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Abstract

One hundred ten heterosexual individuals (67 men; 43 women) responded to questions related to penis size and satisfaction. Men showed significant dissatisfaction with penile size, despite perceiving themselves to be of average size. Importantly, there were significant relationships between penile dissatisfaction and comfort with others seeing their penis, and with likelihood of seeking medical advice with regard to penile and/or sexual function. Given the negative consequences of low body satisfaction and the importance of early intervention in sexually related illnesses (e.g., testicular cancer), it is imperative that attention be paid to male body dissatisfaction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
BRIEF REPORT
(Perceived) Size Really Does Matter: Male Dissatisfaction With Penis Size
Lucy Johnston and Tracey McLellan
University of Canterbury
Audrey McKinlay
University of Canterbury and Monash University
One hundred ten heterosexual individuals (67 men; 43 women) responded to questions related to penis
size and satisfaction. Men showed significant dissatisfaction with penile size, despite perceiving them-
selves to be of average size. Importantly, there were significant relationships between penile dissatis-
faction and comfort with others seeing their penis, and with likelihood of seeking medical advice with
regard to penile and/or sexual function. Given the negative consequences of low body satisfaction and
the importance of early intervention in sexually related illnesses (e.g., testicular cancer), it is imperative
that attention be paid to male body dissatisfaction.
Keywords: penis size, body dissatisfaction, sexual illnesses
Although the focus within the literature on body-image percep-
tion has been on women, men are also known to experience
dissatisfaction with their physical appearance (Cohane & Pope,
2001;Hildebrandt, Langenbucher, & Schlundt, 2004;Pope,
Philips, & Olivardia, 2000;Tiggemann, Martins, & Churchett,
2008), with recent estimates of male body dissatisfaction preva-
lence being between 17% and 82%, dependent on the body part
being considered (Tiggemann et al., 2008). Indeed, for muscular-
ity, this discontent has become normative (Tiggemann et al.,
2008). Body image dissatisfaction among men has been linked to
low self-esteem and depression (e.g., Olivardia, Pope, Borowiecki
& Cohane, 2004) and impaired social relationships (e.g., Pope et
al., 2000).
The present research focuses on perceptions of penis size. There
is considerable anxiety among men in regard to penis size, with
between 45% (Lever, Frederick, & Peplau, 2006) and 68% (Tigge-
mann et al., 2008) reporting discontent with their penis size,
preferring it were larger. In many cultures, the penis symbolizes
attributes of masculinity, virility, and fertility (Wylie & Eardley,
2007). Indeed, in some cultures, a man’s penis is described as “his
manhood,” and anxiety accordingly arises when men equate man-
hood and masculinity with penis size (Kilmartin, 2000). It is not
surprising, then, that men often attach great importance to the size
of their penis and associate a larger penis with attributes such as
strength, dominance, power, and the capacity to love and be loved
(Wylie & Eardley, 2007). Men with a larger penis have a more
positive genital image, body image, and feel more sexually com-
petent (Francken, van de Wiel, Van Driel, & Weijmar Schultz,
2002;Winter, 1989). Further, the importance men place on penis
size has been shown to negatively predict appearance self-esteem
(Tiggemann et al., 2008). Concern about penis size may be linked
to sexual satisfaction and functioning (Ackard, Kearney-Cooke, &
Peterson, 2000;Faith & Schare, 1993) and have negative conse-
quences for relationships, as well as for physical and mental health
(Grov, Parsons, & Bimbi, 2010;Pope et al., 2000;Son, Lee, Huh,
Kim, & Paick, 2003).
There has been an increase in the number of men seeking
cosmetic procedures to increase penis size (Tiggemann et al.,
2008), indicating that at least some men are sufficiently worried
about their penis size to undergo costly and potentially risky
procedures. This increase coincides with popular media frequently
emphasizing the link between penis size, masculinity, and virility
(e.g., Frederick, Fessler, & Haselton, 2005;Lehman, 1993). There
has been an increase in accessibility of pornographic material that
may include “supersized” penises and exaggerated positive female
response to such, which may mislead men as to women’s prefer-
ences. It is noteworthy that men show a greater likelihood of
making size comparisons while viewing sexually explicit materials
(Lee, 1996). Internet marketing of penile enlargement medications
and techniques is now common, and there has been an increase in
spam e-mail messages focusing on penis size as a symbol of
masculinity and virility (Cukier, Cody, & Nesselroth, 2006). The
use of e-mail advertising heightens personal relevance; the mes-
sages arrive in a personal inbox, which implies that they are
targeted to the individual receiving them rather than simply being
general messages. Personalizing persuasive messages in this way
has been shown to increase the impact of the message on the
This article was published Online First February 10, 2014.
