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Dr Phil: Mine's not so big

Have you ever had a Helix mark? You know, a little red line about an inch across, just above the base of your penis. Perhaps your selective memory has discarded the ordeal, but most adolescent men go through a phase of ramming a six inch ruler into their pubic arena in the hope of convincing themselves that their knob comes up to EEC standards. The term 'Helix mark' was coined by the journalist Will Buckley, who assures me that the practice was widespread at his old school, Eton. It is also endemic in state schools, although it tends to be more of a communal affair as there is rarely more than one ruler per classroom.

The locker room, too, is a common site for penis envy. It was showering next to a young man of Nigerian extraction that first convinced me of the need for a penis enlarger. In my defence, I was thirteen, ginger, fat, freckly and bespectacled. True, I didn't have braces or acne, but I was well down the snogability league and certain that extra inch would make all the difference. So I saved up five weeks worth of paper-round money and donated it to Dr Chartham, whose advertisements achieved particular prominence in the back of certain magazines of that era. In return, he sent me his revolutionary penis enlarger in plain packaging.
The enlarger itself was a perspex tube with a rubber seal at one end and a hand pump at the other. When positioned, greased and pumped, it created a vacuum capable of transforming a cocktail sausage into a king salami. Unfortunately, when you took it off again, it shrank back to its original size. Dr Chartham evidently realized this, and only guaranteed improvements if you persevered with his regime every night for twelve weeks. This included an exercise routine that involved wrapping your penis in a warm flannel to improve the blood supply, followed by half-an-hour's passive stretching. Being rather hormonal at the time, I seldom got past five minutes.
Four weeks into therapy I committed the cardinal sin; I fell asleep with enlarger in situ. Dr Chartham warned against breaching the thirty minute limit; I had it on for eight hours. I woke up to find my penis reincarnated as a cylindrical blancmange, eight inches long, three inches wide and completely useless. It flopped around like a broken windscreen wiper. I felt no pain until I tried to locate my foreskin, which was grossly swollen, constricting the blood supply to the end and refusing to unravel. I had visions of having to go cock in hand to my mum and up to the casualty department, before a super-human tug restored some semblance of anatomy. It was then I decided to part company with Dr Chartham and develop a sense of humour instead.
Medicine has apparently advanced since then, and it's now possible to have corrective surgery to answer (or rather exploit) man's greatest insecurity. The men who present themselves to private penis enlargement clinics tend to be in their thirties or forties and from all walks of life. The vast majority have penises that are well within the anatomical norms, but then cosmetic surgery has always relied more on perception than truth. What they all have in common is a few thousand quid's worth of disposable income.
There are, broadly speaking, two types of operation: wideners and lengtheners. Adding width is less risky and relies on reverse liposuction, in which four ounces of fat are taken from the abdomen and injected beneath the penile skin. In theory, more fat could be injected because the skin of the shaft is very stretchy, but as yet there is no way of swelling the head and it pays to keep a sense of proportion; a cherry atop a cucumber would look faintly ludicrous. Unfortunately, the transplanted fat cells have a tendency to clump up, giving the penis a rather bumpy profile. The extra girth can also result in a loss of sensation, akin to wearing a lard condom, and if you're really unlucky you can end up with a soft tissue infection known as cellulitic dick. Sex is prohibited for one month after the operation, to stop the fat from drifting up one end. However, in most cases it is possible to suck any miscreant fat back out again.
Adding length requires an unshakeable belief in the omnipotence of your surgeon. It entails cutting the group of ligaments that anchor the base of the penis to the underside of the pelvic bone and pulling out the 40% of your penis that normally lies anchored above your scrotum. This gives you an extra inch or so on show at the risk of going a bit wobbly at the base. Your penis may not stand up so high and if a nerve gets cut, it may not stand up at all. In addition, the tug forward often means that pubic hair will sprout half way up your shaft.
Even more alarming is the fact that many men remain dissatisfied with their sex life after surgery. Which is hardly surprising: good sex is all about love, fun, time, communication and foreplay rather than ogling at the size of your partners breasts or penis. The most sensitive parts of a woman's genitals are all found within an inch of the surface, provided you're prepared to take the time to look for them (with perhaps a map and some tactful guidance). Size is far less important than a sense of adventure. It's far better to have a small penis than a small mind. That's my excuse, anyway.
Dr Phil Hammond is a medical doctor, comedian and commentator on health issues.

Written by: Dr Phil Hammond
Edited by: Dr Phil Hammond
Last updated: Friday, August 13th 2010

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Comments on this article

Posted by fed up on 07/01/2016 at 10:45

Hi. I have a macho penis and premature ejeculation and it has kept me from enjoying my life. I could not play any sports in school because I was afraid of the showers,can never tuck in my shirt cause people will notice/or not notice my package. This means I cannot get/take a corporate job. My sex life or lack there of is ruining my merage. Please help!!

Posted by Optional on 13/07/2015 at 03:29

How can I make my penis longer and biger.

Posted by david on 13/01/2014 at 10:27

at the age of 66 my penis has lost 2inches in length soft it is only the size when i started puberty is it because of my age

Posted by Tom on 19/12/2013 at 12:17

Hi, I have been suffering from this for as long as I can remember, I am now 22, I have been afraid to meet a girl for most of my life because of having a small penis. I met a girl last year, and decided I would give it a go, I am still with her now she is 18 but I can not break her hymen. And this is a seriously worrying for me about my future. Please any advise will be Beneficial.

Posted by adam on 08/03/2013 at 07:40

hi i am adam from keralla india i wants to increase the size of my pines ,,,my size is 5.2 inches and i wants to grow more i am poor ,,, but i wants my life happier with my wife plz help me

Posted by HAKEEM on 12/11/2011 at 11:04

I am 23yrs old, i have never experienced any growth in my penis but my erection is fine and a litle increase in lenght and wilth when it erect. my question is this; can my penis experienced growth at my age? please i need good answer and a possible solution.

Posted by Optional on 31/12/2010 at 07:21

What, if any, types of therapy/support are available for those with deep rooted, life-long complex's surrounding 'abnormal' size?

Posted by vijay on 29/07/2010 at 12:55

im20 my penis is only12 cm plz help me

Posted by Ian on 27/05/2010 at 11:59

I actually have completely the opposite problem. Rather than it being small, it appears to be too big, not in length but at the bell end. This gives it the appearence of a hammer when fully erect and is rather off putting to the majority of women I meet. I'm at my wits end as I haven't had a relationship for over 2 years now. Any suggestions?