Scrolling through Instagram this week, I came across a meme that said, "If you're having a bad day, just remember there's females out there who gonna take a small dick tonight and act like they love it cause it's their man." The caption continued, "Be happy with that USB thumbdick baby girl."
But for men who have micropenises, the punchline is all too real, as is the stigma that comes with having a dick that sometimes really is no larger than a USB stick.
A micropenis is defined as a penis that measures less than 2.5 standard deviations below the mean average penis size when stretched and flaccid; the actual length would likely be fewer than 2.5 inches.
The condition affects about 0.6 percent of men.
"It's a very rare event," Dean Elterman, urologic surgeon at Toronto Western Hospital, told me.
Elterman said a micropenis can be diagnosed during infancy; they develop mainly when testosterone has trouble getting to the fetus in utero. If caught very early, it's possible to use testosterone shots to potentially boost the penis length, but Elterman said after puberty that's not effective. Nor are creams, injections, and pills available online. As for penis enlargement surgery, Elterman said men who have small penises often attribute that to other problems in their lives "which can lead to anxiety about relationships, depression, low self worth." A surgery won't necessarily produce results they want, he said, and it won't cure mental health issues.
"You have to really address the whole person and not penis alone."
VICE reached out to a bunch of men who have micropenises to find out how being small has impacted their lives.
Jack, 29, Fort Worth, Texas
VICE: How big is your penis?
Jack: It's kind of varied some, but recently it's been three inches, at most three and a half (when erect). It's pretty much all head flaccid, usually smaller than an inch, with a wrinkle of flesh above. A minority of the time it's an "innie."
When did you realize you had a micropenis?
I would say when I was about 11. I [had] seen all my friends naked and stuff and realized that I was a lot smaller than them. I think honestly I'm probably about the same size now that I was when I was about 11 or 12.
How did you feel about it?
I remember watching Scary Movie and there's the baby dick scene and I kind of thought, Wow I'm smaller than him, and at the same time, I kind of got a rush from realizing that. I think the nickname "Baby Dick" really stuck in my mind, and I've always thought of myself as a baby dick, I suppose. I would always think in both a horrified way and eventually an aroused nightmare turned fantasy where my tiny dick was exposed, and I was called "baby dick" and other pejorative nicknames, and in my fantasies, some girl would always say, "Oh, my two-year-old brother is bigger than that."
So it became a fetish?
I really think it developed as kind of a subconscious reaction to deal with insecurities and that sort of thing. I think part of it is men want their penis to be noticed, and if one has a very small penis, one could never believe someone who was telling them it was a big dick, so the next best thing is to be small. I dated a dominatrix and I loved her to tie me up and tease me about my "baby dick," "tiny dick," "teenie weenie," "useless worm." It is an amazingly thrilling combination. I even let her fuck me in the ass with a strap-on, proving that she could be more of a man and have a bigger dick than me, a pathetically small baby dick.
When did you have your first sexual encounter?
I was about 18 when I first got a blowjob and 19 when I first had sex. The first time I got a blowjob, when I pulled out my dick, it was really kind of awkward. You could tell she was really surprised that it was small and she kind of laughed about it. The first time we had sex, she had known for a while that I was on the smaller side, so it was an enjoyable experience.
So you told her beforehand?
Yes, I did kind of make some subtle references to it, and we had kind of discussed it before she saw it. I think she was more intrigued than anything else.
Is it a handicap sexually?
I would say that it's kind of a handicap in some ways. But I would say most guys who are on the smaller side kind of make up for it in other ways as far as orally and with hands and stuff like that. It's kind of like they realize there's kind of a disadvantage. I definitely tried to overcompensate.
What's your sex life like now?
I've been married about five years now. It's been about two months since the last time we had sex. It's kind of mixed because of my small penis humiliation fetish. Sometimes my wife will also help as far as role playing, just kind of talk about, "Your dick is so small" and sort of mock my perceived inadequacy. I've actually tried to get my wife to gossip about it, she hasn't really agreed to do that.
Has having a micropenis ever been the source of mental-health problems?
