A man is an adult male human. Prior to adulthood, a male human is referred to as a boy (a male child or adolescent). Like most other male mammals, a man's genome usually inherits an X chromosome from the mother and a Y chromosome from the father. Sex differentiation of the male fetus is governed by the SRY gene on the Y chromosome. During puberty, hormones which stimulate androgen production result in the development of secondary sexual characteristics, thus exhibiting greater differences between the sexes. These include greater muscle mass, the growth of facial hair and a lower body fat composition.
Male anatomy is distinguished from female anatomy by the male reproductive system, which includes the penis, testicles, sperm duct, prostate gland and the epididymis, as well as secondary sex characteristics.
Trans men have a gender identity that does not align with their female sex assignment at birth, while intersex men may have sex characteristics that do not fit typical notions of male biology.
The English term "man" is derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *man- (see Sanskrit/Avestan manu-, Slavic mǫž "man, male"). More directly, the word derives from Old English mann. The Old English form primarily meant "person" or "human being" and referred to men, women, and children alike. The Old English word for "man" as distinct from "woman" or "child" was wer. Mann only came to mean "man" in Middle English, replacing wer, which survives today only in the compounds "werewolf" (from Old English werwulf, literally "man-wolf"), and "wergild", literally "man-payment".
In humans, sperm cells normally carry either an X or a Y sex chromosome. If a sperm cell carrying a Y chromosome fertilizes the female ova, the offspring will be male (XY). The SRY gene is normally found on the Y chromosome and is the testis determining factor that governs male sex differentiation. Sex differentiation in males proceeds in a testes dependent way while female differentiation is not gonad dependent.
Humans exhibit sexual dimorphism in many characteristics, many of which have no direct link to reproductive ability, although most of these characteristics do have a role in sexual attraction. Most expressions of sexual dimorphism in humans are found in height, weight, and body structure, though there are always examples that do not follow the overall pattern. For example, men tend to be taller than women, but there are many people of both sexes who are in the mid-height range for the species.
Primary sex characteristics (or sex organs) are characteristics that are present at birth and are integral to the reproductive process. For men, primary sex characteristics include the penis and testicles. Secondary sex characteristics are features that appear during puberty in humans. Such features are especially evident in the sexually dimorphic phenotypic traits that distinguish between the sexes, but—unlike the primary sex characteristics—are not directly part of the reproductive system. Secondary sexual characteristics that are specific to men include:
Main article: Male reproductive system
The male reproductive system includes external and internal genitalia. The male external genitalia consist of the penis, the male urethra, and the scrotum, while the male internal genitalia consist of the testes, the prostate, the epididymis, the seminal vesicle, the vas deferens, the ejaculatory duct, and the bulbourethral gland.
The male reproductive system's function is to produce semen, which carries sperm and thus genetic information that can unite with an egg within a woman. Since sperm that enters a woman's uterus and then fallopian tubes goes on to fertilize an egg which develops into a fetus or child, the male reproductive system plays no necessary role during the gestation. The study of male reproduction and associated organs is called andrology.
Testosterone stimulates the development of the Wolffian ducts, the penis, and closure of the labioscrotal folds into the scrotum. Another significant hormone in sexual differentiation is the anti-Müllerian hormone, which inhibits the development of the Müllerian ducts. For males during puberty, testosterone, along with gonadotropins released by the pituitary gland, stimulates spermatogenesis.
While a majority of the global health gender disparities is weighted against women, there are situations in which men tend to fare poorer. One such instance is armed conflicts, where men are often the immediate victims. A study of conflicts in 13 countries from 1955 to 2002 found that 81% of all violent war deaths were male. Apart from armed conflicts, areas with high incidence of violence, such as regions controlled by drug cartels, also see men experiencing higher mortality rates. This stems from social beliefs that associate ideals of masculinity with aggressive, confrontational behavior. Lastly, sudden and drastic changes in economic environments and the loss of social safety nets, in particular social subsidies and food stamps, have also been linked to higher levels of alcohol consumption and psychological stress among men, leading to a spike in male mortality rates. This is because such situations often makes it harder for men to provide for their family, a task that has been long regarded as the "essence of masculinity." A retrospective analyses of people infected with the common cold found that doctors underrate the symptoms of men, and are more willing to attribute symptoms and illness to women than men. Women live longer than men in all countries, and across all age groups, for which reliable records exist. In the United States, men are less healthy than women across all social classes. Non-white men are especially unhealthy. Men are over-represented in dangerous occupations and represent a majority of on the job deaths. Further, medical doctors provide men with less service, less advice, and spend less time with men than they do with women per medical encounter.
