Penis enlargements: The facts

While women considering surgery may have support of friends and family, men can find it hard to open up about such intimate matters. Many men worry about the size of their manhood. But what exactly is normal?

Penis enlargements: The facts

We asked psychologist and sex educator Dr Petra Boynton to talk us through the types of procedures available on the market for men who want to enhance their bits.

"The climate for men is all very macho and stiff upper lip," Petra says. "If you think you've got a small penis, you're more likely to go online than ask for help.

And in this very commercialized climate, you're either going to find porn, which will give you a very bad idea about penis size, a lot of bravado and bullying on forums, or products making false claims."

What can you do if you're worried about the size of your manhood?

"Most men who think they've got a problem with their penis size do not really have a problem. Their penis probably falls into the range of what is normal.

If you are worried, it's important to see a GP who could then refer you to a urologist. But if there isn’t anything surgically that needs to be done, as in most cases, you would need to go and see a psychosexual therapist."

Talk to someone

"Psychosexual therapists are available on the NHS and will get you to think about where your worry is coming from.

"Some men don’t want surgery for sex, they want surgery to look plumped up in the locker room, or they're worried that when they're erect, their penis doesn’t get big enough.

"It can be about being worried about a partner laughing at them or thei concern could come with additional psychosexual problems so they can't 'get it up' and they think that it's because their equipment is too small.

“A lot of the stuff young men read is penis-focused, about being good in bed, lasting ages, having lots of penetration and really going for it.

“It actually becomes nothing to do with what women want in the end. It's about male anxieties about what other males say and might think.

“A psychosexual therapist will talk you through what it is normal and what you can do about it.

“The reason for going through the NHS rather than a private route is that a private business is looking to make money. So of course they will tell you that your penis is too small.”

We’ve all seen adverts and spam emails about creams and pills that claim to enlarge the penis. So what are the other options and do they work?

Creams

“If these creams are so powerful, why don’t they come with a health warning that you must wear gloves to put them on? Because presumably they grow your fingers as well!”

“They’re expensive and they don’t work. It’s worth looking at the ingredients, they might contain products that make your penis feel tingly and possibly plump up a little bit, but they’re not permanent solutions.

“I suspect toothpaste would give you a similar feeling, but I wouldn’t recommend it.”

Pills

“These are not proven in any scientific way to do anything significant. If they were, they would be being prescribed routinely on the NHS.

“Usually they give you a free sample, but then you have to buy a month’s worth, three months worth of products and each dose can cost anywhere between £10 and £50.

“People think they are herbal, so they’re safe, but they may cause problems if you are taking medication already.”

Natural enlargement or stretching

“This claims, with marginal evidence, to do something, but you have to be tugging at the damn thing for weeks on end.

“The amount of time you spend stretching your penis every day, you could spend being nice to your partner or learning some sexual techniques.”

Surgery

“Surgery usually involves making the penis wider rather than making it longer by possibly inserting rods or fat. It can cost between £3000 and £10,000.

“You might get a slightly bigger penis, but the long term effects are not necessarily better. It might make you feel more confident, but it won’t necessarily make you a better lover.

“If surgery goes wrong, you could end up never getting it up again. Most men, given the option between a penis that‘s on the small side that works and one that doesn’t work at all, would opt for the one that works.”

What is a normal sized penis?

Dr Petra says: “You’ll see in magazines that the average size is about five inches, but there is a range.

“The people who initially studied this didn’t want to pick out an average because they knew full well that nobody wants to be average or below. They looked at a range of penis sizes and they looked at girth and length.

“Heterosexual women usually say they are more interested in width rather than length. But ultimately neither of those things are important if you’re not particularly good at making somebody feel relaxed, confident and turned on.

“There is some anecdotal evidence that suggest that men with bigger penises don’t try as hard. I have heard that from gay men and straight women.

“The ‘average’ is usually based on misleading data. Websites sites that talk about penis enlargements site the average size as 6 – 8 inches, so everyone’s going to be small compared to that. They prey on men’s insecurities.”