Staff member
Jun 3, 2003
Does Size Matter?


The young girl stands in front of the mirror. Never fat to begin with, she’s
been on a no-fat diet for a couple of weeks and has reached her goal
weight, 115 lb., at 54—exactly what she should weigh, according to her
doctor’s chart. But goddammit, she still looks dumpy. In her mind is this
Special K commercial that she’s seen a few times on television: a really
pretty woman admiring herself in a slinky, short, black dress, long athletic
legs, every curve perfect, lean-sexy, nothing to spare. Self-hatred and shame
start to burn in the girl, and other things too. When the commercial comes
on, the woman’s sleek body is like a magnet for her eyes; she almost feels
in love with her. But envy tears at her stomach, and is enough to make her
sick. She’ll never look like that, no matter how much weight she loses, no
matter how many hours she spends on the Stairmaster. Look at that stomach
of hers, see how it sticks out? Those thighs—they actually jiggle. Her
butt is monstrous. She’s fat, gross, a dough girl.

It’s a depressingly well-documented fact that when girls and women are
asked to draw their bodies or indicate their body size with their hands, they
almost always overestimate how much space they take up, and tend to see
themselves as too fat no matter how thin they are. This once was thought
to be a ‘‘body image distortion’’ unique to those with anorexia nervosa. We
now know that seeing ourselves as ‘‘too fat’’ is a norm of female perception.
Average weight statistics and medical charts are irrelevant. What matters is
the gap between the self and the cultural images. We measure ourselves
not against an ideal of health, not even usually (although sometimes)
against each other, but against created icons, fantasies-made-flesh. Flesh
designed to arouse admiration, envy, desire.

I’ve been writing and lecturing on these female body issues for years.
At almost every talk I’ve given, someone in the audience (mistakenly concluding
that because I had talked about women, I believed they had the
This is a slightly altered and expanded version of a chapter by the same name in
The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private (New York: Farrar, Straus
and Giroux, 1999). exclusive franchise on body-insecurity) has challenged me: What about
men? What about baldness? Height? Muscles? All these examples are well
taken. But no one has ever brought up the best analogy: men’s insecurities
about penis size. I myself did not realize exactly how perfect the analogy
was until I read a 1996 study in which pediatrician Peter Lee found that
college men, no matter what their actual dimensions, tend to underestimate
their penis size. In a mirror image of women’s perception of themselves
as too big (even when they are at or below average weight), men tend
to see themselves as too small—even with ‘‘average’’-size penises (currently
defined by doctors as four inches non-erect and six inches erect).
Where do men get their ideas about how big their penises ‘‘ought’’ to
be? Some, like comedian Tim Allen, first get them from a child’s-eye view
of their fathers’ penises:

My father would take me and my brothers to pee, and you’re just dick tall,
and your dad’s is out. This whale of a penis would fly out, and you have a
mushroom cap that two hands could barely pull out from your body. And
your dad’s penis would—thrummm! And you’d scream at this huge, hairy
beast of an ugly—‘‘Goddamn! Aw, God!’’ And we’d leave the bathroom and
all go, ‘‘Shit! Did you see that?’’ (quoted by Nancy Friday in The Power of

Some men get their ideas about penis size from other guys in the locker
room. Some become convinced they are too small because a partner has
told them they don’t measure up; Scott Fitzgerald, as Hemingway recounts
in A Moveable Feast, developed anxieties after Zelda told him (Hemingway
quotes) ‘‘that the way I was built I could never make a woman happy. . . .
She said it was a matter of measurements.’’ (Hemingway takes Fitzgerald
off to the restroom to inspect him and declares him ‘‘perfectly fine,’’ but
he remains unconvinced.) But many men, like women, get their ideas
about how big they should be from the bodies of cultural icons: the Jeff
Strykers and Harry Reemses of video porn and sex magazines, hired specifically
for their endowments. (In the late 1990s, I’m sure the guys in the
underwear are doing their part, too.)

These guys are as off-the-charts vis-a`-vis average penis size as the runway
model is vis-a`-vis the average female body. In the August 1997 issue of
Playgirl, with non-stop penises from cover to cover, the only man who appears
to have an ‘‘average’’ member is Brad Pitt, who is featured in a set of
paparazzi photos. I was glad to see Pitt in there—proof that a man can
be incredibly sexy without being incredibly well hung. Playgirl, although
officially edited with a female reader in mind, is sold alongside Torso, Jock,
and Hustler; I’m sure it has a male readership among both straights and
gays. In any case, I’ve heard (from a friend who knows some vendors) that
because of Pitt, one of those men who appeal to virtually every sexual and
gender orientation, this particular issue sold out as soon as it hit the stands.

Unfortunately, the beauty of diversity is not exactly the message conveyed
by the penis stats and descriptions listed in the magazine’s ‘‘Sex International
Network’’ want ‘‘Very hard 7 cock. Big balls.’’ ‘‘71/2 thick penis—dark meat.’’
‘‘8 penis, very long lasting. I stay hard after I come.’’

‘‘Love masturbating 2–3 times a day with my 8 cock.’’ ‘‘91/2 hard penis,
very wide and ready to please any woman.’’ ‘‘81/2, cut, rock hard cock.’’
‘‘11 cock looking for a beautiful blonde female.’’ ‘‘7 hard, thick cock. I
stay hard all night and I know I can take care of you.’’ And so on.
The humongous penis, like the idealized female body, is a cultural fantasy.
It exists in the flesh; some men—like those featured in the photos and
want of Playgirl—do have very large penises. But let’s put it this way:
if a Martian were planning a trip to Earth and was given a Vogue and a Playgirl
to enlighten him on what to expect from human women and men, he’d get
a very misleading impression. So does the average male reader or viewer of
porn. And even if he knows, on some level (from his experience in locker
rooms and the like) that the Harry Reemses and Jeff Strykers of the world
are not the norm, that knowledge may pale beside the power of the iconography:
the meanings attached to having an impressively large member. The
woman in the Special K commercial is a ‘‘real’’ woman too (although these
images are, increasingly, digitally manipulated); it’s the fact that she so
perfectly, precisely embodies current notions about femininity and beauty
that makes her a fantasy, and an oppressive standard for the ordinary
woman to aspire to.

Think, to begin with, about that adjective ‘‘impressive,’’ which came
spontaneously to my mind as I wrote the phrase ‘‘impressively large member,’’
and all that it conveys. We wouldn’t usually describe large breasts as
‘‘impressive,’’ would we? (That sense of ‘‘bodacious’’ isn’t in the dictionary
and I’m not sure that I know exactly what it’s supposed to mean, but it
sure doesn’t seem to suggest a body part demanding respect.) In contrast,
the penis so large as to take a lover’s breath away is a majestic penis, a
commanding penis. From romance novels (‘‘His strength was conspicuous
beneath her hands, his muscles prominent, steel hard. He was strikingly
large . . . so very large . . .’’) to the erotic fantasies in the back pages of
Playgirl (‘‘I watched in curiosity and amazement as he unzipped his pants,
revealing a magnificent cock. . . . As his manhood sprung out at me, hard
and thick, I gasped and stared . . .’’) to gay male erotica (‘‘Lew’s breath
was stolen by Jeff ’s cock. Sure, the mountain man had seen a few in his
time. Many. Some were as nicely shaped. A few were as tasty-looking. But
none were as gigantic.’’) the encounter with the male stud’s member is
typically one of gasping astonisHydromaxent at his ‘‘magnificent’’ size. Perusing
this literature, I couldn’t help but think (with a mental chuckle) about
Freud’s description of the origins of penis envy; little girls, he wrote, ‘‘notice
the penis of a brother or playmate, strikingly visible and of large proportions.’’
Sounds quite a bit like the rhetoric of erotica to me, with its fantasy of a penis
so impressive it simply dazzles the onlooker, takes his or
her breath away.

Recently, the magnificent male member has even found a place on
prime-time television, when the wildly popular comedy series Ally McBeal
devoted two episodes to Ally’s affair with an artist’s model who is so fabulously
endowed that Ally’s foxy roommate Renee, doing a clay sculpture of
him in class, has to ask for more clay. We don’t get to see the original—but
we are treated to many shots of Ally and Renee’s bulging eyes and open
mouths. After class, at a restaurant, Ally and Renee wave rubbery sausages
about, as they discuss whether the model’s member was an implant or natural
(‘‘supernatural,’’ suggests Renee). When Ally accepts a date with the
guy, her female colleagues—who have spent hours standing around discussing
the size of this guy’s penis—snigger, ‘‘Don’t get hurt!’’ They don’t
mean emotionally.

The bedazzlement of the magnificent member need not be sexual,
however. The warlords of the Ottoman Empire publicly posted their genital
measurements for conquered tribes to admire. Appearing a ‘‘big man’’
to other men is an important aspect of men’s preoccupation with size. I’ve
personally heard three different variations on the following joke, most recently
the garbled version told in the movie Slingblade. Three men are urinating
off a bridge together. ‘‘River sure is cold,’’ says the first man. ‘‘It’s
deep, too,’’ says the second. ‘‘Sandy bottom,’’ says the third. The joke is
our contemporary version of the fresco at the Roman ruins at Pompeii
(circa a.d. 79), which depicts a wealthy man using his enormous penis to
counterbalance several bags of money on a scale. The big penis is worth its
weight in gold, the winner in contests among men. One young man, who
had his penis pierced to endow his ‘‘little dick with a lot of fucking attitude,’’
suggests, ‘‘the big size thing develops in the school locker room
when you’re a kid. The big-dicked guys send out signals that say, ‘We’re
better,’ ‘We’re more masculine than you,’ or ‘We deserve to be here, look
at the size of our dicks.’ ’’

Penile augmentation is an increasingly booming business in this culture,
and many men who have their penises enlarged do it for ‘‘display
purposes.’’ ‘‘I’d always been happy in an erect state,’’ says one man; ‘‘I
never had any complaints from my wife—but I had a lot of retraction when
flaccid. It’s not that I want to flaunt myself at the gym, but I didn’t want to
feel that self-conscious.’’ Others do want to ‘‘flaunt’’; according to surgeon
Melvyn Rosenstein, the typical phalloplasty patient ‘‘wants to get big so he
can show himself off to other men, to say ‘Mine is bigger than yours,’ like
a buck deer displaying its antler.’’ Most phalloplasty patients, doctors add,
do not have especially small penises. ‘‘The overwhelming majority of men
I do are unquestionably normal,’’ says Rosenstein, ‘‘I had a guy in the office
yesterday who was concerned that he was small. I assured him that he was
normal, but he said ‘Let’s go ahead and do it.’ ’’

Most phalloplasty patients, then, are haunted by a humiliation that is
likely only imagined. The cultural backdrop of their anxieties, however, is
not imagined, any more than women’s anxieties about the size of their
breasts are of their own making. ‘‘He’s the nicest guy I ever dated. But he’s
just too small.’’ So reads the bold print of an ad from Dr. Gary Rheinschild,
who specializes in penile augmentation and who in 1995 claimed to have
performed more than thirty-five hundred such operations. Rheinschild
also uses phrases like ‘‘shower syndrome’’ and ‘‘locker room phobia’’ (to
describe what the man I’ve quoted above suffers from) and hopes to make
penis enlargement ‘‘as common as breast implants.’’ But even before cosmetic
surgeons began their campaigns, hawking miracle products for increasing penis size
both exploited and exacerbated already-existing male insecurities by drawing
on the equation ‘‘penis size manliness.’’ ‘‘Dramatic
Increase in Penis Size!’’
boast the makers of ‘‘NSP-270,’’ marketed in the eighties:

Boys who couldn’t measure up to the Navy’s proud standards of manhood
. . . who would never be able to satisfy a ‘‘woman in every port’’ . . . who
would disgrace the uniform if they were ever allowed to wear it . . . were
given massive dosages of this amazing sex nutrient . . . [and] suddenly and
dramatically experienced—Proud Erections! Dramatic New Ability in Intercourse!
Supercharged Sperm That Now Can ‘‘Do The Job!’’ . . . And, most amazing of all,
fantastic growth in penis size!

Cultural practices aimed at enhancing penis size are not exclusively
Western, either. Penile augmentations—making use of pins and inserts—
are performed in many cultures. Groups ranging from the Caramoja tribe
of northern Uganda to the sadhus of India have practiced the technique
of tying weights to the penis in order to make it longer. The sadhus, who
believe that God dwells in the penis, stretch themselves to lengths of twelve
to eighteen inches. By contrast, John Bobbitt’s boast to Jenny Jones that his
penis is ‘‘stronger and bigger than ever’’ with a fraction of an inch added
on by the surgery that re-attached it seems pretty flaccid. (Bobbitt went on
to have an augmentation that, he claims, added three inches in length and
one inch in girth, and made his penis ‘‘like a beer can.’’)
Most of the transformations wrought by penile augmentation in this
culture—usually gains of a couple of inches at most—lack the clear, ritualistic
drama of organs that have been augmented—like the sadhus’—into
hyperbole. But symbolically, the change can be just as potent, a fact that
surgeons exploit. ‘‘I get [my clients] to see this as an incredible change in
their lives,’’ Dr. Jamie Corvalaan explained to Esquire reporter John Taylor.
‘‘I tell them, ‘This is going to change your self-image, change the way you
walk, sit, look, do business, pursue women. You will now act like a man with
a big penis.’ ’’ How does a man with a big penis act? Well, we know that he
can exhibit himself with pride in the locker room. The surgeons, addressing
the concerns and fantasies of men who perceive themselves as small,

promote the large penis as the route to self-confidence, assertiveness, social
authority. But men who are born with large penises, as I’ve discovered from
talking to several, may experience their size as embarrassing excess rather
than a cause for pride. When one of these men described his large penis
to me as ‘‘a problem,’’ my immediate reaction (thankfully, not outwardly
expressed) was similar to that which I’ve had when very slim women complain
that they just can’t keep the weight on: ‘‘That’s a problem?’’ But further
conversation revealed that this man had indeed had problems, not
only in being too large for many partners but also with an abiding sense of

