I’ve been answering Tumblr asks on a daily basis for almost eight years now. People have asked for advice about all things to do with sexuality, kink, relationships, sex toys, identity, and bodies. The vast majority of questions I receive are from women, and I try to handle body image issues with sensitivity—but when it comes to cis men, I find myself irked with the focus on dick size. However, in the spirit of body positivity, I want to work on this.
Maybe it’s because I don’t often believe in the sincerity of these types of asks. For every genuinely insecure man in my inbox, there are three asking me if their precise measurements would please me–as if that’s relevant to them in the least. Maybe it has to do with my own sexuality and how dicks aren’t even a necessary part of sex for me. Maybe it’s because my boyfriend is trans, and I get defensive when it comes to cis men equating their masculinity to the size of their penis. Regardless of my hang-up, it’s important to address the concern of size for all the folks with dicks, once and for all.
A (Cis) Woman’s Perspective
The big focus when it comes to dick size concerns is usually about pleasure during sex. I don’t have a large gay, male following so I am constantly asked about dick size relevance to pleasing a (cis) woman, specifically.
(Content warning: I usually try to make my writing gender neutral and inclusive of LGBT relationships, but this issue is most often talked about with cis men and cis women, so there are some gendered references to follow. This is intentional on my part, but please do not assume that a penis always equates to a man, a vagina always equates to a woman, or that everyone is heterosexual.)
Concern about being able to make your partner happy is totally valid, sure–but the way cis men approach this question is an issue in itself. Instead of being asked for medically accurate information regarding this topic, I’m asked personal questions about the biggest or smallest I’ve had inside me, or whether very specific measurements are “enough” for me. It feels a lot more like they’re trying to get a rise out of me rather than ask a serious question.
Men need to trust women when we say that the majority of us do not care about dick size–at least not in the way men are led to believe. Most of us don’t measure our partners, compare them to other men, or gossip about it with other women. We don’t equate your dick to your character, your masculinity, or your ability to please us.
There are definitely a small percentage of women who do focus on dick size and how it relates to masculinity, but those are women I suggest you stay away from. Any woman who has size requirements for their partner on the basis of their worth isn’t someone I’d suggest you pursue. I’d say the same thing about people who have weight requirements, race requirements, or height requirements for partners because they think some people are just “better.” That shit is shallow and you don’t want any of it–especially if size is a sensitive issue for you. Focus your attention on someone who loves you for who you are and everything you have to offer.
A “Big” Problem
The average vagina ranges from 4-6 inches when fully aroused. That means that most people with vaginas don’t want to shove a thick, 10-inch cock in there because that can be terribly painful. Exceptions certainly exist, but most of us are more comfortable with average-size dicks (5-6 inches), or even those smaller in size, especially if someone happens to have medical concerns related to penetration (which is super common).
Being large in size is a major concern for some guys–one that people don’t think of as much as being on the small end of the scale. However, the majority of complaints I hear about dick size from women is that their partners are too big for comfort. Even with proper foreplay, lubrication, and communication, being penetrated by a dick on the larger side can result in pain, bleeding, and some emotional distress. It’s not usually fun for the person with the penis, either. It can get frustrating when you’re constantly having to stop during sex because you’re causing your partner pain, and often leads to a lot of guilt and shame for some people. So don’t assume things would magically be better if your dick was massive, because that’s not the case.
Not a Numbers Game
The quality of sex that I’m having has never once been dependent on the dick size of my partner. There is so much more to focus on during sex to make it more pleasurable for your partner. Better yet, I suggest you focus on things you have some control over instead of what your biology has given you.
- Do you focus on arousing your partner before trying to penetrate them?
- Do you engage your partner on all levels during sex?
- Do you stimulate their clit or other erogenous zones?
- Is your foreplay game up to par?
- Can you dirty talk?
- Do you make sure your partner is satisfied before being “done” with sex?
- Do you ever focus on making your partner cum first?
- Are you open to using sex toys in the bedroom to focus on their pleasure?
- Do you reciprocate oral sex? Do you do so without a fuss or acting like your deserve a medal?
- Do you treat your partner with genuine respect?
- Can you delay your own orgasm for the sake of your partner’s?
If you focus on those things, you’re way more likely to have a partner who enjoys your sex life. I feel like most people would rather be with a man with a small dick who can get them off using exciting sexual variations than someone big in size who thinks poking his partner with his meatstick is the only way to please them.
Regardless of your size, try devoting some time during sex to stimulate your partner without the use of your penis. So few cis men explore their other options in bed for longer than a few minutes at a time. If you can show your partner a good time without focusing the sex around your dick, you’re way more likely to get her coming back for more.
The Size Myth
The thing is, there is not one “correct” or “desired” size. Ask any random woman (please don’t actually do this because that’s definitely creepy) what her preference is and you’re likely to get all kinds of varied answers. Some prefer small dicks that are comfortable during vaginal or anal penetration and easy to deep throat. Some like average-size dicks who can work them just right. Some do like larger dicks–and that’s all fine, too.
The same way that there’s no “perfect woman” for every man, there’s no perfect peen for every woman. Society has its own ideals of body image that affects both men and women. Think about how big breasts are sexualized–it’s very similar to the dick size debate. The issue, however, is not so much about the size preferences of men or women, but the idea that we get in our heads about someone needing big breasts or a big dick in order to be worthy of dating. This idea, in relation to dick size, is supported by some women, but I mostly observe it between men alone. Perhaps it stems from genuine insecurity of this false conception of women needing a man with a huge dick, but the real toxicity of this myth is reinforced by other men in casual interactions with their peers. The topic of dick size is made into a joke–either by boasting about one’s own penis and equating it to pleasing a woman or putting another man down for his lack of endowment.
There’s a huge focus on dick size with the topic of overcompensation, even in completely non-sexual situations. For example, have you ever heard someone make a joke when you see an expensive car rev its engine and speed off? There’s always a comment along the lines of, “We get it, you have a small dick.” The idea that dick size is in any way correlated to masculinity or worth is referenced in all kinds of casual interactions and, frankly, it needs to stop. There’s also a lot of racial stereotypes in these jokes which can alienate POC and make people feel bad for not upholding an expectation built on racism.
It starts with conversation. Shutting down body-shaming jokes, for example. Or having a meaningful conversation with your partner when they bring up their insecurities and you don’t simply dismiss their feelings. The size myth has been ingrained in society for ages and at the core, I think most people know it’s bullshit. However, more effort needs to go into shutting it down to avoid this constant reinforcement of body-shaming. Women need to stop pretending that bigger is always better, and men need to stop believing it.