When I was about ten or eleven years old, I showed my brother my penis. He was talking on the phone, and I wanted to freak him out and disrupt his conversation. I meant it entirely as a joke. In fact, I did this a few times whenever he got on the phone with somebody. I thought it was hilarious. My brother, three years older than me and having already begun puberty, laughed, too — but more at my penis size.
He said it was small. After a while, I got tired of his making fun of me for having a small penis, and I stopped flashing him. Being on the cusp of puberty myself and starting to worry about when the physical changes would start — and why they hadn’t yet — also motivated me to keep my pants up.
It took some time, but eventually those changes did start and I became increasingly self-conscious. Living with my brother only made things worse for me since he and I were bitter rivals in almost every respect, and we fought and lived to mortify each other at nearly every opportunity. That means that although it had been years since he’d last seen my penis, he reminded me time and time again just how puny it was.
To make matters even worse, porn, that vicious beast, taught me that to be a real man meant having a ten-inch boner, eight inches minimum. No woman — or man — would be satisfied with anything less.
I’d stare at myself naked in my closet mirror and see a pale, smooth-skinned boy with a penis that certainly wasn’t eight inches. When I was only midway through puberty, I couldn’t compare to the men I saw online swinging around their gigantic shlongs. I wasn’t even sure I could call mine a shlong.
I did more than just watch porn online in those days, though. I did actually use the Internet to learn facts and other stuff — stuff that nobody else was going to teach me or had ever tried to. I read somewhere about average penis size around the world and found that the average length of an erect penis is something like five to six inches.
I ran to our kitchen where we had a tool drawer and pulled out my dad’s measuring tape. Having beaten Speedy Gonzalez back to my bedroom, I closed and locked the door, pulled down my pants, and got a boner.
If the measuring tape was right, my brother was wrong. My penis wasn’t puny. It wasn’t small. It was average, and on the high end of that!
With that case now settled with some basic facts and the measuring tape now safely returned to its kitchen home, my family not knowing what on earth I could have needed it for in such a hurry, I went on about my life as usual.
But as we all know, knowing something in our heads is very different from knowing something in our hearts. Learning something academically is very different from learning it by experience. I still felt like that pale kid with a little dick in the mirror sometimes — even though I knew in my head that it wasn’t true.
I believe that God loves us very much and He wants us to know things in our hearts; He wants the truth to be settled within us, in our souls, not just in our heads. And He finds ways of settling certain truths deep within us when He knows it matters.
As I talked about in my book, the Lord led me to join the YMCA when I was twenty-three. One main reason I joined was to confront my fear of nudity and overcome it, and that’s exactly what I did there. By getting naked and being around other naked guys in a safe, normal environment like a gym locker room, I learned first-hand what normal really was.
When men disrobe and show themselves the way they really are, mysteries vanish, fantasies starve, and fear dissolves.
Any anxiety I still had about my penis shriveled up faster than my balls under that first cool breeze from the locker room fan. I looked around me and saw a bunch of other penises that certainly didn’t meet the porn standard. Not only that, but I also learned a few other things:
Those big, ripped bodybuilders don’t always have big, ripped dicks to match.
Older men who you’d think would have more to be self-conscious about because of the sagging and shrinking effects of age on the human body are some of the boldest when it comes to nudity — while young, hot guys are some of the timidest.
Not all penises are the same. They vary widely in length, girth, shape, color, and almost every other way you can think of. You cannot predict a penis based on what a man looks like, and you cannot judge a man based on his penis.
I learned that even a small penis is normal, because there were a lot of guys with small dicks in that locker room, and nobody seemed to care.
I learned that my penis was normal, too. It wasn’t puny or small, and I knew that not just based on some measurement I took or some statistic I’d read online, but rather based on what I saw around me — from real life. The truth reached my heart.
I also learned that a real man is not one just because he has a penis the size of his forearm, but because he is made a man by God, regardless his penis size. And having a huge dong is not nearly as impressive as having a small one and being ridiculously confident with it.
And God has made me confident just as I am. I’m not that pale little boy in the mirror anymore. I have a shlong.
Have you been self-conscious about your penis size? What’s been your experience with nudity in locker rooms? How do you feel your penis size reflects your masculinity?
* Photo courtesy greencolander, Creative Commons.