The fact is that many human cultures have been somewhat ambivalent
about very large penises. Yes, they advertise male potency, and have often
functioned as symbols of reproductive fertility. But at the same time, like
very large breasts, they may be viewed as gross and a sign that there is
nothing much ‘‘upstairs’’ (the body’s endowments being seen as hydraulically
regulated, I guess: what accumulates at one end has been forced out
the other). Also, body-part size and excessive sexuality have often been
joined in the Western cultural imagination, and thus don’t fit well with
the heroic, civilized ideals that men are supposed to uphold. Ancient
Greece, a highly masculinist culture but also one that placed great emphasis
on male self-control in matters of sexuality, favored ‘‘small and taut’’
genitals. ‘‘Large sex organs,’’ as Eva Keuls points out, ‘‘were considered
coarse and ugly, and were banished to the domains of abstraction, of caricature,
of satyrs, and of barbarians.’’ In those domains, the penis was often
represented as grotesquely huge, as though absorbing all the sexual excess
that the ‘‘civilized’’ Greek would not permit in his own self-conception.
There are some interesting depictions of Christ with a large penis, possibly
an erection. But typically, in classical Western art, the convention has been
to represent the heroic body as muscular, but the actual penis as rather

Since the beginning of the African slave trade, White Europeans have
projected their anxieties about excess sexuality onto stereotypes of the sexually
voracious, overendowed Black beast,1 stereotypes that got brought
right onto the floor of the United States Senate during the Clarence
Thomas/Anita Hill sexual harassment hearings. Since 1991, we’ve nationally
televised so many grotesque absurdist moments involving sexual body
parts—including news conferences on Bill Clinton’s ‘‘distinctive’’ penile
features—that it may take some straining to remember how startling it was
to hear the words ‘‘Long Dong Silver’’ actually coming out of Orrin
Hatch’s prune mouth. He led up to it laboriously, strategically. ‘‘And she
said ‘He described pornography with people engaging in oral sex.’ Is that
a black stereotype?’’ ‘‘No,’’ replied Thomas. Hatch: ‘‘People engaging in
acts of sex with animals?’’ Thomas: ‘‘No.’’ Hatch: ‘‘ ‘Long Dong Silver’—Is
that a black stereotype? Something like ‘Long Dong Silver’?’’ When
Thomas said yes, Hatch performed the outraged innocent with gusto.
‘‘Well! I’m concerned! This really bothers me!’’

Hatch’s shock was feigned for effect, of course. He knew very well that
Long Dong Silver is racialized pornography. Long Dong is of a piece with
the brown dildoes that feminist writer Heather Findlay encountered in a
sex-toy shop: ‘‘I turned and looked. They were not Dildoes; they were monstrosities.
Twenty-four inches and thick as my arm. ‘Big Black Dick’ said the
wrapper. . . . I looked around for some ‘Big White Dick’ or even ‘Big Flesh
Colored Dick.’ No luck.’’ Race, she concludes, ‘‘permeates American culture.’’
Yes, and not just American culture, but the Western psyche. James
Gould and Carol Grant Gould quote Frantz Fanon on the racial fantasies
and dreams of his White psychiatric patients: ‘‘One is no longer aware of
the Negro, but only of a penis: The Negro is eclipsed. He is turned into a
penis.’’ White boys like Norman Mailer have envied this instinctual status
(in ‘‘The White Negro,’’ he admires the Negro’s ‘‘art of the primitive’’ and
calls jazz ‘‘the music of orgasm’’), and some Black rappers and athletes
may capitalize on it. ( Jack Johnson, the first African American world heavyweight
boxing champion, wrapped his penis in gauze to emphasize its size
as he paraded around the ring during his public matches.) But primitive
manhood has no place under the robes of a Supreme Court justice. There
were moments when I felt deep pain for Thomas. To be on the brink of
real respectability—perhaps the most respectable position this country can
offer—and to be tailgated by Long Dong Silver! ‘‘This dirt, this sleaze,’’
Thomas told the committee, ‘‘is destroying what it has taken me forty-three
years to build.’’ The White senators could empathize, even identify with
the pain of facing charges of sexual misconduct that threaten to destroy
one’s career. But they could not bond with the racial dimension of Thomas’s
predicament, only look on it with horror.

Anita Hill was the first to mention Long Dong Silver. But once he had
been let loose in the Senate, Thomas knew he would be dogged by him,
whatever he did, so he made a bold and cunning move. Rather than allow
the equation ‘‘Negro Penis’’ to remain unspoken, doing unconscious
damage to his hopes of confirmation, Thomas drew attention to Long
Dong Silver’s racial overtones, thus suggesting that Thomas himself was the
real victim—of ugly, racial stereotyping. The strategy was exploitative and
outrageously misplaced. Hill was a Black woman, as people seemed to forget,
with little to gain by resorting to racial smears; even if she had been
lying, she could easily have come up with a different, equally offensive but
racially neutral, image. Thomas’s strategy, however, proved triumphant.
The senators, going out of their way to prove to the world that they (unlike
Fanon’s patients) did not see the Black man as penis, made him a Supreme
Court justice.

Still, it cost Thomas. ‘‘Yes,’’ he had replied through clenched teeth in
response to Hatch’s deliberately leading question, ‘‘the size of sexual organs
would be something. . . .’’ It was an awful moment, no matter whose
side one was on. Thomas could barely get the words out, groping to make
the stereotype clear while at the same time distancing himself from it; his
use of the subjunctive mood (as though he were describing a possible universe)
and the vague phrase ‘‘the size’’ were unconscious protection
against his own contamination by the image he was exploiting. He knew
that racist imagery, once released from the collective unconscious, is apt to
run amok. And so it did. Thomas won the day, but a sympathetic People
magazine story which appeared later that week, showing Thomas piously
reading the Bible on the couch with his wife Virginia, made his crotch the
visual focus of every photograph.

