relationships

Gay Guys With Small Penises Share Their Hookup Horror Stories

"A guy said I felt 'weird'. After that, I was back to never even trying to get intimate with strangers.”
10 March 2020, 3:00am
Two bananas of difering sizes
Photo: Sergey Zaikov / Alamy Stock Photo

This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

“Are you hung/XL”?

If you’re a queer guy, chances are that question has shaped a good chunk of your Grindr experience. Sure, it’s a casually posed enquiry. But the question reinforces the stigma surrounding penis size – particularly in male-male hook-up culture – that drives many men to feel ashamed, embarrassed or undesirable.

“Whether or not your penis size is objectively above, below, or exactly average, what your anxious mind tells you might be quite different. Body dysmorphia is no joke, and mental health deserves to be taken seriously,” explains Dr Sam Miles, PhD research fellow in social science at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Having a preference is one thing. But as Sam tells me, certain preferences become idealised and strengthened through their repetition in media culture – with particular reference to porn and dating apps. The result, of course, risks edging out bodies, people and identities perceived to be "different".

When it comes to penis size in male-male hook up culture, individuals can end up afraid of dating, put off sexual activity and in some cases abstain from sex altogether to remove themselves from the risk of being shamed, or feeling shamed. Yet, penis size-shaming continues to be broadly presented as a joke in popular culture, as this recent Guardian article surmised so well.

So in the interest of smashing the stigma and humanising the situation, here are four men with smaller penises who have told VICE the reality of their experience, and how it feels to be discriminated against.

“I asked if everything was OK, and my hookup said: ‘Only men with big cocks can fuck me’”

When I was single I felt like I was trapped in a permanent state of rejection from men due to my looks, penis size and body shape. This has all lead to self-loathing which I am still working through.

Luckily I have an incredible partner who loves me for me. I often comment, make fun or ask about my penis size. “Is it a problem? Would you rather I had a bigger one?,” I ask, or my go-to on repeat: “I wish I was hung like you are”. He is amazing at making me love myself for what I am and I am starting to appreciate what I have.

It hasn’t always been like that. I hooked up with a guy in 2013 and he kept wanting to know if I was hung. I did my best to keep the mystery but I really wanted to meet him as he fulfilled one of my fantasies: the bi builder. I’m a grower not a shower so I sent a few snaps when I was fully erect, making sure the angle showed it off to its full potential. Nothing misleading.

He came over one evening after work and was exactly what I wanted: "straight-acting" with a girlfriend at home. We started to get naked but I kept my pants on and started to suck his (not huge but bigger than mine) cock. He pulled me up and told me to fully strip. I was hard but nervous about it because of all the build-up from the previous days’ messaging.

I stripped and he looked at it. He grabbed it and stepped back. He looked at me and said he wanted me to finish him off; I obliged.

When he had come, I asked if everything was okay and he said, “Yeah, just wished you’d not lied about your cock size. No way are you hung and you’re not thick enough. Only men with big cocks can fuck me.” I stood in amazement and wish I could say I sternly told him to go fuck himself. But I can’t lie: I was silent and escorted him out. Luke, three inches

“I see myself as a top, which makes having a smaller penis even tougher”

In the gay community I see myself as a top, which makes having a smaller penis even tougher. You know, it's funny, I've never seen anyone ask a poorly-endowed straight guy, "No luck with the ladies? Have you tried getting pegged instead?" But un-hung gay tops get "No luck on Grindr? Have you tried bottoming instead?". But no, bottoming does nothing for me unfortunately; it'd certainly make things easier if it did.

Saying "it doesn't matter if you're small, you can always use other things besides your dick" doesn't help if you want to use your dick because, y'know, you want to get off too.

I ended up hiring an escort a few months back to break a many-year dry spell. We met up a few times and did the whole "boyfriend experience" thing, which helped restore some of the self-confidence I'd been losing due to the constant rejections.

He ended up flaking on me for one appointment. When I followed up, he said he wasn't really enjoying sex because he could barely feel it and he'd prefer not to meet up again. So my confidence promptly went right back down the tubes and I've sort of given up since then.

