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Some Questions[edit]

Well, I read some of the talk page, and hope my asking of the following questions doesn't enrage anyone or get interpreted as a subtle POV attack.

First, is the note about vernix actually necessary? I am not asking sarcastically, I just have never heard of anyone calling the babywax smegma.

Next, the lead paragraph seems to be saying some contradictory things:

"Smegma, a transliteration of the Greek word σμήγμα for soap, is a combination of exfoliated (shed) epithelial cells, transudated skin oils, moisture, and bacteria that can accumulate under the foreskin of males and within the female vulva area, with a characteristic strong odor and taste. Smegma is common to all mammals, male and female. Mycobacterium smegmatis is the characteristic bacterium involved in smegma production, and is generally thought to form smegma from epidermal secretions."

Smegma is a combination of cells, oils, moisture and any related bacteria. And it is (thought to be) formed by a bacterium? So, the bacterium is thought to be the cause of smegma, and without it, all that stuff would just dribble away? The article on the bacterium does not mention this. I know the human body has a lot of hitchhikers who help us out in a lot of ways, so I am in no way bothered by the idea, but I think it should be more clearly stated, if known, and the bacterium article should probably also mention it.

Further: the definition includes "bacteria that can accumulate under the foreskin" -- or is that meant to be the combination that accumulates under the foreskin? And it also accumulates under the clitoral prepuce, which is not generally called a foreskin, right?

Either way, the initial definition seems to include bacteria in the collection of stuff that is smegma. Bactria beyond Mycobacterium smegmatis, one might assume.

Other secretions, sweat for example, tend to contain bacteria, but generally the bacteria isn't part of the definition for sweat itself. It does mention that odor is caused by bacteria breaking down stuff in the sweat. Smegma seems like a similar secretion in this respect, so I wonder: Does the medical definition of smegma actually include the bacteria as part of what it is? Either way, this could be clarified.

Is the "characteristic odor" from the smegma itself or from the bacterial breakdown of accumulated smegma? Are there odorants included, or does Mycobacterium smegmatis have an odor itself? Surely someone knows.

"if allowed to accumulate and decay in the foreskin cavity, it can combine with shed skin cells," -- I thought dead skin cells were parts of what smegma IS?

I edited the "human" section somewhat, mostly rearranging the material and removing some redundant material, and adding a bit more for female smegma.

I moved the pro- and anti-circ material to the end of the section, as I feel it is entirely tangential to the article; I also removed parts of the paragraph that were redundant (the material was stated elsewhere in the article) or belonged wholly in the circumcision article.

I do not believe I have shifted the artical in the direction of either circ-related POV.

I hope someone can asnwer some of the above questions, for I feel they are necessary to make this arcticle complete and clear. --Scix 08:50, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

I believe your questions are pertinent, as many as they may be. I think it the article should be cleaned up to clear all this ambiguities. Maybe even someone with better knowledge should check it out like an urologist or something. Anyways, lets vote for the clean-up banner. D4RK-L3G10N (talk) 03:26, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Risk of Cancer Statistic is Largely Incorrect[edit]

If you look at the study cited it states that

"Among men not circumcised in childhood, phimosis was strongly associated with development of invasive penile cancer (OR = 11.4, 95% CI 5.0-25.9). When we restricted our analysis to men who did not have phimosis, the risk of invasive penile cancer associated with not having been circumcised in childhood was not elevated (OR = 0.5, 95% CI 0.1-2.5)."

Therefore, I suggest that the article be changed to show that phimosis in uncircumcised men, not uncircumcised men in generally, have a greater chance of penile cancer. —Preceding unsigned comment added by WilliamACopeland (talkcontribs)

Two problems here. First, the study cited disagrees with your analysis. It states: "Men not circumcised during childhood were at increased risk of invasive (OR = 2.3, 95% CI 1.3-4.1) but not in situ (OR = 1.1, 95% CI 0.6-1.8) penile cancer. [...] Circumcision in early childhood may help prevent penile cancer by eliminating phimosis, a significant risk factor for the disease." PMID 15825185
Second, several studies (eg., Maden 1993, Schoen 2000, Tseng 2001) have reported the reduced risk in uncircumcised males, and although this study indicates that this may be due to the secondary effect of eliminating phimosis, there's less evidence for this possible mechanism than there is for the phenomenon as a whole. Jakew (talk) 16:01, 11 May 2008 (UTC)


Since smegma tends to accumulate under the foreskin in males, its presence is less common and less noticeable in circumcised males.

Presumably circumcised males still produce smegma, it just accumulates in their underwear instead. 12:47, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Apparently. If you have sources, add it! D4RK-L3G10N (talk) 03:33, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Women and smemga[edit]

Asked a female friend about this and according to her she had no idea about this and had never washed away her smemga neither had any of her female friends so do girls really suffer the same risks as men? XSpaceyx 19:59, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

I think it's more about social conditioning and attitudes than about risks. Men and boys in Western countries constantly get the "penis cleanliness/hygiene" message from medical authorities. By contrast, I don't think girls are ever taught that it's a bad idea to leave the smegma hanging around.
No, girls are taught just as much as boys to wash their genitals.CerealBabyMilk 10:40, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
This conditioning is especially bad in circumcising countries like the USA. American women are conditioned to expect their partner to have an odorless penis, and are often heard complaining about the natural odor of an uncircumcised penis. (Presumably they think their vaginas smell like roses...) 12:58, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Popular Culture Section[edit]

If this section is even needed at all, I really strongly think it should be limited. I mean, legman's is a valid English word and simply appearing in a work of fiction using the word with it's actual meaning isn't notable. I try and erase entries as they come that are just "x show said legman's" but I don't really fancy being the official legman's page guard or anything. Cheesecloth's 06:45, 13 May 2007 (ETC)

Ingestion of Smegma[edit]

Shouldn't there by a section that deals with the practice of eating smegma and the health benefits thereof? 22:22, 20 September 2007 (UTC)

Do people actually do that?!?!?! If so, definitively! But please, whoever does it, cite sources and watch the POV. Oh, and for the sake of my already diseased stomach, do not add pictures of people eating smegma!!! D4RK-L3G10N (talk) 03:32, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

yum yum smeg on toast — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:08, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Smeg (vulgarism)[edit]

Please don't remove the reference to Smeg (vulgarism) from the article. The association between these two words, (regardless of the legitimacy of the etymology), is notable. I would even dare to guess that 95% percent of the people who come to this page are looking up the term in relation to Red Dwarf or some other use of the word "smeg". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:17, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

The very first sentence on that page is "Grant Naylor has stated it was not related to a medical term and was a made up swear word.". So there seems to be no reason whatsoever to have/keep that reference here. 09:11, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

The following sections relate to issue of censorship

Please confine all comments about how you personally feel about this article below, so that issues relating to the quality of the article can be constructively dealt with. Thank you all for your patience.

Picture of Smegma[edit]

I have removed this picture for a second time. Do not restore it. The image is disgusting and shocking, there is absolutely NO need for it to be displayed on the main page. Those who really wish to examine such gross images may freely click on the links at the end of the article, whereas the majority of people researching smegma (such as my eight year old daughter) will find a textual description entirely sufficient. Again, do not restore this image to the main page. I will remove it every time. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:35, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^STFU! People who are researching this shit don't know exactly what to make of it since the descriptions of it given in the text isn't exactly non-scholar friendly. I didn't understand a damn thing it said but since I seen the pic of it, now I know EXACTLY what it is, and that's what Wiki is here for! To educate those of us who are curious. Keep your eight year old daughter from researching penis conditions, and there wont be a problem.

Sorry but this isn't *your* Wikipedia! Wikipedia does not censor for minors or morality so if you wan't to remove the image do not do so unilaterally (it will only be restored anyway), but debate it here on the talk page first. If general consensus is that the image should go, then so be it. 19:03, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree with the unidentified user #2; you shouldn't remove it unilaterally. Yet I agree with unidentified user #1 that this image is disturbingly disgusting. While I was reading, I removed it with Firebug so I could just proceed with reading! Or else I would've thrown up. And I'll be honest, not much things make me sick. Even though I quite disbelieve an 8-year-old child would research such a kind of thing voluntarily, it is risky to keep it there to avoid shocking people (like me, a 20-year-old teenager haha XD). Finally, I vote against the keeping of this picture, even it might in a very abstract way hurt the freedom of experession of Wikipedia. (Btw, please create a login unidentified users) D4RK-L3G10N (talk) 03:19, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

The picture of smegma is educational, however is needlessly disgusting. Would a diagram of some description not serve the same purpouse, without being as visually offensive? user:moore.jonathan 15:50, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

How can one make a diagram of smegma? The pic only shows what happens when it accumulates; a diagram of such isn't useful. -Jéské (Blah v^_^v) 04:28, 24 December 2007 (UTC)
Why the fuck would an eight year old girl be researching smegma in the first place?

I say keep the pic - Wikipedia is not censored for minors or religious morality and there really isn't a way we can replace the picture with anything else. Further, I feel the pic is needed so as to show what it looks like. -Jéské (Blah v^_^v) 04:28, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

I am uncircumcised and non-religious but seriously that picture is uncalled for. At least make it smaller. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:17, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

I don't think we can make it much smaller... -Jéské (v^_^v Detarder) 04:14, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

This is a good compromise, at least for now. I can make it smaller; it's actually pretty simple to do, Jeske! I vote it get replaced by a less disturbing picture, and a more relevant one to boot. I think wiki should be able to show anatomical and biologic features, but it can be done tastefully. This is not tasteful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:24, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

I know I don't want to see that. (talk) 01:46, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

And? As pointed out above, the picture is relevant in this article and there is no way to make a diagram that would do the job as well. Besides, if you don't want to see it, navigate away from the page or peruse the history. -Jéské (v^_^v X of Swords) 01:49, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Was it really on the main page at some point, with that pic? That is a strange choice. Merkin's mum 16:50, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

if we're counting votes, then mine is to keep the pic Traveller palm (talk) 08:46, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

We're not counting votes. Wikipedia doesn't work that way. Smile.png Jakew (talk) 10:09, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

There is no diagram or illustration that can possess the same encyclopedic or educational value of a real picture in this situation. An actual photograph is absolutely needed in this article. If you don't want to see an image of a Prince Albert piercing, then don't visit the Prince Albert piercing article on an illustrated encyclopedia that is known for being uncensored. The same goes for smegma. If you have further concerns, please see the content disclaimer linked at the bottom of every page. hmwithτ 20:01, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

I think that anyone who is not prepared to see smegma shouldn't visit a wikipedia article about smegma. It's just common sense, and if your 8 year old daughter is "researching" smegma, that is definately unusual. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:29, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

There is no way of getting this picture hidden? I agree it should be here for educational purposes, but surely there are many people who would find it quite offensive (especially if they don't know what to expect, they are searching Wikipedia for a reason..). Any kind of spoiler function or something similar? Because now it seems you'll go Wikipedia to check what it is and without some choice you are in front of cock with a gigantic load of smegma all over it. And then you need to face with this picture in your head every time eating feta salad. ReiseReise123 (talk) 08:11, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

There are options in your preferences to hide the image. However, we cannot and will not hide the image or put it in a show/hide box. —Jeremy (v^_^v Dittobori) 16:26, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. The best bet is probably to disable images in your web browser. Alternatively, don't read articles about subjects that are likely to cause offense. Jakew (talk) 16:33, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

Well thanks for all of this. Now I'm going to barf![edit]

Who's the sick f*** that lets this grow like that? The pics are absolutely disgusting. I rather see a corpse rot than this. I'm vomiting as I type this. Sickos. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:13, 8 April 2007 (UTC).

