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Does size matter?

July 3rd, 2005

Dr Petra

Talk about a daft question. Of course size matters! Anyone who works in sexual health, education or advice knows that one of the main things men worry about is penis size.

And you can hardly blame them. Currently whole industries operate to make men feel inadequate about their size and to convince them through spam emails, dodgy websites, and inaccurate media features that masculinity is dependent on having a massive dick.

Every week I get hundreds of letters from guys anxious about their penis size, shape and behaviour. Each time I do a radio phone-in or advice webcast the same questions come up – what’s the normal penis size? Every day, around the world, that question is repeated to other agony aunts, general practitioners, sexual health advisors and therapists.

Part of the problem is a lack of sex education. Globally sex education classes vary in standard, with most not tackling issues around penis size. In many places there’s no sex education at all. Match this with the increased availability of porn (where guys are always massive) and men’s understandable anxiety about asking other men about penis size, you can see why guys are easy targets for unscrupulous individuals and companies.

Hardly surprising that this gets in the way of men’s sexual pleasure, and causes countless relationship, sexual and confidence problems.

Most professionals working in this area are aware of this problem and do their best to reassure men. New research confirms we’re on the right lines.

A study by Rany Shamloul from Cairo University worked with 92 male patients complaining of a small penis. 66 (71.7%) thought their penis was too short when flaccid (soft), whilst 26 (28.3%) felt their penis wasn’t big enough when either short or erect.

Patients in this study were provided with sex education and their penile length and girth measurements were taken. Participants were told if their soft penis was above 4cm and their erect state was over 7cm then they were ‘normal’.

No patients in the study had a small penis according to clinical measurements, but nearly all the men studied overestimated their own size. This has been found in previous research where men anxious about their penises assume other men’s dicks are all bigger than their own.

The University of Cairo study, published in the journal ‘Urology’ has shown how sex education alongside accurate penile measurement can reduce men’s penis worries. This can increase confidence; reduce relationship and sexual performance anxiety, and men seeking unnecessary and untested penile lengthening surgery.

So the message is clear. Men and boys require far greater sex education, and reassurance their penis size is normal. Explaining penises come in different shapes and sizes, and size doesn’t correlate with being a good lover can reassure men. Men also should campaign against the pressure placed upon them to be ‘big’ – challenging dodgy websites and private medical groups who advocate untested medications or surgical practices that supposedly ‘increase’ penis size.

They’re not there to help men – they’re there to make money out of guys because they know they can prey on men’s penis size anxieties.

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