Oh, the penis; that famous and infamous extension of the male body which seems to garner inordinate attention in everything from television and magazines to casual conversation amongst friends. Both feared and held sacred, the male member has been deemed a fascinating creature by so many, never ceasing to provide hours of conversation, both internal and interpersonal. We, as a society, are obsessed with it. It’s not just us gay boys and straight women who cannot stop talking about it; heterosexual men have a fascinating compulsion to peer at another’s penis when standing in proximity at urinals or in locker rooms. In fact, on a recent trip to Florida, I found my genitalia shamelessly stared at while relieving myself. It was in this instance that I asked myself: why? Why would a heterosexual man with absolutely no desire to engage in any play with me feel compelled to stare? The answer, of course, is size.
Since ancient times, the large penis has been a topic of discussion. Originally believed to be the symbol of the devil, it has since become idealized and idolized in popular lore. Hundreds, if not thousands, collectively spend millions to increase their size, often with dubious results. Even cosmetic surgery can be done to increase the length, although it often only extends a flaccid penis and has no effect on the erection size. But what is it about size that is so tantalizing? After all, most would agree that it is girth which truly provides stimulation, and the g-spot and prostate are relatively near their respective openings. In fact, in biological terms, we as a society should revere short, upwardly curved penises if we were truly talking about pleasure. No, instead the large penis is seen as power. In my limited interaction with the species commonly referred to as “straight men”, it’s clear that they especially view it in these limited terms. Locker room jock banter is commonly peppered with talk of one another’s size. In fact, a recent acquaintance of mine was shocked that I had never measured my own penis length and girth. “I thought that’s what all gay men thought about”, he said. “No”, I replied, “That’s what all straight men wish gay men thought about.”
But humorous homo-social behavior aside, the lingering question remains: what’s size got to do with it? Thus, like every good university student, I began to do my research. I started with John Holmes, the 1970s era pornographic actor whose extraordinarily large phallus shocked and mystified the purveyors of the sexual revolution. While never formally measured, it is estimated to have been anywhere between 10 and 16 inches long (although the latter is most likely an exaggeration). More recently, mainstream actor Jonah Falcon’s 13.5 inch erect penis has been noted in at least two documentaries produced by the BBC and HBO respectively. Scientific studies into penis size have been limited due to research restrictions. Self reporting has been fraught with exaggeration, and medical measurements are difficult to achieve due to embarrassment and other factors. However, the limited research seems to suggest that 5 inches is average. Coming up empty, I became even more mystified. If biology could not explain the question, is it sociological?
All evidence seems to point to yes. American society is dominated by the pursuit of power. Deeply rooted in our capitalist system, social values and more set the stage for size worship. Madonna put it best when she sang, “We are living in a material world, and I am a material girl…” Having the largest penis seems to fit well into this construct; the bigger and better something is, the more highly prized it becomes. Size queens in the world love the large penis, but it is often the idea of it that tantalizes and not the follow through. John Falcon, the man with the 13.5 incher, knows this all too well: his sex life remained unsatisfying for years, since men and women (Falcon is bisexual identified) would frequently be unable to cope with its enormity. While he was able to take a partner home nightly, he was incapable of reaching climax (the vagina cannot accommodate such length and the curvature of the rectum makes such length difficult, though not impossible). However, that is not to say that many individuals do not enjoy a large penis: the human muscle has an amazing ability to stretch.
In completion of the inquiry, I came back to a commonly held understanding: sex is largely mental. Pleasure is derived as much from the brain as it is from sensory nerve endings, and while the large penis may not be biologically more stimulating, the thought of it can tantalize. VIVA LA PENIS!
Are you a lover of large phalli? Check out The Big Penis Book here at Tulip, published by the illustrious Taschen Press. Also, take a look at the Carina, one of Vamp Silicone’s newest dildos. Still unsatisfied? Tulip sells fisting gloves, and a forearm size dildo named Mr. Universe.