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Of Penis Size

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

I read an article a couple of years ago that got me thinking. The conservatives were up in arms that a National Institute of Health funded study examined data collected about gay men’s penis size and their approach to sexuality. Though the gay community would say their outrage is because the subjects were gay men, I would respectfully disagree. I am quite sure that the same people would have been just as outraged it had been heterosexual men. The whole idea of considering how penis size impacts men's sexual behavior and self-identity is appalling to social conservatives.

The article was written by a conservative and was clearly intended to portray the study as not just disgusting, but a frivolous waste of taxpayer money. Of course, the author was wrong, and the government’s health office’s interest in the sexual behavior of men is very much appropriate. Even still, the article listed some findings that let me to evaluate a couple of issues with regard to penis size.

The article said that the study found that gay men with smaller dicks were more likely to be bottoms, those with large penises were more likely to be tops, while those with average sized penises were described as flexible as to their orientation. Further it found large dicked gay men to have more satisfied sex lives, but more STD’s.

Interesting, at least to me was to me. But not surprising. There is no question in my experience with swingers that the guys with big dicks like to show it off and appear much more confident. Conversely, at nude events like pool parties, I see very few guys with unusually short dicks, but a good number with unusually long ones. Other studies puts the average range of male erect penis as between 5.25" and 6.25." When penises are flaccid, as they are at nude pools, the average range is much greater and varies with environmental conditions. Even still, in flaccid penis size those in the unusually large or small range are visibly outside the norm.

So I asked myself, why is the 15% of population with dicks shorter than average range rarely found at nude events? Well, the answer is simple, most of those guys who won’t get naked to go to such events. And, I’d go further and suggest that if you measured the erections of all the guys involved in nude and free-sex events, you would find that the median size would be statistically significantly larger than median American male population (just under 6”). Moreover, I can tell you from a great deal of first hand experience, that those men whose penis is largest in its flaccid state get more attention from women than those whose penis shrinks up the most. So, it would follow that those men with bigger dicks (both erect and flaccid) are more likely to be found at sexually open nude events, and, like the gay men, report higher sexual satisfaction and ….. higher disease rates.

While this is good and fine for those on the positive end of the bell curve of penis size, what does it mean for men born with short penises? Not just those at the extreme lower end of the bell curve, but those at the moderate low end. And what impact does the fact that on the internet depiction of men with erect penises are nearly universally over seven inches have on the psyche of men whose penises are even in the shorter half of the average range, let alone those who have a penis that is in the shortest 25%?

The simple fact is that life just isn’t fair to men born with a small penis.

Many of them spend their entire lives having to prove they are sexually adequate. From my experience they avoid situations in which their penis can be seen by others (i.e. nude or swingers events). Worst of all, with the growing openness about sexuality, there is ever more talk about the preference for penises on the higher end of the bell curve which reinforces the self perception of inadequacy for those on the proverbial “short end of the stick.”

All this should be of immense interest to those of us in the helping fields. All the counseling in the world might never touch on a male clients core issue, that of having a small penis and the corresponding low self-esteem, especially for that five out of a hundred men with penises of 4” or less. Yet, this is not a question counselors ask. When working with women it is common to discuss body image, but even if a man is asked about body image, I doubt he will bring up anxiety about the size of his penis. Only once have I had a man bring up his penis size as a debilitating force. Yet in speaking with him, it was clear he was of quite average size (actually a little above average); yet, because he'd been immersed in porn since adolescent watching men almost exclusively from the group of men at the top 5% of penis size (over 7”), he was convinced he could never measure up to women's expectations.

I have no doubt this is why gay men with smaller than average sized penises tend to be a bottom. Being penetrated by your lover allows a man to forget his penis size issues. I would suggest that the observed tendency for some middle aged men to open up to homoerotic sex is related to the age related incidence of erectile dysfunction. Nothing is more difficult for a man than to be unsure if he can get enough erection to please a new female lover. But, if the new lover is a man, well he can still suck all night long and offer his ass up to be filled by the other man's erection (i.e. he can be that bottom). I won't even pretend that performance anxiety is one reason I much prefer MFM threesomes to foursomes or FFM threesomes. I simply have much more fun when I don't feel under pressure to keep an erection for an hour (or hours) at a time. The presence of the other man gives my penis the ability to take breaks and just as important, I get a great deal of satisfaction from feeling the pleasure I give the man via oral sex.

Years ago Paula and I shared a bed where the man had a thick penis that was 9” long. Looking over at him, my penis positively looked like a child next to a man. My penis is over 6" long, but I still felt so belittled that I lost my erection. Now, to be fair that was very early in our open marriage and got overt that issue long ago. However, for many men that experience might well be enough to prevent them from ever taking a chance like that again. No wonder those under the real average rarely show up in swing clubs.

Therefore, I ask, where are these men? We are talking about a significant percentage of the population. I would suggest that men with smaller than average penises are more likely to eschew both public nudity and open marriage. After all, who willingly puts themselves in a position where they feel inadequate. Others likely are celibate, and others exclusively have bottom sex with other men, even though they identify as heterosexual. Not that any of these options are bad, but it is important to understand that penis size does impact behavior and self-image. Thus, I conclude the study on penis size not only was a good use of government money, it should be expanded to look at all men and how penis size impacts sexual choices and mental health.

I would be remiss if I did not make the suggestion that sex-positive people should not engage in, or even tolerate, disparaging comments about men with small dicks. I've noticed that even among people who would never make fun of a woman's body, it seems acceptable to make comments about penis size. This is not OK. Years ago I found that there is a whole genera of memes that suggest that it is OK to humiliate men who have a small penis. I do not doubt that a good bit of this is by men who feel they are sexually inadequate due to their penis size; however, that does not make it healthy or positive. I'm not suggesting anyone troll such people, but I would suggest that we not "like" or reblog these memes.

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May 04, 2022

Well written piece with good guidance. Men have been subjected to so many humiliating sex jokes, in many film dropping your soap in a prison shower can lead to rape, jokes. Penis size is an easy target. I found that most men with big dicks are very egocentric and their pillow-talk is all about their performance. Sex has become a performance activity and not about modeling Eros.


Sep 28, 2021

I am one of the 25% with a smaller size guessing around the 4" as never actually measured it. It certainly skrinks when swimming nude. I have had to grow up with all the laughter amongst school people and the like and later in life when having to shower after work in an open enviroment. Noteing I knew I was smallist from an early age especially seeing others penis sizes. Getting embarrised became part of my day to day life. I started going nude after my paents and siblings were out or at work. running around the fenced back yard was one of my best recolections from a young age. I was broken in at around 12-13 with a mal…


Sep 23, 2021

There's a SNL sketch in which Mathew Broderick is new at a nudist club and self conscious about his penis. All the nudists are obsessed with penises, and not shy about commenting. My experience has been that this is pretty far from the truth. It's also seemed to me that my own body prejudices get toned way down in nude groups. I guess that means nudism has made me a better person.

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