Things I wish I knew when I was younger: Growers, Showers and Other Penis Stories

[CW penises, sex, porn, more penises]

Ok so this may be very much TMI for many people so by all means look away now if you have no interest in PenisTalk™️.

However, this is genuinely stuff I think would have really helped me to know when I was younger, and I think men’s reluctance / inability to talk about things like this inhibits us from dealing with many of the issues that affect us (and others).

This is one of a few things I’m trying on a personal level to have a go at changing that a teeny tiny bit.

I’m guessing not a lot of this will be news to anyone of similar age / background / experiences to me but maybe if it gets shared it will reach the ears of someone who needs to hear it 🤷‍♂️ And maybe it will encourage other people to share too.

I mentioned previously in a post about how, as an adolescent, I was self conscious about the fact that I was a late developer and how the other boys around me had more developed, “manly” bodies than mine.

Now there aren’t many bigger cliches around masculinity than men worrying about / compensating for / boasting about the size of their dicks. I’ve often heard it suggested that “getting a ruler out to settle the matter” might be the solution when faced with a couple of blokes who are acting like meat-heads and having a pissing contest.

Anyway, in the school changing rooms and the showers, this was a part of the body that you didn’t necessarily intend to look at, but inevitably ended up seeing nonetheless. And we did (or I did anyway – sue me 🤷‍♂️) compare the size of our … parts.

There were certain boys whom, as a result of glimpses of a heavily dangling schlong, earned a reputation for having a particularly gargantuan member. I won’t be naming names but even 25 years later I do still remember them – complete with the obligatory surnames – having heard them spoken repeatedly with a kind of hushed awe and reverence 😂

Anyway, I’m no longer embarrassed to admit that, even after puberty, I didn’t have much “dangle” myself. When not actively “in use” 😂 mine tucked itself away frustratingly compactly.

And, when standing on the side of the swimming pool in tight, regulation trunks I dearly wished for a bit more flaccid “bulk”.

I even recall considering using some – erm – “manual stimulation” beforehand to “assist” in situations like that but thankfully had the sense to spot that walking out with a boner wasn’t the look I was going for either 😂

What I know now and what I think would have been good to know back then is that you can’t actually tell much by looking at flaccid penis size. Here’s a summary from the Kinsey Institute (full link below):

“There is a much wider range of size in men’s penises when flaccid, with the average ranging from 1 to 4 inches. In general, smaller, flaccid penises lengthen at erection by a greater percentage than larger, flaccid penises, with most men reaching an average size of 5 to 7 inches. This means the flaccid size of a penis is not a good predictor of erect size.”

So: a penis that retracts down to a relatively small size when flaccid may well be the same size as an apparently bigger “dangler” when they are both erect.

And: these demigods of the phallus we perceived to be walking amongst us mere mortals were potentially not any more well endowed than of the rest of us.

Of course there are always outliers and possibly there were still a few foot-longs amongst us, but I still think this insight would have been reassuring to know at the time; I think it would have made me less self conscious.

While we’re on this topic, let’s normalise a few other things too…

  • Erect penises point in a variety of directions, not always straight upwards
  • They often have a bend in them
  • Testicles aren’t always evenly sized or both at the same height
  • Girth isn’t always uniform – some have a narrower tip, a bulbous middle etc.
  • Some are circumcised, some are not. (This is very common in the US, much less so in the UK – and there’s a whole separate discussion to be had on that)
  • For those that do have foreskins, size and style varies: some are thinner and tighter, some fleshier and floppier

All of this also got me thinking about why the hell boys and men are generally so obsessed / insecure / prone to exaggeration when it comes to penis size anyway…?

Part of it, I think, relates to what I talked about in my previous post: when we were growing up, we were all impatient to be adults, and any visible proof of “manliness” was therefore kind of a status symbol. And the more obvious the better.

It is a part of the body where physical development is rather visible / obvious and I suppose dropping your pants to reveal a big, hairy cock is about the most blunt, superficial symbol of masculinity you can get.

But I think it also ties into the budding desire to have sexual relationships, and a frantic desire to avoid embarrassment / not make a fool of yourself if and when any such opportunity arose.

