The title pretty much says it all.

At the start of The Terminator we see him fully naked and fully equipped.

He doesn't need them, so why does he have them?

  • 93
    Because Arnie wasn't quite that into method acting.
    – TZHX
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 15:43
  • 2
    It's also possible that it's more work to mess with the human DNA on the terminator by removing the genitalia, and could cause unforeseen side effects. (The question's already answered and this doesn't stand alone, so it's a comment.)
    – kettlecrab
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 1:11
  • 5
    You wanna be the one to tell a terminator you built him with no balls because of some regulations?
    – Misha R
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 6:46
  • 5
    They should have done a condom ad with the tagline "My mission is to protect you" Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 6:55
  • 5
    Quite simply, they are biological outside. They are a "real" ("cloned") biological body outside. So of course, quite simply, they have every human feature.
    – Fattie
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 12:25

7 Answers 7


I do not have a citation, but probably so that he can pass himself off as human. If the robots were lacking genitals, the rebels would probably include a strip search among their tests, and probably have in the past.

  • 61
    +1. Why would Skynet intentionally leave off bodily features, when doing so could compromise the Terminator's mission? For the same reason, the Arnienator has nipples, a navel, and toenails, none of which are visible on a fully clothed human. Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 14:55
  • 26
    if I were a rebel, I would "lift test" a terminator suspect since they are made of metal. Wouldnt high body weight give away a terminator? Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 19:02
  • 12
    @aitchnyu Great idea in theory, but would the average rebel have a quantifiably easier time lifting a human Arnie? (n.b. serious question; i don't even lift) Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 19:32
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    @underscore_d - I think the idea would be to have the Terminator stand on scales before they can come in to the base. We know that they're quite heavy...
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 20:21
  • 20
    Failing a "lift test", a simple metal detector would be sufficient. This is why you won't see a Terminator at the airport - they'd never make it past the TSA scanners... Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 21:12

Kyle Reese notes that these are the top-of-the-line in infiltration units. Skynet had spared absolutely no expense in making them look as human as possible, down to the smallest physical features.

REESE: But outside, it's living human tissue. Flesh, skin, hair...blood. Grown for the cyborgs.

Pay attention. The 600 series had rubber skin. We spotted them easy. But these are new. They look human. Sweat, bad breath, everything. Very hard to spot. I had to wait 'til he moved on you before I could zero him.

From a purely out-of-universe perspective, obviously the idea that the Terminator might be as smooth as a Ken-Doll would undermine how scary he is.

  • 8
    “down to the smallest physical features” — genitalia is not Arnie’s smallest physical feature! (Admittedly I’m speculating.) Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 15:55
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    @PaulD.Waite - If you click the link above, you can judge for yourself.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 15:56
  • 5
    I feared as much, so I didn’t click. Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 15:59
  • 3
    @PaulD.Waite - It's only a clip from the film, nothing saucy.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 16:03
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    @PaulD.Waite Genitalia are among his smallest physical features. There are a couple of old photos floating around from his body-building modelling days where it’s all on display, and given how big the rest of his physical features are, the weiner ain’t too impressive. (Google at your own peril.) Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 17:59

Sarah Connor Chronicles - (until I can get home and confirm the episode) but I believe there's an ep where robots have replaced humans in marriages and have maintained the relationship for long periods of time. It’s heavily implied sex was a part of that. It’s the episode where a terminator has replaced the husband of a city planner and it’s his mission to ensure she completes a project that lays the foundation for Skynet (unknown to her at the time).
EDIT enter image description here Episode 108: Vick's Chip - http://terminator.wikia.com/wiki/Episode_108:_Vick%27s_Chip

The T-888's infiltration protocols are advanced enough to allow it to sustain married life with a key Skynet progenitor to remain close to her. Time of his insertion into the SCC timeline is as yet uncertain, but is certainly long term in nature. It is very likely that the Terminator Vick was based upon a real person. This is touched upon in reference to an automobile accident that happened prior to the episode, and similar occurrences are seen in Season 2.

  • 2
    Assuming you're referring to Vick Chamberlain it's worth mentioning that his marital relations were very strained after his accident. Presumably the implication was that he couldn't function sexually and was using the trauma as an excuse.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 13:19

Disguise, attraction and entrapment.

May I direct you to Arnold Schwarzenegger's commentary on the 2003 "Terminator 3" movie. (5:13)

"The scene with the enlargement of the breasts was fantastic. Because there's some guys that like little breasts, and there's some guys that like big breasts, so it's just- wouldn't it be nice if you could play both sides? You know it's... sometimes even simultaneously.

This allows terminators to

  1. Blend in.

  2. Disguise, if necessary.

  3. Trick/trap or sex their way in to or out of situations.

  • 2
    Did "sex their way into or out of situations" happen in any of the movies, beyond visual distraction like in the video clip? Even comics or books? From the first 3 movies it seems like extreme violence is their universal "Plan B"
    – Xen2050
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 11:14
  • 2
    This is tangential, but that commentary mashup is amazing on so many levels.
    – Jeff Meden
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 18:09
  • 1
    @Xen2050 In the Sarah Connor Chronicles series, there's a terminator that lives as a human for years in order to encourage a human engineer (his wife) to build certain systems for the government. She might have noticed if something was missing.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 19:51
  • @DCShannon Thanks, can't believe I forgot about Shirley Manson, she kills in everything. I forgot about that whole series, it was never on a channel or time I could find
    – Xen2050
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 1:37

They are made with a human skin for a purpose. To infiltrate human encampments for intelligence gathering and dissemination of useful information. If it was discovered and it easily could happen that an easy way to tell apart terminators from the real thing is to pull down their pants, people in such an apocalyptic situation would quickly resort to such a method.


The same reason it has ears, lips, skin, nipples or any other thing that humans have:

It is supposed to look like a human!

I've seen this question asked or implied about Data, Andromeda and now terminators. Why would you ever expect an android built to look like a human not to have genitals?

Consider Skynet: it collects thousands of humans, vivisects them and makes a truly perfect replica. Then it takes this replica, puts a robotic skeleton inside and has created a perfect human-look-a-like killer.

Then, for no reason what so ever, Skynet makes the skin green. Why?

Or more to the point, since Skynet didn't; why would you ask: "Why isn't the terminators skin green?"

  • 1
    The question is one of immediate visibility. OP is wondering why, if Terminators are mostly "kill first, ask no questions later", why they need bodily features that aren't readily apparent.
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 11:33
  • 3
    @Richard Terminators that are "kill first..." exist in the movies. They notably don't have genitals; or ears, lips, skin et cetera. The question was asked about a second generation killbot that was explicitly make to look as much as a human as possible.
    – Odalrick
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 11:57

Because the Terminators are supposed to mimic humans? We know that the T-600 series had rubber skin, so maybe one of the previous series didn't have genitals and then were spotted more easily. Just because your robot has genitals doesn't mean it's going to have sex with anybody. I really think that they have genitals just for the normal, simple, and innocent reason to completely and accurately replicate a normal human.

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