Lucy Johnston, Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Office, and Tracey McLellan,
Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New
Zealand; Audrey McKinlay, Department of Psychology, University of
Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, and School of Psychology and
Psychiatry, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
The authors thank Leila Marie, who was funded through a University of
Canterbury Summer Scholarship, for her contributions to the reported
research. TMW is thanked for his small contribution to the research.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Lucy
Johnston, Dean of Postgraduate Research, University of Canterbury, Pri-
vate Bag 4800, Christchurch 8410, New Zealand. E-mail: lucy
.johnston@canterbury.ac.nz
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
Psychology of Men & Masculinity © 2014 American Psychological Association
2014, Vol. 15, No. 2, 225–228 1524-9220/14/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0033264
225
recipient compared with general messages (e.g., Rogers & Mew-
born, 1976).
Young men are reluctant for others to see their penis (Wylie &
Eardley, 2007). As well as the potential negative consequence for
the development of social and sexual relationships, this reluctance
may also contribute to medical concerns. Of particular concern in
New Zealand are increased rates of testicular and prostate cancer
and the importance of early detection for effective treatments.
Early detection requires men to engage in self-examination and, if
needed, to overcome their reluctance for others (e.g., medical
practitioners) to see their penis (Wylie & Eardley, 2007). In the
present research, we investigate penis size dissatisfaction, and
whether there is a relationship between penis size dissatisfaction
and comfort with others seeing one’s penis and with health-related
behavior.
An important component of male dissatisfaction with penis size
is related to perceptions of female preferences (Winter, 1989;
Wylie & Eardley, 2007) and worry that their romantic partners are
dissatisfied with their penis size (e.g., Van Driel, Weijmar Schultz,
van de Wiel, & Mensink, 1998). Such anxieties are fueled by
advertisements for penile enlargement that focus on positive re-
sponses by women to their partners’ enhancements (e.g., Total Life
Enhancement, 2005) and may have a negative impact on sexual
relationships (e.g., Lever et al., 2006). To understand male dissat-
isfaction with penis size, it is important to identify whether men’s
beliefs and anxieties regarding female preferences are accurate or
not. Accordingly, a group of female participants was also included
in the present study to provide data regarding female beliefs and
preferences.
Method
Participants
One hundred ten heterosexual individuals (43 women; 67 men)
completed the questions on an online survey related to penis size.
1
Mean age of the total sample was 25 years 10 months (SD 6 years
11 months), with 81% self-identified as New Zealand European
(Pa
keha), and 54% had an undergraduate degree or higher.
Procedure and Measures
Participants were recruited, through advertisements on the uni-
versity campus and via word of mouth, to take part in a study on
male body image and self-esteem. Data were collected via an
anonymous online survey and there was no compensation for
participation. This project was reviewed and approved by the
University of Canterbury Human Ethics Committee.
For penis length and circumference, in both a flaccid and erect
state, the participant was asked to indicate current size (men only),
ideal size, average size, and what others (same sex; other sex)
would consider ideal size.
2
All measures were in centimeters (cm).
Male participants were asked a number of additional questions: (a)
the extent to which he would like a longer and thicker penis, the
extent to which he thought women would prefer a penis longer and
thicker than his, and how comfortable he felt about other men and
women seeing his penis (all items rated on a 7-point scale from 1
[not at all]to7[very much]); (b) to what extent he believed that
penis size can be altered by diet, drugs, or exercise (not at all/
somewhat/very much); (c) whether he used e-mail and, if so, the
percentage of spam mail received in the preceding 2 weeks that
was related to penis size or sexual performance; (d) whether he
engaged in testicular self-examination and whether he had ever
consulted a medical practitioner regarding penis size or sexual
function. Female participants completed only (b) and (c).
Results
Discrepancy Score: Erect Penis Length
A number of discrepancy scores
3
were computed for each male
participant, with a negative discrepancy score indicating the re-
spondent considered his current state to be less than ideal:
Current size versus perceived ideal size
Current size versus perceived average size
Current size versus size thought own sex considered ideal
Current size versus size thought other sex considered ideal
Except for current versus average length, mean discrepancy
scores were negative. Indeed, for the current-ideal discrepancy,
only two participants had a positive discrepancy score and 17 had
a zero discrepancy. Single-sample ttests comparing discrepancy
scores to zero (no dissatisfaction) revealed significant levels (p
.05) of dissatisfaction for the current-ideal (M⫽⫺2.05; SD
2.25), current-ideal other men (M⫽⫺2.23; SD 3.19), and
current-ideal women (M⫽⫺1.63; SD 3.37) discrepancy score,
but not for the current-average score (M.59; SD 3.20).
