Bringing up the size of a penis can be the start of a million different debates.
What is the right or average size and how do you really find out what the average size is to begin with? It seems like something we are obsessed with at the moment. Does it even matter? Lately, whenever I've been browsing an online publication I always seem to see an article or two on the topic of penis size, sometimes statistical, sometimes opinion based. They all vary in perspective but are almost unanimous in opinion - size really isn't as big a deal as it seems to the male brain.
The question of 'why isn't there more male nudity on TV?' also seems to get asked every so often, mostly from an entertainment perspective but what if that could actually achieve far more? Could it help a lot of anxious and unhappy men realise that they are actually perfectly normal?
In life the only examples of male genitalia a young man is likely to encounter, generally speaking of course, are his own and perhaps the ones shown in pornography, which of course for the most part provide a fairly unrealistic guideline.
From the beginning of puberty, laughing at someone else's penis was a textbook insult for handfuls of kids. Communal showering had been phased out by the time I began high school so nobody ever saw each other naked, it would have been considered unusual to do so. Unlike in a lot of sports teams where showering together is regular.
On numerous occasions I remember seeing groups of boys pull down other kid's shorts during P.E., boxers and all, leaving them embarrassed and ashamed in front of the class as the perpetrators laughed and called them small or weird. Usually they weren't weird at all but the victim's face often displayed that they weren't aware of their normality, those words and the shame actually hurt.
In a study conducted last September, the Observer's 'British Sex Survey' found that men are less likely to be happy with the size of their penis than ever before. The percentage of men who said they were satisfied was only 79%, down from 86% in 2008. The survey also found that men in particular were suffering from confidence in their sexual prowess, with men more likely than women to report themselves as 'above average' in 2008 but now just 33% of both sexes now rate themselves as that.
Experts believe this drop in figures is most likely down to pornography usage and the media creating dissatisfaction with body image, I believe there is surely some truth in this I believe. Anyone who has visited an adult site even once will have noticed the kind of ads that can be featured, very often aimed at enticing men to attempt to enlarge themselves. Whether or not these methods are actually effective, it definitely shows that advertisers are aware of the anxieties that some viewers often suffer from.
So how can we combat this? It's unlikely internet pornography is going anywhere soon for most users, despite attempts made by the Conservative government to restrict access to it in the UK. One option could be to try and make the idea of a naked penis on TV less of a tabo thing and expose more young men in particular to normal, everyday examples that could set straight any false expectations held by some. However, the idea of this will no doubt put a lot of people on edge.
Of course TV and film is not completely devoid of male nudity, sci-fi horror film Under the Skin starring Scarlett Johansson springs to mind, as she lures her naked victims to their capture. Or the season 5 finale of Game of Thrones, as a commoner reveals himself to a shamed Cersei Lannister as she trudges through the city.
CollegeHumor once toyed with the idea that HBO should, as they put it, 'show dongs' and perhaps they're starting to take heed, or not, they were hardly prudes to begin with. The fashion world too has embraced male nudity, as models in Rick Owen's Paris Fashion week show revealed all or part of their penises beneath their clothes earlier this year.
Perhaps in time as a gender, men affected by these issues will become more comfortable and accept themselves through things like seeing other penises in the same light a nudist might. Or maybe this is something that nothing could really aid, something that male pride is in total control of, in time as we become more liberal in our views perhaps penises will become part and parcel of sexual scenes on TV. Whether this will have a positive mental effect though, remains to be seen.