Here's an article on how to collect it for experimentation as an extracted bacterium from smegma has been successfully used to treat bladder cancer as well as a strange experiment on the potential carcinogenic effects of smegma on mice (hint, there were none found, if anything, the smegma'ed mice outlived the control mice). Smegma is also related to vernix, the cheese-like substance on a newborn's skin.

Lots of humor to be had, including the Devil's Dictionary definition as well as a band called, yeah, Smegma and even a cocktail recipe for something called a Smegma Delight (vodka, bourbon and parmesan cheese, umm, pass).
posted by fenriq (48 comments total)
I've always wondered if Smeg, the explicative used in the old Brit/Sci Fi /Com, Red Dwarf was a derivative of Smegma.
posted by edgeways at 4:51 PM on March 24, 2005

Wow. Haven't heard about Smegma in at least a decade, maybe 2. As teens thumbing through bins at record stores we were always entertained upon encountering Smegma's album. Interesting post, fenriq. Gross, but interesting.
posted by shoepal at 4:51 PM on March 24, 2005

There was a young man from Wales,
who lived on bird droppings and snails.
When he couldn't get these,
he lived on the cheese
that he scraped off his knob with his nails.
posted by spacewrench at 4:55 PM on March 24, 2005

Wow. That was really fascinating.
Really gross, but fascinating all the same.
Great post!

"Analogous to tears, smegma is the compilation of secretions by ectopic sebaceous glands located in the prepuce"

Penis tears. Who'd-a-thunk it.
posted by zerokey at 4:55 PM on March 24, 2005

I wondered about the wisdom of posting this after mindlessly punching it into Google. It is gross but who knew it could cure cancer?

edgeways, its likely. We used to call people we thought were losers, Smegs, as a kid. We also used to think we were cool.
posted by fenriq at 4:56 PM on March 24, 2005

about 35 years ago (when I was 15) smegma was the most amusing word to me. I am of the unsmegmanated segment of the male population. No head cheese for me. However, my pal Jimmy tried to get "smegma" for his vanity plates back around 76-77. No go. State of Illinois would not put that on a plate. (eek--no pun intended)
posted by beelzbubba at 4:58 PM on March 24, 2005

A band called Smegma? I know a band called Rectal Smegma, how's that. They've had their want ad posted outside my friends' band practice space forever.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:13 PM on March 24, 2005

Imagine that

1. they tell you there is a God
2. and he'll spank you if you sin
3. kill you and send to you to hell and etc
4. and if you don't pay for church on sunday that is not supporting Jebus and you're a sin et al
5. that you should cut the foreskin cause it's unclean and the smegma and blah

Imagine what....all lies, yet you believed all of them
posted by elpapacito at 5:15 PM on March 24, 2005

also: [this is eww]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:17 PM on March 24, 2005

posted by matteo at 5:20 PM on March 24, 2005

Metafilter: Gently hugging the shaft
posted by lemonfridge at 5:43 PM on March 24, 2005 [1 favorite]

This is why I love the internet, and MeFi. Thanks, fenriq!
posted by mkultra at 5:50 PM on March 24, 2005

fenriq: who knew it could cure cancer

{confession: I haven't read any links yet}

But it is equally interesting to note that jewesses either don't get or have a very low incidence of cervical cancer - that is the only even 1/2 way decent factoid based argument I've seen supporting circumcision. Presumption being that smegma can cause cervical cancer.
Too tired/lazy to link it up.
posted by peacay at 5:59 PM on March 24, 2005

edgeways: yes, they were specifically refrring to smegma. In fact, one of the DVDs for the show has the cast at a question and answer session where a little girl stands up and asks, "What's smeg?" The entire stage had their jaws drop, some of them fell over laughing and none of them would answer. I think the best she got was "Your parents will tell you when you're older," but my memory is gray and misty on the matter.
posted by shmegegge at 6:02 PM on March 24, 2005 [1 favorite]

And for the ladies: Vulveeta! (Unlikely To Be Safe For Work)
posted by Wet Spot at 6:03 PM on March 24, 2005

I want a Smeg. (SFW!)
posted by afiler at 6:05 PM on March 24, 2005

Thanks so much, fenriq. I was just about to go to bed. Now my dreams will be filled with smegma. And I so don't want that.
posted by Decani at 6:40 PM on March 24, 2005

"jewesses"...why does this term still exist, but not, say, muslimettes or christianas?
posted by senor biggles at 6:51 PM on March 24, 2005

you might think it's butter, but it's ... dick cheese!

