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What if You're really small and it's not a syndrome?


mikeb
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i have read through the posts and i do see many who say they are really small, it is not a syndrome to them but physical reality. I grew up being below two standard deviations of the norm, i'd say, at least in flaccid state, and probably in erect, being about 4.5" erect. I too quit sports so i wouldn't have to shower. I was good at athletics, considered one of the best looking guys at my high school, tall, smart, and funny. But i was a worn out insomniac. I didn't date. I quit sports, as i said. I have tried many many therapists. I think it has only been a problem to them in the abstract. I would like to see a therapist who really knows what it is like, having suffered small penis himself, who has learned how to stop worrying about his body, and who has given up on worrying about the time he has wasted. I am 55 and have been depressed about penis size for 41 years. I left catholicism years ago and do not seem myself believing in a God again, so I don't think religion will help. I married a woman I did not love so much as didn't worry about being rejected by her. I still feel suicidal quite often even though I'm on Lexapro.

I would like real advice here. It is easy to say I'm looking at a glass half empty but i really do think it is.

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Mike,

First, let me say thank you for getting us started here. It's a shock to the system to transfer a discussion from one place to another, and as you can see, the amount of activity has dropped off dramatically. So - it's nice to see a new begining to discussion, because as you are well aware, this is a really painful and serious problem for a number of men.

Your primary question here is 'what if it's not a syndrome? what if it is a reality? so I want to address that question as well as I can in the time I have this morning.

i have read through the posts and i do see many who say they are really small, it is not a syndrome to them but physical reality.
Dr. Schwartz and I have been reading comments on this topic for something like two years now, and a few things have become clear to us.

1. there are some men who are on the small side of average length/width but who believe they are extremely small and are very upset about this to the point where it has affected their lives.

2. there are some men who really are extremely small and are very upset about this to the point where it has affected their lives

3. there are some men who are smaller than average (and maybe some who are extremely small - that's more debatable) who are not upset about this overly - it bothers them but they have made their way and have lives they are happy with at least as far as their sex lives go.

By pointing out these reactions, I want to say that I recognize that some people are really upset about something "real" whereas some people are upset but think things are really worse than most other people would find them. In cognitive therapy the latter reaction is called a cognitive distortion - when a perception is exaggerated in a negative direction and leads people to feel unnecessarily depressed or anxious.

This "syndrome" is not my term, and I don't personally like it much - I would prefer to call it Small Penis Shame or something like that, but we're stuck with the label as that seems to be what it is called.

There is perhaps this idea that because we are using the term "syndrome", that we are suggesting that the problem is "all in your head" - e.g., that you are a victim of an involuntary cognitive distortion that has warped your perception and that your penis really isn't small. That is not what we're trying to suggest, although we do think some men probably do fit that profile. I'm confident that there are a bunch of men out there who really do have small penises and who feel terrible about that. If you say you are one of them, I'm not going to suggest you are wrong.

The objective size of a man's penis is not what this syndrome is about, I don't think. What it is about is that for whatever reason - objective or cognitive distortion - a man starts feeling really bad about his penis and by extension his masculinity and his ability to be an effective sexual partner and by extension, his entire ability to have a relationship at all. Some of these guys have said they believe they will never have a relationship ever - I know it is that serious. The syndrome is about this feeling of intense shame, anxiety and depression and the social avoidance and the rage and intense anger that can come out of this. So I hope that helps clear up your first question - the syndrome is not about the objective size of your penis but rather how you have reacted to believing (rightly or wrongly) that you have an inadequate penis.

I think it has only been a problem to them in the abstract. I would like to see a therapist who really knows what it is like
This second excerpt from your post is really a great observation so I'm quoting it here to highlight it. It is a really common probem in therapy to find that someone is coming in with a problem that the therapist has no personal experience of. It is the job of the therapist (at least certain kinds of therapists) to do everything he or she reasonably can do to try to understand that problem, but it is unrealistic to think that the therapist will ever really know what it is like to live in another person's skin. This is true whether the problem is a small penis, or bipolar disorder, or even alcohol abuse. Skip on over to the "beautiful and tragic thing" post in the Addictions forum and you will find a lot of people having words with me in part becuase I've written about AA without really understanding what it is like to be a member there (much less a court-ordered member). Many people figure I don't get it, and I know that I don't realy have that experience and so cannot fault them for thinking this.

It works both ways too. One of the very first clients I ever saw on my psychology internship was in the primary care medicine clinic at the VA hospital where I was stationed. This was an older man who had lost his wife suddenly after many years of satisfying marriage. I was so green and stupid that I ended up suggesting to him that his grief was overly prolonged. After a while of this he looked me in the eye and asked me if I was accusing him of being dependent - which of course I was - because I did not understand what it was like to have been married to someone and to have become dependent on them at that young time in my life and could not imagine what it would be like to lose someone you were so close to. That happened some 15 years ago and more - I get it now - but I still kick myself for being so green when I do think about that. I wish I could do it over but I can't.

