We tend to see more penis being portrayed on TV and films, but why are most of them prosthetic penises?


Paying attention to it, you would notice that there have been an increase in the display of male nudity in the past few years and even presently.

One of the first movies to include male nudity was the 1971 film by Jack Nicholson titled “Drive, He said”, Also after his nude scene in the 1980s movie “American Gigolo” Richard Gere became an international sex symbol. Peter Lehman in his book “Running scared: Masculinity and the Representation of the Male Body” studied the several patterns of male nudity. He stated that “frontal male nudity in Hollywood movies to a certain contextual extent was allowed when the new ratings system in 1968 took over from the old motion picture promotion code”.

Lately, it’s now probably common that you’ll catch a glimpse of a penis in top films and TV shows, but they are rather unreal. Prosthetic penis which were initially used for a sort of dramatic effect have now become the new normal.

Though male nudity is more common in the recent years in both television and films but, there are still numerous factors that catalyzes the rate of frontal male nudity in films and television. Premium channels such as HBO gained more popularity in the 1990s due to the fact that it isn’t supervised by the motion picture association’s rating system, which is what controls the various scenarios and under which conditions a penis can be shown on screen, other platforms like the HBO include the 21st century streaming bodies like Netflix and Amazon.

According to the rating system which governs theatrical releases, penis can still be displayed in scenes that does not involve sexual activities as seen in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s list. The rule also includes that while frontal male nudity can be displayed on scenes involving sex that there has to be a certain level of distance between the two actors, so in the movie “The color of the night”, the scene where Bruce Willis’ penis was shown for a brief moment during the underwater swimming lovemaking with Jane March, the Motion Picture Association (MPAA) disapproved,  referencing that the actor Bruce Willis was too close to the woman, hence the scene was ultimately left out.

Another factor that is responsible for the more frequent portrayal of frontal male nudity is as to level the playing field in comparison to how often female nudity is seen in films and television which mostly features young attractive women, this is highly backed by filmmakers such as Judd Apatow and Sam levinson.

Most of these penises displayed on film and television are prosthetic worn by the actors and then made to look more real in the actual film or television, this can be seen in the 2010 series ‘spartacus’. The use of prosthetic penis has always fluctuated over the years but after the series Spartacus it is now used more often as seen in the HBO series Euphoria. While a few are digital like in the first and second installment of the film Nymphomaniac where the director swapped the actors penises with that of their doubles, one fact still remains which is that whether it is synthetic or digital the penis used are always big in size. This is so as to satisfy the wide assumptions seen in most people that the size of a person’s penis speaks volumes about their sexual performance and Masculinity.