Thomas Modecai, 37, a teacher from Crewe, has struggled with the size of his penis for most of his life. “When I was 14, I shot up to 6ft but my penis stayed the same,” he says. “I felt like a man with a child’s penis. And it’s affected everything: my relationships, my confidence, even my desire to have children. I worried they might have the same issue.”
Anxiety is everywhere, floating freely through the air, passing from person to person like a virus on the wings of a sneeze. While some of us feel nervous about our jobs, our health, or our families, others feel a very personal dread about our own bodies. Preoccupied by physical appearances, we can become distracted from what matters most in life, and turn instead to worrying about some highly specific body part. If, by chance, we zero in on the piece of ourselves most closely associated with intimacy — our genitals — we might shut down entirely.
"They're a complete waste of time," says Professor Wylie. "Pills and lotions have no proven benefit. If they were effective, they would be on sale at chemists. Using a lotion may help a man become more familiar with his penis, which some men shy away from. So lotions can help a man become more comfortable with his penis but they certainly won't make it any bigger."
Penile size differs between men of different ethnic backgrounds and large studies of penis girth and length have been conducted by condom manufacturers. What many men perceive as a short penis actually falls into normal range size. Based on many published charts, scientific articles, and self reported web based surveys, 95 % of Caucasian men will fall into one of the following categories of size:
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Almost all men have a normal size penis – although many young men are concerned that their penis is too short or too small. Sometimes they believe this because they have compared themselves with friends or classmates in a common shower or locker room, or maybe someone teased them or made a hurtful comment. Or they might have seen pornographic pictures or movies and compared themselves with the porno “stars” (many of whom have unusually large genitalia).
I ask for his pre-op dimensions. He doesn’t want his exact measurements reported, but they are surprising: while flaccid, he was smaller than most men; erect, his penis grew significantly. Modecai, it seems, experienced two decades of stress despite the fact that, fully extended, he was bigger than the UK average. This apparent contradiction does not surprise Angela Gregory, a psychosexual therapist based at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. “Penis enlargements can be about a lot of things,” she says. “But the amount of anxiety a man experiences rarely, in my experience, correlates with his actual size.”
However, it’s possible to get pills that can effectively help aid your erection and increase your libido. There has been lots of medical research into the causes and treatment of erectile dysfunction and sexual dysfunction in men. The medical treatments available to you if you are trying to improve your sex life or stamina in bed are, on the whole, effective and can be given by your GP.
Studies suggest that when erect, the average adult penis measures around 13cm in length and 10cm to 12cm in circumference. It might be comforting to know that a penis that is smaller when flaccid may be a similar length to that of a larger flaccid penis when both are erect. But measuring your penis isn’t going to change its size, so ask yourself, why measure it? Do you think that discovering that your penis is within the ‘average range’ will soothe your anxieties about it being small? What will you do if you discover it is in fact, smaller than average? Unfortunately, many men try to increase their penis size through various interventions that can be invasive, costly and not make a difference to the way they feel about themselves. The solution is more likely to be a change of attitude towards yourself and your penis, namely learning to love what you’ve got.
So how can we be sure it really exists? “Because the number of men seeking surgery, or the growth of this strange industry selling pills and other so-called enlargement remedies, these numbers do not map up with the numbers of men who actually have a significantly smaller penis than average,” Veale says. “So, these men are worrying about – and seeking solutions for – a problem they do not have.”