Great post! Seriously. This is good.
posted by psmealey at 7:21 PM on March 24, 2005

huh. episode II of this should be "who the hell ever thought circumcision was a good idea?"
posted by blacklite at 7:40 PM on March 24, 2005

Isn't anyone going to ask fenriq what the hell inspired this? These things don't just come out of the blue, do they?

I have learned so much today.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:52 PM on March 24, 2005

peacay: I think the penile and cervical cancer research that claimed there was a link with circumcision/smegma has since been discredited; though googling for authorative sources is hard on such a contentious issue, the gist of it does seem to be that the link was a mistaken conclusion from research in the late fifties and learly sixties, and it appears that there doesn't appear to be one1
posted by fvw at 8:02 PM on March 24, 2005

biggles, I do wonder where the term Jewess came from.. sounds to me like it might be a derogatory contraction of Jewish Princess (drop the -ish from jewish and -ess to the end)
posted by gregb1007 at 8:23 PM on March 24, 2005

That's right. Smegma has been discredited as a cause of cervical cancer. After all, it pretty much made no sense to begin with.
posted by drpynchon at 8:25 PM on March 24, 2005

"Jewess" is an archaic term (now not commonly considered PC) for a Jewish female, along the same lines as "Negress" for a black female. Though I'm not sure, I believe that the "Jewish princess" stereotype is younger than "Jewess."
posted by bubukaba at 8:45 PM on March 24, 2005

Is this something I would need a foreskin to know about?
posted by gubo at 9:06 PM on March 24, 2005

When my wife gave birth to our daughter, the midwife joked a bit, asking if she could keep a little vernix from the baby to dab on the corners of her eyes to keep the crow's feet at bay. She should have helped herself, we had one cheesy baby. yup.
posted by blakewest at 9:18 PM on March 24, 2005

I'm guessing so, gubo, since I'm feeling the same way. Although I did try to hold onto my intellectual curiousity, so as to learn and not be grossed out, but I lost it when I came to the last quote in the main link:

"If allowed to accumulate for several years, smegma might possibly cause some irritation. But, even this is doubtful."

Several YEARS???? Please, how hard can it be to clean your penis once in a while????
posted by yhbc at 9:20 PM on March 24, 2005

Being from Wisconsin, I occasionally need to explain to people that "cheesehead" does not mean what they think it means.

Of course, "cheese-eater" does, and they got away with that on NYPD Blue a few times.

Hell, while I'm on trivia, there was a Playboy years ago where they published a photo of some chick with her "SMEGMA" license plate. Ah, the days before the DMV caught on to the possibilities.
posted by dhartung at 9:27 PM on March 24, 2005

I should have linked before I leapt.
I apologize to smegma everywhere whoever you are.

So HumanPapillomaVirus is thought to be the leading cause of cervical cancer - "It is thought to grow preferentially in the epithelium of the glans penis, and scrupulous washing and cleaning of this area may be preventative" - which of itself would favour a lower incidence of cervical cancer in the Jewish community.

I demand the return of my 4skin!
posted by peacay at 9:28 PM on March 24, 2005

*pictures Dr. Evil saying "liquid hot smegma."
posted by schyler523 at 9:50 PM on March 24, 2005

mudpuppy, sometimes words just come to me. Maybe I saw something that reminded me, I'm not sure. But I knew I wanted to post it after I googled it and started finding out some what smegma's all about.

I'd always sort of equated it with a wetter and stinkier version of belly button lint or maybe about on the same par as toe cheese.

yhbc, you've obviously never spent any time in rural Vermont. I'll leave it at that.
posted by fenriq at 10:26 PM on March 24, 2005

A MetaFilter member named himself after this stuff.

