This article is supported by Durex.
In Greek mythology, Priapus—the well-endowed god of fertility—was thrust off Mount Olympus, strongly disliked by other gods for his extra-large, permanently erect penis and foul-mindedness. Way back when, smaller penises were the preferred kind of phallus, larger member’s being associated with dirty, naughty, dare-we-say it… lust.
Fast forward 2,000 years and Priapus would probably be a porn legend. Pornography has produced fabricated social norms that a big penis equals a good penis, a big penis means great sex and a big penis will give us the most pleasure. In a time where penis pumps share the shelves with paracetamol, has anyone stopped to wonder—what are the logistics of having a large penis? What pants does one wear? What condoms will fit? What will happen to your partner if your penis is “too” big? We’ve done a bit of digging to find out about the everyday realities of living with an extra-tight package. Here, we hear from a sex therapist, a doctor, a tailor and a guy.
A Sex Therapist
An award-winning counsellor, Timothy McMichael of Timothy Works has a special interest in sex therapy, from sexual dysfunction to sexual fetishes. Here, he shares his thoughts on the psychological and anatomical impacts of a big penis.
How do these conversations about XL penises usually start with your patients?
The first thing people talk about with these kinds of issues is that it actually feels uncomfortable anatomically for them to have whatever they consider to be a large penis. Guys think it’s going to look a bit silly if they’re wearing tight-ish trousers, so they’re actually feeling uncomfortable about the appearance and shape of their penis. So that’s one side of being uncomfortable and the other side is actually around anatomical pain. What I’ll always do, before we get into any issues, is ask whether they need to go and see a GP to make sure that from an anatomical perspective, everything’s okay. Almost always, that won’t be the case. Anatomically, everything’s okay, but there's a psychological message that actually they are unusual.
And what distressing thoughts can stem from this psychological message?
Either “I’m too big” or “my penis is too big”. The feeling that “I’m too big” is more about an individual’s narcissistic sense of themselves, whereas the fear that "it’s too big" comes from an authentic place of concern that the size of their penis is either going to be uncomfortable [for himself] or too uncomfortable for a sexual partner and what goes with that message is “I’m going to hurt them”. You can normally do some quite easy education around that, do some reality checking, so that's easy to manage.
So mentally and psychologically, what kind of strategies could a man and his partner use to push past psychological concerns around the penis?
It’s about communication, it’s about saying “I like you, you like me, we both want this to work. Let’s not worry about some amazing scenario, let’s take this slowly, you give me feedback”. Typically what we’d be seeing is that the partner with the larger penis might be lying down and the receptive partner sits on top, because that immediately gives the receptive partner a lot more control, a lot more confidence to be sure that they’re taking it at a pace which is right for them. Despite what the porn magazines and porn films might perpetuate about the guy being on top, it’s about getting past that social norm. It’s about encouraging both partners to take full control and give lots and lots of feedback. Even if a penis is hard, it’s actually a soft tool so it’s really unlikely you’re going to be hurt.
Choosing to remain anonymous, this Auckland-based Urological Surgeon gives us the run-down on the medical factors of being XL.
What is considered a large penis?
Measurements are often reported as flaccid, flaccid stretched or erect as well as the circumference at these various states. The average stretched flaccid penile length is reported to be around 13cm with standard deviation of 1.8cm, suggesting any penis longer than 16 to 17cm is at the extreme of the spectrum.
Are there any health issues associated with large penises, for men or women?
It’s hard to give an answer to this. A 2010 study in the Journal of Archives of Sexual Behaviour reported that in a survey of over 1,000 men who have sex with men, penis size was positively related to satisfaction with size and inversely related to lying about penis size. The authors suggested the disproportionate number of viral skin-to-skin STIs (HSV-2 and HPV) suggest size may play a role in condom slippage/breakage. [i.e The bigger the penis, the more chance there is of condom damage.]
Are there any medical reasons why you couldn't have sex with a woman if your penis was very large?
I cannot think of any medical complications related to naturally occurring erections, regardless of penile size. However, there are some complications which are seen in men who require oral or injected medications or penile pumps to obtain erections. These can include low blood pressure, dizziness, visual disturbances and in some instances cardiovascular complications such as heart attacks or strokes.
Is there such a thing as a too-tight condom?
It is reported that up to a third of university-aged young adults may avoid condoms because of discomfort, including tightly fitting condoms, vaginal irritation, or loss of sensation. The risk of breakage may be 3-4 times higher for men who experience discomfort when using condoms.
Murray Crane is the founder of bespoke men’s tailoring and fashion brand Crane Brothers, launched in 1999. Too tight in the crotch? With 30 years of experience, he’s your guy.
With finding the right fit, is it common to have to adjust pants for an extra-large penis?
We definitely have clients that do have an issue with their trousers being too tight through what we call the fork or the crotch and we do quite often have to let trousers out through there or have them made with more length. Recently, there has definitely been a trend towards trousers being more fitted and quite tight, so that’s become more of an issue than what it probably used to be when trousers were a lot looser, a lot more comfortable and not as fitting.
What style of pants would you recommend for a very well-endowed man?
Technically, the best style would be something that’s higher in the rise, more length in the rise, and possibly has a pleat, so had more volume so that it was not so fitted. Still tailored, but not tight through the groin or the crotch.
And what would you say to men who maybe feel nervous to come into a tailor to talk about these issues?
Oh, they shouldn’t, because most of the men that we see have got something that they’re not comfortable with or something that’s not quite what they perceive as being “normal”, but after thirty years of measuring men and working with guys, I can tell you that nobody’s “normal”, everybody’s got something; a big bum or no bum, different length arms, shoulders that are different heights. But I guess there is a reasonable amount of stigma around men and their penises, I guess it’s something that they probably don’t feel comfortable talking about in the same way. Interestingly, they’ll normally talk about their testicles more than their penis to be honest.
Chris lives in Auckland and according to the local rumour mill fits the XL category, so we got in touch for a first person perspective on the issue.
So, just how big are we talking about?
I’m a bit over 8 inches [20cm] long, and about 5.5 inches [14cm] thick.
When did you realise you were on the bigger side comparatively?
I didn’t think of myself as larger until around 13 years old when you start to change clothes more in front of your mates for sports and stuff. I was always very modest about being nude, so just didn’t think much about it
What do you think being well hung has meant for your sense of identity?
For my identity, nothing. I’m happy it makes others happy, and I guess I’ve never been insecure about it, so I guess it has been helpful in that regard. Society celebrates big dicks so if nothing else there is that.
What kind of comments do you get about it?
People always comment on the size, though in the scheme of things it’s not a record holder or anything. Still, it is always a positive response and that’s great. It also has a bit of a curve so I get comments on that as well.
Have you had to adapt your style of dressing to accommodate it?
No, I’m a pretty casual guy anyway. I do have to be conscious of the fact that it will show through my pants if I don’t restrain it with briefs. No boxers for me—unless I want to who it off. Which doesn’t happen except for those night out where I know it will have the appropriate audience.
Is it ever a handicap sexually?
The curve in it has been divisive at times, but that’s really it.
Would you change anything about your penis if you could?
I used to want to have a nice straight penis like what I felt was “normal”, but as I’ve matured I realised all penises are different and overall I consider myself fortunate so am happy now with what I was given.
Anything else you'd like to share about your penis?
Yeah, I like my penis and that’s a good feeling.
This article is supported by Durex. Always read the label and use as directed. Reckitt Benckiser, Auckland.
This article originally appeared on VICE NZ.