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Need He Be Worried His Penis Size Is Too Small?

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Need He Be Worried His Penis Size Is Too Small?

Is there any point in him worrying about his penis size?

Dear Duana,

My fear of not being able to satisfy my wife is causing problems with my erections. I am in my mid-forties and have been with my wife for 16 years now. Very early on in the relationship I read something in a journal of hers I wish I could wipe from my memory banks regarding my penis size.

When we engaged in intercourse for the first time I will admit that I was not sailing with a full mast due to first time nervousness I would guess. So to get to the point what I read was that I was “kinda small,” this was written after she and I had engaged for the first time. There was also something I read pertaining to her most previous hook- up and her satisfaction with it stating that she wanted “good hard sex, like with (most previous), I think it was the size.” So about a month later in discussion with her I was told he was very large.

Recently I have read a lot about average sizes and what women think, but I can’t overcome the nervousness when engaging with my wife. I do fit the average range weighing in at 5.5” length and 5” girth but can’t stop thinking about how I know what she has had and what I read indicated that if I were above average then she would be satisfied more so.

All my life I have had a hard time dealing with being a disappointment to others in everything I do and therefore am having a hard time now dealing with myself and wanting to satisfy my wife is a matter of great importance to me. I love my wife and ever since we hooked up I have loved her sexuality and desire to the point that when I masturbate I can only imagine her.

I realize that having this issue leads to her thinking that it’s her not [satisfying] me and therefore adding to [my] anxiety of performing. I or we need some help with this as I have never had an issue or problem that leads to lack of performance. All the information on what women like and sizes are good, but not enough to overcome my nervousness and at this point my confidence is suffering and leading to my worst fear of being a disappointment to the one I love the most. Help please.



Dear Richard,

Could you excuse me for a moment while I address our audience?

To Those Who Are Attracted To Persons Of The Penile Persuasion:  The #1-most-read article here is about Penis Size.  The topic I get the most letters about is Penis Size.  The readers and the writers of that piece?  Are MEN who are worried about their own length, girth, and worth.  I have never—never, in nearly six years as LoveScientist—received a letter from a woman worried about her partner’s size!  And despite my article about Meeting The Clitoris, etc., and other evidence regarding peni, these otherwise logical men are utterly unpersuaded by facts.  Why?

Usually, it’s not totally clear.  It’s logical to assume the online porn industry is partly to blame, as it instructs men through example that a) Real Men have huge cocks; b) Real Women respond enthusiastically and instantaneously to said huge cocks; c) Foreplay and the Clitoris?  Who needs ‘em?

Yet men are writing to me from thirty countries, believing Size really does matter.  Well, it does—to men.  I still don’t know of an evolutionary advantage, but this appears a global matter.  And Wise Readers, if you know something I don’t about why men care so very, very much, please share!

But take that fear and then add a comment—any comment—about Size made by a partner?  And you’ve got a disaster in the making.  Never belittle a penis.  

It’s hard to overstate how much men care about their size, and your perception of it.  Men will forget what you wrote about your mother.  They will forget what they overheard about your work politics.  They might forget your birthday, or their own.  But they will never, ever forget The Penis Statement.  No, not even if you were just making a passing comment.  Not even if you don’t really care about their size anyway.  Not even if you follow the statement with “but you are the best lover I’ve ever had.”  Unless the guy develops Alzheimer’s or has a stroke—and isn’t that a bit harsh to hope for?—The Statement is indelible.

And although I have never received a letter or client call from anyone who ditched a guy over dong dimensions~if you don’t want the guy, guess what?  Someone else will, unhesitatingly and joyfully.  And s/he won’t want two or more decades of miserable-yet-preventable insecurity in the boudoir, courtesy of your insensitive remark.

*dusts off hands, puts away chalk*


Now that that lecture is over, let’s turn to you.  Richard, the road to hell is paved with overheard conversations and illicitly-read diary entries, but 16 years’ agony has likely informed you of that better than I can.

My heart absolutely breaks for you.  I can only imagine how it would feel to be burdened every day with the fear that you’re not enough for the one person you truly love~the person you’ve committed to for life.  Although women put penis size far down on the list of what they value and seek in a partner, men just never believe it; you fellas tend to foist your own fears about size onto these intense emotions very few women have.  So now, based on something from long, long ago that you read, you are feeling insecure to the core of your manhood and your relationship.  And you have lived with this burden, this fear, and this sense of inadequacy and worry, for a decade and a half.  I can imagine little else that could be more emotionally painful for you!


In my opinion, it is time to stop living with the shame and address your fears head-on by talking with your wife.  Richard, talking with me will only get you so far.  I can tell you about using sensate focus to overcome erectile dysfunction and reclaim erotic joy with your wife.  I can tell you about the fact that women are sexual with our whole bodies, that the clitoris is on the outside, that women focus on the clitoris when masturbating (which tells you penetration is not the end-all-be-all, or women would masturbate with penetration), and that there are a lot of ways to get your wife off that will satisfy her.  BUT.  I cannot tell you how your wife really feels about you, your sexual performance, and how large or small a role your penis size plays in that.

In my opinion, this is a counseling issue.  I’d recommend revealing to your wife the details you revealed to me, in counseling.  If you cannot do that, for any reason, then it is really past time that you have the discussion privately with your wife.  I can tell you, as a woman and a wife myself, that if I found out my husband felt this way, I would move heaven and earth to help him understand how much I love and adore him, his sexuality, our compatibility in bed and out—and that although I love that part of him, of course, he is MUCH MUCH MORE than a penis to me!!!~!

Please let me know what you decide to do.  I will help you with a script if you need or want one in order to speak with your wife.  But either way, it’s time to lay this particular burden down and truly live, joyfully, with the woman you love.




The author wishes to thank the following scientists and sources:

Mary Roach, author of Bonk: The curious coupling of science and sex, for her third chapter wherein she talks about the percentage of women who come during intercourse, the distance of the Clitoris from the urethra, and its relationship to female orgasm during intercourse.  Her interviews with Kim Wallen regarding the ‘rule of thumb’ (clitoral distance from urethra) in this article are a must-read.

If you lack the funds for a basic human sexuality textbook, this Wikipedia article and all the other related ones linked above on The Clitoris are really good:  Note that several studies show that 70-80% of human women require clitoral stimulation (fingers, tongues)—not only thrusting of a penis—to come.  The many human sexuality books and research summaries I own agree.

If you have the funds, a new or used copy of any of the following human sexuality texts would be a great purchase; if you don’t have the funds, people do sell these for cheap on Craigslist and other person-to-person online sources:

Human Sexuality, 8th edition, by Spencer A. Rathus et al.; see pages 259-260 for specific information found by Kinsey and Masters & Johnson regarding women’s masturbation techniques.

Understanding Human Sexuality, 11th edition, by Janet Shibley Hyde & John D. Delamater.  The description of the many similarities between the clitoris and the penis on pages 64-65 are worth a read, as is the rest of the book.

Our Sexuality, 11th edition, by Robert Crooks & Karla Baur

And if you want a great sex manual, my favorite is Paul Joannides’The Guide To Getting It On  (The linked edition comes out this October, but there are earlier editions if you just can’t wait!)

Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., is the author of Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do, coming in January, 2015. She also contributes at Psychology Today and teaches psychology at Austin-area universities. Get a free chapter of Love Factually!

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