The magnificently large penis, as we’ve seen, is an icon of cross-cultural
potency. So it’s not surprising that size matters very much to men. When a
Glamour magazine survey asked men whether they would rather be (a) five
feet two inches tall with a seven-inch penis or (beer) six feet two inches tall
with a three-inch penis, 63 percent of the respondents picked (a) and only
36 percent picked (beer).

Yet there is an extensive medical, scientific, and cultural literature designed
to counteract the notion that penis size ‘‘matters’’ to a partner’s
sexual pleasure, a reassurance that—although by no means scientifically
rigorous or convincing—has become virtually official dogma today. I have
no comparative statistics, but I suspect that because of this reactive ‘‘counterculture,’’
far fewer contemporary men are as obsessed with and tormented
by insecurities about penis size as women are about weight. ‘‘Penis
size has never been shown to affect sexual pleasure for men or women’’—
I’ve read some version of this claim over and over, everywhere from popular
magazine articles to sophisticated scholarly books on the construction
of gender to medical guides. An example of the latter is Abraham Morgentaler,
who says (in The Male Body: A Physician’s Guide to What Every Man
Should Know about His Sexual Health), that he offers the following story in
an attempt to calm his patients’ anxieties about size: ‘‘President Lincoln
was extremely tall for his time and was once asked his opinion on the
proper length of a man’s legs. His commonsense answer was that a man’s
legs should be long enough to reach from his hips to the ground. In similar
fashion, a man’s penis should be long enough to reach inside his partner.’’
Hmmm. . . . Sounds a bit like the old sexist joke about breasts, that
more than a mouthful is wasted. But many female doctors seem to agree
with Morgentaler. Lenore Tiefer, associate professor of urology and psychiatry
at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, when challenged to explain


Does Size Matter? / 27
why the partners of phalloplasty patients had more climaxes after the operation,
offers the following: ‘‘Whatever increases a man’s sexual confidence
will probably make his wife happier.’’ Without even considering it, Tiefer
discounts the possibility that her husband’s larger penis might be what’s
giving her those orgasms.

On the issue of penis size, then, men are continually getting mixed
messages. Phalloplasty surgeons continually stoke male anxieties with advertising
campaigns at the back of fitness magazines that proclaim ‘‘SIZE
DOES MATTER,’’ and humor abounds with jokes about the little member’s
sexual inadequacy (Q: Why are women such bad mathematicians? A:
Because for years they’ve been told that this [thumb and forefinger a few
inches apart] is eight inches. Q: What are the three most ego-deflating
words a man can hear? A: Is it in?). In the HBO comedy series Sex and the
City, four girlfriends lament and giggle over the ‘‘gherkins’’ and ‘‘miniature
pencils’’ of past lovers. (It’s not just ‘‘men behaving badly’’ on television
nowadays.) But when a man seeks advice from his family doctor, he’s
told that size is irrelevant to a partner’s pleasure.

Doctors routinely dispense reassuring bromides, sometimes drawing on
biology. That’s how Morgentaler goes on to justify his leg/penis analogy:
‘‘For this is the essential biological function of a penis in the first place, to
enter the vagina so that semen is deposited near the opening of the uterus,
called the cervix. A larger penis does not necessarily perform this task better
than a smaller penis.’’ Well, perhaps—if all a woman’s wanting is to get
pregnant. But even in that case, looking to biology—unless one does so in
a highly selective way—will not necessarily yield reassurance for males. Sexual
selection among many species is based on the principle of sexual dimorphism
—females go for those males whose distinctively male traits
(traits that the females lack) are bigger or more colorful than those of
other males. Darwin was the first to notice this, and to speculate that it was
a kind of conspicuous ‘‘advertising’’ (he didn’t use that word, of course)
for prospective mates. Gould and Gould quote him: ‘‘It cannot be supposed
that male birds of paradise or peacocks, for instance, should take so
much pain in erecting, spreading and vibrating their beautiful plumes before
the female for no purpose.’’

Sometimes, although not always, the sexual organs will be involved.
Male chimps display their erect penises to females as sexual enticement.
The penises of high-ranking baboons are more turgid, and thus hang farther
out, than those of their subordinates. Both reptile and mammalian
penises exhibit an amazing range of decorative enhancements to make
them appear more substantial. Such displays among animals do not serve
only to attract potential mates of the opposite sex; they’re also meant to
assert dominance over potential rivals of the same sex, and thus gain an
evolutionary advantage. Interesting, isn’t it, that this is just what those phalloplasty
doctors promise the augmented male; he can ‘‘increase sexual confidence’’
with women and ‘‘act like a man with a big penis’’ with other

men. Equally interesting is the seeming aversion in the literature on evolution
to acknowledging the biological importance and variety of penile display.
James Gould and Carol Grant Gould have written a fascinating book
called Sexual Selection: Mate Choice and Courtship in Nature. Although we
learn a great deal about long tailfeathers, big antlers, and enlarged claws in
this book, there isn’t a single entry in the index for ‘‘penis.’’ Male primate
‘‘flashing’’ is simply ignored. And when it comes time for the biologists to
produce examples of human sexual enticements and advertisements, the
missing penis is even more striking for its absence. Darwin alludes vaguely
to ‘‘handsomeness’’ and ‘‘appearance.’’ Popular science writer Deborah
Blum produces the rather ethnocentric illustration of height. ‘‘Tall men,’’
she writes, ‘‘are routinely rated most attractive by women, and in fact are
more appreciated by all of society.’’ (Does this hold true among Asians, I
wonder? Or Eskimos?)