Table 1 shows the estimates of penis length provided by both
men and women. Male estimates of their own and the average
length are consistent with population norms, whereas women
slightly underestimated length (Wylie & Eardley, 2007). Male
ideals were greater than population norms, and significantly higher
than those of female participants, which were similar to population
norms, F(1, 133) 25.16, p.0001, ŋ
2
.159; Ms18.47
versus 15.47. For average length, there was no significant sex
difference.
For estimates of ideal length a 2 (participant sex) 2 (target
sex) ANOVA revealed a main effect of participant sex,
F(1, 132) 36.86, p.0001, ŋ
2
.218, and a significant
participant Sex Target Sex interaction, F(1, 132) 11.73, p
.001, ŋ
2
.082. Post hoc tests (Tukey, p.05) showed no
difference in the estimates of male ideal length by male and female
participants (Ms18.62 vs. 17.96), but that male estimates of
female ideal length were significantly larger than those made by
1
One hundred ninety-seven (96 female) participants partially completed
the whole survey. Partial completion of the survey results in differences in
the degrees of freedom in the reported analyses, but there were no sys-
tematic patterns in the unanswered questions across participants and these
were treated as missing values. Fifteen respondents who identified as
bisexual or homosexual were omitted due to low numbers and differences
in body image between heterosexual and homosexual men (Drummond &
Filiault, 2007).
2
Participants were also asked similar questions regarding height,
weight, and muscularity. Full details of these measures and the findings can
be obtained from the first author.
3
All four measures (penis length and circumference in a flaccid and
erect state) showed the same pattern of findings. Accordingly, details are
only provided for erect penis length. Full details of the other measures can
be obtained from the first author.
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226 JOHNSTON, MCLELLAN, AND MCKINLAY
female participants (Ms18.01 vs. 15.78). There was no differ-
ence in the estimates by male participants of male and female ideal
length, but for women, the estimate for male ideal length was
significantly higher than that for female ideal length.
Mean ratings of the extent to which men would like a longer
penis, indicating that they would like a longer penis (M4.47)
and believed that women would like them to have a longer penis
(M4.58). There was a significant correlation between own
current-ideal discrepancy score and ratings of preference for a
longer penis, r(61) .581, p.0001.
Penis Enlargement
Less than half of the participants believed that penis length
could not be altered by diet, exercise, or drugs (44% of male and
45% of female participants). A large proportion believed that there
was a possibility of such alteration in size (49% male; 44%
female), with a small percentage being sure that such alteration in
size was possible (7% male; 11% female). Those men who be-
lieved that penis enlargement was possible were, however, no
more or less likely to be dissatisfied with their own penis length.
Comfort With Others Seeing Penis
Mean ratings indicated a moderate level of comfort, but with
significantly higher comfort ratings for women than other men
seeing their penis, F(1, 61) 79.73, p.0001, ŋ
2
.567; Ms
4.98 versus 2.73. There were significant negative correlations
between comfort with other men seeing one’s penis and current-
ideal discrepancy, r(61) ⫽⫺.257, p.001; desire for a longer
penis, r(66) ⫽⫺.482, p.0001; and belief that women desire a
longer penis, r(66) ⫽⫺.316, p.01. There was similarly a
negative correlation between comfort with women seeing their
penis and desire for a longer penis, r(66) ⫽⫺.471, p.0001, and
with belief that women desire a longer penis, r(66) ⫽⫺.394, p
.001.
Spam E-Mails
The mean estimate of the percentage of spam e-mail that was
related to penis size and/or sexual function was 25.07% (range 0 to
85%). There were no significant correlations between the percent-
age of spam e-mail and either ideal penis length, discrepancy
scores, or comfort with others seeing one’s penis.
Testicular Self-Examination and Medical Consultation
Of the 65 men who answered the question, only 22 (34%)
reported engaging in testicular self-examination. There were no
significant differences in the penis discrepancy scores or comfort
scores between those participants who did and did not engage in
testicular self-examination. Of the 62 male participants who an-
swered the question, only 10 (16%) indicated that they had con-
sulted a medical practitioner regarding penis size or sexual func-
tion. Those who had consulted a medical practitioner were more
comfortable with other men or women seeing their penis than
those who had not consulted a medical practitioner, F(1, 60)
4.02, p.05, ŋ
2
.045, Ms3.70 versus 2.54, and F(1, 60)
4.52, p.05, ŋ
2
.070, Ms5.90 versus 4.81. There was also
a marginally significantly higher current-ideal discrepancy score
than those who had not, F(1, 60) 2.82, p.10, ŋ
2
.063.
