01/11/2016 13:14 GMT | Updated 30/10/2017 05:12 GMT

Why Don't We Talk About Our Erections?

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It's 2016, and everyone overshares. There are no real secrets any more, we all know things about our friends and family that could get them fired, dumped, arrested or worse. But one thing I don't know - as a hetero man - is how big any of my friends' erections are.

I realised this a few days ago, when looking at my own engorged penis and worrying that it had - perhaps - gotten smaller. There was no one I could turn to - the only person who might have a chance of answering accurately is the only person I cannot ask: "Is my willy shrinking?" is not a question any man can ask his lover.

So: what to do? I'm slightly too old to have spent my teenage years distributing digital images of my chopper, so I don't have a photographic fossil record to scour through like a bleak flip book. I've got a few images of my wanger all saggy and soft, but I don't have any worries about my flaccid dinkie. To confirm that he's normal, all I need do is visit any public swimming pool. I guarantee - whenever you're reading this - that right now there's a naked man in your local changing rooms, making no effort to put on either clothes or swimwear. I've "gone swimming" several times just to compare myself, and am happy to report that my wiener seems absolutely run of the (non-circumcised) mill.

BUT there isn't the equivalent space for erections. A porn set? A sex party? Neither of these are what I'm looking for: I want a neutral, non-sexual, space where I can compare my boner with other men's thumpers. Is this too much to ask?

It could be argued that an erection is inherently sexual, and that sharing knowledge of it in a non-sexual setting is impossible. Yeah, watching your friends stare at your hard hog and verbally/mentally critiquing it would likely contribute to the loss of a throbber, but all this secrecy about genital size feels very pre-1967.

I've never even come close to discussing penis size with a friend. How - by 2016 - has this never happened? And why? Why, when people gladly recount their most intimate moments to strangers and near-strangers, do we continue to keep secret something so intrinsic to who we are? Why do men hide their dimensions when so much else is public?

We still have bodily shame deeply entrenched within society, and - like all problems - the longer we do nothing to fix it, the harder doing so will become. When none of us know what is normal and all of us hide ourselves away, it's not a surprise that many men end up uncomfortable with their own sexuality. If a man is ashamed of his old chap, of course he'll be ashamed of the sex he has using it, and this leads to disgust and even hatred of his sexual partner[s]. If a man is ashamed of revealing the size of his pork sword, he resents his lover[s] for causing him to expose himself in a manner that makes him uncomfortable.

This body hatred, this old Catholic-style shame, pushes heterosexual men towards misogyny: they don't like women because they don't want their secret, shameful, bodies discovered. Male body shame is a factor in the continuance of rape culture. If men were more comfortable talking honestly about the size of their d*cks, the space for negative emotions within their sexualities would be diminished.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter how big your bell-end is, so there's no reason to keep those digits secret. Doing so would make all men more relaxed about sex, which would lead to improved erotic lives for everyone and a real reduction in shame and self-disgust-fuelled sexual violence.

I'd love to end this piece with the exact dimensions - girth at the top, girth at the base, length from the sac and length from the stomach - of my own pecker, but I honestly don't know if it's a normal size. I've read statistics about average c*ck sizes, but if the ones I've found are accurate, it'll look like I'm either lying or bragging.

But be a better man than I am. Post your length and thickness in the comments below, and let's make an erection something no man is ever ashamed to reveal. (When it's appropriate for him to reveal it, obviously.)



Scott Manley Hadley blogs at:

HuffPost UK is running a month-long focus around men to highlight the pressures they face around identity and to raise awareness of the epidemic of suicide. To address some of the issues at hand, Building Modern Men presents a snapshot of life for men, the difficulty in expressing emotion, the challenges of speaking out, as well as kick starting conversations around male body image, LGBT identity, male friendship and mental health.

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