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Penis Size - Small Penis Syndrome

Penile size and the "small penis syndrome"

Based upon Kevan R. Wylie, Ian Eardley (2007) Penile size and the "small penis syndrome"  BJU International 99 (6) , 14491455 doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2007.06806.x Any mistakes of interpretation or fact are solely the responsibility of the present author.

The penis, as we all know, is a powerful symbol of maleness and masculinity. What it means to you will be partly a personal interpretation of your own experience and partly a product of the culture you lived in as you grew up, but common "penile" meanings include power, strength, dominance over other men or women, possession of women, sexually or otherwise, and perhaps a symbol of the act of love.

Certainly the power of a large penis - symbolic or otherwise -  is summed up in the strange practices which have grown up around it over the years: Indian Sadhus have used weights to enlarge it, Dayak men in Borneo have a habit of piercing the glans and then placing stones and what-not in the holes so as to stimulate their partner during sex, and the Topinama of Brazil have the interesting habit of getting poisonous snakes to bite their penis so that it will enlarge - albeit only for a period of six months. Such practices are hundreds - if not thousands - of years old; there is evidence from many ancient civilizations as well as many modern ones that a large penis has always been valued for both its symbolic and its actual power.

Even the Kama Sutra speaks of how to enlarge the penis, so we should hardly find it surprising that so many modern men seem to value the attribute of size above all else. The penis becomes, in this way of thinking, just another aspect of hegemonic masculinity, which is a perfidious thing that encompasses physical strength, authority over women and other men, a lack of emotional display (especially those such as such as remorse, pity and self-doubt), economic independence, and an ability to conquer, both sexually and territorially.

Modern society fundamentally supports this type of masculinity - a far cry from the mature masculine written about by authors such as Robert Moore and Robert Bly.

We are all brought up in a culture where penile size seems to be valued as the ultimate symbol of masculinity, and this issues relates both to the size of the erect penis and the size of the flaccid penis. Such concerns play upon the vulnerable, and can lead to extreme attempts to change the size of the penis - a modern version, perhaps, of the techniques mentioned above in less "civilized" societies.

The state of mind of men who do this may be seen as a form of body dysmorphic disorder, perhaps, and this has led to a review of the condition, in order to put forward strategies for treatment and management of the men concerned. But let me quite clear about this: we are referring to a specific condition called "small penis syndrome", which is a problem for men who actually have a normal-sized penis but who develop high levels of anxiety about its size, not to men who in fact do have a genuinely small penis - a state of affairs known as micropenis.

Facts are hard to come by when it comes to penis size. We rely so much in this area on subjective viewpoints that you must forgive me if you feel that what I say is not backed up by facts.

However, it is probably a fair assessment to say that men who are better endowed than average (that is to say, they have a larger penis, both in length and girth or circumference) do indeed have a better sense of themselves, a better body image, a more positive genital image and maybe even a sense of greater sexual confidence than those whose penis is near or below average in size.

The interesting thing is that this is not necessarily a viewpoint shared by women, who much prefer a wider penis to a longer one.

 In any event, women are certainly drawn to a man by qualities such as humor and personality rather than by things such as penis size, even if that is superficially arousing to them, and indeed a subject of curiosity. (Just as small vagina size, such as you might find with a small petite Asian woman, is equally attractive to some men, who just wish to see what this feels like during intercourse.)

Small penis syndrome is basically an anxiety-based condition in which a man thinks that  his flaccid - and, I would add, his erect - penis length and/or circumference are below average for an adult man, even if he has been assured this is not during a clinical examination. Obviously, since this is anxiety based, the man may be obsessively thinking about his penis, or he may have a body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or he may have some kind of psychotic condition where his belief system is dysfunctional.

The mental and emotional distress and impairment of behavior that is associated with this condition is - or can be - much greater than than the size and nature of the penile defect which the man senses within himself. Indeed, the key here is that the issue of penile size is often not even overtly acknowledged.

Dysmorphophobia, or body dysmorphic disorder, has been described for more than a century; it is a psychiatric condition, known as BDD; it takes the form of fixation on an imaginary flaw in a person's physical appearance; it can lead to depression and even suicide; make no mistake - it seriously disrupts a person's life. People with BDD will also hold to the belief that some change in their perceived body defect will be necessary before they can be happy.....a state of affairs, which contrasts strongly with how most men feel about their bodies: the average man is actually quite happy with his body in general, and his penis in particular.

Apparently, most men (well, two thirds) think their penis is average, while only one in five thinks of it as large and only one in ten (roughly) thinks of it as small, at least according to an internet-based survey of over 50,000 heterosexual men and women (what were the women doing? Speaking for their men?). Interestingly, when men describe their own penis size, there is a positive correlation with height and a negative correlation with body fat level. This may relate to the fact that the fat on the abdomen can hide the base of the penile shaft and make it appear shorter than it actually is.

Continued here.