Columnists » Ask Angelo

Super Size It!

by Angelo Pezzote
Tuesday Mar 2, 2010

Dear Angelo,

I feel inadequate when I compare myself to other guys in the locker room. Besides, most gay men seem to be size queens. What's average?

Signed, Super Size It

Angelo's Response:
Dear Super Size It,

Freud is famous for his sexual interpretations. We're all familiar with the concept that things can be symbols that (once decoded in analysis) can be traced back to early childhood. A large penis may be desirable because it symbolizes manliness and power. Since gay men aren't considered "real men" by society, many grow up with deep shame and inadequacy surrounding their masculinity. While many heal the wound to their manhood to some degree through the coming out process, reclaiming their masculine identity, unconscious remnants can lurk hidden beneath the surface. Hence, some gay men may become size queens in adulthood, compensating for what masculinity and power they feel they lack inside. On the other hand, as Freud himself said, "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

For whatever reasons, there are men who like big penises. But there are also men who prefer small penises. To them bigger isn't better. Then there are others who don't care either way. "It's icing on the cake," as they might say. Whatever your preference, it's important to keep realistic expectations. I often wonder what rulers gay men use. I mean is everyone 8" x 6"? I understand how men like to tack a bit on, but it can get ridiculous. The porn industry certainly uses some imaginary ruler that converts their magic wands from 5 real inches to 8, 6 to 9, 7 to 10, 8 to 11, 9 to 12, and 10 to 13 -- and those become a false benchmark we measure ourselves against., causing deflated esteem. We forget that camera tricks, airbrushing, computer graphics - and flat out lying - make the fantasy.

The truth about penis size is that 95% of men fall between 4.25 and 7.50 inches long and a tad under 5 inches round. So when you log on to sex sites and find that 95% of the guys are saying they're 8 x 6 inches or more -- well, you know the truth. Less than 5 in a 100 actually are. The correct way to measure a penis (admit it you've done it) is along the top from the base to the tip (without shoving the ruler into your flesh until it hurts). Using Dr. Kinsey's research, the average human penis was reported to be roughly 6 inches. Most men (about 90%) reported they measured between 5.0 and 7.0 inches. Many men, 78%, reported they fell short of 6.5 inches. A full 75% of men said they measured between 5.0 and 6.5 inches. Slightly over half of men, 54%, reported 6 inches or less. Keep in mind that the guys measured themselves. It's estimated that their actual length was a full half inch less. Still, just 7.5% of men said they measured over 7 inches. Those must have been the gay ones! All kidding aside, homosexual men in the study did report larger penises overall than their heterosexual counterparts. This may be a "side effect" of a prenatal wash of male hormones that determine sexual orientation, or maybe, as mentioned, we just typical men that like to exaggerate (but a little more, inflating our sense of "damaged" manhood). I've read more recent studies where someone else did the measuring. Most studies conclude the average penis to be 5.1- 5.9 inches. So who knows for sure what it really is.

In any event, size is not a legitimate measure of manhood. Working with transmen (male identified, female bodied), I know that some super masculine men have no penises at all or report micro-penises. And working with transwomen (female identified, male bodied), I know that some ultra feminine women report huge penises. The take home point is -- size doesn't make the man.

All The Best, Angelo.

Angelo Pezzote is a leading gay therapist in sexuality, gender, and trauma, author, resident edge columnist, and national speaker. He has appeared on Montel, CBS News on LOGO, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and in The New York Times, The Miami Herald, The Advocate, MSN/,, and other leading print and online media. His book, "Straight Acting - Gay Men, Masculinity, and Finding True Love" is available at and in bookstores. He works by Skype, phone, and in-person. He is based out of Miami / Ft lauderdale.

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