Love & Sex
One of my clients was once told by a mate that a "one-night stand" girlfriend had told all her friends he had a "pencil-dick". He was so devastated that he stopped having sex for months.
To the average man, his penis is his most important possession. From the time he is born he is fascinated by it and it becomes his best friend. A penis is tied to a man's self-esteem and is a definition of his manhood.
Many men, however, question the size of their penis, especially the length.
Although they may experience anxiety about the size and appearance of their penises at some time in their life, for most of them these feelings will pass, but for others it can be persistent and disabling.
This anxiety can sometimes lead to avoidance of sexual relationships or fear of attending the gym or sports events where other men might see them naked and make them feel ashamed.
On several occasions, I have been asked by both men and women what the average size of a penis is.
A review, conducted by Drs Kevan Wylie and Ian Eardley in the UK, combined the results from more than 50 international research projects into penis size since 1942 and came up with a general guideline.
The "average" size of an erect adult penis is between 14 cm and 16cm in length.
One of these studies asked about 25,000 heterosexual men how they rated the size of their penis and then asked their female partners how they perceived the size.
They found that 85 per cent of the women were satisfied with their partner's penile size, but only 55 per cent of the men were happy with their size.
The porn industry has contributed to this obsession by featuring only above-average sized men who are filmed from flattering angles.
Many boys who are receiving most of their sex education these days by looking at porn, are getting the wrong message.
Anxiety can lead some men to turn to companies that claim they have treatments and remedies to lengthen the size of the penis.
There are pills that contain herbs from around the world, hormone therapies with testosterone or steroids, magnetic or electrical devices to stimulate penis growth, penile suction devices and penis stretchers.
No quality evidence has been yet published to show if any of these treatments actually produce a sustained increase in penis size.
Current cosmetic surgical procedures are also largely unproven by research and can carry the risk of serious complications. Surgery can benefit some men, but urologists generally consider it to be experimental in nature.
It does not matter how often males are told women don't care that much about the size of their organ, they don't believe it.
The simple truth is most women are not able to achieve an orgasm with penetration alone, so there are other ways to please her.
A small penis doesn't prevent a man from satisfying his partner and being a fabulous lover.
He can excel in foreplay, which for most women is their favourite part of sex and obviously there are many other things a man can do to turn his partner on.
Women like men who are sensitive, caring and willing to communicate. If a man can make a woman feel desirable, she is less likely to be concerned about the size of his penis.
Try to master the art of oral sex, which most women love, or devote time to a sexy massage - nothing will please her more than you rubbing down her body with some sensual massage oils.
Experimenting with sex toys is another method to satisfy each other.
Another old trick is to shave the area around the penis - without hair it looks bigger. A cock ring, which is placed around the penis at the base, will slow the flow of blood and maintain an erection longer, and can make the penis look thicker. There is a new design out with an added tiny vibrator to stimulate the clitoral area.
A tip for women: don't belittle a man's penis in bed, even as a joke or say anything to indicate that you think it is small. He may take you seriously and if he does, he will be deeply hurt.
In 2005 in the UK, Lawrence Barraclough made a groundbreaking film for the BBC.
My Penis And I is a moving account about his relationship with his small 8.9cm penis.
The documentary follows his two year journey to discover if size matters.
It charts the effect his penis had on his life, his family and his relationship with his girlfriend (now wife), Nicola.
The film lasts 56 minutes but is well worth viewing. Lawrence is a very brave man indeed.
What do you think, is size really that important?
Matty Silver is a sexual health therapist.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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