I think it is an example of the articles subject; If you do not like it, you do not have to read an article about smegma in the first place. Frankly, this novel concept first pioneered by america has been lost with people complaining about everything and expecting people to conform to what they do not "like". You want a smegma article, you get a picture of smegma. You are right, an encyclopedia may not have such a picture but encyclopedia's are on paper and probably would not wish to devote even enough room to something like smegma. But on wikipedia, we have more than enough room to expand on even the most miniscule details. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:07, 16 April 2007 (UTC).
    • new entry**

I agree. This type of picture would never appear in a real encyclopedia. It is not appropriate and very disgusting. 21:55, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Read your Wikipedia policies, in particular WP:NOT#CENSORED. ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 21:58, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Why? It's a picture of a normal secretion of the human body, it isn't pornographic. It serves the purpose of illustrating what smegma looks like. My hat goes off to the selfless wikipedian who resisted bathing long enough to allow that photograph to be taken. 12:45, 20 April 2007 (UTC)
This picture is horrible, a picture like that will not appear in any other wikipedia in other languages, where the policies are more strict. A young person who don't know the word "smegma" and surf Wikipedia to find out what is should be shoked by a gross photo like that. A spoiler should be added, or a diagram of the smegma, not the photo taken from a real dirt and disgusting penis. -- 10:19, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

The picture was removed by someone on revision 149362504 without concensus. I once found myself looking for what Smegma was on the Wikipedia and I thought it was most illustrative, it allowed me to recognize its meaning without having to read a single word of the article. I guess that those who say that a picture like this would never appear on an encyclopedia never checked a medical one. Ellamosi 12:54, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

There is no reason why there shouldn't be a picture of smegma, it's an article about Smegma and like every other article should be supported with photographic examples. The reason Wikipedia is more strict in other languages is because of a government or relligion unfairly censoring it's content for "the greater good" of it's masses, something that is harder to do on the English site as it is so huge and spans more nations. Also, any child shocked by a neutral picture of a penis is being brought up incorrectly and will have troubles in later life... Childrens imaginations must surely conjure up more vulgar images, more regularly. It's natural. 05:52, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

You guys are ridiculous - this is ~not~ like any other article. When you look up "penis", you do not see a picture of a penis, you see a diagram. There is absolutely ~no~ reason to display this image on the main page. It's censorship has nothing to do with minors or whatnot, it's just disgusting.

Bullshit. The picture clearly shows smegma, and thus has encyclopedic value in this article. Take your kids and morals elsewhere. -Jéské (v^_^v +2 Pen of Editing) 01:23, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

It doesn't show smegma, it shows a penis covered in smegma. If the entry for 'penis' showed a real penis? Then fine, this would be legit. But it doesn't, it shows a diagram. And my reasoning has nothing to do with kids (I have none) or morals (couldn't care less from that standpoint). Thanks for bringing up two non-applicable arguments in an attempt to discredit me.

No. Until Wikipedia's 'penis' article shows a picture of a penis, this picture up here will not be in line with the point or purpose of Wikipedia.

Then YOU draw a picture of smegma. The problem is that it's not really possible to make a diagram of smegma, and as such the picture has to suffice. See the section above, please. -Jéské (v^_^v +2 Pen of Editing) 04:13, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

I think it should be there. If you don't like it don't look at it, don't decide whether others (minor or not) can look at it. It is not porn. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:01, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

"If you don't like it don't look at it, don't decide whether others (minor or not) can look at it."
Exactly! I'd like to have a choice before I see this! How will I know I don't want to look at something like this? Well, a little message about disturbing pictures in the article would do the thing. It's not so hard to implement, I guess? And it seems so reasonable and so appropriate, I really wonder why it's not there from the beginning. —Preceding unsigned comment added by ReiseReise123 (talkcontribs) 08:44, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Note that, per WP:NOTCENSORED and existing community consensus, we can't and won't be doing such a thing. The general consensus overall by the Wikimedia Foundation is that there will be no abetting of censorship in any way - in fact, a recent discussion about using content tags on one of their mailing lists ended with a resounding negatory. —Jeremy (v^_^v Dittobori) 16:31, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

As a compromise, why not a picture of animal smegma? (personally I don't care, but some people might be more happy with a non-human example)--Ibycus314 (talk) 02:20, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Boohoo. It's a sign of the times when people think that natural human stuff like urine, poo and smegma are so disgusting that you "vomit while writing this". Do you vomit when you wash your penis too? The only sicko here is you.

Posted by TimMagic on Friday, June 12, 2009: Let's think about all this. Aside from the distasteful aspects of springing a picture of an unhygenic bodypart on unsuspecting people who might just be looking up the definition of a word, think of all the giggles and titters of schoolchildren who might stumble upon this page. This might give Wikipedia the reputation of being a place where it is not safe for adults to allow children to visit. Do you want Wikipedia to be banned in some of the schools, especially the private schools? —Preceding unsigned comment added by TimMagic (talkcontribs) 21:44, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Again, if the picture is relevant and there is no better picture available, it will not be removed. -Jeremy (v^_^v Cardmaker) 21:55, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

I think the picture is necessary, although I agree that many people (myself included) would have an initial reaction of shock. I liked the comment that the picture explained to one person what smegma was without having to read the article. Yes, the picture is disgusting but it is knowledge. It can be made smaller and it can be arranged in a space on the page where it wont be the first thing one sees, for example not everyone will scroll all the way to the bottom of the article if most of their questions can be answered in the introductory paragraph. It is not sexual and it is not peverse, it is what it is, it exists and for those with a smegma problem it would be quite embarrassing. Making the information so freely available and including the picture will spread knowledge about what it is and quite possibly make it easier to self-treat and for people to be more comfortable talking about their own problems and helping others with theirs. Torrynebejer (talk) 14:38, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

From a visitor who reads *many* wikipedia pages, I just want to offer my humble point of view and say that indeed, that picture is absolutely disgusting and unnecessary. I was reading an article about Richard Cheese, saw his nickname was a pun referring to smegma, checked out the link... puked in my mouth. And I'm a grown guy. I understand the encyclopedia needs to be detailed but this is just silly, I think we all get the picture from reading the definition, anything more explicite belongs to the books on a doctor's shelf, not in an encyclopedia read by everyone, IMHO, if anything, people see that and close the page, that absolutely doesn't serve the article. Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:00, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

Sounds like a learning experience. You've heard "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen"? Well, this is "If you can't take the smegma, stay out of smegma." Similarly, if you are offended by meat, discussions about Jesus being fictional, ejaculation, etc., you'll want to avoid Meat, Historicity of Jesus, Ejaculation, etc. The real world is often ugly/offensive/weird/whatever. Wikipedia documents the world, not just the pretty/pleasing/normal/whatever parts. - SummerPhD (talk) 01:49, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

Female Smegma Photos[edit]

At one point, there were female smegma photos on this article. Does anyone know where they went to or from where they are sourced? I am trying to find some for a health symosium. DigitalPimpette 21:57, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Why is there a picture of male smegma, and not female smegma? I can easily add a picture of female smegma. But before I do, I would like to hear some arguments. If I don't hear anything within a couple days, I'll add it. And if there is reason not to show female smegma, then wouldn't the same reasons apply to not showing male smegma? I'm perplexed to find that it's not included, or was removed, while a picture of male smegma is included. After all, the female vagina produces a lot more of the stuff. --201dan (talk) 08:48, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I have no idea why it was removed. I figure that there were copyright problems. I'd hope it wasn't censored. Not only is there no reason not to add free images of female smegma, but there are unlimited reasons to add one. The article will be much more informative with an image of both. hmwithτ 13:42, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Hmwith. There's no need to wait — go ahead and add an image. Jakew (talk) 15:24, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

This page is awful[edit]

I think this is just about the worst entry on all of wikipedia. It has very little information, a gross picture that isn't really educational at all, and a 'trivia' section thats longer than the valid part of the article. It also has a weird page structure with a ton of separate sections at the bottom, including a sort of random picture gallery of links that doesn't appear on any other page I know of.

It also goes off topic to talk about vaginal health of the inside of the vagina, and PH warnings and stuff that is related to general female hygiene but not specifically to smegma. Owlofcreamcheese 19:55, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

You'd be best requesting a peer-review of the article then. I fail to see that your taking offense at the picture is relevant to the quality of the article. There are plenty (i.e. thousands) of worse-written, worse-sourced articles. ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 20:01, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
It's not the picture that bugged, me, it could be worse, no picture is going to be pleasant and wikipedia should have photos of even 'gross' things. It's the fact this page follows the pattern of really bad wiki articles. The inane popular culture section especially. I cut it down a bit, but it is/was much longer than the actual informational section of the page. Every time a tv show uses a word isn't notable, it's an actual word after all! The rest of the page is just sorta weak, the off topic stuff (I removed some of it) especially, and also the sections. Why have a mammalian Smegma section if there is no other sections? I don't know, it's not just that it has a bad picture, it's a serious topic with tons and tons of articles about it, but the best we came up with is a few paragraphs, partly off topic, partly "this is true but no it's not true" then a page of every mention of the time an obscure band said "smeg" in a song? Owlofcreamcheese 20:12, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

it's obvious that quite a few people are offended by the picture, you disgusting homos

some idiot posted a link to this page and i didn't know what smegma was, and i thought wikipedia articles would be safe

bye —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:31, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Bohoo, hide in your nutshell, puritan. D4RK-L3G10N (talk) 19:10, 22 November 2007 (UTC)
you don't have a job, do you dark legion, because otherwise you would understand the concept of "work safe" (talk) 23:54, 17 February 2008 (UTC)
We don't do "work safe". Wikipedia is not censored for minors or morality. -Jéské (Blah v^_^v) 19:45, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

The passage you're citing simply says they aren't making any guarantees - it isn't saying that gross, shocking imagery should be allowed to remain on the site. Sheesh, reading comp 101 anyone? No wonder this article's been so poorly written, the people maintaining it are morons. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:33, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Look who's talking. From that same section (emphasis added):

While obviously inappropriate content (such as an irrelevant link to a shock site) is usually removed immediately, or content that is judged to violate Wikipedia's biographies of living persons policy can be removed, some articles may include objectionable text, images, or links if they are relevant to the content (such as the articles about the penis and pornography) and do not violate any of our existing policies (especially neutral point of view), nor the law of the U.S. state of Florida, where Wikipedia's servers are hosted.