Could it be that evolutionary science is uncomfortable with the idea of
the penis on display for sexual ‘‘selection’’ (or rejection)? If so, science
and popular culture have been entirely in synch. It wasn’t until the midseventies,
remember, that Cosmopolitan published that daring centerfold of
Burt Reynolds, his penis hidden demurely behind his hands. (‘‘Equality at
last!’’ Helen Gurley Brown declared.) It took two more decades before
Hollywood allowed viewers their first brief glimpse of a naked penis—Tom
Berenger, playing a man in retreat from ‘‘civilization’’ in At Play in the Fields
of the Lord. After that, we occasionally got frontal nudity, but ‘‘full’’ hardly
describes it. ‘‘Flashing’’ is more accurate, as some man streaked across the
screen, en route and with great dispatch: into the lake, scurrying to the
bathroom. As male body-watchers strained to catch these little tidbits, so
fleeting you could miss them if you blinked, more and more movies
seemed constructed in order to get some entirely naked female in full frontal
view. Interesting, isn’t it, how many more plots seem to ‘‘demand’’ that
actresses take all their clothes off than that actors do?
Of course, over the course of the twentieth century, gay artists and photographers
had created a rich, sensuous, and dramatic tradition which—
unlike classical art—was unabashed in emphasizing, sometimes fetishizing,
the penis. When such representations began to go mainstream—through,
for example, Bruce Weber’s fashion photography for Calvin Klein—the old
taboos began, at last, to break down. But even as recently as 1997, the
Academy Award–nominated British film The Full Monty could present a fullnudity
male strip show as a daring departure from the conventions of (heterosexual)
male stripping. Much about that film was a (very likeable) fantasy,
but this premise was not. Groups such as the Chippendales may flaunt
their bulging bundles , but they never strip naked. In contrast, even in
Hollywood entertainment that’s not oriented toward the after-hours viewer, it’s

become almost obligatory for a crime movie or thriller to set a scene in a
bar, where the men discuss their business while some fully naked female
stripper slides up and down a pole, legs apart, thrusting her butt at them
(and us), almost inviting entry.

For reasons that I detail in The Male Body but do not have the space to
go into here, removing that bottom piece of clothing from the male body
has clearly been a struggle for this culture. Consider, as a humorous but
revealing example, the furor that was caused in 1961 at Mattel Toys when
a female executive argued that Barbie’s new partner Ken ought to have a
‘‘bulge’’ in his groin. Barbie’s own breasts, if translated into human proportions,
would have made her Jayne Mansfield. But the designers had to try
out three different versions of Ken’s crotch in an effort to appease nervous
male executives. Charlotte Johnson, Barbie’s clothing designer, recalls:
‘‘One was—you couldn’t even see it. The next one was a little bit rounded,
and the next one really was. So the men—especially one of the vice presidents
—were terribly embarrassed. . . . So, Mrs. Handler and I picked the
middle one as being the one that was nice-looking. And he said he would
never have it in the toy line unless we painted Jockey shorts over it.’’
Some might argue that the furor over Ken’s bump was to protect innocent
children from an overly sexually explicit plaything. After all, these
dolls weren’t designed as a course in sex instruction. But we’re not talking
here about testicles, shaft, head—just a little plastic mound. And if keeping
sexual messages muted was the issue, then how did Barbie get away with
being a bosomy vamp (modeled after a German sex toy, by the way), while
even an anatomically vague allusion to Ken’s sexuality was so problematic?
Significantly, the plan to give Ken a ‘‘permanent swimsuit’’ was abandoned
only when Charlotte Johnson, Barbie’s clothing designer, pointed out that
little girls would undoubtedly scrabble at that painted swimsuit and scratch
if off, anyway—an invasion of Ken’s privacy that seemed even more loathsome
to the male execs. Better that Ken be undressed to begin with than
have little girls strip him of his dignity.

Evolutionary biologists, no less than the Mattel management, have been
affected by ideologies of gender, particularly when they address questions
of human sexuality. So have social scientists. Commenting on the use of
penis pins among the Dyaks of Borneo, anthropologist D. E. Brown dismisses
the notion that such pins (called ‘‘palangs’’) could bring pleasure to
women. ‘‘The neurology, physiology, and anatomy of the female genitalia
provide little or no clear evidence [of this],’’ he states decisively, adding
that according to Kinsey and his associates, ‘‘the inner walls of the vagina
are generally insensitive.’’ Versions of this finding continually recur in the
medical literature on phalloplasty. Even Thomas Laqueur, a proponent of
the social constructionist view that the way we interpret sexual data is always
mediated by ideas about gender, is remarkably confident that he’s describing
objective ‘‘fact’’ when he writes that the vagina is a ‘‘far duller organ’’
than the clitoris. Elsewhere, he describes the vagina as ‘‘impoverished.’’
Oh really? Reading these ‘‘scientific’’ findings, I was reminded of the
arguments of some early second-wave feminists, who insisted that vaginal
orgasm is a myth concocted by Freud and other male scientists intent on
yoking female sexuality to intercourse and reproduction. I liked the critique
of ideology, but I didn’t like the fact that I was asked to pay for it by
denying my own experience. Like those feminists who claimed that only
something called a ‘‘clitoral orgasm’’ was real, Brown and his colleagues’
construction of reality ignores the testimony of many actual women. ‘‘Before
Paul got his palang, I thought I had a good sex life,’’ says one Dyak
woman, ‘‘Now I tell him if he ever takes it out, it constitutes grounds for
divorce.’’ ‘‘Much more exciting than just a regular penis,’’ says another.
Are these women having tactile hallucinations? More to the point, does
it matter? Perhaps the physiology of the vagina is different than had been
supposed (as some now argue, pointing to the tremendous amount of
clasping and other vaginal activity that takes place during orgasm). But
perhaps ideas have something to do with the pleasure the palang gives, too.
The rhinoceros, revered by the Borneans for its vitality, virility, and fertility,
has a ‘‘natural’’ palang. In altering his body to be more like that of a virile
animal, does the Bornean man enhance the fantasy power of his penis, and
thus his ability to stimulate and excite his partner?
We don’t have to choose between physiology and fantasy. In fact, we do
so at peril of radically misunderstanding the kind of physiology we have—
one that is tremendously suggestible to the cultural ‘‘superstructure’’ of
ideas, associations, images. Whatever our nerve endings, sexual excitement
and orgasm are never simply a matter of touching the right buttons. Or
perhaps better put, not all our buttons are so clearly marked and located
as the clitoris. Some of them can’t bear to be touched at all, and thrive on
distance and denial. Some of them are so diffuse that only the merger of
two bodies will satisfy them. Some of them are in our metaphors: throbbing
members, hot honeypots—or, on the nastier end of the spectrum, drills
and slits. ‘‘Huge, throbbing members’’ may send some people into ecstasy,
while ‘‘big dicks’’ repulse them (or vice versa). A lot may depend on just
what you imagine you have inside you. We could thus poll a hundred people,
gay or straight, and probably get a pretty wide range of answers to the
question of whether or not size matters to pleasure. Some preferences
would undoubtedly reflect differences in anatomy and physiology. None of
them, however, would be describing some ‘‘purely’’ physiological or anatomical
set of facts.

