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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Penis Size, Vajazzling, Labiaplasty, and the Comodification of Intimacy

This is an adult post intended for adults, which doesn't rule out sophomoric humor.

In a recent study, women preferred a penis size of six and one half inches in partners in a long term
relationship and a larger penis size in one night stands. This was determined by showing women pictures and offering them model penises from which to select their favorite. I kid you not. How it is, precisely, that one determines penis size prior to the onset of the one night stand remains a mystery to me - though from what I understand people are more forthcoming (you should pardon the pun, but there will be many more) about their genitals these days.

In a different recent study, the average American Caucasian penis has been determined to be five and one half inches long, which means that according to the above study the average man comes up short (I told you there would be more puns). The good news, gentlemen, is that it isn't necessary to retire that undersized pride and joy of yours just yet.

As you might expect, I have several thoughts. Some of them are rather random. My first thought was that this is some kind of karmic retribution for men, back in the day at least, preferring women with larger breasts. If that's the case, it's a kind of delayed karmic retribution because for the last couple decades it would seem that the trend has been for men to prefer anorexic women who have the body of a twelve year old boy. What's more, it's not exactly analogous because there are reliable cosmetic methods to increase breast size and breasts are not genitals. In any event, it's probably fitting that men should now be evaluated by some standard over which they have no control - as women have been for centuries.

The second is that, back when I was your age, the imaginative male lover had more than his penis in his bag of tricks. I don't care what size a man's penis is, if his idea of being an effective lover is just hopping on top and thrusting then there are going to be problems. What's more, many women are not orgasmic from vaginal stimulation alone, so the idea expressed in the article that the ideal penis size leads more easily to orgasm cannot be universally true.

Let's let the penis lay there for a moment...and move to the vagina. Vajazzling, for those not in the know, is decorating the area around the vagina with jewels and glittery bits. It's probably better to make sure your pet bird is securely in its cage before beginning. By the way, the picture to the left is the only vajazzling picture I could find that was suitable for this blog. Most vajazzling occurs a wee bit south of this example.

Then there is labiaplasty, a cosmetic procedure for those who feel their vagina has a few too many miles on it and wish to make it appear young again. In this procedure, the labia minora are reshaped, actually decreased, so that they don't extend beyond the labia majora (the fatty "pads" on either side of the vulva). There is thought that the concern about this is fueled by the prominence of shaving and waxing and the desire to have genitals that appear prepubescent. The risks include scarring, which it seems to me would defeat the whole purpose. There is no functional purpose for the surgery except in extremely rare cases. There has been no research on the long term effects of this procedure, but researchers are suggesting that the impact on childbirth may be the same as that of ritualistic genital mutilation!

I don't claim to be any expert, falling way short of achieving even one percent of Wilt Chamberlain's collection of lifetime lovers, but I haven't lived in a monastery, either, and I have also spent my share of time in men's locker rooms. I can tell you from my experience both that, the preamble to the Constitution notwithstanding, neither all men nor all women are created equal. I can also tell you that, both in my experience and the experience of many people I have discussed this topic with, satisfying sexual experiences have had nothing to do with the particulars of the other person's equipment, if you will. Fatigue, stress, illness, distraction, and even the weather have had a lot more impact on my sexual encounters that a millimeter here or there more or less of labia minora!

What in the world is going on? What's going on is a massive confusion between orgasm, physical appearance, physical pleasure, and intimacy.

I have written in other places about a nurse I used to work with who remarked that penises were quite ugly.
I felt compelled to remind her that the penis was a functional piece not designed to be framed and hung over her sofa. The same is true of the vagina. With the exception of Gay and Lesbian Art Galleries, there simply aren't a lot of penises and vaginas framed and hanging on walls. If what we are trying to do is determine who has the most attractive genitals prior to engaging in sexual intimacy, might I suggest that what we are interested in isn't intimacy at all, but rather calisthenics? What's more, if all one is after is the most powerful physical response possible, there are more than a few mechanical and natural devices that will bring that about, without all the trouble of having to find someone to spend the night, or maybe twenty minutes, in your bedroom!

I believe that the reason we are seeing all of this concentration on the physicality of sexuality is that we have lost the spiritual connection that fuels intimacy. What has replaced it is a lot of nonsense like so-called shamanistic sexuality, tantric sexuality, and just about every article published in the Elephant Journal. Even more absurd are the abstinence only folks, who place so much emphasis on the fable that waiting for marriage guarantees satisfying sexuality that they do nothing but set people up first for frustration and later for disappointment. Is there a spiritual component to sexuality? Absolutely, but not necessarily.

