Since moving to Hawai’i I’ve gotten a fair number of calls from men (cisgendered*) who are concerned about the size of their penises and worry that they are “too small.” In some cases, these men have told me that this worry has blighted, and even prevented, their pursuit of sexual relationships. This makes me feel sad. No one should suffer from body shame.
Popular culture is unfortunately a major conduit for delivering body shame. Smaller sized penises are objects of scorn and curiosity. Donald Trump’s portrait with a “micropenis” is a staple of this year’s political humor. Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and other magazines and websites routinely publish articles about men with smaller penises, and tips for dating them. When I wrote the “penis slang and invective” entry for the Cultural Encyclopedia of the Penis (Kimmel, Milrod & Kennedy), I did include a number of derogatory terms for smaller penises. And I hate to admit that I did snicker at a few, including “hung like a cashew.”
However, the anguish of the men who contact me about such matters makes me a little ashamed of this. And I wish I had more positive resources to offer them.
Large penises weren’t always the rage. Consider the modest members immortalized on classical Greek and Roman statues (and later works such as Michaelangelo’s David, above). Most writers agree that the Ancient Greeks (and Romans too) considered smaller penises to be more desirable and refined than larger ones, and of course, such statues are also quite wonderful examples of male beauty (unlike the Trump portrait mentioned above).
But none of this matters to contemporary men who must cope with the “Supersize Me” standards of pop culture and porn. Just as many women feel compelled to surgically alter their breasts and labia, many men feel desperate to measure up, and miserably anticipate rejection and ridicule based on their genitals when they think they don’t.
There isn’t that much positive information for men with smaller penises. An article called All the Good Things About Having a Small Penis was mostly sarcastic, though it did mention two real-life benefits:
- better for receiving oral sex (a smaller penis can be easier and more fun to suck).
- less reliance on penis penetration as the main (or only) way to please a partner – in other words, motivation to become a better, more versatile lover.
I would also suggest the following possible advantages:
- Some women with uterine prolapse might have less discomfort if they have sexual intercourse with a smaller penis partner.
- Anal sex may be more comfortable with a smaller penis partner.
While many articles and documentaries focus on heterosexual men, worries about penis size also affect men who are gay, bisexual, and/or queer or who simply have sex with other men. Gay men may experience “life with a small penis” as “a debilitating source of shame, anger, displeasure, and resentment” (Is Small Beautiful, Erik Piepenburg, OUT Magazine, 4/17/2005).
At least two men have made documentaries about coping with a smaller penis: Brian Spitz released UnHung Hero (trailer) in 2013, and Lawrence Barraclough released My Penis and I (entire movie) in 2005. I’ve watched both, and they’re both good.
But what I’d really like to see is a documentary that’s an all-out, sex-positive celebration of the possibilities and advantages of the smaller penis, something that includes classical statues AND rave reviews from lovers.
Suggestions for men with smaller penises: if you haven’t already done so, please consider exploring:
- tantra or Healing Tao practices to ramp up your sexual/spiritual energy and connection with your partners;
- erotic massage;
- erotic hypnosis;
- any kinky interests you might have;
- the wide world of sex toys, for your own pleasure as well as your partner’s;
- and any other erotic interests that seem fun (e.g. aphrodisiac cooking, cosplay, etc.)
For partners, I’d like to suggest enthusiasm, tact, and even erotic worship of your partner’s penis – as well as the above. Yep, that’s right! Become a phallus whisperer and tell that penis how wonderful it is. You can even incorporate this into an erotic hypnosis session! Such words of affirmation and appreciation could become a gift of sexual healing, as well as a creative exercise in pillow talk.
I’m also launching the #SmallisSexy hashtag as a sexological crusade to promote acceptance and end the shaming of people with smaller cocks. The men who have called me, and others like them, deserve more chances at love and sexual pleasure than they’ve gotten and I frankly just can’t stand the fear and sorrow they are living with. It’s so unnecessary. So wrong.
Here are just a few articles and resources. I’d love to find more. If you know of any, please do send in the comments section!
Measurection.com is a helpful site for people discussing smaller penises.
The Condom Review offers 6+ Best Condom Options for Small Penises: Slimmer Fit Condoms for Better Sex.
Small Penis Sex: How to Make It Work, Adriana, Bad Girl’s Bible, 2/24/2014.
Eight Positions to Enhance Sex When He Has a Small Penis, Sujiery Gonzalez, Latina, 9/12/2015.
So Why Do Ancient Sculptures Have Such Small Penises, Ashley Uzer, Galore, May 17, 2015.
Why Do Classical Sculptures Have Such Small Penises? Kalli Holloway, Alternet, May 14, 2016.
Why Do Greek Statues Have Such Small Penises?, Olivia Goldhill, Quartz, May 21, 2016.
Prolapse and Sex – Facts and Tips Women Want to Know, Michelle Kenway, Pelvic Exercises, April 9, 2011.
*Cisgendered: When gender assigned at birth is congruent with an individual’s gender identity.
(FYI – Matters concerning trans and intersex genitals will be the focus of a future blog or two or three.)