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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Men, Do You Worry If Your "Willy" Wows Women?

It's Fun With Science Day on the blog. I've been preparing an entry on Smart Bullets, laser-guided projectiles that can correct their own course after being fired from a rifle; however, considering the interest factor, I also thought about the Marines' chant of  "This is my rifle. This is my gun. This is for fighting, and this is for fun." And, at the risk of offending some, I decided to explore a related topic after reading some interesting new research.

So, today, let's address an age-old question that forever has caused us self-conscious men to worry and wonder about the most descript of our sexual organs. In our great vanity, we guys simply feel the need to know if our Willy measures up to feminine expectations. We want to know if we have the "goods" to attract women. To be direct, we want to know if our penis actually "looks good."

And, yes, luckily we have a current study that addresses the concern. In a study from the University of Zurich published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researcher asked 105 women of different age groups (16-20, 25-30, and 40-45 years) how important they considered eight different aspects of a penis on a 5-point scale ranging from very unimportant (1) to very important (5).

The aspects were penile length, penile girth, position and shape of the meatus (urethral opening, where urine leaves the body), shape of glans (head of the penis), appearance of scrotum, shape of penile skin, appearance of pubic hair, and general cosmetic appearance.

(Norma Katharina Ruppen-Greeff, Daniel M. Weber, Rita Gobet and Markus A. Landolt. "What is a Good Looking Penis? How Women Rate the Penile Appearance of Men with Surgically Corrected Hypospadias." Journal of Sexual Medicine. July 20, 2015.)

Through this information, the researchers discovered what women regard as important for overall appearance.

The Results

First of all, let's establish "normal." Earlier this year, scientists revealed what is considered normal for penis size and length. Researchers believe this information could help to counsel men worried about their size, or with investigations into how condom failure relates to penis size and girth.

Some men are concerned about their penis size, and those who are preoccupied and severely distressed may even be diagnosed with BDD -- Body Dysmorphic Disorder, also termed body dysmorphia or dysmorphic syndrome, a mental disorder via obsessive preoccupation with a perceived defect in one's own appearance

Authors of the study say some men have been teased by sexual partners about their length, and there are lots of men who are likely worried about inadequacy, so reassuring men they are in the normal range will help. Here are the results:

* The average length of an erect penis is 5.2 inches (13.12 cm), they found.

* The average length of a flaccid penis is 3.6 inches (9.16 cm) and 5.2 inches (13.24 cm) when flaccid but stretched.

* When it comes to girth, the average erect circumference was 4.6 inches (11.66 cm) and 3.7 inches (9.31 cm) when flaccid.

* The British research also found there was a small correlation between the erect length of a penis and a man's height.

(David Veale, Sarah Miles, Sally Bramley, Gordon Muir and John Hodsoll. "Am I normal? A systematic review and construction of nomograms for flaccid and erect penis length and circumference in up to 15 521 men. British Journal of Urology International. March 02, 2015.)

And what did the Journal of Sexual Medicine research find most attractive to women? Here are the findings in order of most important (1) to least important (8).

1. General cosmetic appearance 
2. Appearance of pubic hair
3. Appearance of the skin around the genital area
4. Girth
5. Shape of glans
6. Penile Length
7. Appearance of Scrotum 
8. Position and Shape of Meatus

Men may be surprised to discover women rated length as the sixth most vital asset. With all the attention given to drugs and methods of creating extension, many are obsessed with doing anything to add length.

To summarize what ladies find pretty in a penis ...

* Women look at the overall genital appearance rather than at individual penile aspects.

* A penis can be short as long as it's pretty.

* Perhaps not even previously considered, pubic hair ranks Number 2 on the list. Does "art" beg for a good "frame"?

* A penis will never be criticized for being too chubby.

However, one other biologist, Brian Mautz, now from the University of Ottawa, affirms "size does matter" in some cases and evaluation is not at all simple. His team set up an experiment in which 105 Australian women -- averaging 26 years old -- each looked at 53 life-size images of various computer-generated male silhouettes projected onto a screen. Each woman watched a random set of 53 figures and rated their attractiveness as potential sexual partners on a scale of 1 to 7.

"'The first thing we found was that penis size influences male attractiveness,' Mautz says. 'There's a couple of caveats to that, and the first is that the relationship isn't a straight line.' Rather than the attractiveness rating consistently improving with each jump in penis size, the team found what Mautz calls 'an odd kink in the middle.' Attractiveness increased quickly until flaccid penis length reached 7.6 centimeters (about 3 inches) and then began to slow down, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The reason, Mautz says, is that penis size isn't the only thing that matters. It interacts with other traits, and its effect depends on whether those other traits are already attractive to begin with. If one of the model men was tall and had a masculine, V-shaped torso with broad shoulders and narrower hips, for example, he was considered more attractive than his shorter, stockier counterparts, regardless of penis size.

"An increase in penis size was also a bigger benefit to attractiveness, and a smaller penis was less of a detriment, to the taller, fitter figures than it was to shorter or potato-shaped ones. For example, a model that was 185 cm tall (about 6 ft) with a 7-cm-long (about 3-in-long) penis got an average score for attractiveness. To get that same score, a model that was 170 cm (about 5'6") needed a penis of about 11 cm (about 4.5 in) in length. Boost the taller guy's penis by just about centimeter, and the shorter guy needs double that to keep up and get the same attractiveness score. After that, the shorter male pretty much can't continue to compete. To really reap the benefits of a big penis, a guy needs to be attractive in the first place, Mautz says. If he isn't, even the biggest penis in the world won't do him that much good.

"So have women been responsible for the male penis getting larger—at least over the course of evolution? That's a distinct possibility, the researchers say. Women may have selected for larger penises because they're linked to higher rates of female orgasm and sexual satisfaction, which may explain why the human penis is proportionally larger than those of our evolutionary cousins."

So, sadly, like most things us guys worry about -- the best beer to drink, how to improve BBQ methods, and if favorite sports teams can improve this season -- whether we honestly have an attractive penis may remain a bothersome part of our existence. I guess the good thing about the aesthetics of the privates is that, unlike the nose on our face, we reveal our "love gun" only to those we wish, so, also unlike our nose, we don't mistakenly stick it into anyone else's business. Well ... you know what I mean.

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