Overcoming Penile Insecurity

Andrew Siegel, MD    4/3/2021




uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.

Penis insecurity: uncertainty, anxiety, lack of confidence concerning one’s penis.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

“The degree of a man’s worry about his genitals is profound…. male body insecurity is not far behind female body insecurity.”

— Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, New York Times

Many men struggle with sexual confidence and suffer with size inferiority issues. “My penis” is Google-searched more commonly than any other body part. Of the top 10 queries, nine involve size.  First and second queries are “How to make my penis bigger?” and “How to make my penis longer?”  These types of questions are primarily male concerns as men make more than 100 searches on this topic for every one that women make.

Why Are We So Hung Up on the Penis?

Most organs that are unpaired–including man’s favorite–are of vital importance, e.g., brain, liver, pancreas, etc. There is no shame for the desire of a fine specimen that has an admirable locker room and bedroom presence.  Under the right circumstances, it morphs into a completely different state–a miracle of nature like watching time-lapse photography—a unique capacity possessed by no other body part. For those who relish instant gratification, the penis is the body part of choice. Endowment with this resource that females lack gives men a sense of power and in the hierarchy of power, those with the largest weapons have a perceived advantage.

“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but sometimes it is more than a cigar.”

The penis represents more than what it presents at “face” value. Transcending sexuality, the penis is a literal “totem pole”—symbolizing confidence, swagger, self-assurance and self-esteem. Representing courage, strength and sexual potency, it is understandable why another term for the penis is “manhood.”  It is no surprise that the words “cocksure” and “cocky” refer to the possession of supreme self-confidence.

The world is “phallocentric” and penis-looking things are most often men’s things – guns, cars, rockets, cigars, skyscrapers, jets, etc. American popular culture typically dictates that bigger is better, whether it is banks, government, tech, homes, automobiles, boats, food portions, breasts, buttocks and penises.

Size Insecurity

It’s not the size of the ship, but the motion of the ocean.”

Size should never outrank service.”

(poster hanging in the boarding gateway of an airplane)

The aforementioned adages make the point that size is not always the priority. However, many men feel insecure about their size despite having adequate dimensions, particularly so in our super-sized American bigger-is-better culture. The porn industry and mainstream media have not helped the plight of the average-endowed male, promoting an inferiority complex for the ordinary guy. Although many women do not think of penis size as the foremost priority, others who are size queens who have a fascination and preference for outsize male genitals. Regardless of sexual abilities and skills, men know that they might be judged based strictly on size, a source of stress, apprehension and perhaps performance anxiety.

The majority of men who perceive their penises to be smaller than average in reality are adequately sized. Their body image is at odds with reality, a disorder of perception and a psychological issue –penile dysmorphic disorder – that parallels body dysmorphic disorder. This perceived inadequacy and obsessive focus can cause shame, embarrassment, stress, and self-esteem issues and can be an impediment and handicap to relationships.

Penis stature is what it is. What you see is what you get.  If there were an effective and safe means to increase penile size, you would know about it already. Blame your parents for the genetic blueprint you inherited. You can’t make your penis bigger any more than you can make yourself taller. Realistically, the best one can hope for is to embrace the endowment given by nature, but optimize one’s sexual function.

Erectile Insecurity

Getting beyond size matters, another source of penile insecurity is function. Men are under considerable pressure to perform, since a rigid erection is an absolute necessity for penetrative sexual intercourse, whereas there is considerably less pressure on the female partner, who needs only to lubricate, or alternatively, to use artificial lubricant. Men cannot always rise to the occasion and performance anxiety is a not uncommon occurrence, particularly with a new partner.

How to Optimize Form and Function?

Although you can’t make it bigger, you can make it better and cultivate the sexual confidence to overcome penis insecurity. It comes down to fitness and keeping your pelvic floor muscles well-conditioned. 

Stay Lean and Fit

Weight gain causes the pubic fat pad to be more prominent, the male equivalent of the female mons pubis. As the penis becomes buried in pubic fat, the penis will appear shorter. However, penile length is usually intact, with the penis merely hiding behind the fat pad, the “turtle effect.”  For every 35 pounds of weight gain, it is estimated that there will be a one-inch loss in apparent penile length. Lose the fat and the penis reemerges.  Fitness (particularly cardiac and core fitness) will substantially help penile function, since the penis is an extension of the cardiovascular system and some of the core muscles strongly contribute to erectile rigidity.

Use It or Lose It

Keep penile tissues fit and healthy by using the penis on a regular basis for the purpose it was designed. In other words, stay sexually active as nature intended, vital for maintaining the ability to have ongoing satisfactory sexual intercourse. Regular sexual activity increases pelvic and genital blood flow and optimizes penile tissue health and elasticity, while ejaculation tones and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.  “Disuse atrophy” is a genuine condition that occurs when the genitals adapt to not being used, manifesting with penile tissue wasting and shrinkage with impairment of erectile function.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Training

The pelvic floor muscles play a vital and fundamental role in all aspects of sexual function from arousal to climax. Numerous studies have documented the benefits of pelvic exercises (Kegels) in improving function. Pelvic floor muscle training will help maintain penile tissue integrity and optimize the strength and endurance of the hidden muscles that are vital for erectile rigidity and ejaculation.

Bottom Line:  If there were truly an effective, safe and simple means to increase penile size, you would know about it.  To optimize your genetic endowment and avoid penis insecurity, maintain a healthy lifestyle, remain physically fit and sexually active and keep your pelvic floor muscles in tip-top shape. 

Wishing you the best of health and a wonderful holiday weekend,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

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Dr. Andrew Siegel is a physician and urological surgeon who is board-certified in urology as well as in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.  He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor New York Metro AreaInside Jersey Top Doctor and Inside Jersey Top Doctor for Women’s Health. His mission is to “bridge the gap” between the public and the medical community. He is a urologist at New Jersey Urology, the largest urology practice in the United States.  His latest book is Prostate Cancer 20/20: A Practical Guide to Understanding Management Options for Patients and Their Families. 

4 small

Video trailer for Prostate Cancer 20/20

Preview of Prostate Cancer 20/20

Andrew Siegel MD Amazon author page

PROSTATE CANCER 20/20 is now available at Audible, iTunes and Amazon as an audiobook read by the author (just over 6 hours). 

Dr. Siegel’s other books:

FINDING YOUR OWN FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Health, Wellness, Fitness and Longevity

PROMISCUOUS EATING— Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food

MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health

THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual, and Urinary Health


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