Arguably—although I admit my claim is controversial—even nonhuman
animals attract (and intimidate) each other through the excitations
of fantasy. Think, for example, of those bodily hyperboles that ‘‘advertise’’
sexual superiority by exaggerating particular body parts—horns, tails, etc.
George Hersey has called these animal hyperboles ‘‘biofantasies’’—aptly, I
think, for these enhancements are generally not functionally of all that
much use. Big, heavy tails—like the enormous antlers of many species of
deer and elk—are not just useless, but a downright impediment to defense
against predators. They make moving through vegetation more difficult,
and flight more cumbersome. Big, colorful crests can attract a predator
just as easily as a prospective mate. With the exception of those features
(antlers, for example) used in ritual, rarely harmful, contests with other
males, the sole value of these sexual dimorphisms is to advertise the overall
genetic superiority of the animal who displays them.2 Bigger means better
—but symbolically. In 1982, Swedish geneticist Malte Andersson did an
experiment that proves this point. Male widowbirds drag around enormous
tails of six feet or more in length. Andersson glued extra feathers on some,
snipped some short, and left others as they were. The augmented tails won
out (tails over head, as it were) with the females, attracting more mates
than even the ‘‘showiest natural tail’’ and making it virtually impossible for
the snipped birds to find mates.

The body of the human male, no less than that of other species, has
been a continual arena for metaphorical display and advertisement—not
necessarily truthful—of sexual and social potency. Our symbolic augmentations
range from the most concrete—penile lengthening (the guy who is
intimidated by the large penis of the cocksman with the locker next to his
isn’t afraid of what that burly penis could do to him in a fight, but he
probably does tend to imagine that the guy who flaunts it so brazenly has
the ‘‘balls’’ to clobber him)—to the power-symbolism of muscles (unless
one is a manual laborer, muscles have little use-value in our managementand
service-oriented culture; the potency of muscles resides largely in their
cultural meanings3) to pumped-up literary metaphors (‘‘throbbing manhood,’’
‘‘proud member,’’ etc.) to the most abstract augmentation of all:
the phallus. The phallus—the penis’s symbolic ‘‘double,’’ signifying generic
male superiority—began its career as a symbol of reproductive potency
(in the worship of Osiris and Dionysus) but ultimately came to stand
for an authority that is not biological at all, but rather advertises manly
capacity to transcend the power, needs, desires—and even the biological
sex—of the body.

Like the decorative flourishes of the penises of other animals, all of
these human augmentations enhance the male body with a promise of
sexual satisfaction or power. But like everything else that is human, they are
a product of both biology and culture, and transcend purely reproductive
function. Proud members are as much—actually, more—a fetish of male
homosexual as heterosexual imagery, and have a place (although a controversial
one) within lesbian culture, too, in dildoes that are designed to look
like actual penises. Women nowadays work out as rigorously as men, as
for women’s exercise equipment capitalize on the equation of muscles and
toughness. ‘‘A man who wants something soft and cuddly to hold should
buy a teddy bear,’’ declares a Reebok ad, its kickboxing, grimacing model
looking like she will take no prisoners. (Strikingly, as women have started
to pump up too, the ideal male body—as depicted in underwear and
the like—has become more ostentatiously muscular. Clearly some of us, at
least, want to retain those dimorphisms!) Some women stand as though
they have phalluses; claiming space with their legs and groins in a challenging
and confident way. In GI Jane, after being beaten and bloodied by her
training officer, Jordan O’Neill (played by Demi Moore, who shaved her
head and did everything she could to make her neck-muscles compete with
her breast implants)—who has defiantly gone through men’s training and
testing to prove her equal mettle—is told by him to ‘‘seek life elsewhere.’’
The comment takes her over the edge. ‘‘Suck my dick!’’ she replies. That
woman thinks she has a phallus—and who would deny it?

Recognizing the body’s symbolic dimension addresses (and perhaps
solves) a mystery that has challenged evolutionary biologists: the unusual
evolution of the human penis to fourfold its size over the last seven to
nine million years. The increase serves no obvious physiological purpose
in reproduction. Gorillas measure 1.25 inches on an average erection, and
(as Deborah Blum drolly puts it) ‘‘still manage to get a female gorilla pregnant.
So why, exactly, does a human male need five inches or greater?’’
Evolutionary anthropologist Jared Diamond briefly considers, then basically
discards, the notion that the size of the human penis has evolved to
advertise potency to prospective mates. Women, he argues, ‘‘tend’’ to report
that ‘‘the sight of a penis is, if anything, unattractive. The ones really
fascinated by the penis and its dimensions are men. In the showers in
men’s locker rooms, men routinely size up each other’s endowment.’’
Diamond is right, as we’ve seen, about men’s interest in comparative
size. But what he misses, whether in connection with men’s interest or women’s,
is the fact that finding a large penis (or any penis) visually attractive
is not required to revere its potency or virility. (Among the Borneans, we
should note, the well-hung rhinoceros is not renowned for its beauty.)
When I was a preteen, I shuddered at the thought that someday I would
‘‘have’’ to look at a penis; yet I was well aware that the penis was an organ
of formidable power, and I was drawn to it as such. At a slightly younger
age, I had cringed, too, over the pictures of the beast in my illustrated book
of fairy tales. But when he put his huge paw on Beauty, I was thrilled (an
erotic subtext that Disney’s recent cartoon exploits to the hilt with its
highly sexualized beast). Beauty is not an essential feature of the beast, but
of the girl who liberates the prince in him. While movies may poke fun at
the homely, nebbishy nerd, unhandsome but ‘‘virile’’ male actors like Telly
Savalas and Dennis Franz have frequently become sex symbols in our culture.

My point is not so much about beauty, though, as about ideas. It may
turn out, as some scientists claim, that we are drawn to each other simply
through smell. If so, we have constructed an elaborate edifice of ideas to
obscure that fact. It is ideas that endow the body with beauty and ugliness,
ideas—if one subscribes to an evolutionary view—which advertise our dominance
or reproductive fitness (or lack of it) to each other. Full lips, sociobiologists
like to point out, are favored in women because they signify a high
estrogen endowment. Perhaps. But the preference—as seems not to be the
case for the male dog who will run blindly across several fields in hot pursuit
of an odor—is one which culture can invalidate, too. Consider the
aesthetic racism that prevailed in the West until very recently against Black
and Jewish features; was that not perverse, evolutionarily speaking? Equally
perverse (from an evolutionary point of view) seems the current cultural
preference for skinny or muscled female bodies; if such bodies advertise
anything, it’s reproductive inadequacy, since female bodies require a certain
level of body fat in order to produce the estrogen required to sustain
reproductive cycling. Is aesthetic preference for such bodies a mode of
‘‘natural’’ population control? If so, it would be a strangely selective one,
affecting those portions of the world’s population—relatively affluent
groups in advanced, industrialized countries—most likely to use birth control

We are creatures of biology and creatures of the imagination. Indeed,
our tremendous imaginative capacity is a feature of our distinctive evolution.
That’s why the opposition between nature and culture is a red herring.
Human diversity—cultural, sexual, and otherwise—far from providing
proof that biology has no purchase on us, can be seen as a consequence of
our evolutionary development. That is, for good biological reasons, it’s not
in our ‘‘nature’’ to have one script, sexual or otherwise, given the tremendous
environmental diversity and challenges that human primates, dispersed
all over the globe, have had to deal with. Our physiology itself allows
for this flexibility. In the first two years of life, the brain increases enormously
in size and develops countless synapses that it did not have at birth.
During this period, as psychologist William Pollack points out, the brain is
‘‘pliable and plastic’’ and tremendously open to learning from experience.
It’s ‘‘wired to accommodate developmental interactions that further shape
the nervous system after birth.’’ That makes good evolutionary sense.
‘‘Complex animals,’’ as Richard Wrangham notes, ‘‘have complex mental
and emotional systems underlying their behavior.’’ That complexity, not
surprisingly, manifests itself culturally.