So - therapist and client (or patient depending on how you like to call it) are sitting in a room, both focused on the client's problem and there is this really existential limitation at work which makes it impossible for the therapist to ever really know 100% what is going on in the mind and heart of the client but they still need to be able to work with one another. The solution is that both parties to the interaction need to be humble, and do what they can do to communicate their experience as best as they can. Therapists vary in their ability to do this well, just as do clients.

I recognize that it is a problem to feel that you have not been understood, but I want to point out that it is always the case anywhere you go that you will not be really understood 100%. I also want to point out that it is not necessary to be understood completely so long as you feel respected, and feel that you can benefit from your interaction with a therapist.

I am 55 and have been depressed about penis size for 41 years.
I do appreciate the gravity of the issue, even though it is also the case that this particular self-loathing is not something I can directly relate to. That's why this forum is here - so that we can do what we can do to talk about it in a safe environment.

The previous comments (on the essays) were closed down becuase a flame war was devloping - people were expressing their rage in the form of anger towards women who they saw as tormenting and humiliating. It was starting to get into a situation where people were advocating violence. That cannot be here. If we encounter it here we will ban immediately. However, if we can talk in a civil manner about this issue - which does need very much to be talked about - then many will hopefully benefit from the discussion.

Mark

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Mikeb,

I also want to thank you for getting us started on this discussion on a very painful issue here in our forum. I hope the others will join us here where I believe everyone can feel more private and more secure about this painful issue.

Allan

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My comments may not be relevant to anyone, I am a woman and no sex counselor. It just seems to me that so much of sex is in the mind along with the conditioning that experiences bring. If you take two individuals with limited ideas about themselves, and we all start out that way, you could end up perpetuating and "proving" your insecure notions, or you could open your heart and learn brave new truths. An insecure woman could potentially blame her negative thinking on a man's anatomy. The man could be blaming his negative thinking on anatomy..... does that make it true? At some point you have to face your negative thinking. At some point you have to face yourself and the person you are relating to with your heart. Anatomically, a woman can be plenty satisfied with whatever sized penis, or even without a penis. It's the mind that needs to be addressed. Cared for even :)

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i dont know if actual size is the actual problem. for many years i thought 8" long and 5" round was average and wasent good enough.. just like in all aspects of my life i had to be above average to be worth half as much as average..i had to carry 2 or 3 bundles of shingles.. i had to drink a 5th in a single drink.. basicly i had to be more to equal less in my own mind.. about 6 or 7 years ago i learned the true average size is 5.5" to 6" long and 3.5" to 4" round.. even after learning this my perception dident change it was still in my eyes inadequate.. it was still not enough.. it wasent untill i had found some self acceptance that my thoughts changed.. i believe that if i had 10" i would have felt the same.. ( i dont know if this is out of line what im getting ready to type..if it is i appoligize.. ) even the fact that i had been with woman that had full satisfying orgasoms from a pinky finger which is about 2.5" long and maybe 1/2" round.. i still felt insufficient.. all the facts and true experiences were in front of me my perception of myself was and in many ways still is grossly distorted.. i know that in that state of mind my real defects, my imagined defects, even my best assets everything about me appeared to be less than worthy.. i still have that mind set about a lot of things.. i know i do but knowing something and believing something is the hard part.. i was ashamed of who i was.. to a point still am.. i dont know what it was that finnaly brought me peace over this and a few other issues.. i guess what im saying is that it dosent matter if everyone i met thought i was enough weather it be penis, bicepts, stature,hair color, income, personality, intelligence, shoe size, or litterly anything .. i couldent allow my self to be enough.. i dont know if this will hel anyone but i realized a lot and learned a lot about progress i have made.. i actualy feel like i have some self acceptance.. in many other ways than this syndrome but also see where i have none..

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  • 1 month later...
Guest ASchwartz

Hi Roamer2 and Everyone,

This is from Roamer2:

it wasent untill i had found some self acceptance that my thoughts changed.. i believe that if i had 10" i would have felt the same.. ( i dont know if this is out of line what im getting ready to type..if it is i appoligize.. ) even the fact that i had been with woman that had full satisfying orgasoms from a pinky finger which is about 2.5" long and maybe 1/2" round.. i still felt insufficient.. all the facts and true experiences were in front of me my perception of myself was and in many ways still is grossly distorted..

Roamer, as the proverb goes, "You have hit the nail right on its head."

