Insights for the deeply romantic and deeply skeptical

“I’m Leaving You Because Of My Performance Anxiety”

Women, are you too big for guys or are they just too small for you? Read More

with the last sentence you

with the last sentence you got me, before that I was willing to write an "angry" response about where your assumptions (e.g. about women becoming smaller in porn) come from.

All in all it's true that man are "hard-wired" to be the protector and as such it is of advantage to be big... but then again i think these observations are too little to grant a thorough discussion.

It was an awkward piece to

It was an awkward piece to write, probably the most shameless of my now 500 articles. Awkward for many reasons, but one is that it generalizes about the un-generalizable, since 57 varieties doesn't begin to count the variations in sexual appetite. Sorry and glad I got you with the last sentence. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if someone writes an angry response. I get em often. ;-)


This is an amazing website

This is an amazing website and this is the most amazing and fun, yet not pretentious text I've read here. Please, please, keep on with shameless articles. :)

Thank you Vladana. Very glad

Thank you Vladana. Very glad you like it.

All humans are hard-wired to

All humans are hard-wired to protect that which is theirs. That which they lay claim to. Not just men. This is a human trait.

Men are just more likely to feel the need to possess and control other human beings because, like the author said, they can't control themselves.

in nature, females will protect their offspring at all costs (generally) whereas males are more likely to kill offspring that isn't (or they don't think) is there's.

If males were hard-wired to protect we wouldn't have problems with war, famine, rape, abuse. Men are hard-wired to POSSESS and all humans are hardwired to protect their possessions.

So the author couldn't...

So the author was reluctant to generalize, but you sure aren't. Glenn

+10 for using "milk

+10 for using "milk toast"


Duh - of course feminism would work...

-if it weren't for weak stupid bumbling men always messing everything up and not fulfilling their obligations to women..

It's on tee-vee all the time, so it must be true.

even though it's correctly

even though it's correctly spelled "milquetoast" . . .

Thank you for throwing men

Thank you for throwing men under the bus.

Pander, pander, pander.

Wow, that's some fast and

Wow, that's some fast and certain extrapolation. I suppose I could reciprocate: This article touch a teensie weensie little nerve for you?

What's the matter, did you

What's the matter, did you expect everyone to just agree with your weak theory?

nonplussed by this one

"... If men find you too big, overweight, or simply not as interesting as porn ..."

Weird. I haven't experienced this, and at 5'9" with an athletic build I'm not a small woman. I mean, sure, there are lots of men who prefer petite women, but I've met plenty of men who prefer tall women, and even more men who "like 'em shaped like women," in other words, they don't have a single type, but instead prefer variety, from short to tall and from skinny to fit to voluptuous.

Since I've never been overweight, I can't speak to that, but I just haven't seen men having a universal preference for small, easily dominated women. In fact, I find it more common that men are hungry for a partner who initiates sex, is active and enthusiastic in bed (but maybe that's just the men who are attracted to me).

Women, on the other hand, almost universally prefer a man who is taller and larger than themselves. And it's much more common for women to want to be sexually passive, dominated by their partner.

Like I said, doesn't apply in

Like I said, doesn't apply in all situations. And whether the bias toward big, dominant guys is initiated by men or women, there's apparently some evidence that we're dimorphic (men bigger than women) both biologically and sexually.

I tease women I know when they date guys significantly taller than they are, telling them that they're stealing hight that belongs to another woman. I mean a shorter guy has limited options given the surprisingly strong and materialist bias women have for dating taller guys. Leave the short women to the shorter men would be the logical thing to do. But then love and logic? It's not a match made in heaven is it?

Best and congratulations on being desirable, Luck of the draw with some skill and effort (for example to stay athletic) involved.


as humans we aren't actually

as humans we aren't actually that sexually dimorphic. There is very little difference in size between male and female humans compared to many other animals' relative sizes.

and how is being taller materialistic?? because if you are using it in the scientific sense than materialistic is consisting of matter, than everyone and everything is materialistic. If you are talking about social materialism... height isn't a social construct but biological reality. It is not materialistic to like a certain physical type. It is materialistic to like a certain wardrobe, car, bank account, watch etc. Shallow? maybe. Materialistic.. Not even close.

