Updated 28 November 2016

Not big enough

Men seem to be particularly concerned about penis size, our Great South African Sex Survey revealed. Can something be done?

"How can i grow the girth of my penis bigger naturally, and how can I solve the problem of premature ejaculation?"

Among the many questions asked by the 11 000 people who completed Health24's 2009 Great South African Sex Survey*, concerns about penis size were common. No surprises there. The questions came primarily from men concerned that their penises were too small (there were no questions or comments, either from men or from women, about too-large penises).

In some cases, there was a belief that after a partner had had their baby, her vagina had stretched, making sex unfulfilling for both. And, as in the question above, there was also a thought that penis size might be connected to sex being unsatisfactory in other ways, like being the cause of premature ejaculation.

As it happens, there is absolutely no evidence that size counts. At all.

Could I have the attention of the entire world for one second, please?

There are no drugs that make your penis bigger.
There are no drugs that make your penis bigger.
There are no drugs that make your penis bigger.

Now which part of that don’t people understand?

As art, literature, and folk medicine attest, the desire for a larger penis has been with us for thousands of years. Alas, neither Egyptians, nor Mesopotamians, Romans, Phoenicians, or Victorians discovered a solution. Anyone who’d like more heft in their package but can’t figure out how, is not alone.

A man can shave his pubic hair to create the illusion of a bigger penis. He can have fat injected into his penis, which will make it look bigger for a while. When the fat settles after 4-6 months, however, he’ll have a lumpy penis no larger than he started with. And he can have the ligament holding his penis to his abdomen cut, so more of it dangles down away from his body. Again, this will give the illusion of a bigger penis. But he does have to allow someone to put a sharp scalpel very close to his favourite piece of flesh, with results that are not entirely guaranteed. It’s an illusion that requires a roll of the surgical dice.

The mystery is why the interest in a larger penis endures in men. You’d think there were some long tradition of women throughout history shrieking from the riverbanks, “if only my man were bigger, I’d be happier!” It just isn’t true. Women seem to want many things - more kissing, cuddling, and cunnilingus, among others - but an extra inch here or there is not the dream of most women.

The desire for a bigger penis, I think, is really the desire for other things - relaxation, more confidence, disinhibition, an insight into women, even wisdom. Unlike penis size, those things are actually available. But a man has to be willing to learn a few things about himself and eroticism, and let go of some beliefs, attitudes, misinformation, and, well, a certain unhelpful attitude.

Talking to one’s mate honestly - and, even more important, listening closely - also helps one acquire sexual wisdom and self-confidence. De-emphasising intercourse is a good place to start.

* The Great SA Sex Survey launched in the middle of December 2008, and was live for five weeks. A total of 11 181 people completed it. The responses were weighted using the latest variables from Statistics SA’s General Household Survey, so the statistics you see here are representative of the habits and attitudes of 2,6 million urban metro adults, aged 20 years and older, who earn at least R2 500 a month.


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