We clearly have a lot to gain by bringing biologists and theorists from
the humanities together in collaborative exploration of the human body.
So far, however, such an understanding has been impeded by an artificial
academic division, with characteristic blind spots on each side. The way
this division has evolved in the twentieth century, it often seems like the
work of some perverse Cartesian administrator who decided to put certain
people in charge of pure bodies and other people in charge of disembodied
minds, and then sat back to see which group would knock the other
out of the ring. Did you know that most texts on evolution do not even have
‘‘consciousness’’ in their indexes? I checked out quite a few and found no
entries on any of the following: ‘‘thinking,’’ ‘‘consciousness,’’ ‘‘mind,’’ or
‘‘experience.’’ There were, of course, many entries listed under ‘‘brain.’’
There were also a few under ‘‘intelligence,’’ described as analogous to a
simple, inheritable physical trait, listed side by side with visual acuity, manual
dexterity, and so on. Humanists, on their part, have typically gone in
exactly the opposite direction, treating reason, consciousness, thought—or
more recently, language, discourse, and representations—as the only items
in their dictionary.

This Cartesian division has created an academy with a radically split
personality, each aspect of which is the mirror-image of the other, virtually
shaped, like the Cartesian division between mind and body itself, in radical,
mutual opposition. On one side of town, those who reduce human beings
to the study of what Descartes called res extensa—mindless bodies—have
made ‘‘the new science of the brain’’ (as Newsweek calls it) all the rage; for
many of these folks, hard-wiring is the key to most human behavior. On the
other side of town, among humanists and social scientists too exclusively
influenced by poststructuralist theory, with its emphasis on how language
and representations shape the ‘‘matter’’ of experience—indeed, according
to some, create the very notion of ‘‘materiality’’ itself—it is being declared
just as unequivocally that (as Donna Stanton has put it) ‘‘bodies are not
born. They are in fact made by culture.’’

So philosophers and literary theorists, while currently hot for ‘‘the
body,’’ often forget that the body is made of flesh and blood, and has an
evolutionary history. Thomas Laqueur, for example, arguing that the notion
of ‘‘two sexes’’ is entirely a cultural, historical creation, ignores the
larger evolutionary picture and potentially instructive comparisons with
other animals, including our own ancestors. ‘‘Anything one says about the
biology of sex,’’ he writes, ‘‘even among the brute beasts, is already informed
by a theory of difference and sameness. Indeed, if structuralism
has taught us anything it is that humans impose their sense of opposition
onto a world of continuous shadings of difference and similarity.’’ Everything
informed by theory—true. Therefore the evolutionary literature on
sexual dimorphism among animals is mere ideology, and utterly uninstructive?
False—unless we’re willing to dismiss Laqueur’s argument for the same
reasons. For please note that Laqueur’s argument, too, is informed by a
theory of difference and sameness—one that has decided that the world is
composed of ‘‘continuous shadings of difference and similarity’’ rather
than oppositions. In this connection, it is striking that he does mention
some animals. They are those—like the hare, the hyena, and the cassowary
bird—that scientists have viewed as sexually ambiguous, androgynous, or
bisexual. Laqueur does use evidence from the animal world to buttress his
point, but very selectively.

Scientists, on their part, commit the mirror-image error and ignore how
extensively symbolic constructs feed into human history, influencing the
evolution of flesh and blood. In considering the issue of whether or not
size matters to a partner’s pleasure, for example, many evolutionary biologists
—even sophisticated thinkers like Jared Diamond, as we’ve seen—
seem to forget that no one who has grown up in a human society ever has
purely physical sex. And while humanists may be over-entranced with
Lacan at the expense of Darwin, biologists seem not to have heard of the
phallus, or indeed even pondered how ideologies of masculinity—not only
nerve endings—set bodies alive with desire or aversion. In this connection
I was struck by Psychology Today’s finding that women who rate themselves
as highly attractive were much more concerned about penis size than other
women. ‘‘Of women describing themselves as ‘much more attractive than
average,’ ’’ psychiatrist Michael Pertschuk reports, ‘‘64 per cent cared
strongly or moderately about penis width and 54 per cent cared about
penis length. Women who rated their own looks as average were about 20
per cent lower.’’ The large penis, then, may be as much a status symbol,
proof of entitlement to the best that nature has to offer, as it is a pleasure
wand. Which isn’t to say that large penises (relative, of course, to their
partner’s size) don’t have a potential for contact and stimulation that
smaller penises may lack, and this potential may indeed explain why the
human penis has evolved to its present size. But it’s also true that such
stimulation, unavoidably, needs to be interpreted as pleasurable or unpleasurable
by the person who is feeling it, and as human cultures have developed,
they have provided a great many associations, images, and ideas to
assist the body in this task.

Just as no one ever has purely physical sex with another body, no one
ever achieves an objective view of one’s own. Young men, you will recall,
have trouble seeing their penises realistically and consistently judge them
to be smaller than they actually are. In part, that’s because it’s not really
flesh-and-blood penises that shape a young man’s perception of what his
penis should be, but a majestic imaginary member—a phallic penis, one
might say—against which no man’s penis can ever measure up. As psychologist
Anthony Quaglieri insightfully notes, thinking that one’s penis is
smaller than it should be is not really about inches but ‘‘about how men
are trained by the world to see ourselves as not enough.’’
Does size matter? Absolutely, yes. But the matter of size is as ‘‘mental’’
as it is ‘‘material’’—never just a question of nerve endings but always a
collaboration with the imagination, and therefore with culture.

1. Robert Mapplethorpe’s controversial photograph Man in a Polyester Suit satirically
illustrates this racist opposition between the White man’s ‘‘civilization’’ and
the Black man’s primitive endowments, by showing a gigantic organ spilling out
from the unzipped fly of a Black man in a tidy business suit, whose polyester material
jokingly represents the tacky, K-Mart artifice of ‘‘civilization.’’

