Monthly Archives: September 2013

A Game of Inches

Behold: The fruit most men secretly hate. (You did know it was a fruit, right?)

The Cucumber: A fruit most men secretly despise. (You did know it was a fruit, right?)

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I have no illusions about my penis. No woman has ever refused relations with me from fear of becoming a human kebob, but no one has ever complained either, and I’ve even gotten a few compliments. Fine, I’ll toss out the ones from strippers. Still, the average erect American penis is supposedly 5.6″ long and 4.8″ around, with standard deviations of 1.0″ and 0.88″, respectively. I say “supposedly” because the study’s data was self-reported, which means that the real sizes could actually be smaller. So, without delving into details, let’s say that if male members were Sunday brunches then mine might not be the all-you-can-eat variety, but most women would walk away…pretty full.

Regardless, that doesn’t stop an annoying little voice from occasionally surfacing in the back of my head all like, “Yeah, man, you cool…but that dude on “Star Sistas II” had a Klingon disruptor rifle, brotha. Yo’ Starfleet regulation issue phaser ain’t got shit on THAT!” I’m willing to bet most men have heard his taunting, even if in their minds he doesn’t sound like a Cooley High character with a penchant for sci-fi.

Look, I’m not flipping out here. I don’t want to get my joint surgically extended or padded, and I don’t feel the least bit ashamed when it’s time to pull out the iBone for some sex messaging. It’s more like there’s this nagging sense that a perfectly fine thing could be even better.

These sentiments aren’t helped by the fact that every woman I know says that the majority of the men that she’s “dated” have had lengths around 7″+, with a large minority having had Ding Dongs roughly the size of her forearm…no matter the length of her particular forearm. Considering the results from the study mentioned above, these admittedly unscientific personal survey results have always seemed statistically un-fucking-likely.

So, what’s behind these reports of monster manhood? Either my female friends are simply mistaken, extremely lucky, flat-out lying, or they’re in possession of some pretty powerful, preternatural penis PSP. Since nobody’s that damned lucky, most of my friends are honest folk, and I don’t believe in psychic powers (genitally oriented or otherwise), I’m gonna go with option #1.

Maybe it comes down to the fact that when they’re estimating penis size, it’s usually not done in laboratory conditions. After all, not many women keep a tape measure in their purse or on top of the nightstand. (Side note: Guys, if you meet a woman who does keep a tape measure by the bed, just back your ass away slowly, like the Kool-Aid Man on Family Guy.) Regardless, it’s hard to get a solid visual estimate when the room is as dark as the dirty deeds going down.

My hunch is that there’s something more powerful going on here though.

A big factor influencing women’s overestimations of their partners’ sizes might be the simple human need to feel good about one’s choices. Considering the persistent double-standard associated with female sexual activity, women expend a lot of emotional capital when they lay it down. In exchange for racking up another notch on the headboard, an action for which they risk unwanted pregnancy, STIs, and social stigma, they need to feel as if they’ve gotten a big ole bang for their buck. As a result, their internal rulers get stretched out, making them feel even luckier when they get lucky.

If you’re thinking that this hypothesis, um, falls short because “size doesn’t matter” to women, then you’re wrong. While it’s not the end-all-be-all, a recent study shows that women absolutely do care about penis size, rating men with larger ones as more attractive. So, it could be entirely possible that imagining their past partners’ thing-things on a grander scale is a kind of coping mechanism.

Totally not cool.

Totally not cool.

Fret not. I’m not laying the fault for men’s penis worries solely at the doorstep of women’s sexual insecurities. There are certainly other factors at play, and a major one is the effect of porn’s distorted depiction of penises on an entire generation. No, this essay is just an exploration of one corner of a larger conversation about men, women, attraction, and the ways that we make ourselves and each other crazy for hilarious, ridiculous, and tragic reasons. No doubt, men engender the majority of the crazy in the sexual ecosystem, but they’re occasionally victims, too.

So, lady reader, the next time you gaze into the mirror and start feeling insecure about your bee sting breasts or concave keister, I encourage you to think about your last asshole boyfriend’s almost certain penis issues. Sure, it’s slightly mean, but it might help you realize that you’re not alone with your body image concerns. Plus, a little schadenfreude in the morning goes a long way.

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