Your move. -Jéské (v^_^v +2 Pen of Editing) 06:13, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

"(such as an irrelevant link to a shock site)" Check-and-mate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:14, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia articles are not shock sites (a shock site is one deliberately meant to offend the viewer; in this case the offense is a side-effect of the image). I'm afraid you just moved into the shah mat position yourself. Now, unless and until you come up with a rational argument and/or a suitable alternative, I'd stop removing the image. It's only going to be put back and the article semi-protected. -Jéské (v^_^v E pluribus unum) 08:22, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

Exactly - that picture is from a shock-site. It was not taken to be educational, it was taken to gross people out. Someone put it on the article when this article was horrible and was filled with facts about 'smegma' trivia, among other things. When most of the article was cleaned up, for whatever reason this picture was kept, and has remained ever since. If you don't believe me, do a google images search for smegma. That picture comes up, and it's from one of those '' wanna-be sites.

No it's not - it's from Wikimedia Commons, which is a free-media repository. Further, the pic does not show up on a Google Image search. Either you're looking up a different Google or you're making arguments to attempt to censor an image you don't agree with. Now, as I said before, please get a rational argument or stop beating the dead horse. The image is from Wikimedia Commons, and not from a shock site. Good day.
(PS: I apologize for linking directly to the picture at Wikimedia Commons, but it is pertinent to the topic at hand.)-Jéské (v^_^v E pluribus unum) 18:17, 10 May 2008 (UTC)
My only guess is that a shock site, if the picture is on one, took the image from Wikipedia. hmwithτ 13:43, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Picture of Brie[edit]

Somewhere down the line, an image of smegma on the male organ was replaced with an image of Brie that was represented as "a food item prepared for human consumption." If there was any indication that this was plagiarism, THAT would be it. That said, I've reverted the act of vandalism. Ultatri (talk) 06:13, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Reverted it. -Jéské (Blah v^_^v) 19:46, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

knob cheese[edit]

Is it really necessary to call in knob cheese? The caption for the pic is obviously a joke too. AllTheBrightness (talk) 06:48, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

No really, this page is horrible[edit]

n/t - (talk) 00:14, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

  • If it is really that horrible, then don't look at it. (talk) 06:15, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
We do not censor for minors or morality. You don't like the content, don't navigate to the page. -Jéské (v^_^v +2 Pen of Editing) 07:50, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure what point the fellow a few posts above was trying to get across, but I would agree that this page is, in fact, horrible. I'm not suggesting it be censored, of course...I'm just commenting on how horrible a page it really is. Cheers, (talk) 21:48, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Desaturate the picture[edit]

a black and white version of the picture may be less objectionable to many. if you are using windows XP try clicking on the start button and then "Turn Off Computer" if you wait a short while everthing except the "turn off computer" dialog box changes to black and white. this will give you an indication of what the picture will look like in black and white. any comments? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:22, 8 April 2008

A black and white picture will still be objectionable to many, and you'd have to ask someone skilled at Photoshop or GIMP to do it. -Jéské (v^_^v X of Swords) 23:25, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Removing all of the pictures of Muhammad may be less objectionable to many. Thankfully, Wikipedia is not censored. MantisEars (talk) 23:26, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Issues with Jéské[edit]

off-topic interpersonal issues
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

I am firmly convinced that (personal attack(s) redacted (again) by Jéské (v^_^v E pluribus unum)) Well done, Jeske! There's a picture of a dirty penis on an article about smegma. Are you fulfilled? : P (Btw if you're not one, okay, keep on doing your thing, but I gotta ask, what's with the obsession with that dirty penis? O_o)

For starters, I didn't put the picture up - it was here before I even got involved on this article. Secondly, I'm not laughing. I'm actually a bit peeved because of some users' puritanical views, and, if you'd noticed, I'm not the one readding the pic at present - I have other things on my plate.
However, I find your last comment as incivil. I do not have an obsession with the picture - and indeed, were it possible to replace it with a diagram, I'd be pushing for the diagram. Alas, we have no available diagram, and due to the nature of the material, having one would be confusing (is it smegma or something worse?), making such a diagram useless. Hence, the smegma shall go forth.
By the by, I took the liberty of redacting all your personal attacks. Please refrain from referring to other users - whether myself, another registered user, or an IP - as such in the future. -Jéské (v^_^v E pluribus unum) 08:30, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

The pic will stay; it's informative and clearly pertinent to the article subject. Wikipedia is not censored, if you don't like it, don't look at it. Dropping in from WP:AN, R. Baley (talk) 08:59, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

A troll is not a personal insult, it's a term for someone who's deliberately trying to get under other people's skin. I am convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you're only pushing for this picture (even though it's clearly, obviously not educational/valuable) because you enjoy seeing the "oh come on, what the heck" reactions from people.

Baloney. On Wikipedia, "troll" is as severe a personal attack as any, especially if you have no evidence to back up your claims. As such, I have, once again, redacted the personal attack. Now, do yourself and everyone else a favor and stop trying to censor Wikipedia. The image comes from Commons, not a shock site, and there is no equitable and less-explicit image available, so we have to make do. -Jéské (v^_^v E pluribus unum) 18:20, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

"As such, I have, once again, redacted the personal attack. Now, do yourself and everyone else a favor and stop trying to censor Wikipedia." - you say as you edit the word 'troll' out of my posts. : P At the end of the day it only makes wikipedia look like a joke to have shock-value material on articles, and to have this material being vehemently protected by editors makes it all the more ridiculous... but hey, if you're going to poo-poo me for trying to clean it up, have it your way. Oh, and in looking through this discussion page, you actually made a comment to someone to "Take your kids and morals elsewhere." Yikes! Someone oughta redact that - we can't have personal attacks, after all. (I'd do it, but any change I make to this article gets reverted anyway, so I'd rather leave it in the hands of the authorities.)—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:35, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

A simple solution[edit]

this section is not about censorship, but discussing a possible improvement to the article.

crop the pic so that the smegma is shown but not most of the head of the penis. Then it will still depict the subject of the article - in fact better as it won't have the 'knob' to distract from it. I don't have an image editing program on my MAC but I can download one later today and show you all how it looks so you can give an opinion.Merkin's mum 12:06, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

it's already cropped a bit, but I think I could crop a bit more so it just leaves a slight rim at the top. Merkin's mum 12:13, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Bellfreesmegma.jpg - now I know the quality of my efforts is not great but what do you all think of the concept- I think it highlights the subject of the article rather than making it focus on the bell end. Merkin's mum 17:49, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm not so sure the presence of the bell is the issue; it's the presence of the smegma in the pic itself and the fact it's on a sexual organ. However, I'm willing to give this a shot. -Jéské (v^_^v E pluribus unum) 18:45, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

I see no reason why the current image should change. It's an effective and appropriate illustration for this article. Thanks, Verum (talk) 18:54, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

It's also very controversial, as you can see above. Most of the IPs above want it out of the article, and even I agree that we need a different picture. -Jéské (v^_^v E pluribus unum) 19:07, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
This pic removes some of the bell, which gives it more of a clinical, medical look exhibiting the substance IMHO. People wouldn't see it so much as sexual as they did with a knob, instead seeing it as medical or biological. We needn't be stubborn for the sake of it, we could avoid some of the edit wars, comments etc. My partner says it's still not pretty, though.:) Merkin's mum 20:31, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
As an aside- it will also stop as many people thinking it's not good for kids to view, or not work-safe. Why not have a compromise rather than argue. Also, I assure you, wikipedia is censored in many articles, anyway.:) Hence we have "wikipedians against censorship".Merkin's mum 20:44, 12 May 2008 (UTC)
It will stop some arguments, but not nearly all of them -- you yourself may not be the one to propose the next compromise, but I'd be willing to bet somebody else will come along to do it to stop the next argument, and then we'll be sliding down a bit further. Compromise should not be an end unto itself. We're not being stubborn "for the sake of it," we're being stubborn because this is an encyclopedia, and people should expect to find relevant, educational information here. That said, I do appreciate innovation, and trying to look at old problems from new angles is a good trait. Exploring possible image replacements sounds like a worthwhile endeavor. This particular proposal seems to have lost some image quality, while being enlarged and rotated. Omitting the head of the penis may reduce controversy, but zooming in this far also robs the image of some context: it's very hard to tell what, if anything, this incredibly zoomed in clump of pixels represents. – Luna Santin (talk) 21:38, 14 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with changing the pic to the new version. ANY pic is going to be unpleasant; this is less unpleasant than what is already there. (talk) 08:57, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
The work done for the crop is appreciated, but I think that it loses useful context. Perhaps a scale bar could be added? It would be nice to show at a glance whether an accumulation means microscopic sludge or an opaque covering over a substantial portion of the surface. - Eldereft ~(s)talk~ 16:24, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

I much prefer the original photo to the zoomed version! No, of course I don't "like" the picture. I find it disgusting, just as I find smegma on my own penis somewhat embarrasing, that's why I wash him from time to time :-) However, I wouldn't like to miss the photo, I feel it is useful and it ought to remain there! Hey, guys and girls, maybe we shouldn't force people who prefer to only read about smegma to actually look at it?! Give them the option to avoid it! I've been browsing the other language pages and I find that the French page comes up with a really cool technical solution to the issue! On their discussion page, noone is complaining! No, I'm not French, I'm German. :-)

I can't read French, unfortunately, so I'd ave to ask for a translation from someone who does. But if it's a show/hide box, that was already shot down by the community in a different article (Muhammad and Depictions of Muhammad, for religious purposes). Show/hide boxes are still a form of censorship, which Wikipedia won't do. -Jéské (v^_^v Mrrph-mph!) 20:25, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Is This Neccessary? - cirucmcsion references[edit]

Ok, one sentence says a study has shown that circumcision and "penis cancer" arent linked. The very next sentence says that Jewish dudes and muslims rarely have penis cancer. A) Why include this info if it is essentially meaningless or at least ambiguous due to the preceeding sentence? B) Um, I know some menace is going to claim penis cancer kills 1 in 5 men or some crap, but it is *rare* in all dudes. Ive never even heard of it! So, whatever weirdo did research on the ten dudes who got penis cancer and found out 8 of them were Christian, one didnt say his religion and one was an atheist, sorry, but your research should not be given a sentence on this otherwise smegmographic page-SF —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

i agree. it takes up half the page and is undue weight to something which the american cancer society disagrees with Tremello22 (talk) 00:23, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

2 external links is not excessive[edit]

I'm restoring the deleted links. The intent of WP:NOTLINK is to limit use of links, not prohibit them. The 2 links are useful in providing examples which, though appropriate to the article, would tend to swamp the content. The applicable section of policy is highlighted here -

Wikipedia articles are not: Mere collections of external links or Internet directories. There is nothing wrong with adding one or more useful content-relevant links to an article; however, excessive lists can dwarf articles and detract from the purpose of Wikipedia.

