The size of their penis has great significance for many men. It is not only men with smaller than average penises who can become concerned about penile size almost to the point of obsession.
One man emailed: 'My penis when erect is only 8 inches long. I feel I must make it longer. Please can you tell me how?' and I have emails from men whose erect penises measure 3 to 4 inches who are clearly genuinely concerned.
Underlying their concern one can discern not only fear of inadequate performance or of not satisfying their partner, but fear of being laughed at by members of their own sex, and their partners.
This concern about penis size is almost as old as Man. For hundreds of centuries penile length and bulk have been the yard-stick whereby Man has measured his manhood and had his manhood assessed by his fellows.
In this century concern about penis size has assumed a new characteristic.
Men are now more concerned with being successful lovers than with producing strong and healthy and numerous children.
Pride in their penis suggests a sense of masculinity is still centered in the penis, and it seems that psychologically men who consider themselves under-endowed are particularly vulnerable.
Though every penis conforms to a basic shape, its length and girth vary from individual to individual as much as noses, cars, hands and feet vary.
There have, however, been numerous surveys of penile length and girth which have purported to be able to establish an average size.
And according to these surveys, which tally remarkably closely, the average-sized penis among white men when fully erect measures a fraction below 6 inches in length and about 4.9 inches in circumference.
There are quite a number of 7-inch penises, but 8-inches and above are rare, while a few 2-inch penises do exist. There are as man 4 or 5 inch inch penises as there are 7-inch-plus penises, while below-4-inches are as rare as 8-inch-and above.
By the way, it is important that these measurements are taken along the upperside of the penis from pubic bone to tip, while circumference is measured about one inch below the rim.
I point this out, because I have often been proudly informed by the owners of 7 or 8 inch penises of their outstanding dimensions, but when I have inquired how the measurements were taken, they were invariably along the side, from the tendon which holds the root of the penis to the groin.
When I have asked them to measure again along the top, the somewhat shamefaced replies have disclosed lengths of 5 to 7 inches.
The measurement is taken along the top side because when the pubic bone of the male meets the vagina entrance no more of the penis can enter the vagina; but though the whole of the top side is taken up, there is always an inch or so on the underside, and at the sides, which do not go in.
Until a short time ago, it was thought that there was a definite relationship between flaccid penile length and erect length.
It is always difficult to get a true measurement of the limp penis because circulation and the effect of erotic thoughts, of temperature and posture make it change constantly.
Almost all surveys, however, have claimed to establish lengths and circumferences for the limp member - the average being given as 3.5 to 4 inches long and 3.9 inches round.
The American researchers Masters and Johnson, however, measured several hundred penises of all lengths, and reported that it would seem that the longer the limp penis the less its length increases in erection than the smaller penis.
A 3 inch penis may become 5.5 or 6 inches when erect and a 5 or 6 inch limp penis may have an erect size of 6 to 7 inches. They report one case of 3.2 inch flaccid penis which was 7.1 inches erect.
The great point of this discovery is that it confirms what sexologists have been insisting for a long time - that the man with the small limp penis, which is what his fellows may see, should not let it become a psychological block; and it emphasizes that it is the length of the erect penis which counts.
But how far it counts is another matter, too. The only men who have just cause for complaint are those whose erect penis is 3 inches or less. Anything above this measurement is fully capable of giving any woman complete satisfaction.
The length of the vagina in an unaroused woman is on average 3.5 inches.
Masters and Johnson's researches have revealed that when she is sexually aroused, the vagina automatically lengthens by about an inch, or perhaps a little more. This means that the 4 inch penis completely fills the vaginal barrel.
The extent to which the average vagina can be stretched without the woman being more than ordinarily aware of it is 6 inches, which represents almost the limit of possible male penetration, the vaginal tissues then being at full stretch.
It is only when the vagina is stretched to 7 to 8 inches that the woman experiences any sensations of stretching, and she may not do so even then.