If we are using sexuality to escape something, or to pass the time, or to do anything but foster intimacy we both ignore that there is an exchange of spiritual energy and miss the opportunity for the fullness of spiritual union. Contemporary society seeks to provide the full richness of an intimate sexual relationship, which takes time and commitment to build, in the instant coffee world of hook ups and tape measures - and it simply doesn't work, because it cannot work.

From CDs that promise the deep meditation the Dalai Lama experiences, to drug induced spiritual states, to
jewel encrusted genitals, we have discovered short cuts that may help us reach peak levels of performance and experience but simply cannot keep us there. It's like test driving a high performance automobile every now and then and wondering why you don't own one. No matter what field we are discussing, if you want to consistently achieve high levels of experience you are going to have to do the work necessary to get there and stay there. When it comes to sexuality, that means intimate relationships - there's no avoiding it - and intimacy simply can't be purchased. It has to be developed, it takes time and hard work, and try as we might it doesn't always work out. When it doesn't, it's frustrating and painful - but that doesn't mean these artificial methods of achieving intimacy are going to work. In fact, dabbling in them can create a whole host of expectations that get in the way of real intimacy.

In fact, if you want to develop intimacy in the bedroom you would do well to develop intimacy outside the bedroom first. There is, of course, that early phase in relationships when you can't get enough of one another, but that wears off. I believe the purpose of that initial strong physical attraction is to allow time for heart intimacy to develop. As we share our feelings, beliefs, and attitudes and develop a cache of shared experience, our relationships deepen and heart intimacy develops. It is precisely our willingness to work at that part of our relationships that predicts our deepening physical and sexual intimacy. What's more, as we age and sexual intimacy wanes, it is our heart intimacy that will sustain our relationship through the years. So put away your penis pumps, your Elmer's glue and glitter, and cancel your surgical consult. Have a conversation instead. You may be amazed at what develops!


  1. Although the 'choice of wording' in beginning may be to 'unfit for a Bish ;-)
    the truth in this article cannot be overstated. Sexuality to deepen intimacy/love/connectedness seems to be the last thing too many young folks think about (at least from what I've experienced) . Society pushes sex and sexy based on appearances-and only the appearance which is 'acceptable' in today's culture. Pushing that agenda has taken a huge toll on the beauty of a loving sexual relationship.
    Thank you for this article. I will be passing it on to my own kids-the last paragraph is soooooo important. We need to get back to the to the emotional beauty and downright mysticism of a truly loving sexual experience.

  2. In some ladies, the labia can get broadened and prolonged, bringing on inconvenience when wearing certain garments, periodic cleanliness issues, and also being tastefully disappointing. Labiaplasty surgery for all time remedies this issue, and is considered by plastic specialists to be a decently straightforward method that can normally be carried out under a nearby anesthesia on an outpatient premise.

    1. Smita, as my post clearly states, I couldn't disagree more. These surgeries are for the most part unnecessary and the result of the mistaken notion that everyone's genitals should look the same and that any extension of the labia minora past the labia majora is evidence of defect. Nonsense. Most of these procedures are nothing more than unscrupulous cosmetic surgeons (which may be a redundant term) profiting at the expense of ill informed consumers who lack self confidence.

  3. Labiaplasty process involves reduction of elongated labia and enhance the appearance of the genitals.
    Labiaplasty Manila

    1. And, as my blog indicates, is in the vest majority of cases a completely unnecessary procedure and a health risk to the patients that simply needn't happen. It represents objectification of women on the part of men and is unacceptable. I can't help but notice that plastic surgery clinics do not about for the modification of unsightly penises - and that is no accident.

  4. I want to know how much on average a Labiaplasty costs? Also what are your thoughts on women getting vaginal plastic surgery?


    1. My thoughts are that unless there are medically compelling reasons, genital plastic surgery is profoundly unhealthy and an unnecessary risk. If someone finds you less attractive because of the appearance of your genitals, then the problem is that they are superficial and psychologically unhealthy. It's better to find a different partner than to mutilate your body. On the other hand, if the appearance of the genitals is unsettling to the person themselves I believe they should have the right to have the surgery.