And if we used men's "logic" women would all be slaves like they were only a couple hundred years ago. The only way for men to feel like they have a level playing field is to create a communist system in which the means of production (women) are gathered together and handed out evenly among the men and of course the men think this is fair... because it benefits them. Fairness, when it comes to most men's mind frame, is "what do I get". Men think they have a right (since they always have) to pick and choose yet think it isn't "fair" that women are now doing the same thing. we might as well gather all of men's earnings and split them up among men so that each man is equally desirable to women so women can have fairness in dating too! because fairness is logic, right?

Follow up?


This was interesting. I do think its critically important to understand that, yes, men have insecurities too. Critical. Insecurities can act out as anger, turn in as addiction, or turn away into isolation. None of which are good outcomes.

I would like to pitch something to you that I would be interested to see. Of all the discussions on men and porn, and the "free" hubs. Never is their discussion on what makes it "free", that is the advertising. Its horrible.

Not to interject bias, but often these are written by men (Marnia Wilson excluded, of course). I wonder if the male researcher may have a hard time considering these with the deluge of...umm... imagery that populates those pages. But the ads sure do send their messages, and discussion on this has been...crickets.

I consider advertising to be populated by individuals skilled in what I call dark psychology. That is the OPPOSITE of best practice treatment paradigms: drink your fun, eat your stress, doubt your worth, be single, alone and spend into debt (to get it all back again).

Anyway, I would be very interested in at least reading some well formulated thoughts on the subject.

Hope to see something in the future!

My kudos to you.

My kudos to you, Jeremy Sherman, for opening up this discussion. I've seen many knock down drag outs on the Pyschology today site when controversy raises it's head. Thanks to you for taking the risk to discuss these things. Glenn

I got a bit confused with the

I got a bit confused with the title there. I thought 'big' as it related to women was to do with the size of their vaginas, not their bodies. As in, do men really want to be playing their organ in a cathedral'? (And actually - do they? Is the size/looseness of women's vaginas a big deal for men?)

It is confusing. I mentioned

It is confusing. I mentioned that body and organ size aren't very correlated. But I meant my hypothesis to apply to both. Mounting or entering the cathedral doesn't give a man that oft sought sense of dominance and prowess, or the women the oft sought sense of being dominated.

Women tend to prefer bigger men (taller, endowed) and men tend to prefer littler women (petite all over). That's hard on littler men and bigger women, but littler men can find refuge in porn even though in the long run it can increase their sense of inadequacy. Bigger women don't have as obvious a sexual refuge, though there are certainly lots of alternatives to looking for a man.

I read once that calculating from the number of prostitutes making a living in prudish Victorian England, married men were visiting them three times a week. Not talking about a force as strong as prostitution in England or Porn in today's world is to allow it maximum influence.

bigger isn't better

I have to disagree here as well. Women do NOT universally prefer big penises. Sure, there are women who are into big ones, but many women prefer average-sized. Any time the subject of penis size comes up in an article, you'll see comment after comment from women saying, 'Sex with a big penis is uncomfortable or even painful. No thank you.'

I am one of these women. I like sex to be fun, not something I have to grit my teeth in pain and pray for it to be over. Bigger is not better!

For some reason men just can't seem to hear this. They cling to the idea that their penis would be better if it was larger. (Except for the large men. They know that it's not that easy to find a woman who likes it, nor is it that fun to be gingerly the whole time so as not to hurt your partner.)

I've come to believe that big penises are a male-male dominance signal, and have nothing to do with women.

I agree.

"I've come to believe that big penises are a male-male dominance signal, and have nothing to do with women."

Considering it's always men who bring up the topic of "women prefer men with big penises" or "women shame men with small penises", I have to agree with you that penis size has to do with male-male dominance struggle, and not with women at all.

not completely true

As is often the case with human opinions, saying "always" and "never" is usually going to make your statement wrong.