Discussion
Our data indicate that men experience significant levels of
dissatisfaction related to penis size. Despite men seeing themselves
to be of average size, and their estimates of average size being
consistent with population norms (Wylie & Eardley, 2007), their
ideal size was larger. Men also believed that both other men, and
women, would prefer a penis longer than their own. Female
participants, however, indicated that they did not consider a larger
than average penis to be desirable; their ideal lengths were com-
parable with population norms. Women were, however, aware that
men desired a longer penis. This discrepancy between women’s’
desires and men’s perceptions of female desires is consistent with
past research on perceptions of male muscularity (Pope et al.,
2000) and may contribute to tension or discomfort in intimate
relationships (e.g., Lever et al., 2006). Anxiety over penis size
may, in part, be reduced by a greater awareness of female satis-
faction with average penis size and, accordingly, a reduction in the
association between penis size and cultural conceptualization of
manhood and muscularity (e.g., Pleck, 1995).
Of concern is the potential impact of this dissatisfaction on
behavior (Ackard et al., 2000;Faith & Schare, 1993). Somewhat
surprisingly, given the highly educated nature of the sample, over
half of the participants believed that there was at least some
possibility that penis length could be altered by diet, exercise, or
drugs. There has been a large increase in men with normal penis
length seeking cosmetic procedures to enlarge penis size (Mon-
daini et al., 2002), and the finding that discrepancy scores were
related to comfort with others seeing one’s penis may have neg-
ative implications for the development of social and sexual rela-
tionships (Lever et al., 2006), and for engagement with medical
practitioners. Only a small proportion of male participants in the
present study indicated that they engaged in testicular self-
examination or had consulted a medical practitioner regarding
penis size or sexual function.
4
It is important to encourage self-
examination and, when appropriate, medical consultation, and
hence to ensure that lack of comfort with others seeing one’s penis
is not an inhibitory factor—in the present study, those who had
consulted a medical practitioner had significantly higher comfort
levels with others seeing their penis than those who had not.
Our findings add to a growing body of research indicating the
importance of attention being paid to body dissatisfaction among
young men. This is especially important in a context in which there
4
It is acknowledged that the number of young men needing medical
consultation is low.
Table 1
Mean Estimates of Ideal Penis Length
Erect length (cm)
Male
participants
Female
participants
Perceived ideal length 18.47 15.47
Perceived average length 15.79 13.46
Perceived ideal by men 18.62 17.96
Perceived ideal by women 18.01 15.78
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227
MALE SATISFACTION WITH PENIS SIZE
is increased exposure to messages (e.g., spam e-mail) encouraging
penis enlargement to increase relationship and sexual success.
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228 JOHNSTON, MCLELLAN, AND MCKINLAY
... 7 Johnston, et al. found that men who were significantly dissatisfied with the size of their penis still wanted to enlarge their penis even though they had a normal penile measurement. 11,13 Besides, Lever, et al. found that 45% of heterosexual men wanted a bigger penile size. 5 A study found that shorter penile length in men who are concerned about their penile size compared to men who are not worried. ...
... 7,15 While watching sexual content, men tend to compare their penile size with those of pornographic actors, which then makes them feel like they have a small penile size. 13,16 Studies found that 36%-41% of teenage boys start worrying about their penile size after watching pornography. 7,17 There is a relation between dissatisfaction with penile size and exposure to pornography. ...
... 18,19,20 Men's misconceptions about women's preference for penis size can also be caused by pornography, which displays women's exaggerated positive responses to the enormous penile size. 13 The increasing number of pornographic images with very large penises accompanied by the emergence of advertisements for penile enlargement tools or clinics will make this concern more and more in the future. 1,7 ...
Article
Full-text available
The dissatisfaction of men due to their penile size is found in a number of studies. Concerns can be focused on the penile length or width or even both, whether erect or flaccid. Men who are worried about the penile size also want to increase the size of the penis. Concerns about men’s penile size are also increasing because they think normal penile size is what is shown in pornography. These worries can affect self-esteem, sexual function, and satisfaction, to physical and mental health. Small penis anxiety is an anxiety that arises when a man observes his flaccid penile size and feels concerned that his penile size is less than the normal size. In addition, this concern persists even though it has been refuted by clinical examination. Penile dysmorphic disorder is excessive self-concern, distress, and a preoccupation with trivial or even non-existent deficiencies in penile size and shape that can lead to impaired function. Until now, there have not been effective guidelines for managing patients with complaints of penile size. Some of the treatments that can be conducted are psychosexual counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, penile traction devices, and invasive procedures. Various modalities of therapy have been tried to overcome excessive concern about penile size. Yet, so far, no good results have been obtained. Thus, clear and effective guidelines are needed to make treatment can be carried out properly.