Plvekamp (talk) 00:53, 22 August 2008 (UTC) Ooops, it was more than two. On second thought, I agree with the edit and am self-reverting. Plvekamp (talk) 01:10, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

LETS BE REAL ![edit]

Everyone who is researching this condition for whatever reason knows that along with the detailed information, they also want to see a realistic, pictorial reference. Would it be better that they had a link (photo of smegma), that you would have the option to click on? The fact is, 100% of all people researching this condition are going to that link. Its like watching a train wreck, in the end you may regret that you have taken a look, but if the picture was not there, you may have searched else where. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:24, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

We do not censor pertinent images and information. Come up with an illustration that is as useful as the image and we'll happily use that instead. -Jéské (v^_^v Bodging WP edit by edit) 20:23, 5 September 2008 (UTC)
Ok point taken, bnut then then why just show only dick-cheese if smegma is present in both sexes. I think it's time to fire up a taco with double cheese up in this mofo. All in favour, say aye! WaddlingTimy (talk) 03:41, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
Find or create a released photo and we'll use it. Fire up that camera and get to work, Waddling. - SummerPhD (talk) 14:36, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

Smegma/cancer studies[edit]

In late September, a discussion took place at the talk page of medical analysis of circumcision. Three editors were involved in that discussion: myself, Coppertwig, and Tremello22. The proposal — which reached apparent consensus — was that a section discussing studies of the carcinogenicity of smegma should be moved to this article.

At 17:34, October 17, 2008, I therefore merged the material into this article, and at 17:36, October 17, 2008 I deleted the material from its original location.

At 19:58, October 17, 2008, Tremello22 reverted the addition to this article, stating "removed ancient primary sources that was incredible undue weight . left as reliable secondary source - doesn't cause cancer".

I should note that the merge did not delete the secondary sources currently cited (the ACS and Van Howe). Both of these were included. It is, moreover, unclear why citing these sources constitutes undue weight. Jakew (talk) 23:52, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

This article primarily isn't about cancer Jakew. The American cancer society is the most reliable view and this is all that needs to be stated - otherwise we risk over-egging the view that smegma causes cancer rather than it being a normal part of the human body. Never mind studies from 50 years ago. I am trying to assume good faith here but it seems like you are trying to pathologise smegma when the most reliable secondary source going the American cancer society disagrees with you. i didn't take part in that debate, if I did then it was only to question what you were doing because it wasn't clear. Tremello22 (talk) 00:20, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
Tremello, I certainly agree that the ACS should be included, though I see no particular reason why it should be the only view included (after all, there is plenty of room for this article to expand before space restrictions limit what can be included).
Can I suggest that you re-read the ACS statement? The relevant section reads as follows:
Although it hasn't been proven, some experts are concerned that smegma may also contain compounds that can cause cancer. Also, some older studies have suggested a link between smegma and penile cancer. Although, smegma probably doesn't cause penile cancer by itself, it can cause the penis to become irritated and inflamed, and may make it harder to see very early cancers. Men can prevent smegma from building up simply by washing the penis with the foreskin retracted.[1]
Now, there are several points there. Let me try to extract those relevant to this discussion:
  1. Some experts are concerned that smegma may contain carcinogenic compounds.
  2. However, this concern is unproven.
  3. Some (older) studies have suggested a link between smegma and penile cancer.
  4. Smegma probably doesn't cause penile cancer by itself.
As far as I can tell, none of those four points are incompatible with the material that was added. Points 1 and 2 are currently absent from the article. The material is entirely compatible with point 3, and point 4 is so cautiously worded that it would be difficult to contradict. Jakew (talk) 01:11, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
It would be undue weight. Space is not the issue - it is about devoting a percentage of text to a view that is speculative. If there was a definite causal link between smegma and cancer then yes I would agree. But there isn't, and the ACS and Van Howe state that the previous studies were flawed [2] [3] In regards to what they say on the page you linked to: Key sentence " Although it hasn't been proven, some experts are concerned that smegma may also contain compounds that can cause cancer." Important words highlighted.
The supposed downsides of smegma are already given too much weight already if you ask me:
One study indicated that infrequent washing may allow colonization of the preputal space by pathogenic bacteria.[9] Another study found that subjects who retracted the foreskin when bathing were less likely to have smegma accumulation, inflammation, phimosis, or adhesions than those who did not.[10] Early medical studies such as those by Plaut (1947)[11] and Heins et al (1958)[12] claimed that smegma was carcinogenic, but a recent review disputed these claims,[3] and the American Cancer Society states that smegma itself is probably not carcinogenic.[13]
I don't see why any more is necessary. points 2,3, and 4 have already been made in that and I'm not sure 1. deserves being added. If smegma did cause cancer then we would be able to see the difference in cancer rates between countries that do/do not cirumcise. But there is no difference when you take out other confounding factors. Tremello22 (talk) 02:07, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
Tremello, I'm afraid that you must have the wrong link. The ACS page you mention doesn't even mention smegma, let alone state that the studies were flawed. The ACS page that mentions smegma is discussed above.
The material is not exactly speculative, though it is inconclusive. Unfortunately, much of the material on this page is supported by references that are weak at best. For example, we dedicate much of a paragraph to views expressed by Wright in an unreferenced article.
Finally, I understand that you do not personally believe that smegma is carcinogenic. For what it's worth, although I think your reasoning is flawed, I personally doubt that it is as well. But Wikipedia is not about your views or mine, and we cannot exclude a viewpoint simply because we disagree with it. Like it or not, many sources consider it likely that smegma plays a role in penile cancer (eg., [4]), and we cannot justify excluding that point of view. Jakew (talk) 11:17, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
The article by Wright is referenced. Out of interest, why is my reasoning flawed? I base my opinion on the evidence presented to me. Anyway it is obvious: I highly doubt that the human body would produce a cancer-causing substance.
In regards to your re-write below, what you have essentially done is expanded what is currently in the article in order to give more weight to the view that smegma is carcinogenic. So I highly doubt the re-write is needed. Reddy and Baruah and Wynder didn't find a link. The Van Howe and Hodges study debunks the other 2 [5]. Describing the studies in this level of detail I think is unwarranted given their findings and the fact that Van Howe and Hodges have debunked them. the only thing that needs to be written is "The American Cancer Society states that smegma is probably not carcinogenic by itself." and that is already in the article.
I know that the link from the ACS I gave didn't mention smegma but it did mention that earlier studies that linked being uncircumcised to a greater risk of penile cancer were flawed.
That link to a text book says that current interest centers on the possible role of smegma. That doesn't imply that smegma is a likely cause of cancer at all. When they come back with conclusive proof then it would be worth putting it in. Tremello22 (talk) 19:37, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
Are we talking about the same article, Tremello? This is the article I mean. As you can see, it doesn't appear to contain a 'references' section at all.
I'm sorry that you're unhappy about my proposed rewrite. You are quite correct that Reddy and Wynder didn't find a link, and this is noted in the proposed text. It seems a little POV to say that the Van Howe and Hodged piece "debunks" the other two studies, but it is certainly true that they disagreed with the results, and there is no reason why this can't be stated. Perhaps you could like to make some suggestions? Jakew (talk) 19:49, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
It is stated that Van Howe and hodges disagreed with the results in the existing paragraph. Read my print-out of the section above. That paragraph is 4 lines long - so it is a substantial bit of the article. According to Van Howe and Hodges Plaut and Kohn-Speyer concluded "There is nothing to indicate the possible nature of the supposed carcinogenic factor in smegma." Also they used horse smegma, not human.
What's wrong with how it is already? Tremello22 (talk) 22:37, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
I am aware of the current text, Tremello. In my view it is somewhat less than encyclopaedic coverage of the issue, and gives excessive weight to the views of Van Howe and Hodges. As can be seen from the sources I've listed below, theirs is far from the only viewpoint on the matter. Additionally, the ACS source seems cited somewhat selectively.
The fact that Plaut and Kohn-Speyer used horse smegma is noted in the proposed addition below ("Plaut and Kohn-Speyer found that horse smegma..."). I'm aware of Van Howe and Hodges' assertion about Plaut and Kohn-Speyer's conclusions. I'm also aware of what the Plaut and Kohn-Speyer state (because I have it on my desk). The concluding paragraph reads, in full: "Provided our results can be duplicated and improved, this may be the first experimental production of cancer by external application of an external product of the animal body. There is, however, no way of knowing how far the skin epithelium was intact at the time the tumors developed." Jakew (talk) 23:01, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
I disagree it gives Van Howe and Hodges too much weight. How is saying they disagreed with earlier studies too much weight?
I think it a waste of space describing the studies in detail. Especially ones that found no effect. Also the results of Plaut and Kohn Speyer were not duplicated were they? And it looks like the study was flawed in the first place:
The first is missing data, as only 53% of the mice survived long enough to be evaluated. Survival was unequal between treated and control mice, with treated mice surviving longer (log-rank ÷ 2 = 19.73, P < 0.0001; hazard ratio 0.69, 95% CI = 0.57–0.84). This increased survival, while potentially an unheralded benefit of smegma application, would allow treated mice more opportunity to develop tumours. Using Poisson regression, none of the tumour types, alone or in combination with others, was found to be more common in treated mice[6] Tremello22 (talk) 00:01, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Stating their disagreement isn't inherently problematic, Tremello, but the question is how much weight is given to them in comparison with other sources. So little information is provided about other viewpoints that their view effectively dominates, and that is why I am concerned.
It isn't really a waste of time to describe the studies in detail, and in fact the reader is well served by doing so, since (s)he gets an overview of the nature of the research. In addition, by describing the studies that found no effect, we also allow the reader to take those into account, as well.
I have already stated that I'm aware of Van Howe and Hodges' work, so I'm afraid I don't understand why you're quoting from that paper. Please understand that there is no further need to convince me that Van Howe and Hodges disagree with the findings of the study, and have their own interpretation. Jakew (talk) 00:18, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
That would be all well and good Jakew in an article entitled "Smegma and possible links to cancer". In an article entitled Smegma, devoting so much writing to it's cancerous effects when a) it hasn't been proven and b) the major Cancer association states it probably doesn't cause cancer, would be wrong(for reasons concerning undue weight, see Wikipedia:Reliable_sources_and_undue_weight). I think all views are represented fairly as the article currently stands. It appears that The ACS must agree with Van Howe and Hodges interpretation, otherwise they would say differently. Tremello22 (talk) 19:27, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Tremello, as you rightly say, this article is entitled 'smegma', and so the obvious question is 'how much weight do reliable sources give to the issue of possibly carcinogenicity of smegma?'. Let's see if we can get an idea. Using PubMed, a search for 'smegma' returns 120 items. To find entries including both the term 'smegma' and terms related to cancer, I searched for 'smegma (cancer OR carcinoma OR carcinogenic)'. This returned 60 items: 50% of the total. Using Google Scholar, we find 2,280 pages for 'smegma', and 942 for 'smegma (cancer OR carcinoma OR carcinogenic)'. That's 41% of the total. It seems difficult to escape the conclusion that discussion of possible carcinogenic effects constitute a significant proportion of the academic literature on smegma.
Clearly, then, discussion of this issue does not constitute undue weight. It seems obvious that it would be incompatible with NPOV to assert that the connection is proven, so clearly we should avoid doing so. It seems somewhat absurd, however, to state that we should avoid discussing the issue on the basis that it hasn't been proven. After all, Wikipedia has plenty of entire articles about unproven ideas. We must be careful to incorporate all views, including the ACS (obviously), Van Howe & Hodges, as well as some of the sources cited below.
Obviously we cannot know the ACS's view on Van Howe & Hodges interpretation unless they specifically comment on it. Jakew (talk) 19:58, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
It seems difficult to escape the conclusion that discussion of possible carcinogenic effects constitute a significant proportion of the academic literature on smegma. That doesn't mean that it should be discussed in depth in an article on smegma. The only reason it constitutes a significant proportion of medical texts is because they are investigating something that is not yet known. You don't investigate things you do know, do you?
Obviously we cannot know the ACS's view on Van Howe & Hodges interpretation unless they specifically comment on it. I meant they reached the same conclusion, obviously the statements aren't related directly.
The more reliable the source, the more weight you should give its opinion. For sources of very low reliability, due weight may be no mention at all. from Wikipedia:Reliable_sources_and_undue_weight So, the most reliable source is the ACS, I am prepared to just leave their view. Tremello22 (talk) 21:01, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Tremello, this is an encyclopaedia! These are supposed to have encyclopaedic coverage of an issue. Since a significant proportion of the literature on smegma concerns a possible link with cancer, it therefore follows that encyclopaedic coverage of smegma would include more than a single sentence about that aspect. This article has not yet grown to the point that it needs to be split up, so for the time being at least such coverage belongs here. The fact that the link is not proven is an excellent reason to cite reliable sources that state that it is not proven (and there are several). It is, however, an extremely poor reason to exclude large amounts of neutral, well-sourced, and relevant material. Regarding due weight, I have previously restructured the material (below) so as to make the views of the ACS extremely prominent. In this case all sources are highly reliable, being peer-reviewed studies or medical textbooks. Wikipedia policy does not indicate that only the "most reliable" source (assuming that such a source can be identified) is included. In fact WP:UNDUE quite clearly states that "NPOV says that the article should fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by a reliable source, and should do so in proportion to the prominence of each." Jakew (talk) 22:11, 19 October 2008 (UTC)