When I was younger, I kind of dealt with depression, a few sort of suicide attempts. Like one time I took eight hydrocodone and drank half a bottle of Jack Daniels, and I was about 15. I definitely kind of dealt with some issues that are only somewhat, I think, tied to the fact that I have a micropenis
Jesse, 23, Rock Port, Missouri
How big is your penis?
It's about two to two and a half inches when hard. It's roughly the size of a Bic lighter.
When did you realize your penis was smaller than average?
Me and a friend of mine were very young, I think he was seven, I was six. We both would run around the woods together. One day we both had to pee, and we stood almost hip to hip while we did. I noticed, even at that age, his was considerably bigger than mine.
What would your ideal size be?
Have you ever had a bad sexual experience because of your micropenis?
The first woman I was ever with, I was 17 when I lost my virginity to her. She was warned I could be very small so after it happened she kept telling how big it was and that I'm huge, just trying to make me feel better. Then about a week later we broke up, and she went around to anyone that would listen telling them about my condition and had pics to show them. I caught a lot of flack from that.
Has it affected your ability to have sex?
Definitely. A lot of positions the average person can do I'm too small for; I can't have sex while standing at all and I'm actually stuck with only about three or four positions I can successfully do.
Well missionary with me on top, missionary with her on top, doggy style, and I think that's about it. Those are the only ones I can achieve penetration from.
How often do you masturbate and is it difficult?
Every few days. It's not necessarily difficult, just different than the average guy—I have to hold it in my finger tips most of the time.
How is your sex life now?
I'm currently married. She actually likes my size, but honestly we do swing, and I think that helps our relationship a lot.
In what way?
She enjoys seeing me with men and enjoys pleasing them as well, and I actually enjoy knowing she is getting a normal-size penis since I honestly don't always cut it. After we started swinging, we no longer hold anything back sexually, and she says she has been with huge guys and it hurt her to have sex with them. She said she does wish mine was bigger sometimes but is just glad it's small enough not to hurt her.
Have you thought about penis enlargement?
After doing research, I've found that most won't work and the ones that actually show results cost an arm and a leg.
Anything else you wanted to share about your penis?
Well, on top of having a micropenis, I'm what's known as partially circumcised—more or less a botched circumcision that means I was left with about half my foreskin. Definitely had the short straw drawn in the pants department.
Neil, mid 50s, UK
When did your penis stop growing?
My penis has always been tiny since I can remember. It hasn't stopped growing, just never grew.
How big is it?
It's three centimeters erect and nonexistent flaccid, you can only measure it erect. It's the size of a two pence piece.
Tell me about your sex life
I am bi-sexual. I've only tried to have sex twice, it was impossible. I have had women laugh at me, that's why I have given up dating.
Can you masturbate?
I can masturbate, but it is difficult. I can't hold it, just rub it.
How have these issues affected your mental health?
It does depress me and causes me to feel I am inadequate. I have thought about enlargement. It would be lovely to have a proper penis.
Chris, 42, Netherlands
How big is your penis?
Erect, it is four inches, which is not micro but very small. Not erect, the size varies between zero and one inch. I would be happy with one more inch.
When did you first notice it was smaller than average?
I noticed in primary school. We swam weekly and we dressed in a public dressing room, so I found out very soon that my penis looked different than other boys. They found out also.
When did it stop growing?
Around my 12th birthday.
What was your first sexual experience like?
At about 12, a good friend and I masturbated together. He made me realize a penis could do more than just pee. My first sexual experience with real sex was at the age of 26—till then I was a virgin.
Have you ever had a particularly embarrassing sexual experience due to your micropenis?
That was during my first sexual experience. I lost my condom and it was very hard to find the woman's vagina. Losing condoms is very common, so I decided to buy a smaller size which are available online.
How has it impacted your sexual performance?
It has not impacted my sexual performance. Since I use smaller condoms, I do not lose them anymore and safe sex is possible with my wife. My sexual performance is OK since my wife prefers not to do the complete Kama Sutra. We do not try positions. But that is not due to my small penis.
Do you tell your sex partners about your micropenis prior to having sex?
I did not—they were able to find out themselves. Neither one of them complained about it.
Interviews have been edited for style and clarity
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.