Mr. Dong Resin, where are you?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:35 PM on March 24, 2005

Whoohoo, I'm famous today! "smegma" is definitely one of my all-time favorite words...
posted by smeger at 11:05 PM on March 24, 2005

Mmmmm cheese. In all seriousness, the glans is an internal organ like the tongue. I don't think I'd relish the idea of cutting my lips off to make cleaning my teeth easier.
posted by jackiemcghee at 12:30 AM on March 25, 2005

edgeways + shmegegge:

As part of a 'top 100 comedies' programme shown at the end of last year, I remember seeing one of the Red Dwarfs writers (I think it was Rob Grant) confirm - somewhat embarrassedly - that smeg was indeed 'that smelly stuff that collects around the tip of your penis'

Seems that this is normally denied by all involved in the show - presumably to avoid getting into strife when re-runs are shown!
posted by stumcg at 3:48 AM on March 25, 2005
posted by obeygiant at 5:45 AM on March 25, 2005

I have to add that I'm not at all convinced smegma reduces the chance of getting cancer. A far more persuasive idea, however, is that it seriously reduces the chance of getting blowjobs.

Keep the old boy clean, non-roundheads.
posted by Decani at 6:01 AM on March 25, 2005

The circumcision-cervical cancer thing is pretty dodgy, but there's some evidence that circumcision reduces penile HPV (human papiloma virus) infection - HPV has been associated with cervical cancer.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 7:49 AM on March 25, 2005

Decani, word. Finally someone speaks sense. What was with those pictures of dicks covered with that stuff? Can you IMAGINE how it smells? Like a hundred rotting oysters or something.

All you people are just so supportive of this "natural" argument--It just so happens that my boyfriend has like half a foreskin and (not to turn this into 'ask savage' or whatever but) i have to tell him this weekend that he MUST wash it before i put my face anywhere near it.

So the foreskin protects the glans (mine never seemed to need it). It's supposed to heighten sensation too (i'm enough of a pervert already, thanks). The benefits are outweighed by the COST OF THAT GODAWFUL SMELL.

It's enough to scare you str8.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 8:37 AM on March 25, 2005

and then there's these PARTS WASHERS
just to be on the safe side...

I've always been concerned about being uncircumcised but my wastewater evaporator is a godsend.
posted by shipbreaker at 8:44 AM on March 25, 2005

gorgor_balabala: indeed. Those pictures just make me want to slap the guys who let themselves get into that disgusting condition. I hope this thread doesn't get derailed into a circumcision debate (don't get me started, seriously) but I will say that smegheads are doing we unsnipped chaps a serious disservice by perpetuating the idea that an undocked dick has to be less clean than a roundhead. You know, any part of the body gets dirty and smelly if you don't wash it well enough...
posted by Decani at 9:43 AM on March 25, 2005

gorgor and Decani, basic hygiene's pretty alien to some folks. Just like eating with a fork or having a tv on a stand and not on a broken tv. Your boy with the stinky winky? Does he like workout and then forget to shower or something?

That said, my snipped fun wand still will accumulate its share of cheese if I go dirty for a couple of days.

Imagine Victorian Europe when bathing was considered nasty. Ween cheese must have been damned near rampant and almost certainly didn't aid the prevailing stinkyness.
posted by fenriq at 10:14 AM on March 25, 2005

It explains Puritanism.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 10:26 AM on March 25, 2005

[that is, does smegma]
posted by gorgor_balabala at 10:34 AM on March 25, 2005

Well it seems that penises of any variety are not contributors to a low incidence of cervical cancer among jewish women.
It is probably genetic in origin and is related to lack of a gene defect in a somewhat 'closed' ethnic group - Israeli jewish women.
(This is a very good literature review - 2003)

Learn something new everyday.
posted by peacay at 11:10 AM on March 25, 2005

Whew. Now that's an FPP!
posted by bdave at 2:23 PM on March 25, 2005

« Older I, for one, welcome our T. rex overlords   |   Sitting there with gleaming eyes Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments