Let’s Talk About Penises, Shall We?

 Carlo Alcos is tired of not being comfortable in his own skin, and wants us all to not be ashamed of our body parts.

[Preface: I will not be apologetic for what I am about to write, regardless of how uncomfortable it may make you feel, particularly those who know me personally. This is not about you. This is about me and about anyone who feels the same way as me. I am doing this for two reasons. They are:

1. I am tired of not being comfortable in my own skin. Our culture has taught me that I need to be like this and be like that in order to be liked, loved, desired, respected.

2. I want everyone, men and women alike, to not feel ashamed about any part of their body. We all deserve that. I am willing to take a little heat, willing to make people uncomfortable, if this helps to achieve that.]

Originally posted on Confronting Love.

I have a new hero. His name is Lawrence Barraclough. You’ve probably never heard of him, but he has a very small penis. He’s not my hero because he has a small penis. He’s my hero because he accepts his body and because he’s brave enough to come out and talk about it. You could say he has huge balls.

Recently, while laying in bed with my partner, I brought something up that I’ve never brought up with anyone else in my life. I explained to her the insecurities I’ve dealt with because of my own perceptions of my penis. The reason I felt I could do this is because she has been the only one who I’ve felt 100% comfortable being naked around. She makes it clear to me that she loves every inch of my body, which in turn makes me more accepting of it.

A few nights later we watched the documentary “My Penis and Everyone Else’s” by Lawrence Barraclough (at the bottom of this post). She’d seen it before but thought it was important for me to watch it. It was. We spend a lot of time and energy keeping parts of our bodies hidden from the public. You’ll see someone violently murdering or raping another person regularly on TV and in movies. You’ll rarely see a penis. What message does this send? Why are we made to feel ashamed of what is completely, 100%, natural? How much of a variety of penises and vaginas have you seen in your life?

I’m not convinced that women know how insecure it makes men when all we hear is “size matters.” What’s not taken into account, though, is how two people fit together. This blanket statement is generally perceived to mean “the bigger the better.”

Possibly the loudest voice to this notion is the pornography industry. Porn represents a massively skewed vision of what bodies are (and what many people believe they’re “supposed to be”). For example, there’s an idea of a “perfect” vagina; it’s common for women of porn to have cosmetic surgery called labiaplasty to conform to this. And in no way do the men of porn represent the average male. That’s exactly why they’re picked (not to mention the surgical options available for penis enlargement).

So how is it that anyone can look at this industry to set the standard of what is beautiful? If you knew the true diversity of genitals out there, might you feel better about your own set, knowing that, as a human being, you’re just normal? That you’re unique, and this is the way it’s supposed to be?

The media (surprise, surprise) perpetuates this as well by choosing to show clips of female characters comparing their boyfriends’ genitals or ridiculing men who are less than well-endowed. The word is out there: Bigger is better. And it’s all men hear. All. The. Time. This is then hammered home within our social circles, because everyone else is informed by mass media as well. It’s a pretty vicious cycle.

I’ve lived with this insecurity my whole life, and I’m pretty fucking tired of it. On the one side, I’ve been insecure with women because I’ve been scared of what they would think when it came to business time. I’ve been insecure with men — showering at the gym, using a public urinal — because of the competitiveness factor. This insecurity is a hole that bores deep down into self-esteem, potentially affecting relationships and, in general, has been a barrier to loving myself for who and what I am.

I’ve never measured my penis. Truthfully, I’ve been too scared to do it. I’ve never wanted to know, scared to confirm that yes, indeed, I am short of average. I’ve come to partial peace with this due to the fact that, at 5’6”, I’m also under average height. It’s all relative, isn’t it? But that’s actually besides the point. It’s just a story I’ve told myself to feel better. In reality, it doesn’t even matter. We have what we are born with. Period.

This discussion needs to be had. As a culture we need to learn to celebrate what we’ve been given and not want anything else. Part of that is going to include changing what we see in the mainstream. Let’s see vaginas and penises on the television and in movies. And not just “perfect” ones. All sorts of different ones, because each one is unique and unlike any other, and all are beautiful. As a part of nature, how can they not be?

Let’s choose to feel better about our bodies. Let’s learn to accept them for what they are. The root of the issue is in the mind, not in the physical body. If you had a beater of a car that barely chugged along, would you get a paint job to feel better about it? Or would you rather fix what’s under the hood so that it ran reliably?

My Penis and Everyone Else’s from Lawrence Barraclough on Vimeo.

Feature photo: Richard Carter

More posts about “Our Sexual Vocabulary” here.

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About Carlo Alcos

Carlo is a Managing Editor at Matador and co-founder of Confronting Love, a forum that explores the evolution of relationships. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    Vulva, not vagina. Great article.

  2. I find it weird that men are generally given the message to not like any part of their body. And women are told to like thair bodies IF they can fit into a size “0” dress while also filling out a D-cup. We all know that people in magasines and on TV don’t look like that in real life, so why can’t we all agree to move past that?

    With regards to penises specifically, they do seem to be only painted as ‘dirty’ or ‘nasty.’ It doesn’t really make sense that with so many men directing the media, we are still getting this message. (That comment is not intended to imply that only men direct the media.)

  3. “So how is it that anyone can look at this industry to set the standard of what is beautiful?”

    I don’t understand. Who does this?

    Also, that’s the most aesthetic tuft of pubic hair ever…

    • What’s not to understand? I think you understand, you just don’t agree. It’s my opinion that many people do this. This is a big reason for the perpetuation of penis envy, especially when it’s essentially the only place you’ll see penises. What’s even more harmful these days is the accessibility of porn and the exposure of it to younger and younger audiences who don’t have critical thinking skills.

  4. I’m not convinced that women know how insecure it makes men when all we hear is “size matters.”
    I’m not convinced that even the ones that claim that “its not all about size” know how insecure we can be about it. Take that stick woman in the drawing. Is she asking to move on because she wants men to know that size doesn’t matter or does she just want men to shut up about it. And I think there is a difference.

    Take a look at the body insecurities that harm women like breast size and the way their labia look. If someone made a stick drawing of a guy saying something to the equivalent of that that stick woman is saying would women take it as affirmation that its not all about having the right sized/shaped assets and then move on “as a culture”? I doubt it because one stick drawing doesn’t negate all the constant confirmation that it is about having the right sized/shaped assets.

    Same thing here. That stick woman isn’t doing much against all the penis jokes, porn, women’s opinions, and everything else at work that says its not as simple as declaring one size and moving on.

    Donna:
    With regards to penises specifically, they do seem to be only painted as ‘dirty’ or ‘nasty.’ It doesn’t really make sense that with so many men directing the media, we are still getting this message. (That comment is not intended to imply that only men direct the media.)
    It makes perfect sense. That message feeds into the shame that men have about our bodies and it feeds into the enjoyment women get out of seeing men writhe in shame about our bodies. The reason it may not make sense is that people leap from “with so many men directing the media” to “media is all about men and giving men what they want” to “the men that direct media are concerned about men and not their wallets”.

    Its in a similar vein as “Why would NOW advocate against shared parenting? Wouldn’t increasing dad’s parenting/custody time with the kids mean that mom is not being burdened to do it alone?”

    The same reason anyone of any groups suppresses or shames their own. They are getting some sort of profit or gain from it.

    • I haven’t ever seen a woman get enjoyment “out of seeing men writhe in shame about our bodies.” Any woman who gets too caught up in media protrayals of women is too busy writhing in shame about their own bodies to enjoy seeing someone else doing the same. There are probably the same number of women who could actually enjoy that as there are men who could enjoy seeing the women writhe. BOTH sexes are not being fairly or accurately represented.

      I’ll agree that it makes sense for the media to generally make everyone ashamed about some random body part so that they can then say “We’ve got the solution to your shame, buy our product for $$$.” Advertising for personal care products seems to be a wholly negative endeavour, and I don’t understand why more people don’t ignore these messages or call them out as garbage representations.

      The leap I was making was more “men direct the media” to “men want to be seen in a positive light” to “men should be unlikely to portray other men in a negative way.” Even if it’s about competition, do men really want to win to someone who’s been cut down already? I never thought so.

      • My preference is that this discussion does not enter into a gender war, as happens quite often on GMP. This is not about men vs. women (for the record, I’m way over this gender thing…we’re all human beings). The topic here is about penis size and body image and how we deal with it.

        I do agree with the points about the media…in fact our whole consumeristic culture. After all, it breeds on fear. Fear is what drives the sale of products that no one needs. I don’t think it matters who is driving the media machine, men or women…the system is set up to maximize profits, so they’ll do whatever it takes to that end…supporting each other (men or women) doesn’t play well into that, so, yeah, it makes perfect sense, as Danny said.

        • Fair enough Carlos. It’s easy to get defensive about blanket statements made based on sex, but that’s not what you wrote about. I think that both docs Lawrence made could have talked a bit more about how our growing acceptance of the commodification of sex through porn has distorted society’s view of what a “normal” penis is. (I know he touched on it briefly in the first one.) It has contributed to growing dissatisfaction and unrealistic expectations more than people want to realise. It’s curious though, that Ron Jeremy said once that he didn’t really get famous until he was fat, (which is outside the media standard for attractiveness of course). He went on to say that being outside of that narrow definition meant that regular guys could relate to him or not feel bad about themselves while watching him. (I can’t remember where he said this, it was some reality show for b-list celebrities from the early 2000s I think.) But even as a fat man, Jeremy still conformed to the rest of the porn industry in terms of penis size. I wouldn’t be surprised if becoming a porn actor was the same as becoming a model, where the director will measure you at the beginning of the audition and tell you ‘you’re too fat,’ or ‘your penis is too small.’

          In other media, male nudity is usually only a comedic tool, unless the nude man has a very specific body type (bodybuilder mag type, I guess). This doesn’t reflect all the different shapes that women (or men) find attractive.

          • It’s curious though, that Ron Jeremy said once that he didn’t really get famous until he was fat, (which is outside the media standard for attractiveness of course).
            Probably because they didn’t want a guy with too many good things going for him. Conventionally attractive and a large cock? That’s just too far out there.

        • Carlo, face it , “Bigger is Better” sells and makes a lot of people a lot of money. But it’s also based partially on truth. Asking you woman if size matters is like her asking you “Does this dress make me look fat?” There’s only one answer. It might be the truth or it might not. But there’s only one answer, “Of course not”.

      • I haven’t ever seen a woman get enjoyment “out of seeing men writhe in shame about our bodies.” Any woman who gets too caught up in media protrayals of women is too busy writhing in shame about their own bodies to enjoy seeing someone else doing the same. There are probably the same number of women who could actually enjoy that as there are men who could enjoy seeing the women writhe. BOTH sexes are not being fairly or accurately represented.
        Oh you’ve never seen a woman sexually shame a guy? Lucky me and now that I’ve met you I’m considering buying lottery tickets. But I’m glad that you at least acknowledge that it happens.

        The leap I was making was more “men direct the media” to “men want to be seen in a positive light” to “men should be unlikely to portray other men in a negative way.” Even if it’s about competition, do men really want to win to someone who’s been cut down already? I never thought so.
        That’s because there is another leap that calls for those that direct the media to separate themselves from us common men. Once that separation is made its fair game to cut those “other guys” down. The difference between men with power and men without power. Sharing gender with them doesn’t mean much more than using the same bathrooms and shopping in the same clothing sections.

        • “Oh you’ve never seen a woman sexually shame a guy?” As another woman here, I have not witnessed this. However, I find it much more likely that it would happen behind closed doors :(

          Also, your comment on the media was one I made further down: there has been an uptick in objectifying men in the same manner media typically objectifies women. I’m thinking mostly of advertising, but movies and tv shows too. Those are all overwhelmingly run by men. (there has also been a noted increase in body issues among men, which I would conclude is related to this)

          I honestly think it is because they finally heard women saying 1) that they are also consumers and watch TV, movies, and commercials and 2) that (heterosexual) women enjoy sex and men. Which are true, obviously. But then I think the media decided that in order to get the women audience, they would just try the same tricks they did with men, which is just presenting sexualized, attractive people in an objectifying way.

          Blarg. It sucks. I wish we could just tell the media that we are smarter than our genitals and please present material like your audience is thinking with our brains rather than our penises/clitorises.

          • (there has also been a noted increase in body issues among men, which I would conclude is related to this)
            I wonder if the change in media led to an increase in body issues among men or did the change in media lead to an increase in reported cases of body image issues among men.

            • Ohhh, interesting. Not sure. My conclusion makes logical sense to me, but I suppose it can’t really be proved either way.

  5. When I started going with the guy who eventually became my husband he used to fret like you about penis size, which I thought was astounding since he was so talented and awesome and sexy in every way…I was shocked that he thought this one body part was so important that we should forget about the whole package…in fact, my ex before him was in fact, physically bigger, but I did not feel attracted to him or enjoyed him much at all….the fit, both emotionally and physically, was perfect between me and my future husband…

    I guess he thought maybe women want guys like Long Dong Silver from the porn movies…meanwhile, I craved a romantic guy with great hair and sexy voice like Andrew Stevens (as Phillippe Charbonneau) or a romantic musical genius like Franz Liszt (“Dare to Love”)…[yeah, I know, we girls read way too many bodice rippers!]….

    • Thanks Lela, this is exactly the point I’m trying to make here too, that it’s less about size than it is about how two people go together. Some women will prefer a large penis, some a smaller one. Just like penises can be big and small, the same is true for vaginas. And also, yes, penetration is only part of sex.

  6. Peter Houlihan says:

    I misread that for a sec: I thought 5’6″ was your penis size.

  7. Julie Gillis says:

    I too wish human beings could relax about their body parts. Our media doesn’t help, it’s true but I’m sure people throughout the ages have found ways to pick on each other. As for size? What matters is the combination of people and their parts.
    You have to learn to trust your partner’s pleasure as the truth about you and what you are bringing to them. The whole “big” thing might be important to someone who’s internal clitoris really got stimulated from PIV sex. Or who had a vagina that was built well for a large penis. But for someone else, some other size might work much better.

    I wish culture would move on too, from many things! Not entirely certain it’s gonna happen…

    • That’s why it’s so important to keep the discussion going…no one likes low self-esteem, no one likes to feel ashamed…but the one thing that keeps that going is the feeling that we’re all alone (esp. in regards to men because most men don’t talk). If word got out that we all have these same issues and we’re all normal then we wouldn’t feel so badly about ourselves and will be able to move beyond it. Thanks for your comment.

  8. It does not matter whether the cat is black or white till it catches mice. Penis is designed by nature to serve a purpose and till it fulfills its purpose, everything is alright. After all you do not have to drive nails in wall with it.

  9. One of the best things of amateur porn: I’ve seen men with smaller penii, varying body shapes n sizes have sex with women of varying shapes n sizes, and in that the women were quite pleased with what looked like was a fairly small penis even. It definitely has changed my view in letting me realize attraction isn’t so limited.

  10. Carlos, I like that you are keeping the discussion going. And that you are talking about something that I never had the experience of a man really talking to me about. I frankly probably don’t know how much insecurity is tied to men and the size of their penis or their bodies in general. Usually when I am naked with a guy, it’s the insecurities about my body that are running through my head and never thought anything negative about a guy’s, I had been with, body. Maybe if men are able to accept their own bodies, they would be more accepting of regular female bodies too and not uphold certain women to ideals of their own too.

    At the end of the day, I think both men and women want to be accepted and enjoyed for who they really are. And they want the other person to be excited by who they are. Not simply “tolerate” it.

    • Yeah it would do a lot of people on all sides good to be able to accept their own bodies, thus helping them to be more accepting of others.

      At the end of the day, I think both men and women want to be accepted and enjoyed for who they really are. And they want the other person to be excited by who they are. Not simply “tolerate” it.
      A common wish among many (if not all) people. It may sound superficial but a lot of people would do get something out of knowing that the person they are with, or something just anyone, finds them exciting. Its amazing (and scary) what people may go through over the simple fact that no on has ever, in a serious sexual situation, expressed actual sexual excitement over them.

      • Yes. As I stated in the post, the only reason I was remotely comfortable speaking of this is because of the way my partner treats me. Having that kind of support does wonders. Start with yourself, then spread that to others, you never know how someone will be affected by it.

    • “Maybe if men are able to accept their own bodies, they would be more accepting of regular female bodies too and not uphold certain women to ideals of their own too. ”
      Why does this sound like male blaming? I’d say both are at fault and need to address their insecurities, our entire society has become crazy over body image and that certain fat-free look, some men and women uphold certain ideals of what a body should be and not everyone fits that mold. I am an overweight male and believe me, it’s both genders that are pushing the body image problems and both genders suffering from it.

  11. I am forever complaining about the whole ‘penis size’ thing that men are coerced into believing. I’ve seen a number of penises in my lifetime – some big, some small – and I can tell you the size of the penis was never of utmost concern to me. I think it’s far more important to be with a loving, caring individual who is concerned about your safety, comfort, and pleasure. It really makes me terribly sad to see men worrying about penis size the way women are made to feel badly about their waist size.

    I know a lot of men don’t believe the mantra ‘size doesn’t matter’, especially with the pervasive message throughout culture that real men have large penises, but it has been my experience that size really doesn’t matter. And I’ve sampled an abundance of sizes. So, YES, please let’s all just love our bodies. Because they’re the only ones we’ve got, and loving them is one of the best things we can ever do for ourselves.

    • Thanks Jasmine. Well said. When it comes to this, men can be our own worst enemy as we try to “one up” each other, especially in youth. It’s merely posturing. I’d like to see a rule whereby if you brag about your size you have to prove it. That’d probably shut a lot of guys up. The more we can get the message about bodily self-love in front of young people the better. Imagine that world.

      • I’ve seen that too many times – men trying to demean other men by suggesting that his penis is small, as though the size of a body part is going to make someone more or less of anything. It sounds almost as absurd to me as saying that a man is less of a man if his thumb isn’t big enough, or if his earlobes are weird shapes.

        I dream of a world where the message of bodily self-love has been wholly accepted; where people are impervious to the incessant barrage of media messages that the bodies we were born with aren’t good enough, that we’re not good enough. I think that world begins with conversations like this, so thank you for opening that conversation. :)

        • I’ve seen that too many times – men trying to demean other men by suggesting that his penis is small, as though the size of a body part is going to make someone more or less of anything. It sounds almost as absurd to me as saying that a man is less of a man if his thumb isn’t big enough, or if his earlobes are weird shapes.
          The problem is that one upping that people do among themselves is reinforced by the current fact that people outside that one upping environment actually support it. Just as there are men that do go for women that one up each other (in terms of part sizes) there are women that go for men that one up each other (in terms of part sizes).

          However among such people there is a leap from, “I prefer ____ of this size.” to “If your _____ isn’t/aren’t the size I prefer then something is wrong with you.”

          It would be nice if it were as simple as “I prefer _____ of this size. If you don’t have that then we won’t be compatible.” and then going on about one’s day it would be nice but its just not that simple these days. People have a desire to act as if

  12. Doesn’t the whole obsession with longer penises sort of come from male fantasy? If most of porn is marketed towards men, then those giant penises which we see (instead of faces, which makes this heterosexual, porn-watching woman sad) are part of the sex fantasy. Also, there’s more of a focus on length rather than girth, so I feel that if penis size were really women-driven standards, that would be the unit of measurement. It seems like penis length is used by men to prove their manhood, rather than having anything to do with women at all. Which is obviously also not healthy, but I was just wondering about how this focus on penis length came about.

    I am all for more honest representations of bodies, male and female. I think our society is very uncomfortable with seeing real body parts in a non-sexualized way, which is really unhealthy. I wish that there were different standards for censoring movies and such: like genitals could be shown in Pg-13 movies if they weren’t in a sexualized way.

    Also, we put way too much emphasis on what a person’s body brings to the bedroom and not nearly enough on what that person brings to the bedroom. For a long time, media has told women that we are only worth as much as how attractive we are, that’s slowly shifting to encompass men too. And what a surprise, men are having body issues in higher rates than before. We need to go back to telling people that they have value because who they are, not how they look.

    • Also, I would like to say, as a heterosexual woman, penises are awesome in all shapes and sizes. But the important part is the man attached to said penis. :)

  13. Anthony Zarat says:

    “My preference is that this discussion does not enter into a gender war, as happens quite often on GMP.”

    I guess I should stay away then. Too bad, because there is definitely a gender-angle to this, one with which I have extensive personal experience.

    • Well of course there is a gender-angle to this…we are talking about penises…what I meant is that it’s not a men vs women thing…women shame men, men shame women thing…the whole male vs female topic is just such a turnoff because it’s a huge blanket statement that isn’t real. Speaking for myself, my insecurities come from both how other males act and also how females act. In the end though, it’s really about myself. This is not a rail against women or men, it’s just meant to say “hey look, I’m thinking this, chances are you’re thinking this, we’re just normal, it’s all good, let’s help each other get over it.”

  14. PursuitAce says:

    So when the medical field can actually modify penis size, will it be encumbent on a thoughtfull male lover to size his unit for his significant other? I just like to throw wrenches at monkeys. (Disclaimer for PETA: no monkeys were actually forced to dodge any wrenches. Although in the filming of the movie “Dodgeball”, humans may have been forced to dodge wrenches. You may want to check into that).

    • I would be incredibly uncomfortable with my significant other doing any sort of adjustment to his penis. It’s like breast augmentation – I don’t think it’s really a healthy choice. Healthy as in mentally and emotionally, and very probably physically.

  15. It’s not the size that matters but the skill with which it is applied. It also depends LARGELY on the man, not his equipment.

  16. “Usually when I am naked with a guy, it’s the insecurities about my body that are running through my head and never thought anything negative about a guy’s, I had been with, body. Maybe if men are able to accept their own bodies, they would be more accepting of regular female bodies too and not uphold certain women to ideals of their own too.”

    I agree. When I’m with a man, if anything does take me out of the moment, it’s my own insecurities, not any judgement on his body. I’m not going to stop having sex with or make fun of a guy I’m really into just because he’s not as big as I might have thought. Some of the best sex I’ve ever had has been with guys on the smaller/average side. I think the obsession with penis length is much more a male thing. Touch, passion, and synchronization are far more important to most women.

    • You all say size doesn’t matter, but you say “I’m not going tostop having sex with or make fun of a guy I’m really into Because he’s not as big as I might have thought.” This means you were thinking about the “size” of the guy from the get-go. The latest thing in the Rom-Com movies, is what I call ‘The Gratiouitious Sausage Scene’ . Like in that new ‘chick flick’ ‘The Vow’. Where Channing Tatum gets to show the ladies his ahem, acting credenitials (or is it his credentials from his last job as a male stripper). The local paper movie reviewer (a woman), remarked that “This view of Tatum is defenitaly worth more than a thousand words.” At least we know what she looks for in a man! The best part is the movie is rated PG! This means you can take your 10-12 year old daughter or neice to see it! She’ll get to see one much bigger than Carlo’s Stick girl!

      • It does kind of amaze me just how much female traffic you get in the response section whenever you do an article on penis size.

  17. Valter Viglietti says:

    @Carlo Alcos: “Let’s see vaginas and penises on the television and in movies”

    Hooray for that! :D
    What’s the point in hiding genitalia anyway? It’s just natural body parts. Children wouldn’t be shocked, they would just be curious (and they already are). The only shocked people would be bigots and sexuophobics.
    I’ve seen over 50 vulvas in my life, and I always found them cute and fascinating. The more we see other people’s genitalia, the more we acknowledge ours is just “normal”.

    OTOH, Carlo, some women DO like big penises. Just like some women (many? most?) like rich men, and all women like tall men. In the same way many men like women with big breasts and long legs. It’s nature, not just media and culture.
    While I agree everybody is ok just as he/she is, some preferences are just part of human nature.
    Denying that is not going to be useful.

    • Thanks Valtar…however I disagree with you. Yes, having a preference will be natural, of course, but for the most part our preferences are shaped by culture (and by extension, the media). When you say men like big breasts and long legs, that’s OUR culture. This isn’t true in, say, Africa, where their preference is for bigger women. Even within our own culture these preferences change over time…just look at magazine models over the course of time…the bodies that are shown continuously change. This is a reflection of what our culture deems “beautiful” in that time period, and we, as consumers of culture, get “brainwashed” into thinking this is our preference, too.

      The overriding message that is put forth in our culture is that bigger penises are better. In reality (and this is just my guess) I think if we asked every single woman, and they answered honestly, we’d have so many more variances in response. I highly doubt that 90% (arbitrary high %) would say they want a huge penis. But this is what our culture has us believe. It doesn’t reflect reality.

      Another point I want to make is that I think women pressure each other in a way into thinking they want big penises. Here’s why I think this: If you watch the documentary at the bottom of the post, there is a scene where Lawrence has a group of four women sculpt their “ideal” penis with clay. If you watch the scene closely, you will see that they all look over at each other as they’re sculpting. In the end, they all make similar sized/shaped penises (and they’re all big). I really wonder how that experiment would have turned out if they were all separated in different rooms.

      • As a woman, I’m with you, Carlo. I do agree with Valter on the not hiding genitalia point, but I do think the obsession with penis size and body types is mostly cultural and has certainly changed in every period of history.

  18. Carlo, I’m more inclined to go with Valter on this. Just go to yoyr local “sex shop” and check out the size of the “Toys” for women. Not that many “Average-Normal” size. I think that scene with the clay sclupting was pretty accurate. As was his interviewing the 2 “club girls” in America near the beginning. Look, for the most part, asking a woman in a serious relationship a basically hypothetical question “Does size matter”, she’s already made her decision. A more telling question might be “Would you be upset if tomorrow morning you woke up to realize your man was suddenly 11/2-2 inches longer and 30% or so wider. (without her man present, of course.

    • That’s funny because in the local sex shop I work at, most of the insertable toys are between 4 and 7.5 inches long.

  19. Valter Viglietti says:

    Everybody want “more”. More money, more love, bigger cars, bigger homes, a better sex life…
    It’s not just media and culture, it’s part of human nature; it’s what made us conquering this world.

    Saying that “size doesn’t matter” is just false: for most people some size matters (be it tallness, ass, curves, hair, breasts, legs, muscles, hands… whatever). Some like it more, some like it less.
    In the same way, some women like feeling “filled” by their partner’s manhood, and some women feel pain when the penis is too big. Sometimes size does matter.

    I think the key lies in ourselves, not outside. In our ability to feel ok as we are. Despite what others think.

    • I sort of agree, sort of not. When it comes to extremes…yes. Very, very small or very, very large will cause many practical problems, unfortunately. Anything small average to large average…really doesn’t matter for me. As I’ve said, the chemistry, tingle factor, and what we do together have always mattered more. I’ve had great and bad sex with men with small penises and great and bad sex with men with large penises. If it’s REALLY too small to be pleasing at all, there are other ways to please a woman (dildos, oral, fingering). If it’s REALLY large, then please be careful and conscientious, especially at first.

    • “it’s part of human nature; it’s what made us conquering this world.” Umm, no. Humans don’t have it in their nature to “conquer” the world. We’ve lived for millions of years on this planet and it’s only in the last 10,000 years or so that we started to do that.

      • Valter Viglietti says:

        @Carlo Alcos: “Humans don’t have it in their nature to “conquer” the world”

        Really? :shock:
        Until 60 years ago, most countries settled their disputes through wars (some still do).
        We had several (much celebrated) empires.
        We subjugated every animal, every land, everywhere.
        We behave like we’re the master of this world; the major Western religion explicitly tells that God created humans to dominate the planet (despite any opposite evidence).

        To me, 10.000 years are proof enough of this relentless trend (and, before that, we just lacked the power or the means – not the will).
        As agent Smith noted in “The Matrix” movie, humans behave like a virus: we spread everywhere, we devour everything.
        Humans are the only animal that are never content; for us, it’s “never enough”.

        Hence, what you complain about is part of what we are – as a species, we always strive for more.
        We can argue against it, but denying it it’s just naive (and useless).

        • 10,000 years is irrelevant to prove it…all that is is just the starting point for the civilization that we’re currently part of…when humans began agriculture on a mass scale and settled. This notion of conquering began there (conquering land/animals/other people). Even if you want to go with the “10,000 years is enough to prove it” theory, modern humans have been around for around 200,000 years…so our civilization is only 5% of that time. 95% of the time we’ve been around (homo sapiens) we’ve been living as part of nature, not above it. Still think that’s enough for proof? What scientist would think if something occurred 5% of the time that it’s enough to prove something?

          “Humans are the only animal that are never content; for us, it’s “never enough”.”
          – You keep referring to our culture/civilization as if it’s representative of the entire human species over the course of history/prehistory. It’s not. There are tribes still on this earth today that don’t have the disease that we have (this inability to be content). This is a very egotistical and narrow point of view. Expand your mind. This is why we can’t fix the ails of the world today, because we’ve been led for so long to believe that we are “evil” and “sinners” by nature. This just isn’t true. Change your story.

          • Valter Viglietti says:

            @Carlo Alcos: “95% of the time we’ve been around (homo sapiens) we’ve been living as part of nature, not above it.”
            Yes, but because we could not conquer it – not because we would not.
            As soon as we had means to conquer it, we did (most humans, at least); and we did it massively.

            @Carlo Alcos: “What scientist would think if something occurred 5% of the time that it’s enough to prove something?”
            Your paragon is misleading. We have been able to fly things heavier than air for just a century – against the millennia we couldn’t. This doesn’t deny flight.
            We’ve been able to speak for much less time than we could not; does this deny the importance and existence of languages? Of course not.

            @Carlo Alcos: “There are tribes still on this earth today that don’t have the disease that we have”
            Sure, but they are a small minority – the exception rather than the rule.

            @Carlo Alcos: “Change your story.”
            You may believe whatever you want, but I’m just looking at the facts. At history.
            From the first settlers, to the Egyptians, to the Greeks and the Romans, and so on and so on. They all wanted more (more land, more stuff, more knowledge…).

            Besides, I don’t believe in “good” and “evil”. I’m a relativist; nothing is good or bad in itself.
            I don’t think humans are “evil”, I just observe our species’ behaviour. And I look at the facts.
            To me, you seem delusional: since you don’t like what you see, you build your own story.
            It’s similar to believe that “size doesn’t matter” – when it often does.
            But, of course, you’re 100% free to believe whatever you want. :)

            • “I’m just looking at the facts. At history.”
              – This is the problem, you’re not looking at “history”…you’re looking at a very small portion of history and drawing conclusions based on that. Egyptians/Greeks/Romans…these are all groups that are part of our current civilization, the civilization that has the story that “we will conquer the earth (and universe)” built into it. I’m saying it’s not human nature, but rather the nature of this civilization.

              Anyway, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this point. You choose what you believe, I choose what I believe.

              And I’m certainly not saying that size doesn’t matter. I know size DOES matter. What I’m refuting is the common belief that “bigger is better.” Of course size matters…what matters the most is how two people fit together, because vaginas vary in size just as much as penises do. The whole point of this is to make men feel better, to not be ashamed because they don’t fit in with what society/culture says is normal/ideal. Hopefully we can at least agree on that.

              By the way, thanks for the discussion! :)

            • Valter Viglietti says:

              @Carlo Alcos: “you’re looking at a very small portion of history”
              AFAIK, recorded history begins around 10.000 years ago. Before that, it’s mostly suppositions.
              Anyway, I agree to disagree.
              I write for the sake of discussion, and my opinion is worth as anybody’s else. :)

              Back to penises, I agree with you that how people fit together is what matters most.
              And bigger is not always better. Sometimes, less is more. 8)

  20. You know, the whole size discussion often marginalizes women to whom size really doesn’t matter. I’m sure it matters to many, even most, but I’m sick of hearing “it matters to you, you’re just not willing to admit it.” It’s not on the same level, but it reminds me of when guys say they’re being sexually harassed and then get laughed at. How can a guy possibly feel uncomfortable when a woman is overstepping her boundaries? How can a woman possibly not care about size? Like I’ve said…with extremes…yeah, they can cause practical problems. 3 inches? 11 inches? Sure, there’ll be some issues and extra effort required there. But for the rest of it, in the heat of the moment, if I just want your cock inside of me, I want your cock inside of me. Chances are, an inch or two won’t make me feel any better or worse.

  21. Bob Dole says:

    As much as I would love to cheerfully applaud this post as a sort of coming out for the “small” man the truth is that it’s a losing battle. I checked up on the author’s blog and the last post by a woman who had her own blog was something along the lines of “Why can’t we just accept other people’s preferences and appreciate unique tastes?” She had made a post detailing her dissatisfaction (in agreement with her friend and the subsequent posters) with small penises and how it was a deal breaker. Although she changed the tone of her post on Alcos blog her point basically remained the same: She and her friend laughed at small ones and *needed* big ones for satisfaction. There was unison agreement in the comments.

    This is a men’s blog and so the comments here will be tailored to men’s tastes. The point is that even feminists who disagree with body exploitation and support universal concepts of love and appreciation will not hesitate to list their sexual preferences and factor in whatever they wish. THis is not to say that they shouldn’t, but this is to say that body image issues can’t be de-socialized.

    The problem with small is that it indicates weakness, lack of performance, lack of sensation and pleasure. A small man can’t do what a big man can. There is almost always some woman who will declare that “too big” doesn’t work – but that really doesn’t matter.

    Penises are not breasts – it’s not about preference, it’s about deal breaking. Small breasts can be managed but small penises can’t. This is a message shared by attractive women, feminists, scientists, and just about everybody else.

    • Valter Viglietti says:

      @Bob Dole: “She and her friend laughed at small ones and *needed* big ones for satisfaction”
      I don’t think the author deny this. I think his point is “Not every woman want a big penis”.
      He’s against the media claim that “Big is ALWAYS better”. Of course is not, because different people have different tastes.

      Hence, I think the wise stance can be “Small is ok, but for some people is not good enough”.
      Of course that’s not PC and can be hurting, but OTOH everybody will always be “not enough” for somebody else (in other words, “You can’t make everybody happy”).

      @Bob Dole: “Small breasts can be managed but small penises can’t.”
      I can’t get what you mean. :?

      Do you mean you can surgically enlarge small breasts?
      To me that’s not a solution. I love big breasts, but I’m more comfortable with small breasts than with “fake tits”.

      OTOH, I loved women with small breasts, but I always felt something missing with them. It’s not the same thing as being “filled” by a big penis for a woman, sure, but it’s a physical sensation of “lacking” nevertheless.
      Again this doesn’t sound PC, but… you know, “The heart wants what the heart wants”.
      As the old Romans said, “De gustibus non disputandum est.” (tastes are not object of debate)

    • Bob Dole (if that is your real name)…as much as Valter and I have disagreed on things in this comment thread, he’s absolutely right. This post is about body acceptance. The battle isn’t really about “what do women REALLY want?” so it’s not a battle to be won or lost. The battle that needs to be won is within each man himself, internally (same goes for women). So in that way, no, it’s not a losing battle. It’s a battle that each of us must win, because otherwise we will remain unhappy. This post is really about me, as selfish as that sounds; it’s my own process, it’s how I move forward in life, by learning to accept my body. Making it public is part of that process, and it’s my hope that by doing that I can also help other men and women in accepting their own bodies.

      I’m not sure why there are arguments made here; is there anyone who disagrees that we should be happy with what we have? Doesn’t everyone want that for each other?

      • Bob Dole says:

        If accepting your body means accepting that you are less than good enough then that’s fine, I suppose.

        When you meet that woman who prefers small, let me know, she’d be the first.

        • Who defines what’s “good enough”? And why should anyone else listen to those who make that definition? And what is it that’s in you where you want other people to feel less than “good enough”?

          I have a partner who loves my body. Every inch of it. What more could I ask for?

      • “The battle that needs to be won is within each man himself, internally (same goes for women).”

        Well said Carlos.

        I think maybe Bob has had some (or a lot) bad personal experiences. However those anecdotal experiences don’t equal what “all women think.”

        Every person has their preferences and you just need to keep searching until you find the one who loves you just the way you are. That person is out there. There are many who will love you the way you are. But an important thing to remember is that you need to be open to it. If you are judging yourself harshly you close that door and increase your chances that the girl who loves you will walk away.

        When we don’t love ourselves it’s harder for our partner to do the same. It’s like we are rejecting them.

        The weakness is not the size of men’s penises or women’s breasts. The weakness is in our minds. And THAT we can change. It is a decision, perhaps a daily decision, but we can do it.

        Regarding the comments about size (bigger is better), these are comments that are jokes. And much like fat jokes they are hurtful if you are the one being joked about. So the bottom line is they are not funny.

        At the same time, this is the real world. People will continue to make these jokes so it comes back to what Carlos said. It is our own internal battle. If I have truly accepted myself the way I am, all my supposed imperfections, then the jokes shouldn’t bother me anymore. Because I AM perfect just the way I am and so are you.

        We are more than just our bodies anyway. We’ll all return to dust one day. Hollywood/porn sex is not real life. OK, I have to go to the grocery store now…. back to life.

        (PS: Carlos – I hope you’ll come visit my website where I am trying to help women with these same body acceptance issues. I’d love your opinion. Maybe you’d like to guest post?)

    • Saul David says:

      You’re all missing the point. Sure, there will always be those girls that are size-queens. And then there are also women out there that can’t get off as well with a penis as they can with fingers (or toys) for some reason or another. Everyone’s different.

      Including women. Preferred dick size is different for every one of them. I’ve read posts by women claiming that over-sized dicks sometimes result in painful sex rather than pleasure. =/

      Also, there are a myriad of ways to have sex. The author’s right, I don’t see why someone with a small penis is seen as ‘inadequate’. If anything, there’s opportunity for creativity.

      • This is very true. Size preference is different for everyone. And in reality most women can’t get off on vaginal intercourse alone, so well size isn’t the problem. Clitoral stimulation is. My last boyfriend couldn’t get me off even though he was well sized. I had to tell him yeah for all your size your not going to get me off, this is what needs to be done. *Sigh* Not that he listened to me.

    • @Bob Dole: Some interesting, if kinda harsh, insights here, but i find myself agreeing with at least some of what you say and would be interested in unpacking it more. daspire2 at yahoo

  22. I thought that somewhere between 5 and 6 inches was about average size. I think my boyfriend’s is somewhere around there. I don’t think my vagina is much deeper than that, so I don’t see why longer would be better. In the past I believe I’ve suffered from involuntary muscular contractions (preventing me from inserting anything into my vagina). I had to use a dilator to be able to have vaginal sex in the first place and even now I think I’m probably a bit on the petite side. I don’t really get the cultural interest in penis size; I only have vaginal sensation two or three inches in around the G-spot area. Also, given my past difficulty of inserting anything, pictures of really large penises just make me think, “That would probably hurt…”

  23. I had a very well endowed boyfriend once, and sex with him was unpleasant. It was painful, even with a ton of lube. We couldn’t have sex doggy style at all because it hurt my cervix. So, basically every time we had sex, I just prayed for him to come as quickly as possible and get it over with. I started to avoid having sex with him and making excuses. The other problem was that he was so proud of his large penis that he thought I should get an orgasm just by looking at him. He was a crappy lover. Our relationship did not last long.

    My current boyfriend is solidly within the bell curve, somewhere between 5-6 inches erect and I’m really completely happy with him.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Let's Talk About Penises, Shall We? — The Good Men Project How much of a variety of penises and vaginas have you seen in your life? I'm not convinced that women know how insecure it makes men when all we hear is “size matters.” What's not taken into account, though, is how two . [...]

  2. [...] post is a response to Carlos Alcos’s post “Let’s Talk About Penises, Shall We?“ When I was a connoisseuse of slugs I would part the ivy leaves, and look for the naked jelly [...]

  3. [...] article and documentary Nice article on accepting one's size… Let’s Talk About Penises, Shall We? and a link to a well done documentary on the subject at the end of the [...]

  4. […] Let’s Talk About Penises, Shall We? by Carlo Alcos of ConfrontingLove.com […]

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