2. Evolutionary theorists are mixed when it comes to the question of whether
that advertising is ‘‘truthful’’ or not; some argue that since the dimorphisms may
hinder flight or fight, the animal is ‘‘lying’’—he’s actually less equipped for survival.
Others claim that the huge energy investment in useless features could only be
borne by an animal of superior endowments in other respects.

3. Have you ever seen an advertisement that displays a muscled torso and a
smiling, warm face? The broad grinning faces of the competitors in bodybuilding
shows seem misplaced, stuck on the wrong physique. On television, that BowFlex
guy just won’t crack a smile, even standing in front of the silliest-looking exercise
machine I’ve ever seen: ‘‘Yes, our equipment may look a little different. That’s
because we’ve designed it to function correctly.’’ The hard body is a ‘‘take no shit’’

4. There is unfortunately not the space in this essay to explain the concept of
the phallus and its evolution. For more, see ‘‘What Is a Phallus?’’ in Susan Bordo,
The Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private (New York: Farrar, Straus,
and Giroux, 1999).

b i b l i o g r a p h y
Blum, Deborah. Sex on the Brain: The Biological Differences between Men and Women.
New York: Viking Penguin, 1997.
Cook, Kevin. ‘‘Is Bigger Better?’’ Vogue, April 1995, 266–268.
Dervin, Daniel. ‘‘The Bobbitt Case and the Quest for a Good-Enough Penis.’’ Psychoanalytic
Review 82, no. 2 (1995): 249–256.
Diamond, Jared. Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality. New York: Basic
Books, 1997.
Findlay, Heather. ‘‘Freud’s ‘Fetishism’ and the Lesbian Dildo Debates.’’ Feminist
Studies 18, no. 3 (1992): 563–579.
Ford, Michael. Best Gay Erotica 1996. Pittsburgh: Cleiss Press, 1996.
Friday, Nancy. The Power of Beauty. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.
Gould, James and Carol Grant Gould. Sexual Selection: Mate Choice and Courtship in
Nature. New York: Scientific American Library, 1989.
Hemingway, Ernest. A Moveable Feast. New York: Scribner, 1964.
Hersey, George L. The Evolution of Allure: Sexual Selection from the Medici Venus to the
Incredible Hulk. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996.
Keuls, Eva C. The Reign of the Phallus: Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens. Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1985.
Laqueur, Thomas. Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud. Cambridge,
Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990.
Lee, Peter. ‘‘Survey Report: Concept of Penis Size.’’ Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy
22, no. 2 (1996): 131–135.
LeHydromaxan, Peter. ‘‘Penis Size Jokes and Their Relation to Hollywood’s Unconscious.’’
.......................... 9058$$ $CH1 01-10-02 08:02:17 PS
Does Size Matter? / 37
In Comedy/Cinema/Theory, edited by Andrew Horton, 43–59. Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1991.
Lord, M. G. Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll. New York: Avon,
Mailer, Norman. ‘‘The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster.’’ The
Time of Our Time. New York: Random House, 1998.
Morgentaler, Abraham. The Male Body: A Physician’s Guide to What Every Man Should
Know about His Sexual Health. New York: Fireside Books, 1993.
Playgirl. August 1997.
Pollack, William. Real Boys. New York: Random House, 1998.
Pronger, Brian. The Arena of Masculinity: Sports, Homosexuality and the Meaning of Sex.
New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990.
Rowanchilde, Raven. ‘‘Male Genital Modification: A Sexual Selection Interpretation.’’
Human Nature 7, no. 2 (1996): 189–215.
Taylor, John. ‘‘The Long Hard Days of Dr. Dick.’’ Esquire, September 1995, 120–
Tiefer, Lenore. ‘‘The Medicalization of Impotence.’’ Gender and Society 8, no. 3
(1994): 363–377.
Wrangham, Richard, and Dale Peterson. Demonic Males: Apes and the Origin of
Human Violence. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.
.......................... 9058$$ $CH1 01-10-02 08:02:18 PS


hehe sorry DLD i aint reading all of that, just for it to say "Size matters" at the end LOL


Lifetime Diamond Supporter
Dec 5, 2003
How the hell an I suppoesed to read all that shit...geese...let me grab a snickers while im at itLOL
Last edited:
Feb 2, 2004
Wow, took me a few 10 minute sessions but very interesting stuff. Seems to close most of the loopholes that other discussions leave open. Very worthwhile read!


Active member
Jun 20, 2003
I read part of it and it seems like a great read. I have a really stupid question, but how can I save that as a PDF? I'd like to add it to my little personal Penis Enlargement archives I like to read through offline.


Jun 23, 2003
Good read DLD thanks. I kinda thought most of that but its nice to hear it from a womans persepctive like you said.


New member
Oct 5, 2004
so wait does size matter?

May 8, 2004
Very thorough and inclusive of many views from both sexes actually.
Apr 19, 2005
I enjoyed reading about half, then I was restricted to time. Quite interesting though.


Active member
Mar 17, 2005
Great read, DLD. Thanks a lot. My urologist told me about a fellow he dubbed, "Saint Joseph," because on their honeymoon, he ejaculated and got his new wife pregnant without actually entering her vagina. His sperm count must have been off the wall. Lol, LOL.


Mar 31, 2005
Nice read. Just wanted to counterbalance a wild assertion with a story...
"The increase serves no obvious physiological purpose
in reproduction. Gorillas measure 1.25 inches on an average erection, and
(as Deborah Blum drolly puts it) ‘‘still manage to get a female gorilla pregnant.
So why, exactly, does a human male need five inches or greater?’’
Evolutionary anthropologist Jared Diamond briefly considers, then basically
discards, the notion that the size of the human penis has evolved to
advertise potency to prospective mates. Women, he argues, ‘‘tend’’ to report
that ‘‘the sight of a penis is, if anything, unattractive."

A while back my gf goes to her gynocologist to check out some new 'ring' contraceptive. The doctor, a female about five years older than her, is telling her all about the new ring thing - "stays near the cervix, your boyfriend won't even be able to tell it's in there"

gf replies "...you don't know my boyfriend"

So the doctor stops for a second, responds "...Alright ! " , and then they both TeeHee like little girls and give each other a high five.

Yeah, ... doesn't matter. Right.

The way I came to hear this story is the first time (and about every third time continually) we'd had sex after she'd gotten the ring and had it in, it came out wrapped around my 'head'. I was wearing it. (!) So she laughs her ass off and tells me the story.

Good bet the doctor heard about that one too. LMAO