Does Size Matter? If You’re Male, Probably

penis-size-0621134As a licensed sex therapist who is old enough to be some people’s grandma, I get to talk to a lot more men than some of my colleagues—men don’t typically sexualize me now that my hair is turning white. Years ago, when I was first licensed in 1982, guys did flirt or stare at my legs or bosom, which was distracting for everyone concerned. So, in those days, I saw 95% women in my West Hollywood office.

Today in my neck of the woods (central California coast), most licensed marriage therapists see primarily women without their partners, while I see many couples or work with them by phone if they can’t come to my office. When I counsel or coach heterosexual couples, I insist on regular individual sessions with the guys.

This puts me in a unique position to talk to men about their penises. It will not surprise readers that many men experience what my colleague Paul Joannides calls “weenie angst.” While many self-help books claim that penis size doesn’t matter, there are, in fact, two groups of folks to whom it does matter. One bunch includes most guys. The second group includes every female who derives sexual pleasure from “pivi”—penis-in-vagina intercourse.

Although it’s not politically correct for women to outwardly care about the size or shape of a man’s penis, this implies that we are not supposed to care about sexual pleasure. As Joannides once puckishly mused, “Wouldn’t you pay attention to the size and shape of something that was about to get inserted into your body?”

That said, our response to the actual dimensions varies considerably. When asked which lover’s penis is their favorite, most women usually give an immediate and direct answer such as, “It was Bruce’s,” or, “A couple stand out, but I’d have to say Mark’s takes the cake.” When I ask about the guy behind the penis, Bruce or Mark might turn out to not be people she truly cared for at all … outside the bedroom.

Plenty of females who relate sexually to men derive the majority of their pleasure from what a guy is able to do with his hands, heart, tongue, and wisdom. We might prefer one penis over another, but as one woman recently told me, “Size wasn’t a deal-breaker when I chose to marry Todd.” (She was the one who reminisced about Bruce!)

Many male clients talk to me in the safety and privacy of counseling or coaching sessions about weenie angst. When they’re feeling sexually inadequate, they often focus their fears on how they feel physically “less than.” They obsess first about the size of their penis, which the general public can’t see, and then height, which the general public can see.

Many (most?) of us grow up believing that we are physically deficient in some way. Men worry about their size; women worry about the shape and size of their breasts, their tummy, and their bum. Advertisers exploit this and make a lot of money convincing us that our bodies and parts are wrong and need to be expanded. Particularly, of course, the penis!

In 2005, Joannides went undercover to investigate expensive surgical “penis plumping” techniques then being promoted in Beverly Hills, California. At that time, clinics were charging $7,000 for a half-hour outpatient procedure in which fat cells were harvested from the lower stomach region and injected into the penis. Yikes! Each of the three clinics he visited required that he complete multipage questionnaires designed, he says, “to make a man feel sexually insecure and blame it all on the size of his weenie.”

None of the clinics offered any long-term safety prognoses for the procedure, and, as Joannides adds, “they didn’t agree on where the fat actually went, and none was willing to say exactly how a penis feels that is encased in a layer of fat!”

Would you trust your penis to these people? I know I wouldn’t.

© Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Jill Denton, LMFT, CSAT, CSE, CCS, Sexuality / Sex Therapy Topic Expert Contributor

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • dahlia

    June 21st, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    I have always gone by the reliable standard that it ain’t the size of the ship but the motion in the ocean.

    Hasn’t failed me so far and don’t see it failing me in the future.

  • Shaun

    June 22nd, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    The people that fall for these tactics-like penis enlargement or anything similar-are the ones who are ill confident of themselves-and not just their bodies.Theycan be taken for a ride quite easily.And corporations know this all too well.And in this dog eat dog world that is only going to increase.Unless we do wake up!

  • Ms Vickie

    June 22nd, 2013 at 4:46 AM

    bahahaha dahlia- good one!

  • maribeth

    June 23rd, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    For me, if my partner is really intune with my needs and desires then this is not something that I am thinking baout. There are all different shapes and sizes just like with anything else, and if a man is worried about this then those are his insecurities that he needs to work through, and not my job to help him do that other than to be a supportive partner and reassure him if he is down on himself about his preceived flaw or inadequacy.

  • John

    May 29th, 2016 at 7:51 PM

    Wana know what being small is like in this culture. I was shamed and humiliated constantly from a young age and too scared and embarrassed to tell my parents.. After enough of it I started to believe what I was told. I thought I deserved less than others, didn’t deserve love, and was worthless and pathetic. I started developing clinical depression in middle school for gods sake.

    Between that and certain abuse growing up I was not like other kids and was in so much pain even though I hid it and could always fake a smile. All though high school and the first year of college I was so ashamed I just repressed and turned off all my feelings and need to be loved or touched and prayed no one would find out my secret. The first girl I really loved when I was 20. Around her it was the first person I ever felt warm and safe around and he voice and touch was the most beautiful healing thing. It felt so good to be hugged for the first and gazing into her eyes would put me in tears because I was letting myself feel those feelings for the first time and they were so intense. After she saw it she just started laughing and was instantly no longer attracted and threw me away and any healing was ripped apart and the wound was worse then ever.

    I felt utterly subhuman and that with clinical depression and PTSD from growing up lead to drugs to feel normal, self mutalation, and trying to kill myself. I’m 21 and look somewhat intimidating but really I just want to be held and touched and loved by a women. I would show her nothing but love, respect and selfless to her always but they somehow take pleasure in hurting and tormenting me for their fun. I know they are not all like that but so many are and it’s as socially acceptable as football to do. I guess this is why I feel like I don’t deserve love. I don’t even care about sex at this point.

  • Michael

    December 6th, 2023 at 1:05 AM

    Assuming John’s comment is true, this is so cruel I cannot believe it.

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