The state broadcaster also runs prime time and late night men’s clinic ads modelled on helping men to regain their sexual confidence. All of this because endowment and performance have a huge bearing on psyche, confidence and perceived virility. Beyond athleticism or wallet size, the penis – preferably functional and generously proportioned – is considered the true physical manifestation of masculinity. For this reason there are men who, driven by feelings of insecurity and other psychological triggers, will go to great lengths to enhance their manhood (read: enlarge their penises). 

One Kenyan man’s desperation drove him to almost ending his own life. Details of the case published in the International Journal of Surgery reveal that it took an urgent and delicate operation by specialist surgeons at the Kenyatta National Hospital to save the 26 year old man. The man, whose name was kept confidential, had inserted a metallic ring around the base of his manhood because he believed that it would make his organ bigger and better in bed. It is reported that the man bought a penis enlargement kit which included instructions that “the ring should be placed around the base of the sexual organ for three hours every two weeks. Such rings are used to prolong male erections by reducing the blood flow out of the manhood,” according to the doctors who wrote about the incident in a journal article.

Body image affects men too

After jokingly offering himself to test out whether the rings truly work or not, a male friend I interviewed told me that there are two kinds of men: show-ers and growers. Show-ers are visibly endowed while growers may appear small when flaccid but rise to the occasion when summoned, mostly to the satisfaction of himself and his partner. My friend added that the latter rely on their technical sexual abilities to complement their junk so that they can fully cater to their partners’ needs. He said that the one thing both kinds of men have in common is that they indulge in self-critique, especially during teenage years and early adulthood. He revealed that he himself used to be self-conscious but made peace with his body when he was in his early twenties, as he grew comfortable in his own skin.

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An article published by Men’s health says that: “Even men who aren’t worried about their size are often deeply concerned that their dicks are ugly or weird, smelly or bad-tasting. Guys with foreskin sometimes feel like freaks; guys without it wonder if sex would be better with it.” Another male friend who falls in the well-endowed bracket revealed that although he has no issues with his rod, being naked around other guys makes him uncomfortable. While size is obviously a real issue that lingers on many men’s minds (men are said to think about their junk an average of 10 times a day) it is also intensified by women. 80 percent of women reportedly wish that their partners had bigger members to fully satisfy them. The irony, however, is that there are women with Mandingos for boyfriends who flee due to actual physical injury sustained during intercourse. More importantly, a large penis does not automatically mean a man is a better lover; in reality it can even ruin his love/sex life.

What causes penis insecurity?

According to the men I interviewed, pornography has a big influence on size perception. In addition, so does popular culture, be it music, advertising or the media. A lot of men wind up setting unrealistic expectations for themselves and their penises because they have these constant external reminders that they are not enough. They use comparison as a primary measure during their sexual identity development. A man who is aware of the existence of penis enlargement apparatus clearly had pre-existing insecurities about his junk. It also does not help that a trip to the urinal is an unspoken contest for men: show-ers tend to strut their stuff more liberally while growers would rather have the next guy mind his own business and refrain from peeping over to compare.

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I would like to raise the point that there are men who have penis insecurities which they project onto their relationships by being possessive tyrants and bullies. The interviewees responded that the problem there lies deeper than size. They said that only a man who is not inspired or motivated in other areas of his life will focus on his endowment, or lack thereof. In short, people who are already lacking in self-confidence and appreciation for themselves will find any excuse to transfer the negative energy they harbour. This then translates into violent outbursts, aggressive interactions, paranoia around partners’ faithfulness and inevitably, unhappy endings to relationships.

Corny as it may sound, ‘what matters is the motion in the ocean not necessarily the size of the boat’. The appeal of being able to show off at the urinal or emulating porn-stars must be nice but there is more to life and pleasing a woman. Confidence and acceptance of self go a long way in determining a person’s worth. Truth is, we are all built differently which makes us unique and wonderful as we are. Men who have size issues are better off making peace with their genetic odds instead of risking injuries to their precious, which I am sure is much worse than simply having a small one!