Sorry Guys, Your Penis Is Not As Powerful As You Think

Celebrating the penis as a symbol of masculinity and virility actually hurts men, women and society, a new book says

“Society’s messaging tells them that the organ represents everything about them, that without its meeting some fantasy threshold of impressive size, the people they want to attract will reject them, just because of their penis. It’s time to change that message and decenter the penis. This organ has gone from being a symbolic protector of contributor to life to becoming the embodiment and full measure of masculinity, something that men never fully comfortably feel they have achieved and women envy.”

“Many humans have the notion that sex is fixed and that an intromittum is the province of males. Nature defies these assumptions in species after species, including humans, pushing against the boundaries we try to draw between ‘male’ and ‘female’ using genitalia alone … we have used these assumptions to reduce humans to nothing but genitalia — especially to the phallus, or erect penis. Even though this modestly contoured organ lacks features associated with sexual antagonism, we have lapsed into centering it as the avatar of threat and aggression and the target of antagonism to the exclusion of our humanity. Centering the penis in this way diminishes not only the power of people without one, but also the personhood and humanity of those who have them.”

“With famous men who don’t have the excuse of underdeveloped impulse control, whipping out dicks at subordinates and otherwise behaving criminally, the penis is having a #AllAboutMe moment, implicated as the symbol of all these men — and their brains — behaving badly. … That’s because culturally, we’ve come to use the penis as the symbol for some men and their shitty behavior, and we continue to disbelieve or background their targets.”

“Our obsession with the size, power, and appearance of the penis is a cultural remnant of a symbolic use that no longer applies. It’s not the penis’s fault that it’s freighted with this baggage. Our brains did this, and our brains can undo it. We can use them to have a more realistic and healthy view of the penis as an organ worth getting to know, intimately and consensually, along with the person who has it.”

Written by

Award-winning journalist, coauthor of “The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels,” mom, changing the narrative about older women

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