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Scientists Think They've Figured Out What Makes a Good-Looking Penis

If you were worried that your scrunchy-looking penis hole was a turn-off, it turns out that's not a problem.
1918 Gray's Anatomy penis diagram via Wikimedia Commons

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A paper released yesterday in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reveals the results of an experiment designed to figure out what kinds of dicks women (though not men for some reason) like to look at. The experiment, which was intended to shed some light on the aesthetic effects of one type of corrective penile surgery seems to have stumbled upon part of the secret aesthetic language of the penis.


The paper is titled "What is a Good Looking Penis? How Women Rate the Penile Appearance of Men with Surgically Corrected Hypospadias." It focuses on—as you might expect—men with surgically corrected hypospadias, a disorder in which the urethral opening is below and just behind the head of the penis, 'round about the frenulum (NSFW).

The team of Swiss researchers was led by psychologist Norma Katharina Ruppen-Greeff. Ruppen-Greeff and her team set out to figure out if men whose penis have an oddly-shaped meatus after their hypospadias surgery need to worry about aesthetics. Yes, part of the human penis really is called a "meatus"—it's the opening of the urethra.

The scientists got 20 men to have their penises photographed from all sorts of angles. The photos were then superimposed together like crime scene photos being presented to a jury (NSFW), and presented to 105 demographically diverse women. The sampling of men included ten hypospadias patients, who had undergone corrective surgery—an operation that places the meatus roughly in the place you would expect a meatus to be. In the photo included in the paper, hypospadias surgery looks like it made the penis look a bit like it's squinting. But do women find that ugly?

Not at all, apparently. Selection for "position and shape of meatus" ranked at the very bottom of the list of traits. But that's not the last of the interesting revelations.

It breaks down like this: "general cosmetic appearance" is most important (more on this later); "appearance of pubic hair" is second, qualities of the skin and girth are tied for third; shape of the glans is fifth; length is sixth; scrotum aesthetics are seventh; and last but not least, our friend the meatus.

It's unsurprising that "general cosmetic appearance" would rank first since it's so vague (no major dents?), and it also stands to reason that a beautiful or especially ugly scrotum won't really help or hurt you. Also, while these results might be a further self-esteem boost for small-dicked guys, it's a pretty tired cliche at this point that women don't really care about length. We already know that they do sometimes (like when it's beyond small), but not most of the time. Still, the rest of the results have fascinating implications that deserve further exploration—and possible new areas for men to focus their neuroses.

For instance, the notion that skin qualities and girth were toward the top—and tied for importance—suggests that those relatively unsung features deserve more attention. And while shape of the glans didn't rank high on the list, it apparently wasn't completely off the radar of these women, which introduces an interesting new dimension for possible barroom contests; Brooklyn already has a smallest dick contest, but where's "Brooklyn's most beautiful glans"?

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