Male sexuality and attraction vary from person to person, and a man's sexual behavior can be affected by many factors, including evolved predispositions, personality, upbringing, and culture. While the majority of men are heterosexual, significant minorities are homosexual or bisexual.
Trans men have a male gender identity that does not align with their female sex assignment at birth and may undergo masculinizing hormone replacement therapy and/or sex reassignment surgery, while intersex men may have sex characteristics that do not fit typical notions of male biology. A 2016 systemic review estimated that 0.256% of people self-identify as female-to-male transgender. A 2017 survey of 80,929 Minnesota students found that roughly twice as many female-assigned adolescents self-identified as transgender, compared to adolescents with a male sex assignment.
Main article: Masculinity
Masculinity (also sometimes called manhood or manliness) is the set of personality traits and attributes associated with boys and men. Although masculinity is socially constructed, some research indicates that some behaviors considered masculine are biologically influenced. To what extent masculinity is biologically or socially influenced is subject to debate. It is distinct from the definition of the biological male sex, as both males and females can exhibit masculine traits. Men generally face social stigma for embodying feminine traits, more so than women do for embodying masculine traits. This can also manifest as homophobia.
Standards of manliness or masculinity vary across different cultures and historical periods. While the outward signs of masculinity look different in different cultures, there are some common aspects to its definition across cultures. In all cultures in the past, and still among traditional and non-Western cultures, getting married is the most common and definitive distinction between boyhood and manhood. In the late 20th century, some qualities traditionally associated with marriage (such as the "triple Ps" of protecting, providing, and procreating) were still considered signs of having achieved manhood.
Platonic relationships are not significantly different between men and women, though some differences do exist. Friendships involving men tend to be based more on shared activities than self-disclosure and personal connection. Perceptions of friendship involving men varies among cultures and time periods. In heterosexual romantic relationships, men are typically expected to take a proactive role, initiate the relationship, plan dates, and propose marriage.
Anthropology has shown that masculinity itself has social status, just like wealth, race and social class. In Western culture, for example, greater masculinity usually brings greater social status. Many English words such as virtue and virile (from the Indo-European root vir meaning man) reflect this. In most cultures, male privilege allows men more rights and privileges than women. In societies where men are not given special legal privileges, they typically hold more positions of power, and men are seen as being taken more seriously in society. This is associated with a "gender-role strain" in which men face increased societal pressure to conform to gender roles.
Media portrayals of men often replicate traditional understanding of masculinity. Men are portrayed more frequently in television than women and most commonly appear as leads in action and drama programming. Men are typically more active in television programming than women and typically hold more power and status. Due to their prominence, men are more likely to be both the objects and instigators of humorous or disparaging content. Fathers are often portrayed in television as either idealized and caring or clumsy and inept. In advertising, men are disproportionately featured in advertisements for alcohol, vehicles, and business products.
In most societies, men have more legal and cultural rights than women, and misogyny is far more prevalent than misandry in society. Men typically receive less support after being victims of sexual assault, and rape of males is stigmatized. Domestic violence against men is similarly stigmatized. Opponents of circumcision describe it as a human rights violation. The fathers' rights movement seeks to support separated fathers that do not receive equal rights to care for their children. The men's movement is the response to issues faced by men in Western countries. It includes pro-feminist groups such as the men's liberation movement and anti-feminist groups such as the manosphere and the men's rights movement.
The Mars symbol (♂) is a common symbol that represents the male sex. The symbol is identical to the planetary symbol of Mars. It was first used to denote sex by Carl Linnaeus in 1751. The symbol is sometimes seen as a stylized representation of the shield and spear of the Roman god Mars. According to Stearn, however, this derivation is "fanciful" and all the historical evidence favours "the conclusion of the French classical scholar Claude de Saumaise" that it is derived from θρ, the contraction of a Greek name for the planet Mars, which is Thouros.
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Their first biological use is in the Linnaean dissertation Plantae hybridae xxx sistit J. J. Haartman (1751) where in discussing hybrid plants Linnaeus denoted the supposed female parent species by the sign ♀, the male parent by the sign ♂, the hybrid by ☿: 'matrem signo ♀, patrem ♂ & plantam hybridam ☿ designavero'. In subsequent publications he retained the signs ♀ and ♂ for male and female individuals but discarded ☿ for hybrids.