What One Man's Life With A Micropenis Reveals About The Human Condition

Illustration for article titled What One Man's Life With A Micropenis Reveals About The Human Condition

New York Magazine's Alexa Tsoulis-Reay spoke with a 51-year-old English teacher from the U.K. to learn about his life with a micropenis. His response says a lot about what it means to be human – whether one possesses a penis or not.


Photo Credit: Anthony Easton via flickr | CC BY 2.0

The interviewee is, of course, a data point of one, and obviously not the spokesperson for anyone and everyone with a micropenis. So it's almost paradoxical that his comments on life with a micropenis should provide some intriguing insights on the broader human condition – but they definitely do. Chief among them is the tendency for men of all sizes – whether they have a micropenis or not – to obsess over the measure of their member, often going so far as to self-misdiagnose themselves. Defined as an organ that's 2.5 standard deviations smaller than the average penis size, micropenises are actually pretty rare:

While a precise number is open to scientific debate, it's commonly accepted that the average size of an adult male penis is five and a quarter inches, erect. Generally speaking, measure in under about three inches erect, and you have what's called a micropenis — the least common of the conditions falling under the banner of an "inconspicuous penis," which includes a webbed penis, where it is difficult to decipher exactly where the scrotum ends and the penis begins; or a buried penis, where the shaft of the penis is hidden by skin and fat.

Thought to be caused by inadequate testosterone in the later stages of fetal development, or maybe insensitivity to androgen, it's a rare and often self-misdiagnosed condition. Only 0.6 percent of the population has a true micropenis — but peruse online forums and you'll find many men with average-size or larger penises lamenting concerns about their seemingly inadequate genitals.

Only 0.6 percent. And yet, as we've noted in the past, "a huge number of men every year try to enlarge their rods of delight. And they've been trying to do it for a really long time."

The whole piece is worth reading, but the interviewee's response to the following question was particularly poignant – again, for what it says not just about having a small penis, but about being embarrassed, defensive, and apologetic for the "horrible disappointments" that are really just who we are. About being ashamed of our weight, our complexion, our height, our teeth, our feet, our hairy backs, hairy butts, hairy upper lips (okay, fine, our hairy everythings), our strange body odors, and, yes, our funny-looking genitals, in the face of vague, mercurial, arbitrary, or unattainable social ideals:

So you do feel a need to disclaim before you're naked, or do you do it when you're in the moment?

I've fallen in love so many times in the last decade, and, oh God, this is what really kills me: There are some people who must wonder why the fuck I acted so weird with them. Because we get to a certain point and then I try to take my foot off the accelerator and have to reverse because we get to a point where the next step is to get into bed and I didn't really want to do that. I'm happier masturbating. I'm sorry. It's crude and horrible, but I think it's a fairer because I'm protecting them from that horrible disappointment. It's like selling a car that doesn't have an engine you have this beautiful car but there's no engine. It doesn't do anything. But I still have the same desire and the same yearning. I must be lucky because I haven't done anything wrong but I can understand why some men go mad and do horrible things. Sex is such a powerful force. I keep reading about these cases where guys feel they've been embarrassed or humiliated and take their revenge on women or children and do terrible things, I think there's something in society that doesn't help this whole setting up of what's a proper man. It's just human nature — I think it's biology, really; it's the survival of the fittest and the biggest and the strongest.


Read the full interview at New York Magazine.



How about we stop body-shaming people in general? It should not be acceptable to mock people for their bodies, even when they've done something worth criticism or contempt, because then you are just lumping in all the innocent people with the same issues with the guilty one.