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The Question of Size

“It is not the size of a man, but the size of his heart that matters.” -Evander Holyfield

The male sexual organs are a complex and well-orchestrated center of sensitivity and functionality. Unfortunately, rarely do the questions concerning this organ system evolve beyond the issue of size. The confusion between genital size and sexual satisfaction is perhaps one of the most damaging and rampant sexual myths on the planet. Teasing apart the insecurity and confidence that defines our sexual selves comes for both men and women through a maturing comfort with our bodies’ erotic instruments.

The anxiety that many, if not most, men feel about their penis size is as universal as the misconception that it is the penis that is the ringleader when it comes to sexual satisfaction and prowess. “We equate masculinity and power with penis size,” says Ira Sharlip, MD, clinical professor of urology at the University of California at San Francisco and president of the International Society for Sexual Medicine. “Of course, there’s really no relationship.” Still, Sharlip says, “all” of his patients want to increase their penis size.

The anxiety attached to penis size has shown up in many studies, where men clearly overestimate the size of the average penis and consistently underestimate their own by comparison. For the record, the average male penis is flaccid (not erect): from 3.4 inches to 3.7 inches (8.6 cm to 9.3 cm), erect from 5.1 inches to 5.7 inches (12.9 cm to 14.5 cm) and has an average penis girth (circumference when erect): from 3.5 inches to 3.9 inches (8.8 cm to 10 cm).

Sadly, many other studies confirm this same finding- that men tend to compare themselves in a way that is likely to end up with a negative evaluation. This might be, in part, because most pornographic depiction of penis size does not reflect the average man’s penis. He got the job because he was so big… Even men who are considering the painful process of surgical penile enlargement more often than not have average-sized penises even though they would describe themselves as having unusually small penises.

Penile enlargement surgery is the only permanent solution for penis size. The surgery can cost anywhere from $5,000 -$17,000.  Generally it can add no more than one inch in length. Another procedure called dermal implant is used to increase girth. Like all surgical procedures, complications arise. The short-term solutions that many men use for temporary engorgement of the penis are vacuum or penis pumps. Vacuum pumps are clinically tested and require a prescription. They are often prescribed for erectile dysfunction.

Penis pumps are sold in adult stores and online. Some do not have adequate release mechanisms so that there is a risk of blood vessel rupture. All pumps work by drawing blood quickly into the penis and using a constriction ring, which keeps the blood in the penis. Some are more effective than others and some are downright dangerous, so be sure to investigate before purchasing. None of the topical or pill treatments that fill the din of noisemaking about penis enlargement have shown any clinical success; so don’t waste your money.

In a web study of more than 50,000 heterosexual men and women 85% of women were satisfied with their partner’s penis size compared with only 55% of the men. In a women’s study, less than 25% of those surveyed considered penis size as very important. Even amongst the 50% of women who said it was somewhat important, sexual skill and pleasuring their partner ranked higher. “It’s a myth that using the penis is the main way to pleasure a woman,” says Ian Kerner, PhD, a sex and relationships counselor in New York City whose book She Comes First offers a guide to female orgasms. In his book, Kerner cites a study that reports women reaching orgasm about 25% of the time with intercourse, compared with 81% of the time during oral sex.

Becoming an accomplished lover has way more to do with your desire and intentions than it does your penis size. In fact, spending time in the study and practice of being an incredible lover is perhaps one of the healthiest ways to let go of your concerns about your genital size. By refocusing your energy and curiosity on the amazing mysteries of pleasuring your partner, your skills and self-esteem will rise. Breaking through one of the biggest sex lies of all time, that a man’s sexuality is a reflection of his penis size is a gift that you give your partner as much as yourself.