... Men and women also have specific concerns with sexually-dimorphic aspects of their bodies that could impact sexuality-related body image that should be measured. For example, many women are concerned with the size or shape of their breasts (Forbes & Frederick, 2008;Frederick, Peplau, & Lever, 2008) and genitals (Amos & McCabe, 2016), and many men are concerned with their penis size (Johnston, McLellan, & McKinlay, 2014;. People who are dissatisfied with their genitals tend to report lower sexual satisfaction (see Gillen & Markey, 2018). ...
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Body image is a critical component of an individual’s sexual experiences. This makes it critical to identify demographic and sociocultural correlates of sexuality-related body image: the subjective feelings, cognitions, and evaluations related to one’s body in the context of sexual experience. We examined how sexuality-related body image differed by gender, sexual orientation, race, age, and BMI. Four items assessing sexuality-related body image were completed by 11,620 U.S. adults: self-perceived sex appeal of their body, nude appearance satisfaction, and the extent to which they believed that body image positively or negatively affected their sexual enjoyment and feelings of sexual acceptability as a partner. Men reported slightly less nude appearance dissatisfaction and fewer negative effects of body image on sexual enjoyment and sexual acceptability than women, but did not differ in reported sex appeal. Poorer sexuality-related body image was reported by people with higher BMIs, not in relationships, who had sex less frequently, among White compared to Black women and men, and among gay compared to heterosexual men. Data also revealed a subgroup of respondents who reported that their body image had a positive impact on their sex lives. The findings highlight a need for interventions addressing sexuality-related body image.
... Why do people become dissatisfied with the appearance of their genitals? There is evidence showing that men with severe genital dissatisfaction may have smaller penises than controls (Veale, Miles, Read, Troglia, Carmona, et al., 2015), but most of the evidence suggests that both men and women may be dissatisfied despite having perfectly normal genitals (Davis et al., 2013;Gaither et al., 2017;Johnston et al., 2014;Lykkebo et al., 2017;Mondaini et al., 2002;Söylemez et al., 2012). One commonly suggested hypothesis is that increased consumption of pornography, or sexually explicit material (SEM), is associated with an increased genital dissatisfaction (Cranney, 2015). ...
Preprint
This cross-sectional study investigated the distribution and characteristics of genial self-image in a large sample of males and females, and whether factors such as actual genial size (length of penis or protrusion of labia minora), consumption of sexually explicit material (SEM) or avoidance and safety seeking behaviors were associated with genital self-image. Overall, 3.6% of females and 5.5% of males suffered from a severely low genital self-image and 33.8% of all individuals reported dissatisfaction with the appearance of their genitalia, with 13.7% of females and 11.3% of males being positive towards undergoing cosmetic genital surgery. Mean protrusion of labia minora and stretched flaccid penis length in the population was estimated to 0.76 cm (95% CI 0.63-0.89 cm) and 12.5 cm (95% CI 12.33-12.76 cm), respectively. A better genital self-image was associated with having a larger penis or less protruding labia minora, but not associated with the degree of SEM consumption, although 93.6% of males and 57.5% of females had consumed SEM in the past three months. Avoidance and safety seeking behaviors were strongly correlated with a negative genital self-image. Considering this relationship, more research is warranted in the development of potential psychological interventions in order to alleviate genital dissatisfaction in individuals.
... Concerns of men about the size of their penis are a wellknown phenomenon and as treating doctors, we see many men seeking help in this matter. 1,2 In the majority of the cases, such concerns are driven by the perceptions that the men have about the preferences of the women regarding the size of the penis. 3 Such concerns are reinforced by the cultural influences, wherein the male genital represents manhood in some cultures and it represents masculinity, virility, and fertility in some other cultures. ...
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Background Many men express concerns about their penile size, with respect to its role in sexual satisfaction of their female partners. The evidence to the contrary exists in the Western literature. However, similar evidence is lacking in a conservative society like India. Aim This study aimed to evaluate the perception of Indian women about the size of the penis of their male partners with respect to sexual satisfaction. Methodology A questionnaire-based study was carried out using a 20-item questionnaire in a sample of 230 sexually active Indian women, who answered the questionnaire either using pen and paper or using social media platform such as WhatsApp. Both the univariate and multivariate regression analysis was done using GraphPad software (©2020 GraphPad Software, Inc, California, USA). A P value less than .05 was considered statistically significant. Results The study was conducted from January 2015 to December 2020. As per the accrued opinion of the women who participated in the study, there was no statistically significant correlation between the size of the penis and the sexual satisfaction. Conclusion There is hardly any literature on the perception of women from a conservative society like India about the size of the penis of their partners in relation to the sexual satisfaction. Hence, the data from this study, which is the first of its kind form the Indian subcontinent, can be the basis to allay fears of men expressing their concerns about the size of their penis in this part of the world.
