Homo Consumericus

The nature and nurture of consumption

Penis Size and Preferred Sexual Roles Among Gay Men

Top or bottom? Check the size of your penis.

Penis_Size

My most popular post to date (300,000+ total views) is one in which I described a study by Nicolas Guéguen that showed that men were more likely to pick up a female hitchhiker if she had large breasts. Several bloggers were "offended" by my post, as it was apparently "pornographic and sexist." One blogger even suggested that it was discriminatory against older women (by virtue of my having used a teaser image of a young woman with large breasts). Let's see if the same people will be as offended about a post dealing with penis size.

In chapter 10 of my forthcoming trade book (June 2011), The Consuming Instinct: What Juicy Burgers, Ferraris, Pornography, and Gift Giving Reveal About Human Nature, I discuss how the effects of morphological features (e.g., height, breast size, facial dominance, digit ratio) manifest themselves in the marketplace. While conducting research for the chapter in question, I came across an interesting study that linked penis size (a morphological trait) to a specific sexual behavior. Christian Grov, Jeffrey T. Parsons, and David S. Bimbi surveyed 1,065 gay or bisexual men about their penis size and a broad range of variables (e.g., sexual health, psychosocial adjustment, and sexual preferences).

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One finding that struck me as particularly interesting was the relationship between a man's perceived penis size (see here for an earlier post that I wrote on this topic) and the extent to which he was an "inserter" (top) or "insertee" (bottom), in terms of anal sex. The researchers asked the following question: "Do you consider your penis size to be?" with possible answers being "below average," "average," "above average," and "way above average." The last two categories were fused into one "above average" category. They were also asked about their preferred sexual roles as relating to anal sex. The five possible answers were: Top 100%; Mostly Top; Versatile 50/50; Mostly Bottom; and Bottom 100%. The five original categories were fused to three categories: Top and Mostly Top became Top, Versatile remained as is, and Bottom and Mostly Bottom became Bottom. Here are the results:

Table 3: Percentage of respondents within each "penis size" category who identified within each of the three categories of sexual roles

                                Below Average            Average        Above Average

Top                             29.2%                        30.7%                    41.6%

Versatile                       31.9%                        40.5%                    37.8%

Bottom                         38.9%                        28.8%                    20.6%

Total                            100%                         100%                    100%

The two variables were statistically linked (p < .001). "Below average", "Average", and "Above Average" men were more likely to be Bottom, Versatile, and Top respectively.

As the authors proclaim early in the paper, penis size is symbolically associated with masculinity. Hence, to the extent that these different sexual positions are more "masculine" (top) or more "feminine" (bottom), it might seem reasonable to expect a link between these two variables. On a related note, in some cultural settings, being gay is largely associated with being the bottom. A similar attribution is made within the confines of prison culture.

Returning to the point that I started with, I hope that those who accused me of "being obsessed" with women's breasts (by virtue of writing on this topic) will now grant me the courtesy of accusing me of being equally obsessed with penises! ☺ Since writing about women's breasts made me "sexist" and a "peddler of pornography," what does writing about men's penises make me? Am I still sexist? Do I remain a peddler of pornography albeit gay porn? Those who levied those idiotic accusations know who you are. I await your next set of "gay" insults.

Source for Image:
http://s3.hubimg.com/u/1871290_f260.jpg

 

Gad Saad is Professor of Marketing at Concordia University and author of The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption and The Consuming Instinct.

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