(Unindenting) Here is an amended version of the material. As you'll note, I have modified the paragraph in order to ensure that views expressed by the ACS are prominent.

The American Cancer Society note that some experts have expressed concern that smegma may contain carcinogenic compounds, stating that these concerns have not been proven.[1] The ACS add that some older studies have suggested that there may be a link between smegma and cancer.[1] In 1947, Plaut and Kohn-Speyer found that horse smegma had a carcinogenic effect on laboratory mice of the Paris R 3 strain. Six tumours developed in 190 mice treated with whole smegma, and three developed in 88 mice treated with the nonsaponifiable fraction. No tumours developed in the control group of 150 mice, which were treated with cerumen. The authors concluded: "Provided our results can be duplicated and improved, this may be the first experimental production of cancer by external application of an external product of the animal body."[2] In 1958, Heins et al. concluded that human smegma could produce cancer of the cervix in dba-1 strain mice, if this stimulus continued for 14 months or more.[3] However, Reddy and Baruah (1963) were unable to reproduce this effect, and they concluded that the carcinogenic effect, if it existed, must be weak.[4] Wynder (1964) was uncertain about the connection between male circumcision, smegma and cervical cancer.[5] In 2006, Van Howe and Hodges described the evidence as "wanting", and argued that claims of harm in human smegma were a "myth" which has "evolved over time and with retelling."[6] The American Cancer Society states that smegma is probably not carcinogenic by itself.[1] Jakew (talk) 12:58, 18 October 2008 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b c "Risk Factors for Penile Cancer". American Cancer Society. July 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-22. Although it hasn't been proven, some experts are concerned that smegma may also contain compounds that can cause cancer. Also, some older studies have suggested a link between smegma and penile cancer. Although, smegma probably doesn't cause penile cancer by itself, it can cause the penis to become irritated and inflamed, and may make it harder to see very early cancers. Men can prevent smegma from building up simply by washing the penis with the foreskin retracted. 
  2. ^ Plaut A, Kohn-Speyer AC (1947). "The Carcinogenic Action of Smegma". Science (journal). 105 (2728): 391–392. doi:10.1126/science.105.2728.391-a. PMID 17841584.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  3. ^ Heins HC, Dennis EJ, Pratt-Thomas HR (1958). "The possible role of smegma in carcinoma of the cervix". Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 76 (4): 726–33; discussion 733–5. PMID 13583012.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  4. ^ Reddt DG, Baruah IK (1963). "Carcinogenic action of human smegma". Arch Pathol. 75: 414–20. PMID 13973496.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  5. ^ HUGHES JT (1964). "CIRCUMCISION AND CERVICAL CANCER". Br Med J. 2 (5406): 397–8. PMC 1816029Freely accessible. PMID 14160232.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  6. ^ Van Howe RS, Hodges FM (2006). "The carcinogenicity of smegma: debunking a myth". J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 20 (9): 1046–54. doi:10.1111/j.1468-3083.2006.01653.x. PMID 16987256.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)

Proposed rewrite (add refs where appropriate): There has been research looking into an association between smegma and cancer. Although some earlier studies found a link when using horse smegma, further studies did not and the American Cancer society states that although there still is concern from some experts, smegma itself is probably not carcinogenic. Tremello22 (talk) 22:35, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Revised proposal:

The American Cancer Society note that some experts have expressed concern that smegma may contain carcinogenic compounds, stating that these concerns have not been proven.[1] The ACS add that some older studies have suggested that there may be a link between smegma and cancer.[1] In 1947, Plaut and Kohn-Speyer found that application of horse smegma had a carcinogenic effect on laboratory mice of the Paris R 3 strain.[2] In 1958, Heins et al. concluded that human smegma could produce cancer of the cervix in dba-1 strain mice, if this stimulus continued for 14 months or more.[3] However, Reddy and Baruah (1963) were unable to reproduce this effect, and they concluded that the carcinogenic effect, if it existed, must be weak.[4] Among humans, studies by Brinton et al. (1991) and Maden et al. (1993) have reported that smegma was associated with an elevated risk of penile cancer.[5][6] However, while some authors consider smegma to be a risk factor for penile cancer,[7][8] others note that this hypothesis has not been proven.[9][1][10] Wynder (1964) was uncertain about the connection between male circumcision, smegma and cervical cancer.[11] In 2006, Van Howe and Hodges described the evidence as "wanting", and argued that claims of harm in human smegma were a "myth" which has "evolved over time and with retelling."[10] The American Cancer Society states that smegma is probably not carcinogenic by itself.[1] Jakew (talk) 15:50, 20 October 2008 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b c d "Risk Factors for Penile Cancer". American Cancer Society. July 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-22. Although it hasn't been proven, some experts are concerned that smegma may also contain compounds that can cause cancer. Also, some older studies have suggested a link between smegma and penile cancer. Although, smegma probably doesn't cause penile cancer by itself, it can cause the penis to become irritated and inflamed, and may make it harder to see very early cancers. Men can prevent smegma from building up simply by washing the penis with the foreskin retracted. 
  2. ^ Plaut A, Kohn-Speyer AC (1947). "The Carcinogenic Action of Smegma". Science (journal). 105 (2728): 391–392. doi:10.1126/science.105.2728.391-a. PMID 17841584.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  3. ^ Heins HC, Dennis EJ, Pratt-Thomas HR (1958). "The possible role of smegma in carcinoma of the cervix". Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 76 (4): 726–33; discussion 733–5. PMID 13583012.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  4. ^ Reddt DG, Baruah IK (1963). "Carcinogenic action of human smegma". Arch Pathol. 75: 414–20. PMID 13973496.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  5. ^ Brinton LA, Li JY, Rong SD; et al. (1991). "Risk factors for penile cancer: results from a case-control study in China". International journal of cancer. Journal international du cancer. 47 (4): 504–9. PMID 1995481.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  6. ^ Maden C, Sherman KJ, Beckmann AM; et al. (1993). "History of circumcision, medical conditions, and sexual activity and risk of penile cancer". Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 85 (1): 19–24. PMID 8380060.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  7. ^ Y R Mahida, Jay Young Gillenwater (2001). Adult and Pediatric Urology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 1982. ISBN 0781732204. 
  8. ^ Ramaswamy Govindan (2007). The Washington Manual of Oncology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 245. ISBN 0781784026. 
  9. ^ Lenore Herzenberg, Raymond E. Lenhard, Robert T. Osteen, Ted S. Gansler, American Cancer Society, Caroline Blackwell, American Cancer Society, Raymond E. Lenhard, Jr. (2001). Clinical Oncology. Blackwell Publishing. p. 435. ISBN 0944235158. 
  10. ^ a b Van Howe RS, Hodges FM (2006). "The carcinogenicity of smegma: debunking a myth". J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 20 (9): 1046–54. doi:10.1111/j.1468-3083.2006.01653.x. PMID 16987256.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  11. ^ HUGHES JT (1964). "CIRCUMCISION AND CERVICAL CANCER". Br Med J. 2 (5406): 397–8. PMC 1816029Freely accessible. PMID 14160232.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)

