Sarah Britten
Sarah Britten

Six observations about penises

“My friend told me about a man with a large penis,” said one of the other students. “She said his technique was terrible. He just rammed and rammed. It was actually painful.” Her eyes widened. So did mine. These were the sort of conversations that make an impact on a rather sheltered 22-year-old from the northern suburbs. They took place in the seminar room on the 8th floor of the Wits Drama School where I did my Masters by coursework.

Gender studies was one of the modules I chose. We talked a lot about the social construction of gender and porn. For someone with no sexual experience whatsoever apart from the time my high school boyfriend suggested we have sex and I said no, I couldn’t live with myself and then my father walked in to fetch me and it was all a bit awkward, I knew an awful lot about the theory.

I’d written an entire essay about the Money Shot and the Male Gaze. I’d researched the sex clubs of Time Square before Giuliani cleaned it up. I knew about Annie Sprinkle and the woman who stuffed candied yams up her back passage as some sort of statement about feminism. I’d protested against the Beaver Hunt at the side of Jan Smuts Avenue. I bought a copy of Hustler when it first came out and fought with my grandmother over who got to look at it first. (She hid it, never to be seen again, after she saw what its pages contained)

Since then, theory has been translated into practice. I had a late start, but my tastes are eclectic. I have had knowledge of Chinese, white, Indian, Jewish, Iranian, Afrikaans, rooinek and black men. (I didn’t date the black guy, strictly speaking, because he was 12 years my junior and lived in Cape Town, and we agreed that we would never be in a relationship. We had what was apparently known as “a situation”.) Sample of one, I know, but my experience is probably more diverse than most.

Why does any of this matter? Well, penis size seems to be a thing on the Mail & Guardian these days. So, yes, I may have retired from men, but I have some knowledge of the subject at hand, both from a theoretical and a practical point of view.

So, without further ado, here are six observations on the subject of dicks.

1. Yes, size matters.
If I said it didn’t, I’d be lying. Since some of you are of a delicate constitution, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. That said, there’s a delicate balance between pleasure and pain. Too big is not fun. (Seriously.)

2. Men really, really want you to look at their willies.
Mobile phones and social media have made the random willy shot ubiquitous. Based on what other women have told me, the willy DM is a common thing, though fortunately this has never happened to me. Crotch shots end careers, as the eponymous Anthony Weiner reminded us.

3. Dicks are everywhere and nowhere.
The rape statistics tell you what gets done with penises, but showing them remains verboten in polite society – and this is true everywhere. We talk about them constantly, but we never see them. The accidental penis meme continues to be a source of global hilarity, as in the case of this Czech videobomb. This send-up of the New Zealand accent is the most entertaining dick joke I’ve seen in a while. And then there’s this story about the Soweto woman who chopped off her boyfriend’s penis – which is a horrific crime but treated as a joke by most of the men who talk about it. Sometimes the only way to deal with things that make you uncomfortable is to laugh about them.

4. She wants the D.
This is an interesting development, one I’ve noticed mainly through my interactions on Twitter. Women have long since been reduced to a body part but now so have men, with the “she wants the D” meme. In this logic, women want the dick, but apparently not the man it’s attached to, and men seem to be okay with that. In our hook-up culture, there’s no room for relationships, but relationships are messy and horrible so that’s understandable.

5. When it comes to younger men, porn has pretty much annexed sex.
I’ve been an accidental cougar, and something I’ve realised is that younger men have been watching porn since the year dot and expect you to perform as porn stars do. This means being willing to Do Stuff that women do in porn, like waxing up the wazoo, having facials and other stuff I won’t talk about because it will alarm sensitive readers. Have a gander at urbandictionary.com if you want to learn more.

6. A big dick is no good if it’s attached to an even bigger dick.
This is the most important point of all. A penis is just a body part, and it can never matter more than the man it is attached to. Many men moan at me about how women go for bad boys. It’s true – we do (oh, the stories I could tell.) But a big dick can only compensate for being a dick for so long. Ultimately, I suspect that a lot of women just want someone they can be boring with, and who will love us anyway.

This is all theoretical now. My life has turned full circle. Having spent my innocent youth writing academic essays on porn, and later having to deal with the consequences of the culture I dissected, I’ve backed away from the D and anything associated with it.

Penises are complicated, and it’s just simpler that way.

Tags: , , , , , ,

  • Black penis, white penis – a cock-and-bull story
  • The politics of the white male penis