Originally published November 9, 2006:

I am a 19-year-old male with a 4.5-inch cock that has not grown since I was 12. My girlfriend says that it does not penetrate deeply enough. I have already lost two girlfriends because they said the sex wasn't sensational enough. My doctor says I could have surgery, but my girlfriend says I should take pills. I would go with my doctor, but I don't want to have them fuck up my cock.

Cock Ain't Penetrating

My response after the jump...

"I'm not sure how CAP is measuring," says Alice Dreger, a faculty member of the Medical Humanities and Bioethics program at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. "Flaccid unstretched, flaccid stretched, sort of turned on, way turned on—all this matters in regards to length when you go to look at available stats."

Dreger has worked as a patient advocate for people born with "different-than-average sex anatomies" for more than a decade (you can read more about her work at www.alicedreger.com). She took a spin as a guest expert in this space a few months ago and her advice for women with big clits was so good that I invited her back to offer some advice for men with small dicks. A word of warning, CAP, before we dive on your cock: Dreger invited a couple of additional guest experts to weigh in, so you need to pay attention to the quotation marks if you want to keep track of who's telling you what.

"Assuming CAP is telling us that the biggest he gets is 4.5 inches," says Dreger, "his penis is 'totally within the range of normal,' according to Dr. Kevin McVary, professor of urology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine."

So if your dick is in the "normal range," why are girlfriends, docs, and spammers pushing surgery and pills on you?

"There are plenty of doctors and internet charlatans (and some docs who are internet charlatans) who will be happy to make CAP feel smaller still and offer him 'enhancements,' including a variety of surgeries," says Dreger. To find out if any of these surgeries work, Dreger pored over PubMed, a government-run medical-literature index. "Your taxpayer dollars at work reveal shockingly little study of these procedures," says Dreger. "Could this be true, I wondered? Are surgeons out there messing with guys' stuff for nonmedical reasons and not keeping track of the outcomes?"

Yup, says Dr. McVary.

"When challenged to present outcomes publicly in international research forums—any type of objective outcome—these purveyors come up empty-handed," says Dr. McVary.

There's a very good reason docs doing these "enhancements" don't ask, don't tell, and don't publish: Surveys of men who have had these surgeries show that most aren't happy with the results. Earlier this year, a man pleaded guilty to a "weapons of mass destruction" charge for mailing a bomb to the surgeon who botched his penile-enlargement surgery. I'm not going to compound this poor guy's misery by mentioning his name, but my inner 12-year-old obligates me to mention this detail: The bomb was mailed from Reamstown, Pennsylvania.

Just in case two guest experts and one angry small-dicked mail bomber aren't enough to convince you that surgery is a dumb choice, CAP, Dreger lined up a third guest expert.

"It is foolish, risky surgery," says Dr. Justine Schober, urologist at Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania. "The same holds true for pills that supposedly increase length: useless at best, risky at worst."

If surgery is foolish and pills are useless, what can you do?

"CAP's girlfriend says his penis doesn't penetrate deeply enough," says Dreger. "CAP could try positions that let him get in deeper, or, better yet, he could take the time to figure out where his girlfriend's 'sweet spots' are, because, according to the sexology literature, length matters less than location." That means you need to retool your grind, CAP, not cut up your meat.

You also need to stop viewing your dick as somehow fatal to your romantic prospects.

"Dr. Schober did a study of guys who had really small penises," Dreger continues, "small enough to be described as 'micropenises.'" And how do men with dicks so small that doctors feel free to toss around an ego-shattering prefix like "micro" do with the ladies? "This study found that they tend to have 'close and long-lasting relationships' with women," Dreger says. And Dr. Schober says: "They often attribute partner sexual satisfaction... to their need to make extra effort, including nonpenetrating techniques." One of the microdicked men in Dr. Schober's study had a wife and a mistress. "So much for the theory that having a small member won't get you a woman," says Dreger.

Finally, in her research, Dreger ran across numerous articles about guys who tried to "self-enhance." She was reluctant to share the "dumb-shit stuff they tried," lest it inspire small-dicked men out there to attempt similarly stupid stuff. When I assured Dreger that small-dicked readers of Savage Love have high self-esteem, great nonpenetrating technique, and more wives and mistresses than they can shake their micropenises at, she came through with one tragic example of self-enhancement: men injecting petroleum jelly directly into their penises.

"Nonsterile petroleum jelly," Dreger adds. "Some of the guys ended up so scarred, surgeons had to basically cut up their penises and rebuild them. And a rebuilt transmission may function a lot like a new transmission, but the male organ is not a transmission."