Easing Penis Anxiety in the Age of Bing and Google

Published: February 4, 2015

RH Reality Check
Martha Kempner
Original Article:  bit.ly/1I3OlJ9

In a recent piece for the New York Times, economist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz argues that relying on classic research methods like surveys to determine humans’ typical sexual behavior may be inaccurate—because people lie in order to look good, even to scientists. Instead, he suggests a new place for us to look for insights on what people are really thinking, feeling, and maybe even doing: search engines, where people are far less likely to fib in their search for help. Of course, as Stephens-Davidowitz acknowledges, Google data is a small sample of what people are thinking, and it is suggestive rather than definitive. Still, his findings offer an unmistakable window into Americans’ psyche around sexuality.

Unfortunately, one thing is especially clear. People are still really worried about their own and their partners’ bodies—mostly, what constitutes “normal” in a world full of misinformation and unrealistic media portrayals. In this two-part series, we’ll remind readers that there’s no need to turn to Bing or Google; genitalia come in lots of different shapes, sizes, and scents that fall into the category of “perfectly normal.”

Surveys suggest that men who are shorter and heavier tend to think they have smaller penises (regardless of actual size), while those who are taller and thinner give their member a higher estimation. There’s even one study among men who have sex with men that suggests those who perceive their penises to be smaller than average have poorer sexual health outcomes, which could be a result of riskier sexual behaviors. Such results suggest that perception of penis size is part of a man’s overall body image—that the pressure to conform to a certain “ideal” of height and weight extends to genitalia size as well, possibly as a result of a porn culture that overwhelmingly shows large penises.

Full text of article available at link below:  bit.ly/1I3OlJ9

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