3 min

Dick size and self-worth

There are ways to build a bigger cock, but at what cost?

Dear Dr Ren:

I am a single gay man in my 30s. I am considered good-looking and have never had trouble finding lovers, but also haven’t been in any long-term relationships. My problem is that I am totally embarrassed about the size of my penis when it’s soft. I never want to take my clothes off until my dick is hard which means I don’t spend the night-no long-term relationships! I am getting tired of the pattern and want to know if there are options to grow my penis.

Little Dick

Dear Dick:

Though it is common for men to be concerned about the size of their penises, it’s a twist that you worry about your dick only when soft. Flaccid penises are either growers or showers. Growers appear small until stimulated and then change dramatically in size, while showers look bigger while flaccid but grow less when they get hard. Both kinds look about the same when they are erect. You are clearly a grower.

Still, anxiety is seldom calmed by logic, so there are ways you can alter the appearance of your penis.

You can gain an “extra optical inch” by shaving your pubic hair. Indeed, Phillips is now marketing a shaver to the gay and metrosexual markets using that tactic (

If you have a belly paunch, firming your abs will also give the impression of a longer schlong. Even room temperature can make a difference-the warmer your body, the looser you will hang. If you are tempted to invest in the many gimmicks and potions promoting penis growth, beware. None has been proven to work.

Beyond optical illusion, you can prepare for your dates by using a vacuum pump to fluff your dick before you begin to make out. Of course you’ll need to arrange privacy. It’s a cumbersome apparatus, and the effect is temporary. You’re probably as well off to kiss with your pants on for a few moments more.

There’s some buzz about a stretching technique called jelqing or milking that uses frequent, gentle and sustained pulling of the shaft of the penis to train it to remain engorged. This practice carries little professional endorsement and may cause pain, scar formation and disfigurement if done incorrectly.

Some men attach weights to their cocks to add length. This method requires hours of weight training to effect barely perceptible results and comes with caveats about permanent penile damage. There are those, however, who claim success and others who discover an erotic component to this practice.

Next up the complexity ladder is surgery, of which there are several kinds. The least invasive involves cutting the suspensory ligaments that anchor the penis to the pubic bone. This releases the penis to hang lower. The problem is that without those ligaments, the erect penis hangs without support or direction.

To add girth, you can have fat removed from one part of your body and injected into your penis, or you can buy the fat from a cadaver (I swear I’m not making this up). This technique has a high rate of infection, rejection, and disfigurement often leading to subsequent surgeries. As with all these surgeries, there remains a risk of incontinence, inability to achieve or sustain erections, and pain or numbness.

The newest technique is albugineal surgery with bilateral saphenous grafts, adding a half inch in erectile width. Blood vessels from elsewhere in the body are grafted into the penis to increase blood volume during erection. The clinical trials (39 men so far) look promising. The procedure costs up to $13,000, compared to the simpler surgeries that start at $4,500.

So, Little Dick, there are some things you can do to grow your penis. None is without risk and consequence, and I wonder if bigger genitals is the appropriate cure for your unwanted pattern of repetitive short-term relationships.

You tell me you have had many lovers. Surely many of them were growers, too. Didn’t you notice? Perhaps you were paying attention to the mutual attraction fuelling the moment, or maybe you were lost in your lover’s eyes. Could it be that the size of his dick did not matter because this concern is only about you?

All of us have body image stuff; it is inescapable. Nevertheless, since we revere beauty while simultaneously abhorring vanity, the perfect body always remains unattainable. Thus the dilemma: while we wait until we become perfect-which is never-we can either sacrifice sexual pleasure or luxuriate in it.

While you are foregoing overnight visits to protect your lover’s eyes from the sight of your soft penis, you are missing opportunities for intimacy and bond building. You might want to reassess your priorities. What is the worst thing that could happen when a sex partner discovers your short, soft dick? If it is a turnoff, you have found yourself a size queen and need to move on.

Maybe you need to search for another grower, or for one of the many for whom this is not an issue. What you don’t need to do is shut down.

Whatever option you choose, vote in your own best interests.