When someone has a distorted body image all the proof to the opposite makes no difference. It is just like people with Anorexia Nervosa. They look in the mirror and see fat. We look at them and see starvation. The fact? They are starving and even die if they refuse treatment.

If a man is with a woman, has sex with her and she is satisfied and the man feels sexually satisfied, that is all anyone should need. However, often, it does not work that way, does it, as Roamer has pointed out.

Thanks Roamer :o

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A 4" long penis is not a distortion, it is a reality. A 4" penis is smaller than a 6" penis, that is a reality, not distortion. Comparing those facts/realitys to someone with anoxeria is a mistake. The small penis exists both in reality and the mind of the small man, and anyone who sees's it. Where as with anorexia the fault is with the brain not seeing the physical in its true state.

If I had a 6" penis, but viewed it, and believed it to be 4" instead, then that would be a distortion.

The only common ground is that the cure comes from within the mind. Small men cannot change the reality of a small penis, they have to change how they feel about the small penis. To me, that is the same as a dwarf convincing himself he is 6 foot tall. Fine if he can do it, but the truth is, he is just a dwarf. Same with us.

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I see your point about "reality", nearlydead, (this is probably the reason that there's such a focus on measurement) but it seems to me that your dwarf example isn't exactly analogous, either.

You said that a dwarf imagining himself to be six feet tall would still be a dwarf, and that's true. But that's not what's being suggested to you. What I think has been said is, what about a dwarf imagining that he's a good, lovable, hard-working, praiseworthy human being, just as he is?

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I think what Allan was referring to was not a visual distortion about its actual size, but a distortion in your belief about its adequacy. A distortion in which your mind may think that the actual size has to do with your own adequacy in this respect. He might also be referring to a mindset where someone feels that they could never be "good enough". That once someone becomes so down on themselves, they won't accept themselves no matter what. That is not to say that you are necessarily feeling this way. I hope not anyway.

To me, that is the same as a dwarf convincing himself he is 6 foot tall. Fine if he can do it, but the truth is, he is just a dwarf. Same with us.

I don't think anyone is expecting you to believe that you are someone other than who you actually are. I think it's about embracing who you are and accepting yourself just as you are. Maybe first try not labeling it with an adjective and think of it as simply yours.

Edited by IrmaJean
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Ok i get what your saying about "distortion in its adequacy" My small penis may be adequate, but it is not ideal. I do not think my penis is adequate, I am so down on myself, that I cannot ever accept myself for what I now am.

To accept myself as a relaible hardworking, wonderful person with a small cock would be a con job. I cannot belive I can ever be happy in this life with this cock. Because of this cock and my attitude to it, I have no friends, family, I have not had a job in 10 years, the money is gone, I must go, or be homeless.

The effort required by my miserable carcass just to get to the point of an employd miserable git is not worth the potentail reward of 5 years from now kidding myself that having a small penis is ok. I cannot imagine myself with any kind of life worth living. I've probably read more on this subject than most, its consumed my entire life which has led me to now. Ive known for years that I have to accept that Im adequate, I am what I am etc. I have not , I cannot. The only cure for people who think like me, and are in my situation is kill. Five minutes of hardship, followed by a definate outcome and oblivion, V's graft in a low pay/status job, going through the humilation of impotence, the unattainable goal of "self hippy acceptance" finding a women who is stupid enough to accept adequate. From my expeirence of myself and life, the potentail outcome of all that effort is not a valid enough reason to live.

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Ive known for years that I have to accept that Im adequate, I am what I am etc. I have not , I cannot.

What is it, do you think, that prevents you from self-acceptance? Would you feel negatively about a peer who had a similar physical appearance? Why such a standard on yourself?

Do you have any motivation to feel better about yourself? I truly hope so. I hope that you will seek out help.

Three years ago, a therapist told me that I had reached that point to such a degree that I won't see myself as acceptable until someone else accepts me.

Perhaps there is something in that. Have you ever felt totally accepted by another? Maybe you could try therapy again?

It's something I am completely sure of. And not just because of my penis. There are lots of other things about me that aren't good enough either, but being small is definitely the main contributor.

Are the other things anything that you can work on?

:o

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HI,

Just came across this forum because my boyfriend thinks he has a small penis and spends time worrying about it.

Ive been with a few guys and he is small-er than the other guys, but I enjoy sex with him the most because:

a) hes very attractive

:o hes very smart

c) When a penis goes more than 4 inches into a women it starts to push into the back of the vagina which can be uncomfortable.

We have really hot sex because he can enter me fully and fuck me hard and it doesnt hurt one bit!

I think for a while the world got a bit distorted on what a normal penis size is but now if you look on yourporn or other sites with amateur sex you will see that there are many men with smaller penis' starting to be in videos and i think in time you will see even men with very small penis' on the site.

