Dr. Michelle Dexter

Sexologist ~ Integrative Psychologist ~ Professor

My Blog


Does Penis Size Really Matter?

Posted on July 21, 2014 at 11:29 PM Comments comments (156)
I came across a documentary recently that got me really thinking about the age old question, does penis size really matter?  And if so, what’s the best way to address this issue? 

Patrick Moote was inspired to create his documentary, Unhung Hero (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2708946/?ref_=ttmd_md_nm), after he publicly proposed to his girlfriend at a sporting event, and she ran away.  Later she told him that she couldn’t marry him because his penis is too small.  Ouch! 

In the documentary, Patrick travels the world investigating every option he can find for penis enlargement, but in the end (spoiler alert!) he decides that he should make peace with this penis and accept it for what it is. 

I’ve heard many a man express concern that his penis isn’t large enough to please his partner, and a few go so far as to state that if their penises were larger, then they could make their female partners achieve orgasm during intercourse.

So let’s address these concerns.  But first, I want to lay out some facts:

1.The average adult penis size while erect is between 4 inches and 6 inches.

2.The average adult vagina is 4 inches deep.

3.The majority of women find it PAINFUL to have intercourse with men who have overly large penises.  Most women's cervixes (located at the top of the vagina) are terribly sensitive, and most women do not enjoy having their cervixes pounded at during intercourse.  Men in this situation must learn to be terribly hypervigilant during sex so as to avoid hurting their partners.

4. The majority of women will NEVER achieve orgasm while having intercourse.  Research indicates that only 40% of women are even capable of achieving orgasm during intercourse.

5. Only the lower 1/3 of a woman's vagina has sufficient nerve endings to cause sensation.  The top 2/3 has so few nerve endings that a woman cannot feel very much at all there.    

In our culture, we associate big penises with masculinity, power, virility, and strength.  I would like to submit that perhaps this is a skewed conception of reality, and we would do well to challenge this assumption.  There are plenty of ways to feel masculine, powerful, virile and strong, all with an average—or even small—penis!

In a recent study, when women were interviewed about how satisfied they were with their sex lives, the researchers discovered that the relationship between their partners’ penis size and sexual satisfaction was practically nil!
Women are much more concerned with sexual skill than they are with penis size.  If a man can make a woman feel feminine, attractive, and desired, he is already yards ahead of the competition!  If he can use his penis well to give her pleasure—regardless of size--she will be bragging to her friends for sure.

So, what does it mean to have good sexual skills?  Here are three hallmarks:

1. Men who know and use the coital alignment technique (CAT) where they position themselves so as to have their pubic bones rub up against a woman's clitoris during intercourse are sure to delight women.  Do not expect, however, that this will make a woman achieve orgasm during intercourse.  Again, most women, no matter what, will never be able to climax during intercourse.

2. Men who have ejaculatory control and who can last a sufficient amount of time (which will be a different amount of time for every woman) so that a woman can have sufficient pleasure are also a treasure among women.  (If this is of concern for you, have no fear, this can be learned).

3. Men who take the time to make sure women have sufficient foreplay, attend to her orgasm, and cuddle afterwards are worth the praises women heap upon them.

There is likely nothing less sexy than a man who is obsessed with what he perceives to be his small penis.  Dan Savage, the famous sex columnist, discloses in the video that he had a boyfriend who was convinced that he had a small penis.  Evidently, all Dan’s boyfriend could talk about was how terrible it was that he had such a small penis, and fret to no end about how this must make him inferior.  This wore on Dan, and it was a major factor in the reasons why Dan eventually broke up with him.  As a woman who has had a similar experience, I cannot say Amen loudly enough! A man who repeatedly laments over his allegedly small penis is a buzz kill!  Such displays of insecurity and lack of self-acceptance are not sexy.

Here are the take away lessons:

Most women are happy with their partners’ penises.  Given the physiology of the vagina, most women do not require large penises to be sexually satisfied.  Men would do well to stop worrying about the size of their penises and focus on self-acceptance and making women feel loved, cherished, attractive and desired, which will in turn make women want to sleep with them.  In bed, men would do well to focus on giving and receiving pleasure rather than focusing on the size of their penises.  We all have things about our bodies that we don’t like, but truly healthy sexuality means that we accept our bodies as they are and we celebrate their functioning.

Discussing Sex with Your Children

Posted on March 7, 2014 at 9:02 PM Comments comments (102)
I was leading a discussion in my Marriage, Family and Intimate Relationships course the other day on the hows and the whys of parents discussing sex with their children.  I was dismayed when a man who has an eleven year old daughter said that it's not necessary for parents to discuss sex with their children, because they'll learn everything that they need to know in school.  I'd like to make a case for why it's important for parents to have these discussions with their kids. 

First, not all schools have a comprehensive sex education program.  Some schools only teach about biological functioning, leaving out all information about intercourse, birth control/contraception, and human sexual motivations.  Additionally, some teachers are uncomfortable presenting this material, so they gloss over it. Worse yet, some teachers are sex negative, and promote sex negative ideas, such as sex is only for straight people, gay men and lesbian women are sexual deviants, sex for pleasure is unacceptable, and having sex means you're virtually guaranteed to contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI). 

Second, when children do not have access to accurate information, they often rely on their friends for sex education, and  I don't know about you, but I heard some crazy things about sex from my friends when I was a child.  When I was ten, one of my friends told me that a condom is something that a boy puts on his penis to make it bigger!  I'm sad to say that I believed this for many years.

Third, if you care about your children's sexual values, it's important that you share yours with your children.  If you want your children to only have sex with people with whom they share mutual respect and affection, tell them so!  If you want your children to be responsible about sex--using condoms and/or other birth control methods-- make this clear to them and give them access to contraception. 

If you feel uncomfortable discussing sex with your children, know that this is normal, but part of parenting is teaching your children about life, and sex is a part of life.  If your child balks at these discussions, he or she is responding to your discomfort, and that’s okay, but it's important to persevere.  There are a number of good books on the market that can give you good fodder for how and when to discuss sex with your child.  You can also read these books with your child.  I recommend It’s so Amazing! by Robie Harris (http://www.amazon.com/Its-So-Amazing-Families-Library/dp/0763613215/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=wwwdrmichel04-20&linkCode=w00&creativeASIN=0763613215).

Another thing to remember is that if a child is old enough to ask questions, he or she is old enough to receive honest answers.  You needn't give more information that what the child asks, though.  If, for example, a small child asks how a baby gets in a mommy's belly you can simply say that a daddy plants a seed in the mommy's belly and it grows into a baby.  If the child persists, and asks how the seed got there, then your child is old enough to know about intercourse.  You can simply say that a daddy puts his penis inside a mommy's vagina and seeds come out.  By the way, it's important to use anatomically correct names when discussing sex with children.  It's a disservice to children to use silly name for genitals, such as dingle or wee-wee or hoo-ha.  If children aren't given proper names for these parts, they may be terribly confused about sex.  When I was a child and my mother told me that a baby comes out of your bottom, I wasn't sure if that meant that I'd grow up and poop out a baby someday. 

Do your children the favor of being a parent who is a trustworthy source of information, who lets them know you care about them growing up to be sexually responsible, sex positive, and sexually well adjusted adults.  I can only hope my student will reconsider being this for his daughter.  She deserves to know her dad cares.