you do know that you're uh, kind of well-endowed, don't you?" a boyfriend asked me a few years ago.
I looked down. His muffled observation, which emanated from the nether regions of my body, was not about my chest (which would have been a bald-faced lie and downright laughable). He looked up to see if I'd heard.
"I didn't know that," I said. "I suppose that's kind of interesting."
"Aren't you proud?"
"It hasn't really been keeping me up nights," I told him. Then I realized that in his mind he was paying me a real compliment.
Freud was all wrong about penis envy. In Psychology 101 you will hear female titters around the room when it is stated categorically that all women yearn for a dick, and (in the male mind) a really big one at that. Did it give me a warm glow to know I had a big clit? Did it fill me with silent power to walk in a room full of women and say to myself, "Yeah, baby, the Johnny Depp look-alike may be hanging on your arm, but I got something bigger and better between my legs than you'll ever have?" What do you think?
But it got me thinking about this whole issue of penis size, this locus of male anxiety. We all know how much penis size matters to men, but how much does it really matter to women?
Speaking for all women, let me say: Yes, women do talk about their partner's size -- the more open of us, anyway -- and yes, bigger is better. You will never hear a woman say, for example, that she prefers a really, really tiny penis, as shapely or as aesthetically pleasing as it may be.
Before all of you less-endowed folks jump off the nearest bridge, however, let me make it clear that size is simply not that important to most women. Oh, sure, we girls always remember the better-hung of our past boyfriends, and certainly they've provided more than a few masturbatory fantasies for me personally. Big cocks just simply feel better to us. In certain positions, namely the good ol' missionary, a big dick will pull on the inner lips of the pussy and indirectly rub the clit. It's not rocket science.
But like all sexual issues, this one is not without its complexities and corollaries. How big is too big, for example? The same boyfriend who'd made the complimentary (he thought) comment about my clitoris was himself extremely well-endowed. And sex wasn't all that fun with him. He'd learned early on that he didn't need to concentrate on the more subtle aspects of sex; he wasn't very sensual in his foreplay or very imaginative in the speed or position of his thrusts.
Moreover, for me it was one urinary tract infection after another. He had a proclivity toward doggie-style, which I normally enjoy, but with him it felt like a thudding assault on my cervix, a ramming attack against the bolted fort. (Looking back, his preference for that position makes sense: He was a self-absorbed egotist who I think really got off watching his own dick.) I like to think Mr. Big was an anomaly, that huge dick and cavalier jerk don't have any correlation to each other, but I'm starting to wonder after hearing many of these sorts of stories from women.
Then I think about my friend Michael, who was the most erotic and passionate man I'd ever slept with, who was attuned in a way Mr. Big never was. Michael is certainly average size, and has more than a few anxieties about this, but his size simply never really mattered that much to me. For one thing, we were incredibly in love. For another, he made up for any deficiencies (in his own mind) by being extremely proficient in other areas, like cunnilingus. And yes, women talk about this stuff probably more than dick size. A man who becomes known for his skill in this department will never suffer from a lack of willing partners.
Around the time of Julian, Michael and I had been wandering around the grocery store when he asked, oh-so-casually, "So, what about his ... you know?"
"His DICK?" I said loudly, picking up a cucumber. "Wonderful! Couldn't be better. Should we have a salad tonight?" Seeing Michael's knit brow, I became serious. "It's OK. Not that big of a deal."
"Good. He has good girth. That's one thing he's got going for him, because certainly nothing else is." The irony, of course, is that if Julian were simply a filler, an offal relationship, his size would matter a great deal to me. And if I was in love, it would mean jack shit. As it was, he was in that limbo area, and here I was focusing on girth and how we weren't very compatible.
So, can you make generalizations about this stuff? Sure, but in the end, like everything else, it's only one (big? small?) part of a package deal.