This article originally appeared on VICE US in June 2015
It's already been established that most women aren't size queens. So what exactly do they look for in a dick?
According to a recent Swiss study, not a whole lot.
A group of 105 women aged 16-45 were asked to rate the appearances of 20 penises, and rank eight aesthetic categories in order of their importance. "General cosmetic appearance" (like are you covered in warts?) was ranked first, with pube grooming coming in second. Everything else—girth, length, the appearances of the glans and scrotum—fell much farther behind.
The study was initiated to investigate whether women were significantly repelled by male genitals that had undergone a procedure to correct a common birth defect called hypospadias. This congenital genital condition is typified by the misplacement of the urethra on the underside of the penis, near that sensitive spot known professionally as the frenulum.
Hypospadias affects about 1 in 300 newborn boys, so it's not that uncommon, and it's easily corrected through cosmetic surgery. Half of the penises in the study had undergone a procedure to correct hypospadias, which leads to a slightly abnormal-looking meatus (the opening of the urethra and my new least favorite word). However, the appearance and location of the meatus was ranked least important by the participants, so men who've had this procedure should learn to stop worrying and love their junk.
The study does have some holes in it, no pun intended. For example, curvature of the penis was not one of the ranked categories, which seems pretty significant. Also, all the penises were circumcised—probably to simplify the results of the study, but the exclusion of uncut samples doesn't seem very egalitarian. No data on the participants' nationality or sexual orientation was given either, and it stands to reason that these factors might be relevant to their beauty standards.
Regardless, the study verifies what we already know to more or less be true—all that really matters is that you know how to use it.