... All rights reserved Men may worry or be ashamed about the length or girth of their penis. Surveys have found that many men desire a larger penis (1)(2)(3). Of particular interest is that men seem to be concerned about the size more than their female sexual partners do. ...
Article
Objectives: To investigate a novel methodology and explore whether artificially reducing the depth of penetration during intercourse mattered to women. Design: A single case experimental design ("n of 1") in which a heterosexual couple act as their own control and the study is then replicated in subsequent couples. Participants: Thirty-five couples were assessed for eligibility. Twenty-nine couples without any sexual problems were randomised and 12 submitted sufficient data to analyse. Interventions: As a proxy for reducing penis length, we artificially reduced the depth of penetration by using different sizes of silicon rings around the base of the man's erect penis. Main outcome measures were provided by the female partner on a scale of 0-100: degree of (a) overall sexual pleasure; (b) sexual pleasure from intercourse alone and (c) emotional connection to her partner. She was also asked before the experiment began to rate the degree of positive or negative change that would be personally meaningful for her. Results: On average reducing the depth of penetration made a statistically significant 18% reduction of overall sexual pleasure with an average 15% reduction in length of the penis. The longer the erect penis, the less likely the rings had an impact on sexual pleasure. There was however a range of individual responses with a minority of women reporting that reducing the depth of penetration was more pleasurable on some occasions. Conclusions: Size may matter in women in a healthy stable relationship when there is penile shortening. Because of the small number of couples and men with an apparently long penises, our results are preliminary, and we welcome replication in a larger sample with a more diverse range of penile lengths. Our results should not be misinterpreted as meaning that increasing penile length will increase sexual pleasure in women.
... We first generated a list of search terms that might be disproportionately popular among men high in PM (Table 6). 7 This search set was identified based on our reading of the masculinities literature, which shows that the prevailing masculinity in the United States is associated with strength and muscularity, sexual prowess, virility, youth, and health (Chapple & Ziebland, 2002;Hunt et al., 2013;Johnston et al., 2014;Kimmel, 2006;O'Brien et al., 2007). Indeed, seeming to fall short in these areas can threaten American men's sense of masculinity (Courtenay, 2000;Fergus et al., 2002;Frederick et al., 2017;Loe, 2001;R. ...
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Precarious manhood theory posits that males are expected to actively maintain their reputations as “real men.” We propose that men’s concern about failing to meet masculine standards leads them to embrace policies and politicians that signal strength and toughness—or what we term political aggression. Three correlational studies support this claim. In Study 1, men’s fear of failing to meet masculine expectations predicted their support for aggressive policies (e.g., the death penalty), but not policies lacking aggressive features (e.g., affirmative action). Studies 2 and 3 utilized Google searches to assess the relationship between regional levels of precarious manhood and real-world electoral behavior. The use of search terms related to masculine anxieties correlated with Donald Trump’s vote share in the 2016 general election (Study 2) and, confirming preregistered predictions, with Republican candidates’ vote shares in 2018 congressional elections (Study 3). We close by discussing potential sources of variation in precarious manhood.
... We first generated a list of search terms that might be disproportionately popular among men high in PM (Table 6). 7 This search set was identified based on our reading of the masculinities literature, which shows that the prevailing masculinity in the United States is associated with strength and muscularity, sexual prowess, virility, youth, and health (Chapple & Ziebland, 2002;Hunt et al., 2013;Johnston et al., 2014;Kimmel, 2006;O'Brien et al., 2007). Indeed, seeming to fall short in these areas can threaten American men's sense of masculinity (Courtenay, 2000;Fergus et al., 2002;Frederick et al., 2017;Loe, 2001;R. ...