I find it interesting that society doesnt laugh and ridicule a woman with small breasts, and there are many many women with very small breasts in the porn industry.....perhaps it has something to do with women being forced to show their hand so to speak where as men are able to and tend to hide their small sexual organ.

Hope my opinion is of some help to some people...

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And now it's been six years since I last had any contact with a woman at all. That in itself makes me even more unacceptable. How am I supposed to explain that? Talk about a red flag. Women will run like hell when they hear that..

why would this make you unacceptable? and why would a 'woman run a mile' ?

i doubt somebody interested in you would walk away simply because you've not been in a r/ship for 6 years, and do you really have to tell them in the first place?

a lot of women get jealous and insecure knowing about their partners past and shy away from asking too much..if the question did get asked maybe you could just say your past r/ships(s) didnt work out, after all thats the truth :)

i hope you dont decide to check out!

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I've felt accepted to some degree, but never totally. But even though I may have felt at least somewhat accepted, I've obviously never actually been accepted at all, because I've been rejected every time. I've never been good enough for any woman. Every single one of them has ultimately rejected me. And now it's been six years since I last had any contact with a woman at all. That in itself makes me even more unacceptable. How am I supposed to explain that? Talk about a red flag. Women will run like hell when they hear that. I'm so trapped. Maybe today will be the day I'm in that fatal accident I've been hoping for.

I would never want you to be hurt, Lifeless Existence.

It must be very painful to you to have never felt accepted for the person that you are. All of us deserve to be loved and accepted just as we are. And you are worthy of that love and acceptance just the same as any of us. Feeling rejected can be extremely painful. I remember how badly I felt when boys used to do things such as bark at me. I remember wishing that my appearance were different at times. But you know what helped me? When I began realizing that even the people that I'd perceived as "babes"

were human. Everyone has their own quirks, insecurities and doubts. And likely everyone has some part of themselves that they wish were different in some way. But, at the end of the day, maybe we all want the very same thing...whether we are perceived as attractive or less attractive by some others...we all want to feel loved and accepted just the way we are. You deserve that and you deserve to feel it from within yourself.

There are many reasons, aside from what you have perceived as your inadequacy, that any relationship might not work out. Maybe some of her doubts or her unwillingness to commit to a relationship played a part. And again maybe these particular women were simply not the best match for you. That is not a reflection on you, but of the situation.

I certainly wouldn't run from any man who hadn't been in a relationship for a while. If he was hurting, I would want to know why and what I could do to help. There are good, caring women out there, Lifeless Existence. There are understanding women who will listen. And there are women out there who will love you just as you are. Maybe try to find a place in your mind where you can practice letting go of your engrained beliefs about your self-worth. Even if just a little...try to let the gray through the black and white and believe. Maybe a little bit at a time.

Sure, there's a couple things I could work on. Too bad they're waaaaaaay overshadowed by the things that can't be changed.

Maybe then try to work on what you can change and accept and embrace what you cannot.

Edited by IrmaJean
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If I want to have a relationship with a woman, then she would have to accept those things too. I am fully aware that that's just not going to happen. Years of loneliness and no hope for the future have me in an agony I hope none of you ever have to feel. This world is a very cold and dark place for those who aren't good enough for love and acceptance.

I'm sorry that you are in such pain. You are worthy of love and acceptance. What is it that makes you think you are not worthy of this?

I'll tell you one thing, whoever said "it's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all" was completely full of shit. Once you've experienced affection from another, knowing you'll never have it again is the most severe torture imaginable. I can handle physical pain, but the mental anguish has me literally praying for death.

I think that when you love someone that you come to realize a lot of the positive things within yourself that you have to offer.

So you are fearing the pain of loss? I can definitely relate to that. You can have that special emotional bond with a woman again, but you have to give yourself the chance. It feels safer for you to avoid women, but living in a protective shell isn't the solution either. It may very well keep you from experiencing the potential pain of rejection and loss, but it also keeps you from experiencing the potential joy of love...which is what you have been desiring...

What I want is a fulfilling, rewarding relationship (including sex) and a strong emotional bond with a caring woman.

That's so good to hear. The potential for that is out there, but it also involves taking risks. I hope that you will try once again.

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  • 4 weeks later...

After managing to effectively keep the HBO series Hung from my brothers attention we both ended up watching our fave show Have I got News for You last night which I thought was safe. The attractive blonde presenter made highly derogatory comments about small penises half way through the show. This immediately ended 2 weeks of relatively good moods for my brother. He later left the house at 4am and I have just filed a police report (which they wont act on for at least 8am Sunday morning here in the UK). Anybody advise what I say to him on his return?

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