A study released this week informs us that the average worldwide penis size is 5.2 inches long when erect. According to the BJU International Journal of Urology, which published the findings, this should help to "reassure the large majority of men that the size of their penis is in the normal range".
I'm sure it does, but that doesn't mean these results are all good news; my life does not change one jot waking up to find that, today, I am only 1.2 inches below average, as opposed to the whopping 1.8 inch discrepancy of yesterday.
I suppose this whole exercise of laboriously measuring 15,521 penises – both flaccid and hard – demonstrates that, as a society, we do still possess the ability to obsess upon size. ( I'm open to that accusation myself.) So, whatever else is said, I'm happy that we're all talking about penis size in an open, honest, non-judgemental and serious way. Which we all are, right?
And yes, another positive factor – helpfully pointed out by the folk at BJU – is that those worried about their average-sized dick being small no longer have cause to worry. Because, at five inches, it's not small; it's average. From now on, when someone tells you that your average dick is small, it's abundantly clear that the problem is in their perception, not your equipment.
However, I'm unconvinced that second point holds up. For the man with penis size anxiety is a man who takes an enormous amount of convincing. Every time he hears a kindly lady state, "That's not small," he gives a blank stare and thinks, 'Thank you. I wish that could be true.'
A penis can't be measured by inches on a stick – a penis is as small as a man's confidence betrays it to be; or else as small as the imagination of the partner he is with. We see new research emerging regularly, seemingly always driving down the international standard of "acceptable dick". But this has never helped – and will never help – a single soul.
At the same time, we find ourselves confronted with language like "average" and "the normal range". This implies that the rest of us are in the abnormal range, a polarisation that doesn't serve anyone very well. A polarisation, in fact, that immediately draws my mind to a solemn story of penis size anxiety leading to teenage suicide. Size is not a mark on a ruler; it really is a state of mind.
There is no doubt in my mind that you know a man of around my stature, or less. Think for a moment who it could be. Your dad? Your brother? Your flatmate? Wouldn't you be angry to see someone point a finger at their penis and shriek, telling them, "Ew, you're abnormal!" Draw upon the strength of your familial and social bonds and recognise this thinking as the trouble that it is.
When a man suffers size anxiety there is only one solution. Enlargement methods (pills, devices, surgeries) will never yield a result that ends in happiness – though bankruptcy, anguish and physical deformation are definitely on the cards, if that sounds like your vibe. Likewise, comparison to others will never ease a troubled mind; you'll go mad questioning the veracity of the data or the quality of the interpretations.
The only answer is to accept who you are.
While these surveys may seem to be devised to help that, they simply do not. Nobody quite believes them. At the rate they crop up, saying different things each time, they don't even seem to believe themselves. They polarise society into those who are normal, and those who are abnormal. Even if they don't quite encourage an obsession with size, they certainly endorse the idea that size is a necessary concern.
"But I have to feel something," a lady recently said to me in an interview on the topic. And I quite agree. But I believe technique and imagination can excite a greater response from a greater expanse of flesh than any dick, of any size, could ever hope to.