All About The Penis, Men & Male Sexuality
The power of the penis
Here's a piece sent in by a man with a penile problem....if you'd like to comment or have your own experience published, email moreinfo @ my-penis.org
I was born with hypospadias - a condition where the opening of the penis is on the underside of the glans or shaft. My actual hypospadias wasn't too bad: but what goes with it has given me life-long problems, both emotional and psychological. In brief, I have a very small penis, that twists around through 45 degrees along the shaft between base and tip, and a hooded foreskin which incompletely covers the glans.
I always knew something was wrong, even from a very early age. I don't know how, because I never saw my dad's or my brother's penis - we were so inhibited in our family, there was a huge amount of repression or shame around anything sexual, even just the natural human body. Maybe it was something I sensed in the toilets at school, because I think I was always careful to keep my penis hidden when other boys were around.
But I think it goes deeper, down to some kind of cultural or body knowledge about what you need to be male, about what actually makes up maleness - and the penis is the essence of that perception of maleness. A deep self-knowledge of being male which centers on the penis. Ergo, if your penis is abnormal, you aren't fully masculine.
Anyhow, perhaps because of the small size of my penis, it had a habit of retracting into itself, and disappearing, making it look even smaller. This attracted comments at junior school swimming lessons; for example, one boy, who certainly liked showing his penis off, saw mine and exclaimed "Your dick's disappeared - but don't worry, it'll pop out when you go for a pee!"
Well, the thing was, I just assumed that it would grow at puberty like everyone else's - but how wrong I was. As hair sprouted around everyone's cock, the boys in my class showed signs of growth - both of the body and of the penis; in some cases quite dramatic penile growth. My penis stayed more or less the same size. (This may be due to hormone deficiency.)
Now, this may seem hard to believe, but it does happen. There's some evidence that for a boy whose penis does not grow at puberty, rapid intervention with testosterone treatment can save the situation - but that cannot always be true, for some men have a greater or lesser degree of insensitivity to testosterone in the tissues of their body, and this fact alone means that they are not going to develop as great a degree of masculinity as "everyone" else.
I think, in retrospect, this was what happened to me and my penis: I have a mild genetic condition where my body tissues don't respond to testosterone as they ought to, and this is the cause of my lack of penile development.
Be that as it may, there I was at school with a small penis, among a class of growing boys whose penises all seemed long and thick. The odd snatched glance in the changing room was enough to show me the discrepancy between my penis and the other kids' penises, though there were a few other boys who liked to hide their sexual organs from public view.... to this day I'm not sure why.
I assume they had small penises as well, or perhaps they were just shamed by the whole concept of exposing their genitals in public.
Of course, looking back, the whole system was awful. Public nudity would never be forced on an adult in a civilized society - so why should it be forced on children? Having to strip off in the locker room whether they like it or not is an abuse of kids.
(I believe this situation has now been changed in Britain. And of course, it would never have occurred to us to protest, to say, "no" to changing in view of other boys, no matter how much we hated it. I'm sure in some schools such a refusal would have resulted in a beating. Those were the days when it was acceptable to hit children at school in Britain. Something we made a habit of, unbelievably.)
But in any event, I had the embarrassment of being exposed one summer in the changing room. My penis was about an inch long, retracted, and my balls completely scrunched up in my scrotum, as they always have been when cold.
Another boy, whose erect penis, so he later told me, reached ten inches long by the time he was 17, whipped away my towel and exposed my shriveled little penis, more or less the size of a preadolescent boy's, to public gaze. Though only he saw it, his laughter was utterly traumatizing..... and the shame it induced inhibited me from seeking any sexual contact for years, let alone undressing in public!
The impact on my capacity to form relationships was immediate and profound - I didn't actually sleep with a woman until I was 39, and for all those missed years, I felt deprived of an essential part of my male self-esteem: feeling proud of my erection and my male identity, as signified by my hard cock. (This was what first helped me understand the importance of the size of the penis, both soft and erect, to a man's self-image.)
Relationships were anathema to me because my fear of being humiliated was so great. Only years later, when I had learned much more about myself and about life, the universe and everything, could I face the prospect of being exposed in a relationship. I used the techniques you can find in this remarkable relationship program - find out more here - to establish a long term liaison with a woman.