Preprint
Precarious manhood theory posits that males are expected to actively maintain their reputations as “real men.” We propose that men’s fear of failing to meet masculine standards leads them to embrace aggressive politics—specifically, policies and politicians that facilitate dominance over others. Three correlational studies support this claim. In Study 1, men’s fear of failing to meet masculine expectations predicted their support for aggressive policies (e.g., the death penalty), but not policies unrelated to aggression (e.g., affirmative action). Studies 2 and 3 utilized Google searches to assess the relationship between regional levels of precarious manhood and real-world electoral behavior. Consistent with preregistered predictions, the use of search terms related to masculine anxieties correlated with Donald Trump’s vote share in the 2016 general election (Study 2) and Republican candidates’ vote shares in 2018 congressional elections (Study 3). We close by discussing potential sources of variation in precarious manhood.
Article
Background Dissatisfaction with the appearance and size of one's genitalia is a common issue, and the use of cosmetic genital surgery is increasing among people with normal genitalia. Aim This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the distribution of genital self-image in a large sample of males and females, and whether selected factors could predict genital self-image. Methods Three thousand five hundred three anonymous participants completed online questionnaires. Multiple linear regressions were used to identify the association between genital self-image and genital size (length of penis or protrusion of labia minora), consumption of sexually explicit material (SEM), sexual activity, avoidance and safety seeking behaviors, openness toward genital cosmetic surgery and age. Outcomes Total scores on the Female and Male Genital Self Image Scale were used as the main outcome measures. Results Overall, 3.6% of females and 5.5% of males had a severely low genital self-image (defined as 2 SD below the mean) and 33.8% of all individuals reported dissatisfaction with the appearance of their genitalia, with 13.7% of females and 11.3% of males considering undergoing cosmetic genital surgery. Mean protrusion of labia minora and stretched flaccid penis length in the population was estimated to 0.76 cm (95% CI 0.63–0.89 cm) and 12.5 cm (95% CI 12.33–12.76 cm), respectively. A higher genital self-image score was predicted by having a larger penis or less protruding labia minora, but not by the degree of SEM consumption, although 93.6% of males and 57.5% of females had consumed SEM in the past three months. The degree of avoidance and safety seeking behaviors, sexual activity, and openness toward genital cosmetic surgery predicted a low genital self-image. Being older was associated with a better genital self-image in females. Clinical Implications The results show that a psychological intervention may be needed as an alternative to cosmetic genital surgery for people who are dissatisfied with the appearance of their genitals. Strengths and Limitations This is one of few available studies investigating the association between actual genital size and genital dissatisfaction. The vast sample size and high response rate are also strengths. Limitations include the cross-sectional design, and possible bias in the study sample due to self-selection. Conclusion Overall, a low genital self-image and dissatisfaction with one's genitalia is relatively common and is influenced not only by genital size, but also behaviors performed to alleviate worry about one's genitals. Hustad IB, Malmqvist K, Ivanova E, et al. Does Size Matter? Genital Self-Image, Genital Size, Pornography Use and Openness Toward Cosmetic Genital Surgery in 3503 Swedish Men and Women. J Sex Med 2022;XX:XXX–XXX.
Article
Introduction: Across many cultures, penis size has been associated with virility, and concerns about penile length are commonplace. Peyronie's disease (PD) is a known acquired cause of penile shortening. Objectives: This paper describes the psychosocial impacts of penile length on men and their partners, both generally and in men with PD, and evaluates the effect of PD treatments (eg, collagenase clostridium histolyticum , surgery, mechanical therapy) on this outcome measure. Methods: A PubMed database search was performed for English language articles through July 2021. Main outcome measures were association of penile length with emotional well-being, selfesteem, and relationship satisfaction in men with PD, and change from baseline penile length after treatment. Results: Shortened penile length caused by PD can negatively impact patient and partner quality of life, including effects on body image, emotional well-being, sexual function, and interpersonal relationships. In men with PD, studies have demonstrated an association between loss of penile length and emotional problems, reduced satisfaction with sexual performance, poor self-esteem, depression, and relationship difficulties. Loss of penile length can frequently occur after surgery for PD (including plication, plaque incision/excision with grafting, and penile implant). Advanced surgical techniques may preserve/increase penile length, but the increased risks associated with these complex procedures must be carefully considered. Treatment with collagenase clostridium histolyticum does not appear to negatively impact penile length, and 5-year follow-up data suggest potential longterm posttreatment improvements in this outcome measure. Penile traction therapy, either alone or as adjunctive therapy, may increase penile length in men with PD, but nonadherence may limit improvement. Conclusion: Changes in penile length are important to many men, particularly those with PD, and should be considered during PD treatment selection. Penile length should be measured objectively before and after treatment for PD and should be included as an outcome measure in future studies on treatment effectiveness. Goldstein I, Gelbard MK, Lipshultz LI. Clinical Significance of Shortened Penile Length and Alterations in Penile Length Following Treatment for Peyronie's Disease. Sex Med Rev 2022;10:409-420.