The most sensitive part of the vaginal barrel is the first third of its length, from the vagina entrance: what Masters and Johnson call the orgasmic platform.
Any man who wishes to make a woman come ("cum") needs to focus his attention on this part of the vagina - with fingers or penis.
Supposing when she is aroused her vagina automatically lengthens to, say, 6 inches, which is far in excess of the average. Her orgasmic platform even then is 2 inches long, and a penis of only 3 inches will make contact with this vital area, with some to spare.
Now, it is a fact that as orgasm approaches there is often a psychological desire on the part of both partners for deeper penetration.
This desire is psychologically fulfilled by the partners straining their pubic areas against one another, which gives the impression to both of deep penetration, whether there is actual stretching beyond the normal limit of the vaginal tissue by a 7-inch penis or not.
The man with the average 6-inch penis completely satisfies his partner's penetration desire; the man with the 7-inch penis stretches the vaginal tissue to just that degree that is tolerable for the woman; the 8-inch penis goes beyond the tolerance limit, and sets up sensations which very few, if any, women, can accept.
This means that 7 inches is the maximum length which can give a woman pleasure. Anything beyond 7.5 inches, i.e. 8 or 9 inches, gives her pain, and if the few 8-inch men are honest, they will confess that they do not at any time use the full length of their penis.
In other words, the average 6-inch penis gives really deep penetration, the 7-inch borders on the excessive, while anything above that is useless and might just as well not be there.
On the other hand, even the 3 inch penis makes contact with more than the vital first third of the vaginal barrel in which the woman is conscious of its presence, and can respond to the psychological urge for deeper penetration by the firm pressure of the two pubic areas against one another.
This is one way in which men who have difficulty reaching orgasm during sex - a condition called delayed ejaculation - can make it easier to achieve orgasm and ejaculate more quickly. Obviously most men have trouble slowing down their ejaculation, so advice on how to last longer in bed is more often required!
Penile length, therefore, has NO significance whatsoever either in performance or capacity for satisfying the woman during sex.
It has significance only for those men who have become obsessed with it. That this obsession can be a very important factor in a man's approach to his whole sexual expression I fully recognize; so, is it possible to enlarge the penis?
Let us look for a moment at the penis's structure. The penis is composed of the head, or glans, the shaft (from the rim to the pubic bone) and the root, which is inside the body and consists of the attachment of the penis to the front and sides of the pubic arch. The visible penis represents two-thirds of its complete length.
The whole of the penis, both the visible and out-of-sight, consists of a bundle of three separate cylinders of a special tissue which has erection making qualities.
One of these cylinders, known as the corpus spongiosum, forms the underside - the side which the man cannot see when he looks down at it - and spreads out at the end to form the glans.
The urethra - the tube by which the bladder is emptied of urine and by which the semen leaves the man's body - runs more or less centrally through the corpus cavernosa, lie on top of the corpus spongiosum, their upper ends tucked firmly under the lip formed by the rim of the glans with the shaft. (See diagram.)
All three cylinders are bound together by skin and tissue, so that it is not possible to separate them except by surgery.
Though the cylinders have different names - cavernosa meaning full of holes, and spongiosum, like a sponge, i.e. also full of holes - and there are slight medical differences, for our purposes we can treat them as having identical structures.
The penis is covered with skin, ordinary skin, which is like the skin covering the rest of our bodies. The skin of the shaft is what may be termed 'fixed', but that covering the head of the penis, called the foreskin, is loose and can be pulled backwards and forwards over it. The covering of the glans is a special kind of membrane, which, in this case, is similar to the membrane lining of the woman's vagina.
Under the skin of the penis is a massive system of arteries and veins which supply blood to it. As soon as a man becomes sexually aroused a mechanism is triggered off which pours blood into the penis at a very much faster rate than it can leave it.
The blood fills all the thousands of holes in the three cylinders, which has the effect of making the penis swell, stiffen and stand up, or become erect. So long as the man is sexually aroused it will remain in this hard, erect state.