You're mostly right. Far too many men are preoccupied with their penis size, and most women want about average size of really don't care that much about size.

But it's also a fact that a small minority of women are into big size, if not just for the visual effect, just like some men are into feet, etc. And some women have indeed made insensitive comments to men with a small penis.

And then there are men who have no insecurity about their penis size at all, even if they're not big, and would consider the male-dominance theory to be laughable.

There's just a wide range of opinions on the part of both men and women on this topic, thought what gets the most discussion is the stereotyped view you describe.

The problem here may be that

The problem here may be that those insecure people don't consider their organ size to be average, but rather slightly (or even widely) below average. And I'm not even going to start to talk about those for whom this fear is justified.

Well, penis size seems to be important enough for women. I've never heard about a man telling a woman that her vagina wasn't good enough (too big or too small) for sex. Vice versa, on the other hand...

hearing troubles

See, you're having trouble hearing me and the other female commenter. Penis size is NOT important to (most) women.

I'm 5'8" with 8" I'm doing

I'm 5'8" with 8"

I'm doing ok.


It's good that you feel OK about yourself being 8". But that's actually a bit much for many women, especially if you want thrust all the way in, causing cervical pain for some. The average vagina is not 8" long, even when aroused. So with you, some women will prefer positions where deep thrusting is less likely.

another viewpoint

This article probably represents the view of many men, as I have learned in recent years. But my experience is both different and similar.

Indeed, I've had anxiety and embarrassment over the lack of control of my plumbing, as you state it, but for the opposite reason. I've many times been embarrassed by erections when they were inappropriate, and not just in my younger years. Before I heard of Viagra, it never occurred to me that anyone would be concerned about not having an erection when they wanted one.

As for porn, my reaction to it was the opposite of what this article describes. What I noticed was that you rarely saw a porn actor in the process of becoming erect. One moment he was flaccid, and in the very next split second, from a different angle, he suddenly has a full erection. So obviously the guy couldn't get it up during the scene -- he had a fluffer helping him in between shots, or something. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a male porn actor go from flaccid to fully erect without having his genitals touched. Which seems pretty lame to me. Or is that just not considered interesting to show?

That's not to say I didn't have insecurities as a young man. But it had to do with shyness, trying to feel socially confident, etc.

sick of it all

women slam men ALL THE TIME on schlong size,how much money we make and how tall we are without hesitation and regard for the dudes alot of guys are beyond sick to death of all female insecurities being laid at the feet of men.That said I hate porno its predictable,lame and a joke.I don't expect women to look like a porn star.There was an article awhile back where a bunch of porn chicks took off their make up and they looked no better then the average girl sometimes worse.Oh and If "size" didn't matter then it would NOT keep coming up ALL THE FREAKIN' TIME! Height? Size? Whatever etc Its become a way for alot females to empower themselves slam a guy on something he CANNOT change? Bingo!

well, not all the time

You're way off on some of your accusations, but close on others. You're right about a lot of women wanting tall men, or at least taller than themselves. But somehow not all that different from a lot of men's preoccupation with breast size on women.

You're somewhat right about how much money we make. Some, but not all women by any means.

You're mostly wrong about schlong size. Most women don't slam men on that one and don't care. You're hearing that from other men and those late-night male-enhancement commercials.

totally agree

I agree with anonymous. Furthermore, most of the women who slam men based on shlong size are just doing it because they heard it from a man. They know it's a cruel and nasty way to put a man down, so they use it. If you confront these same women and say, "Do you really need a big shlong in order to enjoy sex?", 90% will admit that, no, they were just using a cheap putdown and it has nothing to do with their actual preferences. They know that attacking a guy's penis size is an easy way to shame him, shut him up, and 'win' an argument.

And ... women learned this from men.

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Jeremy Sherman is an evolutionary epistemologist studying the natural history and practical realities of decision making.


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