But there will be many men who can identify with the trauma of that experience, I'm sure, and though that certainly was one of the chief events which shaped my life, my attitude to myself, and my feelings about sex and intimacy, it's not really the point of what I'm trying to express here. That's much more about the power of the penis in the male psyche.
But I digress, once again. Imagine if you will, growing up as an adult man with a very small and incompletely masculinised penis, and what this means.
(I should add that my erection is good enough to make love pleasurably - about five inches, but rather thin - to make love. And sure, I know some women don't care anyway, but this whole issue is not about what women think. It's about male self-image and self-esteem.) As far as my erection is concerned, I must have one of the most expandable penises around - it can grow by five inches from its smallest form to its largest.)
The odd thing is that I don't think I fully realized - or maybe this was just a matter of not being able to accept the fact - that my penis was so different from the average until I was aged forty or so. I think there are several reasons for this.
First, it's what I knew. How can you fully understand something you've never had? I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it, even though of course I knew I had a problem - especially in the cold winter weather, when my penis tended to disappear for what seemed like days at a time!
Second: how often do men see other men's penises? Not really very often, and certainly if you feel your own dick is smaller than average, you're not likely to spend a lot of time snooping around the changing rooms.... especially if a big swinging dick struts around, as they sometimes do. Believe me, where penis size is concerned, discretion is the better part of everything....
Third, I did have a reasonable sized erection - which is to say that my very extensive research had turned up the fact that lots of men have smaller erections that me - four inches is not uncommon, for example. But it's the nature of my penis's development that is the biggest issue for me, not my erection size, which is good enough for making love (as now, later in life, I have discovered!).
I went out on a mission at age 27 or so - to find out about penises. You'll see it written that many men with hypospadias are obsessed with penises, and this can lead them to think they are gay. Well, the truth is that while some of them may indeed be gay, most men with hypospadias are not gay at all. Rather, they are obsessed with normality, with finding out what a normal penis looks like, and this may lead them to have sex with men. After all, how else do you get to look closely at another man's bedroom equipment?
For me, getting naked was a big deal, so much so it inhibited my sexual exploration, but I still managed to investigate (for want of a better word) a lot of men's penises... but despite my mission to seek out and understand, somehow I must have still been in denial about my own developmental state.
Enlightenment dawned in a men's group where we all got naked and danced around a fire: an event I joined because I wanted to understand masculinity and be in the company of men.
I should add at this point that I happen to think that nakedness is pretty much our natural state. Even though I know that tribal people cover up the male and female genitals, I think our shame around nudity is a recent cultural phenomenon in human evolution.
Prancing around the forest naked with a group of men felt quite natural - it's a kind of back to basics adventure, a kind of grown-up play - and very therapeutic it can be too. Seeing all those penises naked tends to strip away pretensions.
But the point is that there, at last, I was forced to confront my reality. My penile reality, that is. Sure, the penises on display were all sizes and shapes, but they were all very adult-looking penises.
By this I mean that while they may have been thick or thin, most were more or less average in length, or while they may have been the type of penis that disappears into its owners body when flaccid leaving only the glans showing (as several were), or while they may have been thick and long and resting hugely on a massive pair of balls (as one was), they were all clearly penises which had developed through their owner's puberty and adolescence into a mature phallus.
Now, what does this mean? Let me answer that question by referring to the intangible sense of masculinity that I mentioned earlier. Some will say that a man's sense of masculinity comes from his head, not his balls or his penis, but I think that the truth is more complex.
It's the presence of a more-or-less normal penis which allows a man to develop a true sense of his masculine self. Without a more-or-less normal penis, without the normal development of that normal penis at puberty, something is lacking from a man's psyche - some essential ingredient of his masculinity is not complete, perhaps not even present.
It's hard to pin this "something" down. Certainly I feel I never had it. I got my sense of masculinity from developing it myself, slowly and purposefully, in many different ways: by surrounding myself with men who were good role models for me, by delving deep into the depths of my psyche in therapy, by modeling and copying male behavior that struck me as ethical and moral, and by developing my own views on how men behave.
And of course - a crucial part of developing my masculinity was finding a good relationship with a woman and exploring what it means to be male when the penis is used for one of its main functions - sexual intercourse.
Let me say this: unless your penis is small or "different" or under-developed, you cannot fully understand the power of the penis in the male psyche. And by "small", I don't mean you simply have a penis which looks smaller than other men's when you're naked but which grows to normal size when you're aroused and erect - after all, that's normal, isn't it?
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