Does penis size actually matter?
By Martin Muthare
As the saying goes, it’s not the size that counts, it’s how you use it. But does this long standing phrase ring true in the hugely debated topic of penis size? Does your member make a difference in attractiveness or ability to pleasure your partner?
Interestingly, humans have the largest penis of any primate, both in absolute size and relative to body proportion. Through an evolutionary history, many heterosexual females developed an interest and preference for penis shape and size, much like how female peacocks prefer a male with stunning feathers. As a result, they chose mates with larger penises, ultimately passing those genes. This is known as sexual selection.
One study found that some heterosexual women experience more frequent vaginal orgasms with longer penises, suggesting that it may be able to stimulate the entire length of the vagina and the cervix. However, it is important to note that women experience different types of orgasms; in fact, vaginal and clitoral orgasms may be separate phenomena – they use different nerves, and even stimulate different areas of the brain. Even the coveted ‘G-Spot”, another sexually sensitive area in women, is located only a third of the way into the vagina.
Apart from this, many surveys of women have found that they’re not nearly as concerned about size as men think, and preferences vary. However, studies on homosexual men have shown that they regard a larger penis as ideal.
Another study in 2013 found that a soft or floppy penis size may also be a major factor in male attractiveness – even before sexual contact. Which may seem odd considering we wear clothes nowadays; but for our ancestors, the genitals would have been visible. In the study, women were asked to rank the attractiveness of males based on computer generated images reflecting different body types and penis sizes. From this, it was clear that not only were taller and more fit men much more desirable, but floppy penis size played a role in their perceived attractiveness too. The larger the penis, the higher they were rated. But there was a limit – a floppy penis larger than about 7.6cm and attractiveness began to diminish.
It would seem a penis in proportion may be most desirable. After all, over exaggerated traits – even those related to attractiveness – can often be a sign of problems. And it turns out the person attached to the penis makes a difference too – with most studies showing confidence, enjoyable personality, and attraction being the best predictor of sexual satisfaction. Ultimately, while size does seem to matter in some ways, bigger isn’t always better!
And what is the average size of an excited penis?
I am going to bust some myths here! There’s little to no evidence that size is related to shoe size, nor is it related to ethnicity, race nor sexual orientation.
The average penile length, if you look at all the data, approximately is about 5.2 inches or 13.2 centimeters and it is normal for penile length to be within two and a half standard deviations of that, so either greater or smaller.
So, what’s considered as being too short would be anything less than 2.9 inches or 7.5 centimeters and that is called micro penis. Micro penis is prevalent in less than 1 percent (0.4%) of the population worldwide, so it is extremely rare. It can be due to several causes, including, congenital abnormalities, hormonal abnormalities, previous surgeries, or cancer.
Why the obsession with the penile length?
A survey of 50,000 heterosexual men was done and it was found that 55% of them were unhappy with the way their penis looked. When they asked those men’s partners, 85% of women were satisfied with the way their partner’s genitals looked. At the end of the day, it matters how you feel about your appearance but there’s a lot of issues with that because pornography has really blurred the lines of what exactly is normal.
While it is true that the large majority of people who are concerned with the size of their penis have an average penile length based on these numbers, the true issue is that a significant portion of men can have distress related to the idea that their penis is not as long as they desire, and this is a form of body dysmorphic disorder called “small penis anxiety”. It doesn’t mean that they have a small penis but they have anxiety that the size of their penis may not be long enough. The way this is defined is that people have a preoccupation or obsession of the size of their penis which they spend over one hour a day thinking about. Actually some portion of these men can be so distraught that it can affect their activities of daily living and some of them might need help due to their overwhelming obsession. Hence it is important to talk about this because this is part of men’s health.
What are the options in dealing with this problem?
A major issue with this problem is that if you Google how I can make my penis longer, you will be inundated with tons of websites and information that may or may not be reputable. Many others will go abroad or find a non-licensed provider to do things to them that can have dramatic consequences. So please don’t do that; look for a reputable psychologist or urologist to help you with these issues. It is also important to know that procedures for penile lengthening or girth enhancement are not recommended and are considered experimental unless they are in the context of someone with a micro penis.
There are two categories of treatment options for people who suffer from small penis anxiety or distress: the non-surgical and surgical treatments.
Psychological counseling is a non-surgical treatment. There are validated questionnaires and assessments that can be done to help you understand what an average penile size is and also help you deal with some of these anxious feelings. Interestingly, most of the men who have undergone psychological counseling no longer look for any other treatment to enhance the length of their penis. So, I highly recommend this form of treatment.
There are three other non-surgical options: penile extenders, vacuum erection devices and penile injectable treatments. There is data for only one of these options which suggests its success and that option is penile extenders. The others have been shown to have no efficacy and devastating complications. Hence, they are not recommended.
As far as surgical treatment is concerned, many different surgical options have been discussed and written in literature. One of the most common ones is a suspensory ligament incision, which releases the ligament that holds the penis to the pubic bone to extend the penis length. However, this is not without complications.
There are also a few other techniques using different flaps, grafts and even using rib cartilage to help increase the length of the penis. All these options, overall, have poor outcomes with poor satisfaction.
Additionally, there is very little data on these surgeries, so at this time, it is not recommended to do a surgery to increase the penile length.
Bottomline is there’s not a lot you can do to change the length that you have. You can gain a small amount of length with penile traction therapy, however, there are many things that are under investigation, and this is not recommended for routine care.
Psychological counseling is recommended as the first option, to deal with this anxiety before doing anything that may be irreversible and have something that is disfigured and non-functional.
Bottomline, small penis is more often a psychological problem than a physical problem. What matters during intercourse is performance rather than the size. Men with small penis anxiety can also learn other ways to please their partners to better the performance.
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About the author: Martin Mūthare is a licensed clinical officer and a public health practitioner.
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