The shitty side of stereotypical gender roles for men is that doing what would be the sensible thing – having a conversation, sharing information – just wasn’t what you did. Any sign of insecurity or inexperience tended to be pounced on by other boys and ridiculed.

And so this pointless game of bravado and bluff happened instead. The stakes were too high to admit you didn’t know something so you had to keep quiet and “fake it ’til you make it”.

Like anyone embarking on their first intimate relationships, we had no real idea about how to go about giving pleasure to any sexual partner and, faced by this total lack of knowledge and experience, we were looking for any answers we could find.

This was pre-internet so this largely meant things like reading stories in porno mags and – as with so much porn – the narrative was always very much focussed on the male gaze and male pleasure.

To say these stories did not have subtlety, nuance or intelligence would be akin to saying that Godzilla might not have had especially delicate table manners.

They were a TERRIBLE guide and, as I recall, only really characterised the male protagonist’s “manhood” by its size, which was always at least 8 inches – an unusual statistical anomaly 🤔

The women portrayed in these stories swooned and cooed over the wildly impressive size, loved nothing more than having this magnificent slab of meat slammed into them, and of course reached orgasm almost immediately and repeatedly 🙄

With not much else to go on, little wonder then, I guess, that it made size seem pretty damn important to our young minds.

I’m fairly sure that if we’d been able to be more open, willing to talk and more in touch with the insecurities that underpinned our worries, we’d have got to a better place much quicker and more easily. And been better sexual partners to boot.

On this topic, we’ve all heard “it’s not the size that matters, it’s what you do with it that counts” in relation to penises and sexually pleasing a partner.

The reality is, as anyone with a modicum of experience knows, is that everyone’s body is different. How your body reacts to sexual interaction of any kind is a combination of a multitude of things: the physical stimulation itself is part of it and so is the context: how you feel about that person, what they do or say beforehand and during, how well they read your responses … the list is probably endless.

So, it logically follows that, all other things being equal, some people’s bodies will get more direct physical pleasure from a longer or girthier penis. But, equally, some will respond more favourably to a shorter or slimmer one. Or one with a left-hand bend, or one with a pointy end.

There is, of course, more to sex than the heteronormative penis-in-vagina situation. However, taking it as an example, if you look at the internal dimensions of an average vagina, you will find there is just as much variation as there is with the external size of penises.

Studies show the average depth of a vagina is somewhere in the range of 3”-6”, and this can vary with arousal as well as changing at different points in the menstrual cycle, which can produce changes in the position of the cervix.

So what feels good will vary not only from person to person, but quite possibly from day to day, even with the same individual.

The takeaway?

  1. There is no single hard and fast (so to speak 😂) rule, no special trick that will work on everyone
  2. Bigger is sometimes preferable, and sometimes it is not, please ask your server for details

The thing we really, really didn’t want to hear in our quest for answers back then: that there are no magic shortcuts – you need to take the time to communicate, listen and learn what any individual person enjoys and gradually build experience.

As handy as it would be (for everyone involved) there are no infallible “sex hacks” that will have all and any partner instantly cumming their faces off.

Ultimately, a massive cock is fairly useless if it is attached to someone who isn’t paying any attention to the person they are with. In fact, given that the average vagina is shorter than the average penis, it’s quite likely to be painful if not used … thoughtfully 🤷‍♂️

Similarly, a small penis doesn’t stop you having amazing sex with someone. In fact – news flash – a penis isn’t needed at all (even if you have one handy)!

Of course, making these kinds of statements run the inevitable risk of sounding like you are simply on the defensive about your own member. And that was the absolute last thing I wanted as a teenager. But I’m now past the point where I give a crap about that – if that’s the vibe I give off, so be it 🤷‍♂️

Anyway, thanks for coming to my TED talk 😂 I‘m not under the illusion I’m saying anything massively ground breaking here, but hopefully it’s a small piece in changing the way men communicate; a little step in the direction of being less embarrassed or scared of talking about this stuff 🖤

[Full disclosure: I didn’t really understand this about myself until later in life but I’m bisexual, so I have subsequently had some less-than-academic interest in other penises 😂 However, I don’t think any of what I am talking about here was particularly influenced or affected by that side of my sexuality, or that it is especially relevant – hence adding this as a post script.]

References / further reading:

Penis size increase between flaccid and erect states: An analysis of the Kinsey data

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