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Size Does Matter

About the phallus obsession.

Pixabay/Public Domain
Source: Pixabay/Public Domain

The penis has long been a symbol of masculinity, power, and to a lesser extent virility. This most intimate of male organs has been shrouded in mystery and been the recipient of some bizarre attributions.

#1. Size

A lot of men have concerns about penile length. Many stem from a dramatic overestimation of the average penis length. A comprehensive study of over 15,000 men found the average erect penis length to be just over 13 cm. New research suggests that women consider the ideal penis size to be only a bit longer at just over 6 inches (16 cm). By the way, the world’s largest documented penis belongs to an American named Jonah Falcon, who packs roughly 13.5 inches (34 cm). I’m sure most of us have, at some time or another, come across the statement “bigger is better” in relation to the way women feel about the male love-tool. It seems this is true up until a point only.

Many people will have identified this maxim as being questionable, but a lot of men still regard their ‘membership’ to be inadequate. One study of 200 heterosexual men found that over 68% of respondents had concerns about the size of their penis.

Predicting penis size

Estimates of penis size based on factors such as age, height, or shoe size are unreliable. Ethnicity may be one of the best predictors of the heat a guy is packing. A study published in the Annals of Sex Research found that, contrary to popular belief, height and foot length (and shoe size) were only weakly related to penis length. Unsurprisingly, age was an even worse predictor. There is, however, some evidence that finger length has some predictive power. Although suggestions that hand-size is related are unfounded, finger length is associated. Specifically, the longer a man’s index finger in relation to his ring finger, the more pant-thunder he is likely to be housing.

Size isn’t everything

Male anxiety may be driven, at least in part, by penis size preferences that men assume women have. The fact is that men who are dissatisfied with the size of their penis report more problems with their sexual health and have lower sexual self-esteem.

It turns out that all of this is in their heads, sort of. A 2014 study found that although both men and women reported the ideal penis size to be greater than average penis size, men overestimated women’s preferences: they thought that ladies wanted bigger penises than they actually did.

Additionally, a large sample (52,000) of heterosexual men and women found that 85% of female respondents were happy with their partner’s penis size.

Another study found that only around 21% of women actually thought that penis length was important in a sexual relationship. A greater percentage actually thought that it was totally unimportant in a relationship. Considered slightly more important (33%) was girth.

#2. Length of stay

It turns out that women vary their penis preferences depending on the relationship duration being sought. Women seeking a brief encounter are possibly doing so largely for pleasure, and tend to prefer a larger penis than in a long-term context.

#3. Snake oil

Despite the availability of thousands of weird products/techniques, and the outrageous claims and enthusiasm with which shonky marketers peddle their penis-enhancing wares, evidence suggests that it can’t be made bigger by a special exercise regime, diet pills, snake-oil remedy, or any other miracle elixir. However, nearly half of the men in one study thought they could change either the size or shape of their penis through non-surgical means.

#4. It’s a hard life

If you’re a guy, you’ve almost certainly experienced an unwanted erection before. These can, and often do, occur at inappropriate and inopportune times. Adolescents often report suffering from them. Additionally, men will experience, on average, 3-5 sleep-erections per night (nocturnal penile tumescence, commonly referred to as ‘morning glory’). Male babies can get erections in the womb. Corpses can too. From the cradle to the grave ...

#5. Two heads are better than one

Yes, having two penises is a thing (NSFW). The rare condition of having two functional penises is called diphallia and occurs in roughly 1 in every 5.5 million live births. Complete diphallia (penile duplication) is often accompanied by other physical malformations. Erections can generally occur in either one or both of the penises, and simultaneous ejaculation has been recorded.

#6. Beginnings

Many people know that boys and girls start out the same. Sex differentiation begins at around 6 weeks after conception So, in a sense, all penises start out as clitorises. What you may not have known is that penises used to have spines (barbs of keratin). Thankfully, evolution removed them around 700,000 years ago.

#7. Shrinkage

I think it’s universally known that cold temperatures cause the external male genitalia to temporarily shrink, retracting inward like a turtle trying not to get eaten. It’s also true that smoking can cause permanent penile shrinkage (up to 1 cm), and is strongly associated with erectile dysfunction.

Penis myths and maxims have been around a long time, and will probably persevere for a lot longer. Guys, be comfortable with your own penis. Size really isn’t that important. Avoid cigarettes, cold weather, and dodgy merchants selling penis-growth pills, and you’ll be OK. Also, don’t bother buying extra-large shoes to impress the ladies.

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