I was in London recently, gazing upon a plaster rendition of Michelangelo’s David at the Victoria and Albert Museum, when from behind I heard a woman remark to her husband. “Look at his hands, they’re huge!” To which her husband quipped; “Yeah, his bride must have been in for a shock.” What he meant, of course, is that big hands are supposed to indicate a large penis and David… well, ahem, let’s just say that with him, there appears to be an inverse relationship.
Big nose – Big hose. Big feet – big meat. For centuries, in fact, probably ever since men started wearing loincloths, interested parties have sought some kind of visible indicator that would reliably predict the size of a man’s penis. Feet and hands have traditionally been the most popular gauges. I’ve heard women talk in breathless tones about the size of a man’s hands. In an episode of CSI, William Peterson’s character bragged about his size 13 feet.
But now science has finally marched into the dim recesses where folklore and dirty rhymes had hitherto ruled. In 2001, an Italian urologist found a positive correlation between body size and penis size. Well, duh… big or small, people are roughly proportional. It’s no surprise that Shaq can wrap his hands halfway around a basketball. He’s seven feet tall! So there’s a relationship between height and length. Why wouldn’t there be? What inquiring minds want to know is once base body size is factored in, do big hands/nose/feet tell a woman what she can expect in the bedroom?
Once again science rushes to our rescue. In Oct 2002, the British Journal of Urology reported a study that found no correlation between penis size and shoe size. Suddenly, all the men around the world wearing size seven shoes breathed a sigh of relief. But then, mere weeks later, a study headed by Dr. Evangelos Spyropoulos from the Naval and Veterans Hospital of Athens found a statistically significant correlation between the length of a man’s index finger and the length of his pecker. The aim of this study was ostensibly to help doctors counsel and treat men concerned about perceived inadequacies relating to their genitals. How this study was meant to achieve this end was not clearly laid out. “Yes, your penis is small, but now, thanks to our research, everyone will know it! That’ll be $80.”
Now, before you start wearing extra large gloves, or finally springing for that index finger enlargement surgery, it should be noted that these results are far from definitive. To begin with, the sample size was tiny, only 52 subjects and while, yes, there was a statistically significant correlation, there was no attempt to correlate the various bodily measurements with each other. In other words, big men with their big hands and big dicks were lumped in with small men, with their small hands and small dicks. In fact, what’s surprising about the study is that body size did not seem to correlate with penis size. And we’ve just seen from the much larger (3,000 men) Italian study that there is a correlation. Who to believe? It look’s like all you small dicked, small fingered men out there can relax, your secret is still safe. For now.
At a glance, it seems ridiculous that there should be a relationship between a man’s hands and feet and his dick. Besides counting to 11, where’s the connection? A foot’s a foot. A dick’s a dick. Right. Well, maybe yes and maybe no. It’s long been established that the growth, number and position of various body parts is governed by a small number of what’s known as HOX genes. Mess with HOX genes and arms can grow out of your head. Geneticists had a lot of fun with fruit flies when this was first uncovered. All animals (well, vertebrates, anyway) have the same HOX genes or close analogues. The stability of the genes that code for five fingers on mammals, fish and reptiles dating back 350 million years has led scientists to speculate that there may be a genetic connection between fingers and genitalia. Basically, the theory goes: mess with the HOX – mess with the genitals – no offspring.
In recent years such connections have been confirmed. In humans, it’s manifested in an abnormality known as “foxy feet”, in which the thumb is smaller and drawn down towards the wrist – like a fox’s, I would guess. This same phenotypical characteristic is associated with infertility. In less important animals, like mice that we can screw with, it was found that mutations in the hoxal 13 gene led to smaller digits and a deformed penis. Hmmm.
The factors governing digit and penis growth are complex and poorly understood. Hox genes act as switches, producing proteins that effectively shut down or initiate a specific developmental process – like growing your dick. There is speculation that the size of digits and dicks depends on the number of repeated codons (genetic units – like letters) along a specific stretch of DNA. The more codons, the bigger the fingers and other appendages. If this turns out to be true it might help explain why foot size and penis size aren’t correlated. It’s the toes they should have been measuring!
But, no one really knows. The connection between digital and genital deformity is tenuous at best and while there may be a statistically significant correlation, that’s all it is. Not every guy with hands like baseball gloves is sporting a dick to match. Look at David.
So for the woman at the bar seeking to maximize her pleasure with minimum fuss, there’s not a lot to go on. Choosing partners is still a crapshoot. Hands, feet, nose, even the flaccid dick pushing at the fabric of his too-tight trousers, aren’t terribly reliable indicators of what’s going to pop-up when the lights go down. Maybe she should throw caution to the wind and just pick the guy she likes.
The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority in Australia have declared their latest anti-speeding television campaign as one of the most successful ever. The advertisement in question – Speeding. No one thinks big of you – featured a bevy of unimpressed women waggling their little fingers while young men executed a bunch of dumbass testosterone-fuelled antics in their cars.
The little-finger-waggle has become the universal gesture for an undersized willy, so the ads are not so subtly suggesting that if you drive too fast you must have a little bitty one.
