The Skinny and the Short of It

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For ages—since time immemorial, if you will—women have wondered, aloud and in private, whether men compared their penises in the locker room the way women have traditionally sized up each other’s breasts. From birth, females are ninja-like in their stealthiness. Stealing appraising cup-size glances out of the corners of their eyes, pretending they’re just checking out the hem on that hot new skirt goes with the territory. Men, on the other hand, abide by a strict “no peeking” rule instituted shortly after birth, and adhered to more fastidiously than Lent, Lost, and the French method for preparing a soufflé. 

And for as equally long an age—time immemorial supermaxed, if you will—men have been wondering just how women have been thinking, musing, whispering, talking, joking, and making viral videos about their the size of their endowment. 

Of course, there are the legions of phallic platitudes—as tired and overworn as a lifelong Hallmark hack—that women have seemingly been bred to pump out when a man doesn’t exactly measure up—like some sort of on-demand video service. Or hand soap. Or hand…wait, forget it. 

Let us now review a few of these pump-handled platitudes: 

  • Size doesn’t matter!
  • It’s how you use it!
  • It’s not the size of the boat, but the motion of the ocean!
  • It’s not the thickness of the dick; it’s the slickness of the trick!

Okay; we made that last one up. But you’ve got to admit—it made just about as much (non)sense as the others, right? And after, oh—a decade or two of mouthing these clichés to every hulking man-child they meet, women inevitably find themselves asking the same question: “Men came up with this shit themselves, didn’t they?” 

Well, yes. Yes, they most certainly did. Because there are some things that not even duct tape and Microsoft service packs can fix. 

Of course, men obsess over their penis size far too much (and far too prodigiously) for any of their own inventions to be much consolation.

So let’s turn, if only for a moment, to the annals of, um, hard science. (Sorry; we couldn’t resist.) According to a conflated confluence of studies, the average penis length of a human male measures out somewhere between 5.1 to 5.9 inches. 

A 2005 study, however, yielded some interesting results: 85 percent of women surveyed said they were satisfied with their partner’s size; only 55 percent of men reported satisfaction with their own size. Psychology Today ran their own survey (and really, who hasn’t), and to no one’s surprise, revealed that 71 percent of women responding felt that guys spend far too much time worrying over their penises. 

All of which just goes to show that the question of cock-worthiness is a cottage industry unto itself, employing a marauding army of shrinks, quacks, kooks, and Billy Mays wannabes plying their pills, pumps, and ornately hand-drawn propaganda (usually depicting a well-chiseled male frantically tugging on his bits, with thin, pearl-like beads of sweat glistening on his brow and abs, giving him the appearance of an Adonis constructed of butter and going through some bad withdrawal symptoms). 

The Hard Truth
But that’s not the real question, is it? The real question here is do women prefer ’em big? 

Well, in a word, yes. But like affordable healthcare, soy milk, and I Love New York, we’ve all learned that sometimes you have to settle for less. 

Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble. But if we’re going to be honest—and why not; our moms aren’t nearby—it’s fairly safe to say that most women would, in a perfect world, prefer a larger penis (up to a point, of course, being able to walk post-coitus is definitely a plus), especially when it comes to girth. Just as most men would prefer a woman with breasts larger than her own head—it’s human nature to want to super-size everything. 

But fret not! There’s no need to go sticking your head in the oven. Everybody’s body is different—and all genitalia are precisely imprecise when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of side-by-side comparisons (show, don’t tell). No two weenies are the same. Yes, penises are much like snowflakes—fleshy, stubby, one-eyed snowflakes that, when provoked, issue forth a litany of bodily fluids. Okay, so maybe they’re not all that much like snowflakes after all. (Unless global warming’s even worse than they’re letting on.) 

At the same time, no two vaginas are the same. (We’ll spare you the revisiting of the gratuitous snowflake analogy.) So it’s somewhat reasonable to suggest that what most of us are really looking for is just a good, snug fit. Like a sports bra. Or a spray-on condom. Or the earbuds to your iPod—as long as you get your groove on. 

It should also be said that any man who relies solely on the size of his penis to get by in bed is probably going to find himself inhabiting a very lonely bed eventually—unless he’s a porn star—in which case, he’s busy having sex on linoleum, poolside, and behind the Y in the Hollywood sign. Sex at its best is not a simple matter of inserting tab A into slot B. It’s a mélange of materiality (and perhaps immateriality)—we have hands, fingers, tongues—and of course, a bit of outside interference in the guise of sex toys. And while we’re on the subject of incontrovertible tools of the art of sex, let’s not forget the most important sex organ of them all—well, the one besides your right nipple—i.e., your brain.

So let’s review: 

For the men: Yes, gentlemen, chances are that you could stand to have a larger penis. And yes, she’d probably like it to be a wee bit bigger as well. 

For the women: Yes, ladies, he knows it’s kind of teensy—and he knows that you know it, too.

So it’s one of life’s little white lies, like the dress you probably should’ve retired in 1999, or the Eagles CD in your car (they’re not cool; they’re old—but you can tell yourself otherwise as long as it makes you happy). Because, no matter how you slice it (and please—do not slice it), there is no magic pill or potion with which to create a monstrously proportioned frankenweenie—and tugging on it is just going to make it hurt. A lot. And thus, in the end, the answer to man’s greatest question is a fairly well-muddled one, not unlike an expertly made mint julep, which is the lesson herein: You aren’t born with the innate ability to make fabulous cocktails, but with a little know-how, a little practice, and a little TLC, you can tend some bar with the best of ’em.

Originally published on Sexis


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