Chapter
Male genital regenerative surgery spans from pure male genital cosmetic surgery, where penile lengthening procedures and girth enhancement procedures are the most common, to functional problems after trauma, diseases, or congenital anomalies. The male genitals symbolize masculinity, strength, courage, endurance, and sexual health and are important for masculine identity. Tissue engineering and the therapeutic use of stem cells are emerging techniques in male genital surgery, and have a good potential for penile reconstruction. In penile augmentation, lipofilling with the effects of regenerative cells and stromal vascular fraction from fat transfer treatments are the most commonly used regenerative techniques today. We present a series of 204 patients that we operated with our cosmetic penile lengthening and girth enhancement procedure. With a good selection of patients, attention to surgical technique and follow-up, the overall satisfaction was good, and the complications were low and minor.KeywordsPenile elongationGirth enhancementRegenerative cellsBiofillingFat transferNanofatStem cellRegenerative surgeryPenile lengtheningPenile augmentationFat graftStromal vascular fraction
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The media equate a man's penis size with his power and masculinity. Views about penis size were assessed in an Internet survey of 52,031 heterosexual men and women. Most men (66%) rated their penis as average, 22% as large, and 12% as small. Self-reported penis size was correlated positively with height and negatively with body fat level. Whereas 85% of women were satisfied with their partner's penis size, only 55% of men were satisfied with their penis size, 45% wanted to be larger, and 0.2% wanted to be smaller. Satisfaction did not vary across age groups from 18 to 65. Men reporting a larger-than-average penis rated their appearance most favorably, suggesting a possible confidence effect of perceived large penis size. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This paper is a pilot study that explores how the concept of genre can be applied to the massive set of digital documents known as ‘spam’. The authors studied 300 spam messages collected over 15 weeks from a university email system. Messages were coded based on content, form and specific features as well as on the manifest relationship to existing genres of communication. The paper argues that spam is not a single genre but many genres. For the most part, the genres evoked in spam are adaptations of print to Internet, including information artifacts, pamphlets, business cards, order forms, bulletins, advertisements, and "Nigerian letters". With spam, however, the concept of genre operates at several levels. Often, there is a contradiction between the manifest genre and the underlying purposes. The paper concludes that spam exploits genre by conforming to known forms while at the same time breaching those norms.
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Contemporary research regarding men’s body image has focused primarily on perceptions of muscularity and thinness, leaving aside other issues such as penis size. Despite pop cultural notions regarding the importance of penis size, and Western cultural notions more broadly regarding masculinity and the penis, little research has been done on men’s perceptions of penis size, and no work has been done on gay men’s perceptions of penis size. This article presents the results of three separate qualitative research projects conducted by the authors with openly gay men that considered body image and masculinity in the lives of gay men. Noteworthy is that all of the studies were conducted using the same methodology and data analysis procedures. This paper utilises rich descriptive text to highlight the issues surrounding gay men, penis size and constructions of masculinities. The primary aim of the paper is to provide a context within which future qualitative research can be conducted on issues relating to the penis among gay men, in addition to emphasising the importance of perceiving the penis as a legitimate body image issue which has rarely been discussed in qualitative research projects.
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Larger penis size has been equated with a symbol of power, stamina, masculinity, and social status. Yet, there has been little research among men who have sex with men assessing the association between penis size and social-sexual health. Survey data from a diverse sample of 1,065 men who have sex with men were used to explore the association between perceived penis size and a variety of psychosocial outcomes. Seven percent of men felt their penis was "below average," 53.9% "average," and 35.5% "above average." Penis size was positively related to satisfaction with size and inversely related to lying about penis size (all ps < .01). Size was unrelated to condom use, frequency of sex partners, HIV status, or recent diagnoses of HBV, HCV, gonorrhea/Chlamydia/urinary tract infections, and syphilis. Men with above average penises were more likely to report HPV and HSV-2 (Fisher's exact p <or= .05). Men with below average penises were significantly more likely to identify as "bottoms" (anal receptive) and men with above average penises were significantly more likely to identify as "tops" (anal insertive). Finally, men with below average penises fared significantly worse than other men on three measures of psychosocial adjustment. Though most men felt their penis size was average, many fell outside this "norm." The disproportionate number of viral skin-to-skin STIs (HSV-2 and HPV) suggest size may play a role in condom slippage/breakage. Further, size played a significant role in sexual positioning and psychosocial adjustment. These data highlight the need to better understand the real individual-level consequences of living in a penis-centered society.
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--New York University, 1989. Includes bibliographical references (p. 114-118). Photocopy.