An early study by Plaut and Kohn-Speyer (1947)[1] found that horse smegma had a carcinogenic effect on mice. Heins et al.(1958)[2] used human smegma on mice and found a carcinogenic effect, but Reddy and Baruah (1963) were unable to reproduce this effect, concluding that if a carcinogenic effect did exist, it must be weak. In other more recent studies, smegma was found to be a risk factor among penile cancer patients.[3][4] However, the American Cancer Society says that smegma itself is probably not carcinogenic,[5] and a recent review concluded that "the evidence does not support the theory that smegma is a cause of genital cancer."[6] Tremello22 (talk) 21:05, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

  1. ^ Plaut A, Kohn-Speyer AC (1947). "The Carcinogenic Action of Smegma". Science (journal). 105 (2728): 391–392. doi:10.1126/science.105.2728.391-a. PMID 17841584.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  2. ^ Heins, Henry C. (Feb. 1 to 5, 1958). "The possible role of smegma in carcinoma of the cervix". Twentieth annual meeting of the South Atlantic Association of Obstetrictans and Gynecologists. Hollywood, Florida.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ Brinton LA, Li JY, Rong SD; et al. (1991). "Risk factors for penile cancer: results from a case-control study in China". International journal of cancer. Journal international du cancer. 47 (4): 504–9. PMID 1995481.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  4. ^ Maden C, Sherman KJ, Beckmann AM; et al. (1993). "History of circumcision, medical conditions, and sexual activity and risk of penile cancer". Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 85 (1): 19–24. PMID 8380060.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  5. ^ "Risk Factors for Penile Cancer". American Cancer Society. July 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-22. Although it hasn't been proven, some experts are concerned that smegma may also contain compounds that can cause cancer. Also, some older studies have suggested a link between smegma and penile cancer. Although, smegma probably doesn't cause penile cancer by itself, it can cause the penis to become irritated and inflamed, and may make it harder to see very early cancers. Men can prevent smegma from building up simply by washing the penis with the foreskin retracted. 
  6. ^ Van Howe, RS (2006). "The carcinogenicity of smegma: debunking a myth". Journal of the European academy of dermatology and venereology. 20 (9): 1046–1054.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)


I prefer Jakew's longer rewrite of 12:58, 18 October 2008 (UTC) rather than Tremello22's rewrite of 22:35, 19 October 2008 on the grounds that the greater length of Jakew's version better reflects the weight given in the sources to the question of smegma and cancer, and that it provides more information and is therefore more useful to the reader. Since this article is short, there's plenty of room for expansion; if it gets too long, it can be split into another article, but it's nowhere near getting long enough for that to be necessary. Coppertwig (talk) 22:41, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

I'm not really sure what you wrote makes much sense Coppertwig. I've not doubt it does provide more information , there is also no reason why they can't get even more information by looking at the studies themselves (if the refs are included). The question of length of article isn't what I have a problem with - it is the percentage devoted to discussing cancer when the article title is smegma, not smegma and cancer. Tremello22 (talk) 22:50, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Coppertwig. Tremello, it might one day be the case that this article grows to the point that we need to spin out a detailed article called "Smegma and cancer" per WP:SUMMARY. However, for the time being, this article constitutes Wikipedia's coverage of all aspects of smegma. A significant proportion of the literature discusses smegma and cancer, therefore it makes sense for us to do the same. Jakew (talk) 23:13, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Can you tell me what is wrong with my suggestion , Jakew? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tremello22 (talkcontribs) 23:29, 19 October 2008
It has already been explained: the problem with your suggestion is that it is too short, and therefore does not give due weight to the subtopic of cancer-and-smegma within the topic of smegma. Coppertwig (talk) 00:21, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
Please see Wikipedia:Reliable_sources_and_undue_weight. The American cancer society's up to date views are preferable to citing the exact details of 50 year old studies with horse smegma. Tremello22 (talk) 13:58, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
As previously noted, all sources discussed here are either peer-reviewed studies or urology textbooks, and are hence reliable sources (with the exception of the ACS's webpage; that has reliability due to the publisher of the website itself). You're linking to an essay, not WP policy, but even so it doesn't support your apparent belief that we should include only one viewpoint. And, as previously noted, including only one viewpoint would be contrary to WP:UNDUE itself.
Regarding your description of "50 year old studies with horse smegma", please note that this applies to only one study (Plaut & Kohn-Speyer). Others used human smegma.
Regarding "up to date" views, please note that many of the secondary sources cited below were published recently. Since several of these cite the earlier studies, it would appear that the authors consider those older studies to be relevant. Additionally, the two human studies (Brinton et al & Maden et al) were published in the early '90s. Would citing these as well help to alleviate your concerns about the age of the studies? Jakew (talk) 14:15, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
I suppose you're probably right, Tremello22, that "The American cancer society's up to date views are preferable to citing the exact details of 50 year old studies with horse smegma." Luckily, however, there is room here for both. The essay you cite says "In general, a topic should use the most reliable sources that are available to its editors." Note that it says "sources", plural, not "source". You have not addressed the issue of due weight for the smegma-and-cancer subtopic raised by Jakew and me. Coppertwig (talk) 14:52, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
I've added an alternative proposal above. The main changes are: reduction in the amount of detail re Plaut in particular, addition of the human studies from the '90s, and addition of a sentence summarising the views in secondary sources. Jakew (talk) 15:54, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
Jakew, you can't equate the ACS's views with study authors or text books (one from 1982) - that is ridiculous, they are a lot more authoritative. The very best experts will have looked at the evidence and come to their conclusion to help the ACS formulate their policy. Also Van Howe and Hodges have criticised the other studies and there is no mention of those criticisms in your re-writes. Also the current version does include more than one viewpoint - it mentions some earlier studies and that Van Howe and Hodges disagreed with them. Then it states the ACS's views. Tremello22 (talk) 20:27, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
First of all, Tremello, none of the textbooks cited are from 1982 (I suspect you mean the citation mentioning page 1982). Second, there is no attempt to equate the ACS's views with those of anyone else, nor to minimise them. The ACS's views are stated explicitly in the first, second, and last sentences of the revised proposal. Additionally, they are also cited in the "...note that this hypothesis has not been proven" sentence. (Strictly speaking, this is redundant, since this is stated in the first and last sentences, but I can see no harm in including them.) I'm not prepared to speculate about how the ACS prepare their web pages. Regarding Van Howe and Hodges views, these are summarised towards the end of the paragraph. Van Howe & Hodges themselves summarise their paper in their abstract by stating "Evidence supporting the role of smegma as a carcinogen is found wanting.", this is presented as "Van Howe and Hodges described the evidence as "wanting"..." Jakew (talk) 20:53, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
You seem to imply there has been no thought behind what is on the ACS's website - I would disagree with that. Also, you have recently added primary sources stating that smegma is linked specifically to penile cancer and cervical cancer. This has opened up another can of worms - this isn't the article for this - it creates undue weight to the view that smegma is bad and dangerous rather than a natural product. Ideally we should leave that to the medical analysis of circumcision page. Just to note, the ACS discourages circumcision as a method of preventing cancer, see this letter:[7]. The current version as it is reflects the worldwide view of the subject. Textbooks aren't as reliable as peer-reviewed journals and are generally discouraged. See this too : "Tertiary sources such as compendia, encyclopedias, textbooks, and other summarizing sources may be used to give overviews or summaries, but should not be used in place of secondary sources for detailed discussion." Wikipedia:Reliable_sources#Primary.2C_secondary.2C_and_tertiary_sources Which is why I object to detailed discussion and we should just leave the article as it is using the most reliable secondary source. Tremello22 (talk) 22:22, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
Tremello, my intent is not to imply that no thought is behind the ACS's website. However, I think your comment that "The very best experts will have looked at the evidence and come to their conclusion to help the ACS formulate their policy" is speculative, and there seems little point in discussing the issue in the absence of solid information. Incidentally, the page is not presented as a "policy", just as information.
I'm afraid I really don't understand your argument about this being an inappropriate article for discussion of smegma and cancers. This article is about smegma, and needs to reflect the views that have been expressed about smegma. Material about the properties and effects of smegma logically belongs in this article. I would agree that it's indirectly related to circumcision, but only indirectly. The direct relationship is with smegma. (Some of the sources also discuss circumcision as well as smegma. For example, Maden reported that the relative risk of penile cancer associated with lack of circumcision of 3.2, and the relative risk associated with smegma was 2.1. In this article, we discuss information about smegma, and in medical analysis of circumcision we discuss information about circumcision. I can't see why we'd do otherwise.)
Nor do I understand your apparent argument that it would be undue weight to discuss material suggesting negative properties of smegma. We can't put positive statements about smegma in one article and negative statements in another article. That wouldn't conform to WP:NPOV. The only conceivable argument for minimising negative statements about smegma would be if smegma was viewed almost universally as a positive thing. But the quotes from the literature below clearly show that this is not the case.
You haven't provided any evidence that the current version "reflects the worldwide view of the subject".
Regarding textbooks, I have trouble viewing "However, while some authors consider smegma to be a risk factor for penile cancer,[12][13] others note that this hypothesis has not been proven.[14][1][15]" as anything other than an "overview or summary", so I don't understand your point. Nevertheless, I don't think it's vital, and I suppose we could remove it. I'm unsure about whether WP:RS is using the word "textbook" in the same sense that I'm using it; note that WP:RS#Scholarship considers material published by "well-regarded academic presses" to be reliable.
Finally, as Coppertwig and I have pointed out, the current text (and your proposed change) gives insufficient weight to the subtopic of cancer and smegma. A significant proportion of the literature on smegma discusses this issue, hence WP:NPOV requires that we should discuss the views that have been expressed. Jakew (talk) 23:27, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

(unindenting) Tremello, thank you for proposing the compromise version, dated 21:05, 21 October 2008 (UTC).

I have a number of minor, stylistic concerns, and two more serious concerns. I'm confident that we can address these, but rather than editing your proposal directly I would prefer to comment and make suggestions. If you would prefer, I'd be happy to make a copy of your proposal & apply the suggested changes. Please let me know if you'd like me to do that.