The problem with being an un-hung top is actually scoring a hook-up in the first place. If you're hung, lots of guys want to sleep with you just for that; if you're poorly-endowed, you have to either get to the point of a hookup without dick size coming up or convince someone that you're good enough for them to "put up with" your shortcomings. While everyone I've actually managed to hook up with has had a great time, those guys have been few and far between 'cause I tend to get blocked on Grindr as soon as I send a dick pic. – Jeff, four inches

“A guy said I felt 'weird'. After that, I was back to never even trying to get intimate with strangers”

I would argue that for a long time I thought I just had a micro-penis. I didn’t know or understand I was intersex. At one point I even thought it was due to my ethnicity that my penis was small – because they always say Asians are smaller.

Intersex is an umbrella term – in my case I was born with XY chromosomes, but my penis was deemed too small and required surgery for a "correction" from four months old.

Growing up, I just thought I had a small penis and that doctors were really interested in it. I didn't know why it was such a big deal but I knew that it was something not to talk about, hence the shame, stigma and embarrassment.

Phalloplasty was a way for me to have a "normal" body – except it's not very normal because it's created from my forearm. I've also got a prosthetic device built in which would be pumped up for sex. All of the surgery I’ve had is cosmetic. Because I was taught that my original penis was too small or not good enough. I was made to feel less male – because of nature.

The reaction to my old penis was usually surprise or fascination from anything close to hookups. At one point a guy said I felt "weird". And so I was back to never even trying to get intimate with strangers or people who don't know me fully. That guy didn't say anything else – it was in passing when he left – and I never saw him or heard from him again. That comment put me off dating for a long time. Everyone subsequently has been a friend or someone I've dated long enough to "prepare" them.

People have the idea that penis size and appearance is super important. It's a matter of attraction and people who don't have above "average" penis size are automatically undesirable or less attractive as a result. It becomes seen as a preference – like how people argue skin colour is too.

Therapy around body image issues is something I’ve tried but it was difficult to relate to given my situation. I wish people would stop judging men on things they have no control over. We shouldn’t be reduced to that part of our bodies. We all deserve to love ourselves and that’s harder to do when your body is seen as undesirable or a joke by society. Whether it’s “banter” or not, joking about penis size is not funny. It can lead to very serious mental health issues and low self esteem. – Vihaan, two inches

“He told me I was too small to fuck him good and it wasn't worth it. I ran as far back into the closet as I could”

I always was uncomfortable with my body because I'm a heavier guy and also have a small penis. I'm about three and a half inches, though if I lose more weight I'm sure I'd be closer to four. I would always hear talk of penis size but thought to myself as a closeted celibate gay, at least it would never matter or come up.

In my early-mid 20s, I was starting to come out of my shell and feel more confident in myself. I was even thinking about coming out as gay. I was at a concert and I had inadvertently flirted with a guy. I was pretty drunk and my inhibitions were pretty damn low. I chatted him up and next thing I know we're making out and he's dragging me by the arm to do the deed in a restroom stall. At this point I've not done anything sexual with a man at all, I had only had strong desires and had enjoyed homoerotic pornography and fiction.

He drags me into a restroom stall wanting me to fuck him. I'm pretty eager at this point. He wanted to blow me first and I wasn't gonna argue. But when my pants came down his face changed. He told me I was too small to fuck him good and it wasn't worth it. He still offered to blow me and I'm ashamed to say I let him, but I was deeply hurt.

His words cut me down. That sadness and hurt turned to shame and anger. My confidence had been shattered. I ran as far back into the closet as I could. I wouldn't try anything with another man or come out of the closet for another nine years.

These days I tend to want to wait for at least date number three for any sort of sexual activity. However even guys who have been crazy about me, shortly after we have sex they always seem to end it. Only one guy didn't end it immediately and wanted to keep seeing me, but a month later he did break things off with me and was honest about us not being "sexually compatible" and his need for something larger. – Chad, three and a half inches

* Names have been changed. If you have been affected by this article, please contact Mind, the mental health charity for men at mind.org.uk/ or speak to other gay guys in your community.

@adamzx