And lo and behold, the campaign has been declared an outstanding success. The latest Roads and Traffic Authority research found that three-quarters of people believed the campaign increased community awareness about speeding and 61 percent of young males surveyed for the research believed the campaign had the power to make them think about their own driving behavior.
Perhaps most interestingly, it seems that the campaign is now being reflected in real-life. “Young people are re-enacting the gesture demonstrated in the $1.9 million campaign”, said Roads and Traffic Authority supremo Eric Roozendaal. “Wiggling your pinkie has cut through to that crucial age group of young drivers – they’re using it as a way to slow their mates down and stop them acting recklessly on our roads. This campaign is about saving lives – not pride. If it dents a few egos but helps save a life, then it’s worth it,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
UK researchers Kevan Wylie and Ian Eardley have combed through sixty years of penis-related research and found that small penis syndrome affects an unusually high number of men – even if their size is average.
Writing about their findings in BJU International, the researchers noted that while men often have better sexual confidence if they have a large penis, the women interviewed in the studies didn’t necessarily feel that bigger is better; rather, they cited good looks and personality as the main factors that make a man attractive.
The findings – culled from more than 50 international research projects into penile size and small penis syndrome – show that the average erect penis ranges from 5.5 to 6.2 inches in length and 4.7 to 5.1 inches in girth.
Interestingly, the findings showed that while 85 percent of women were satisfied with their partner’s penile size, only 55 percent of the men were satisfied.
With size concerns being so widespread amongst men, Wylie and Eardley believe it is important to normalize the situation and provide as much accurate information as possible; “as many men either lack information or have been misinformed,” say the researchers.
“It is very common for men to worry about the size of their penis and it is important that these concerns aren’t dismissed as this can heighten concerns and anxieties,” noted Wylie. “This extensive review aims to provide clinicians with an overarching summary of the many research projects that have been carried out into penile size and small penis syndrome.”
Other findings from the review include:
• Generally, penile size was not an important factor for women and 90 percent of women said they preferred a wide penis to a long one.
• Somewhat paradoxically, small penis syndrome is much more common in men with normal sized penises than those with a micropenis.
• The majority of men with penis size concerns say that their anxieties started with childhood comparisons, while 37 percent blamed erotic images viewed in their teenage years.
• Race was not found to be a factor in penis size although the researchers did note that a Korean study appeared to under-report Korean men’s size.
• Enlargement methods were problematic to analyze due to a lack of clinical studies, but the researchers said that patients may experience psychological benefits from them. They also noted that the results of augmentation surgery are poorly documented and significant complications can ensue.
The researchers conclude by suggesting that men with small penis syndrome need to consider a number of treatment approaches. “The initial approach should be a thorough urological, psychosexual, psychological and psychiatric assessment, possibly with more than one clinician involved,” they note, adding that while penile extenders may help, there was a lack of evidence for their effectiveness and psychological conditions should not be treated with gadgets or surgery.
Over the last few weeks I’ve catalogued a collection of knobs that could be considered legendary: Rasputin, Dillinger, Hendrix and Napoleon. All these dicks have been putatively preserved in some fashion and of course, all of them were attached to guys that are now dead. Now, there are a lot of men still in the land of the living with incredible swinging dicks. Some of them are porn stars, some of them celebrities who just happen to be packing whoppers, and no doubt there are dicks the size of your forearm belonging to unknown math nerds, garage mechanics, and of course, your girlfriend’s former lover. But the last trouser-snake I’m going to place amongst the pantheon of Legendary Dicks belongs to a guy who claims he’s hung like a pimple.
I refer, of course, to disc jockey extraordinaire Howard Stern, the self professed King of All Media and possessor of what he terms a “baby sized penis”. Now, Howard’s induction into the Penis Hall of Fame has nothing to do with his actual penis, which according to reliable accounts is nowhere near as small as he claims. Nor does it have anything to do with Stern’s notoriety, or the fact that he talks about it constantly. The reason why Howard’s penis is legendary is because of what it has accomplished. Rasputin’s may have helped bring down the Romanovs and usher in the age of communism, but it didn’t act alone. Howard’s penis on the other hand has single-handedly shifted the zeitgeist.
There have always been men with small dicks amongst us. Penis size is distributed more or less along a bell curve (a bell-end bell curve, if you like). For every guy that’s bigger than average, there’s a guy who is smaller than average. But before Howard Stern, men tended to size their penis the way Starbucks sized their coffee: Tall, Grande and Grande Supremo. No guy would admit to having a small penis. Guys didn’t even joke about that kind of thing. If some guy had a small dick, the only people joking were the guys with bigger dicks. It wasn’t generally included in the self-deprecating repertoire of most men and was too shameful an admission to be made even in jest. Apart from Woody Allen’s plaintive admission that he suffers from penis envy, Stern is possibly the first celebrity to openly admit to having a little dick. He’s certainly the first to exaggerate the smallness of his penis. His stick has become part of his shtick (along with lesbians, breasts and fart jokes, of course).