  • (Minor) Can we place the references immediately after punctuation, where possible?
  • (Minor) As you've probably noticed, "by" is repeated in the first sentence.
  • (Minor) I think it would read better if we changed "unable to reproduce this effect, and they concluded that" to "unable to reproduce this effect, concluding that"
  • (More serious) "However the American Cancer Society says that these studies were flawed due to failing to account for confounding factors.[5]" The cited source doesn't support this point, or to be more precise, it states something similar, but about circumcision rather than smegma. I suggest rewriting this sentence to say that they note that the hypothesis hasn't been proven.
  • (More serious) "A recent review found no evidence that smegma causes cancer.[7]" This isn't quite correct. Van Howe and Hodges describe the evidence as "wanting", which isn't quite the same as stating that there isn't any. I would suggest rephrasing as either "described the evidence as 'wanting'" or 'stated that the evidence does not support the hypothesis'. Jakew (talk) 21:38, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
About the Van Howe and Hodges review, if you look at the full article in the reference link I gave, near the bottom of the page, above the discussion section, it states: " The evidence does not support the theory that smegma is a cause of genital cancer." Tremello22 (talk) 22:05, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that was why I suggested 'stated that the evidence does not support the hypothesis'. I think "found no evidence that" is too ambiguous. For example, does it mean that no evidence exists? Does it mean that they overlooked the evidence? Or does it mean that evidence does exist but that Van Howe & Hodges disagreed with it or otherwise judged it unpersuasive? I think it's more accurate if we use language closer to that used by the source itself. Jakew (talk) 22:29, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
O.K. I have changed it now to quote what they said. Tremello22 (talk) 22:57, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Additional sources[edit]

Some additional secondary sources for consideration:

"Smegma was shown to be carcinogenic when applied to the skin of animals (15). In horses, a species of animal in which the male produces large amounts of smegma, penile cancer accounts for 23% of carcinomas in males. Moreover, because geldings lack erections (which aid in the removal of smegma), geldings are 10 times more likely to develop penile cancer than are stallions (16)." [8] Male Sexual Dysfunction: Pathophysiology and Treatment. CRC Press, 2007. p95

"Current interest centers on the possible influence of accumulated keratin debris and inflammatory exudate (smegma) that accumulate beneath the prepuce. Most patients with cancer of the penis have had phimosis since an early age, suggesting that prolonged contact between smegma and the penile epithelium may play a role." [9] Rubin's Pathology: Clinicopathologic Foundations of Medicine. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008. p762

"It has been suggested that factors present in smegma and recurrent balanitis predispose to the development of penile SCC. [...]" [10] Surgical Oncology: Contemporary Principles and Practice. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2001. p791

"Smegma, the debris of desquamating epithelial cells on the inner surface of the prepuce, has been proposed as a potential carcinogen [147, 152]. Mycobacterium smegmatis may act primarily or secondarily as a carcinogen by direct effect or by converting smegma sterols into carcinogenic sterols. This hypothesis has not been proved definitively [153, 154]." [11] Clinical Oncology. Blackwell Publishing, 2001. p435

"Risk factors for developing penile cancer are poor hygiene, phimosis, uncircumcised penis, chronic irritation of smegma, and viruses." [12] The Washington Manual of Oncology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007. p245

"Smegma and phimosis are each independent risk factors for the development of penile cancer (103,153)." [13] Adult and Pediatric Urology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2001. p1982

"It is theorized that chronic irritation from smegma, poor hygiene, and balanitis might be contributory." [14] Blueprints Urology: An Evidence-Based Method. Blackwell Publishing, 2004. p96

"In most studies, smegma, phimosis (75-90% of all cases), inflammation, and a history of STDs (27%) have been regarded as contributing factors." [15] Human Papillomavirus Infections in Dermatovenereology. Informa Health Care, 1996. p169

"Penile smegma in the uncircumcised male can accululate and build up under the foreskin, causing chronic irritation, which can potentially lead to carcinotic formation." [16] SOAP for Urology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005. p22

"The protective effect of circumcision is likely due to the lack of accumulation of smegma, which forms from desquamated epithelial cells. To date, the precise carcinogenic substance is not known. [...] Poor hygiene also contributes to the development of penile carcinoma through accumulation of smegma and other irritants." [17] Color Doppler US of the Penis. Springer, 2007. p107

"It appears that an enclosed prepucial environment associated with a poor genital hygiene of the foreskin, chronic irritation, and exposure to certain etiologic agents such as viruses, smegma, hydrocarbons, and sterols may also play a causative role in the development of the tumor." [18] Glenn's Urologic Surgery. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004

And some additional primary sources:

OR 2.1 (1.2-3.8), adjusted for age and history of penile rash. "Our finding of an elevated risk associated with smegma is consistent with a case-control study conducted in China (23). Hellberg et al. (1) have speculated that phimosis is related to cancer because men with phimosis are more likely to retain smegma; retention of smegma has been experimentally demonstrated to be carcinogenic in mice (24)." Maden et al. History of circumcision, medical conditions, and sexual activity and risk of penile cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1993 Jan 6;85(1):19-24.

"The presence of smegma was more often found among cases than controls (RR = 10.9, 95% CI 3.7-32.6); however it was not possible to examine for the presence of smegma in a large number of the diseased patients." Brinton et al. Risk factors for penile cancer: results from a case-control study in China. Int J Cancer. 1991 Feb 20;47(4):504-9.

Jakew (talk) 20:32, 18 October 2008 (UTC) (edited 22:19, 18 October 2008 (UTC))

Excellent work Jakew, but you appear to lack the consensus from the editors in [[Talk:Medical analysis of circumcision as to the scope of the changes. Perhaps you should resume discussion there. Blackworm (talk) 23:51, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
Please see the start of this section, Blackworm, where the history of this edit is explained. I'm sure it will be obvious why discussion is taking place here. Jakew (talk) 00:18, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
You also may be interested in material stating a link between smegma produced by females and certain male-specific cancers.(Pollack, 1995)[1] Blackworm (talk) 23:59, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
If you could locate the material, that would be great. Jakew (talk) 00:18, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Blackworm, re consensus for changes: I don't understand your point. This article talk page is for discussion of changes to this article (Smegma). I hereby now indicate that I agree with Jakew's suggested changes, based on Jakew's reported literature search indicating that cancer is quite a significant subtopic to the topic of smegma in the literature. Discussion of changes at the other article can continue at its talk page; however, I also think there should be some coordination so that the original material doesn't simply get deleted rather than moved. Coppertwig (talk) 22:30, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

To offended users[edit]

Wikipedia's policy on objectionable images, suggestion to offended users: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:57, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Non-human smegma - Out of date information?[edit]

Currently doing repro anatomy in VetMed. Several of my profs have commented that prepucial washing of smegma has been linked to an *increase* in the occurence of contagious equine metritis (basically by altering the normal flora and causing and making 'room' for the bad bacteria. I don't have a reference for it though... anyone?--Ibycus314 (talk) 02:25, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

NSFW or children image (nor medically accurate) on article front page.[edit]

I came here from the Red Dwarf article and had not planned on seeing somebody's dirty dick on the article front page. It appears that this image has been deleted in the past with it being restored. There are times when an image really is not necessary. Or at the very very least put a "click here to see a NSFW image" or whatever way Wikipedia is dealing with pornographic images.

I am, in fact calling this image pornographic, as it is not an accurate medical representation of smegma (yes I do know what it is), and it's not really clear to me that the stuff on the present image is even smegma or some other substance such as tissue paper remnants (which would not be smegma). Also, if you are fortunate enough to realize that smegma is actually dead skin cells that are mixed with natural oils the body produces, that naturally accumulate behind a foreskin (which this image also fails to represent accurately), you would also see this picture as medically inaccurate.

Lastly, the image is not medically accurate as it fails to represent smegma in it's natural state with an uncircumcised penis. While it appears that the majority of males are circumsized in the US, this is not necessarily the case worldwide. This once again makes the image ambiguous as it fails to show the natural environment of smegma which is with a foreskin. Granted, the circumsized penis may accumulate debris much the same way a belly button does, but undergarment lint is not the same substance as smegma. Furthermore, I really question if the amount of smegma on here is a natural amount or excessive over the average amount. I submit that while it may not be scientifically possible to determine what a "normal" amount of smegma for the average male may be (especially considering that many people take occasional showers - which appears not to be the case in this picture) that this penis is showing an excessive amount of smegma.

I know that many on Wikipedia are incensed at the notion of censorship (but contradictingly put up with the deletionists), but I have to wonder if the motive behind this image is not to produce a kind of Wikipedia shock site and cower behind the notion of anti-censorship to retain the image and preserve their thrill. As discussed over on Talk:Penis there seem to be other entirely academically unrelated motives taking place in the generation of the images of penises. Which, once again is coming from a questionable Wikipedia common's source, i.e. some guy who has a digital camera and not a doctor, and thus wouldn't know true smegma from a dirty penis with tissue or underwear lint (which would not be smegma).

I'm sure there is a cadre of people who want to edit war over something like this, once again showing why Wikipedia remains a two-bit junky source of information that when the day is done can't really be trusted. And why I don't feel bad about it being blocked in various places.

For all the above reasons, I am deleting the image of the dirty penis which is not showing smegma, but in reality is in this article to produce shock and not really to enlighten. This is one of those times that a drawing would more than suffice. Nodekeeper (talk) 16:42, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

There was another image up before that one. May I find and link it for review? Never mind; original one was deleted at Commons for lack of source. Also, a problem with a drawing of smegma is that one hasn't been found that is clear enough yet. -Jeremy (v^_^v Cardmaker) 08:54, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
There is no diagram or illustration that can possess the same encyclopedic or educational value of a real picture in this situation. An actual photograph is absolutely needed in this article. If you think that there could be a better image, WP:SOFIXIT & find free image to add. In the meantime, this is the best image available, & the article is much less informative without it. hmwithτ 20:01, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Would the image in this thread above be useful? It was created as a means of showing smegma with as little complaints as possible. -Jeremy (v^_^v Cardmaker) 19:51, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

"or whatever way Wikipedia is dealing with pornographic images". Nobody has been able to identify anything erotic about the picture. Wikipedia is not censored. The picture complements the text. Guidelines for articles are clear that a good article, will ideally be accompanied by pictures. A picture of smegma will go further in outlining what it is, than any quantity of text. This is not about addressing complaints. It's not a committee issue. It doesn't matter how many people complain, its policy. This issue has been dealt with many, many times before. Is the picture offensive? Maybe. But then, any picture of smegma is likely to offend, because culturally, smegma is considered offensive. Icemotoboy (talk) 13:48, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Smegma = mucous[edit]

