Editor's note: This is a sex education column that contains explicit and graphic content.
Note from the reporter: I write about sexuality because I believe that people have a right to accurate information and that good sexuality education works to create a more equal and just world by emphasizing bodily autonomy, consent, and diversity in sexuality. Sex education should include information people can actually use and apply into their sexual lives (while the science behind how a pregnancy is created is fascinating, it is not ultimately as useful for people than, say, a discussion of contraceptives or condom usage is). Finally, good sexuality education is also feminist and queer education and strives to provide justice for people who have been abused because of their sex or gender and provides information condemning sexual abuse, assault, and rape.
To talk about penises, we need to go back to the Greeks.
Greek art depicts great drama and strong heroes and gods in fantastical situations. These figures are oftentimes nude. If you look in the right place, these great heroes have something in common.
They all have small penises.
In Ancient Greece, small penises were a sign of intelligence, self-control, and dignity. To have a small penis meant you were a better man. More than that, having a big penis meant you were a savage, more of an animal than a man—satyrs are an excellent example of this.
While there are lots of studies on what the average penis size is, I won’t be stating that number here. Also, researchers believe men with bigger penises are more likely to take part in studies. This makes the “average” bigger than what is truthful.
Bottom line: An average number is that. An average. There are so many variations between that. We can usually accept this truth with things like faces or eyeballs. The most common eye color is brown, but brown is not some almighty goal to reach for. Nope. We appreciate the many different eye colors there are in the world. We know that if everyone had the same eyes, it’d be boring. But we don’t extend this same reasoning to genitals, which are as varied as eyes, noses, and ears.
Besides that, penis size doesn’t say anything about how healthy you are. Small, big, dark, pink, straight, curved, hairy, smooth—none of this says anything about the health of a penis. (The one exception to this is Peryionne’s, a buildup of plaque that causes the penis to curve at a severe angle. Talk to a healthcare provider if you notice any changes in your penis, the same you would with anything else!)
Penis size doesn’t matter during sexual intercourse, either. First of all, the clitoris is the one with all the nerve endings, anyway. Inside the vagina, it’s only the first inner third that has nerve endings. The last two thirds have very, very few. (Think about how some people can put tampons in and forget they’re there!) So, it’s only a few inches into the vagina, not deep inside, that is usually preferred, anyway.
If you are somebody who has anal intercourse with other penis-havers, you're also fine. You can stimulate the prostate from only a few inches inside. So again, you don’t need anything mighty long or big to create pleasure, either.
On top of all that, intercourse isn’t the only way to have sex. Think about it: You have your whole body, your hands, fingers, lips, tongue, head, shoulders, knees, and toes. Your penis is not the only part of you that can be a part of sex, so why not make sex the full body experience that it should be? Stop worrying about your size! Bigger penises say nothing about whether someone is creative, respectful, and kind to their partners. These things are what make sex awesome, anyway.
To be fair, there are some people who think penis size matters. It's the same way some people prefer, say, brown eyes. It’s OK for people to have preferences, and sexuality is more than what we feel with our nerve endings. But it’s not OK to shame other people for their bodies and something they can’t change. On the other end of the spectrum, we should always respect someone’s right to say no.
Are there ways to make your penis bigger? Nope. There are surgeries, but the results on many of them are very bad. The usually result in a lumpy-looking penis, nerve damage, and inability to get an erection. All reputable medical organizations disapprove of them. Penis pumps can cause mild bleeding under the surface of the skin, causing red spots. As for ointments and creams—they don’t work. None of them. No, not one.
At this point, it’s better to love what you have. It’s far sexier to hear somebody confident in their bodies!