And because of Howard’s ubiquitous radio presence, admitting the smallness of one’s penis has become almost fashionable. I say almost because most men with little dicks still don’t generally advertise the fact. But thanks to Stern’s proclamations that he’s hung like a baby/three year old/pimple/acorn/raisin/pencil eraser, a great deal of the sting of having a small penis has been assuaged. And this is a good thing, because across the ages, men with small penises have had a very hard time of it. Besides the shame and derision they’ve always had to deal with from their better endowed brethren and the sometimes cruel rejection they’ve faced from women they’ve tried to bed, they are now being deluged by spam hyping the importance of dick size and trying to sell them magic pills. Women still brandish it as the ultimate weapon of male ego destruction. Yet because this famous (or infamous, if you prefer) and funny DJ has come out of the closet so to speak; men with piddly little dicks can take a small measure of comfort in knowing that one of their own has made the world a little more comfortable for them.
So how big (or small) is Howard? Howard insists that he’s got a borderline micro-penis but micro penises are really small. In fact, they could be more accurately described as large clitorises. So if Howard does have a borderline micro-penis, then claiming he’s hung like an acorn would be overstating the size. But in the movie Private Parts (based on Stern’s autobiography), his wife, Allison admits that Howard is “Fine… just fine,” then adds, “Howard exaggerates.” In a moment of rare actual candor on the subject, Howard has admitted that his penis is between 5 and 6 inches. Hmm, if it is in fact between 5 and 6 inches (properly measured along the top of the penis (most guys measure from the sides and get and extra half inch or so – I know I do!) then Howard is, in fact, average. And not a low average either. According to most penis size studies, 5.5 inches is statistically, the medium, median and mode. We’re talking, top of the bell curve here.
So why does Howard think he’s small? Is it just a gimmick? My guess is no. I think Howard Stern probably does believe he’s small and I think there’s every possibility that if he pulled down his pants you might agree with him. When it comes to penises there are generally two different classes of men, those whose penises are small in the flaccid state but grow substantially when aroused (growers), and those who hang larger but don’t inflate very much when engorged (showers). I’ll be writing more about this phenomenon in a future column, but for the time being, suffice to say this is a genetic predisposition. African men tend to be showers. Asian men are usually growers and Caucasians are a mixture of both. My guess is that Howard, being one of the few white men at his high school, suffered from Woody Allen’s version of penis envy. By Stern’s own observation, the black men at his school were “hung like Rhinos”. Add to this the fact that Stern is 6’ 5” tall, which is 10 percent taller than average. Penis size is correlated very closely with general body size and by that measure Howard’s truncheon, while average for the general population, could be considered small for his body size. No wonder he figured he was short-changed.
So if Howard – despite his repeated and vociferous claims to the contrary – actually has a completely average dick, does he still deserve to be included in the Penis Hall of Fame? Absolutely! Because nobody has done more to make size-challenged men feel better about themselves. Stern recently held a televised small penis contest and teeny peeny men were lined up out the door for a chance to go on a cruise and star in a porno flick. They were petite, but thanks to Howard, they were proud!
A new study has reported on the outcomes of a sex education treatment program for men complaining of a short-sized penis. The study, published in the journal Urology, was conducted by the Cairo University Hospital Department of Andrology and Sexology. Over two years, it focused on 92 patients complaining of a small-sized penis in either the flaccid or erect state.
Of the patients, 72 percent complained of a short penis only in the flaccid state, and 28 percent complained of a short penis in both the flaccid and the erect state. None of the patients had erectile dysfunction.
The doctors began by collecting historical details, with particular emphasis on the duration of the complaint and the sexual habits of the patients. The doctors found that almost all of the patients had an inflated concept of what size a normal penis should be.
All the patients were then asked to complete the International Index of Erectile Function short-form questionnaire and were tutored by an andrologist on sex education matters. The penile length and girth were measured twice using a tape measure in both the flaccid and fully stretched states. The patients were informed that if their flaccid and stretched penis size was 4 cm (1.6 inches) and 7 cm (2.75 inches) or more, respectively, it was considered normal.
Most of the patients said they found the combination of sex education with standard penile measurements helpful and relieving. According to the measurements, none of the patients had an under-sized penis and almost all the patients were incorrect in what they thought to be normal penile size.
The researchers said that men complaining of a short penis should be treated using the basic principles of sex education along with objective methods of penile size evaluation. They believe this combination can correct any previous sexual misconceptions, relieve unnecessary anxiety concerning penile size and decrease the desire to undertake still-to-be scientifically verified lengthening methods.
In 2001, Dr Eduardo Gomez de Diego came across some research on average penis size published by the Spanish Society of Andrology. The results surprised Diego as they didn’t agree with the results he had obtained from his own clinic’s survey examining the size of the average Spanish male. This spurred Diego to enhance his own survey and to expand it by gathering results from other countries. The statistics took over a year to gather from journals and studies published around the world and the results have now been made available.
Diego admits that the results are not exhaustive. “We couldn’t find references for many countries and in some cases we couldn’t even find the appropriate people to talk to about it,” he said. “Specialist journals and other sources like urologist associations tended to be the sources for the results we did gather.”