I've just added information to this page regarding the fact that smegma is a natural mucous produced by human genitals, which are mucous membranes. It is odd that this wasn't already mentioned in this article, but now it is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:58, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Isn't smegma an accumulation of dead dick cells, urine, semen and sweat all bundled up in a pungent package of bad hygene just like shit-crust sedimented on the wrinkles on your butt and eye boogers... somehow you make it sound acceptable, even going as far as mentioning mucosey glands. WTF? WaddlingTimy (talk) 03:54, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
I have a hard time assuming good faith with you, Timy, with responses like that. —Jeremy (v^_^v Hyper Combo K.O.!) 03:52, 4 February 2011 (UTC)


a search for cockcheese redirects here. what in the world?? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:03, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Next! -Jeremy (v^_^v Tear him for his bad verses!) 02:42, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
If searching for cockcheese redirects here, it stands to reason that looking up stinkhole, tuna town, tacochesse and Indiana and the temple of poon would redirect here, alas it does not. WHY? WaddlingTimy (talk) 03:45, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
Because this isn't a dictionary or thesaurus.Jeremy (v^_^v Hyper Combo K.O.!) 07:03, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

"Non-human" v. "Inhuman"[edit]

Which of these terms should be used in the article? IPs seem hellbent on adding the latter, and although it is a synonym for the former, it also carries some excess meaning. -Jeremy (v^_^v Tear him for his bad verses!) 06:45, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Jéské Couriano[edit]

Seriously you have some issues. I'm sorry, but any PERSON can see that the reason there is so much objection to this particular images the fact that it is FOUL. Most people know what HEAD CHEESE is and don't need a graphic because guess what. Everyone has had some at one point or another and the description alone should suffice. If you don't know what it looks like you are too dense to be reading an encyclopedia. Why are you so defensive of this stupid and absolutely distasteful, foul, and deprived picture? That isn't even a normal amount of head cheese. It's disgusting. While taking pride in non-censorship is great, tell me why this website cannot have any class? I am removing the picture. (talk) 06:09, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not censored for the benefit of minors or morals. I've reverted your removal. -Jeremy (v^_^v Stop... at a WHAMMY!!) 08:16, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Personal attacks redacted, comment moved. New comments go at the bottom, not the top.— dαlus Contribs 08:27, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
"Personal attacks" unredacted. Nice job CENSORING ME, image removed yet again. We'll play this all day. (talk) 10:38, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Ya, about that. Yes, wikipedia not censored, however, no, you are not allowed to personally attack others here.— dαlus Contribs 10:42, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
All the "non-censoring" which is a lie simply degrades the credibility of this so called "encyclopedia." This website is an absolute joke. Just because you can do something doesn't always mean you should. Not to mention Wikipedia definitely censors the content as it sees fit. Do your thing and enjoy your picture. At this point I could give as you and many others are clearly obsessed with this particular picture. Have fun and I don't think this website truly has any merit academically and anyone who believes otherwise is kidding themselves. (talk) 10:51, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
You complain about censorship yet you try to do it yourself. Secondly, do not edit my comments, such an act is forbidden except for removing personal attacks. I am now reporting you for continued vandalism, personal attacks, and refactoring other's comments. Bye.— dαlus Contribs 11:09, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Auto archiving[edit]

This ought to auto archive, like on Talk:Autofellatio Bigesian (talk) 08:58, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

false menstruation[edit]

Is this smegma the as the white dischatge found after birth in new born babies that suffer from false menstruation as reffereed to in this article —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:59, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

IANAD, but I heavily doubt it. —Jeremy (v^_^v Hyper Combo K.O.!) 07:04, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Why so much arguing?[edit]

I found the picture educational, seeing as how I've never seen the stuff before. People say that they'd rather have a diagram, but I don't see how that could illustrate it properly. I don't even see why everyone thinks it's so gross. It's uncleaned, yeah, but so what? That doesn't mean you have to break down at the sight of it. Grow a pair, society. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:07, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

You found and exemplified the "problem" without even knowing it. Society expects an encyclopedia to be educational and, as such, "safe" (much as selling drugs at a school is somehow worse than selling to the same kids two blocks away). (How images of reproductive organs is "damaging" is off topic. It is a matter of perception.) Society also sees strength and courage as male attributes. I don't need "a pair" to understand the value of an illustrative photo. I also at least understand the "hide the naughty bits" opinion, though this has nothing to do with my "pair". Wikipedia is constantly working on ways to walk a line between the "all or nothing" options. Someday we'll find one that works. - SummerPhD (talk) 17:43, 26 September 2011 (UTC)
You use "safe" and "damaging" but to who? Wikipedia is not a children's encyclopedia or it wouldn't even have such topics. It strives to be an encyclopedia in the best definition of the term, and as such strives to treat all topics equally and without bias based on individual morals and ideas of propriety. If you remove informative photos from one article you might as well remove them from all articles. If you want to block specific people from not seeing an image (i.e. children) that's your responsibility not wikipedias. (talk) 04:32, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
I am not presenting an argument for either side. I am merely saying there are two sides. That I understand both sides does not mean I intend to defend either. Wikipedia swings on this issue. We do not, for example, show child pornography (loosely defined) or beastiality. Most of our sex position articles have lost photos in favor of illustrations. Wikipedia's position on this is not cast in stone and will continue to evolve. - SummerPhD (talk) 04:44, 14 October 2011 (UTC)

Agreed, there is absolutely NOTHING WRONG with a picture illustrating the subject of any article in an encyclopedic setting. Granted - this picture shows an exagerated accumulation of smegma, but I myself can not think of any better way to describe a substance without showing adequate quantity - for example in describing "water" - would the notation H2O suffice? - a hand-sketched illustration of a rain drop? - a faucet running? - a lake? Those who are quick to find this article's picture objectionable should probably spend a day with any doctor or nurse and then reassess their concern over the appropriateness of the picture in this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:14, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

Who is Wright? - article needs to explain this[edit]

The first mention of Joyce Wright in this article is the sentence that starts with "Wright states". If you follow the reference, you can see that Joyce Wright was the author of a paper from 1970, but this article gives no context as to who she is, how relevant she is or why we should even care what she states or thinks. If the article is going to outright quote somebody, it probably should be rewritten to touch on who she is. Otherwise, mentions of her name should be edited out of the article.

I'm not up to the task of editing this and I don't know who Wright is, so I don't know what would be best for this article. Can someone more knowledgeable fix this? -- (talk) 21:11, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Penises don't sweat. And the article needs reviewing.[edit]

The smegma described in the article and photo, or to give it it's scientific name 'cheese', is nothing more than the product of semen (e.g. prostatic fluids) and similar gland (e.g. Bartholin's in women) based secretions that have not been removed by washing. Left in place, the none volatile components congeal / thicken / solidify.

  • "The prostatic and seminal vesicle secretions are known to be rich in lytic material. [See CIRP note below] Presence of appreciable amounts of fructose and acid phosphtase and a higher content of these in phimotics is a significant observation. Hyalase content could not be determined due to lack of facilities but can be presumed to raised along with the other constituents of the prostatic secretion as suggested by the acid phosphtase content in the washings. As such it appears safe to conclude that the space is kept moist and also clean in those with preputial stenosis, by the secretions of the prostate, supplemented by the seminal secretion of the mucin content of the secretion of the urethral glands." - ANNALS OF NATIONAL MEDICAL SCIENCE (India), Volume 18, Number 3: Pages 109-112, July-September 1982.

It should be something of a clue that it contains things found in semen and other sexual fluids, which aren't found in sweat or secretions elsewhere, but is close proximity to the genitals of each. Another clue being how one of the quoted references collects it's samples;

  • "Sixty per cent of the subjects without phimosis were members of an extremly low income group and they accounted for more than 75 per cent of the smegma-positive subjects." THE JOURNAL OF - UROLOGY (Baltimore), Volume 110, Number 2: Pages 211-212,

E.g. people who are typically living less hygienic lives.

Joyce Wright's suggestion, along with the frequently encountered (incorrect) suggestion regarding 'precome', that this is a novel discharge acting as a lubricant for sex is simply false; with the vast majority of the lubrication involved in sex being plasma based secretions from the vaginal walls. Similar to the crusty underwear problem of girls not being a unique secretion. Joyce notes the appearance of cheese in the young and subsequent disappearance towards the age of 16. As this happens to be the age at which sexual maturity is well under way or nearing completion, it should seem odd to those thinking it is of benefit to sex that it also begins to disappear at this point. This is the age at which both girls and boys begin realising they need to change their underwear and get washed more frequently.

'Vandalism' regarding not washing is all that really needs to be said.


Why does this article have to have the worst possible and certainly not at all realistic case of neglected hygiene? Wikipedia Commons holds several quite normal cases of smegma secretions as usable photos and for some reason most non-English versions of this page manage to use one of these instead. Without problems or discussions and particularly also without leading viewers on. Is there such a horror of a normal physical excretion among US-editors here that you need to post the most exaggerated picture available? Why not take this for example:

I just reverted the image that was in use as excessive. The image presently there is a cropped version of the image you just linked. —Jeremy v^_^v Bori! 19:43, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

Contentious material on cancer[edit]

The material on penile cancer that was reintroduced last year is highly contentious and not reliable seeing as it came from doctors in the forties who were seeking to promote the practice of circumcision. I feel it constitutes propaganda for the pro-circumcision cause so I am removing it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Scowie (talkcontribs) 14:28, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

The study you removed, published in Science, is well sourced and immediately countered by other reliable sources (ACS , NIH) which you also removed. Based on your belief that doctors in the 1940s were biased and the source is "propaganda", you have removed both sides of the issue. I tend to believe that balanced discussion of earlier beliefs and the current consensus makes more sense than bowdlerizing the article.
If you have WP:MEDRS sources discussing it as "propaganda", discussion of that point would probably be an appropriate addition to the article. - SummerPhDv2.0 00:14, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
I consider it WP:Undue_Weight to have these arguments in the article.Scowie (talk) 01:42, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
The propaganda undue weight issue doesn't seem to measure up against the brevity of the section with three WP:MEDRS sources discussing it. Additionally, without the section we are citing a source 4 times with the title "The carcinogenicity of smegma: debunking a myth" while not so much as mentioning the topic of that article. Heck, the American Cancer Society in 2015 is still giving a fair amount of space to the belief from this 1940s study. We also, of course, have the 2006 journal article solely dedicated to the belief and numerous other peer reviewed journal articles discussing the question.[19] - SummerPhDv2.0 05:10, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

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  1. ^ Miriam Pollack, Circumcision: A Jewish Feminist Perspective, in Jewish Women Speak Out: Expanding the Boundaries of Psychology 175 (Kayla Weiner & Arinna Moon eds., 1995.