Essays and Theories
Human Penises (and Human Breasts):
Why are they so large in comparison to our primate cousins?
William A. Spriggs
March 30, 2002
One of the great finger-on-top-of-the-head-scratching mysteries of human evolution is the attempt to explain the huge difference of the human penis to our chimpanzee, orangutan, and gorilla cousins. After all, if we truly have evolved from the primates, then we should be able to explain why the human penis is so large next to our primate relatives, and to do so with convincing arguments. Chimpanzee erect penises average around three inches in length and are shaped somewhat like the paper horns that one blows at New Year's celebrations, only much thinner, like a bloated pencil -- and of course, the small end extends outward. Unlike the human penis which fills with blood to reach its relatively large volume, the chimpanzee penis is a muscle that is "flexed" to firmness and has a small bone running through its length called a "balculum" which helps in penetration, but restricts flexibility. In the case of the erect orangutan and gorilla penis, the ratio differential between their organ and the human penis is even greater; their erect penises average only about two inches. The erect human penis is mostly equal in cylindrical shape from its base to its tip where it quickly rounds itself off and is capped by, what some British humorists have called, the "police bobby's cap." All popular sexual manuals and popular culture publications lead us to the conclusion that the erect human penis averages around 5.5 to six inches in length.
I suspect that the main reason science has not adequately explained the anomaly of the human penis is the extended overhang of Victorian social pressure in avoiding discussions of anything sexual, and thus, the hushed absence of grant funding. Perhaps those of us in the evolutionary community can be thankful that the internet has spawned multiple web site locations containing open displays of male and female genitalia that are now so common that this discussion can now move forward devoid of embarrassment. (This also brings up an interesting point about the hidden fascination that some humans seem to have in the viewing their fellow humans engaged in the sex act. Science feeds on statistics to build its house of facts, and there are no doubts that visitation statistics to sexually explicit web sites confirm their enormous popularity, and that this popularity seems just as pervasive as other cultures join the worldwide family that exists online. Of course, where specific information is being gathered, the overwhelming majority of visitors are males -- but women are in this equation as well -- as "willing" [based solely on my visual perception] participates in the activities shown, and as visitors. This would then leads us to a possible conclusion that there are universals in brain architecture that are attentive to, and perhaps even, seek these displays -- if not just the visual display of the act, but also perhaps the seeking of "whom" is involved. Is our ancient brain dipping into modules of long ago visual scenarios of trysts between "known" participants from our local group? Would these trysts that the human mind observes involve module calculations designed to reveal the outcome of possible hierarchical alliance coalition changes? Or, are the explicit visual displays merely a way of assisting the mechanisms needed to embellish our lust that rises up to the surface on a regular basis? As normal biological pressures arise to exchange genes, do we merely choose which method is best for self-activation? Do humans seek these sexually explicit images based on "entertainment" value? These and many other questions are all rich veins of study waiting to be explored).
Since the human penis is basically a sperm transference device, we must not ignore where the sperm transfers from; the testes. And an interesting side development in our quest of understanding penis size is the size difference between males and females -- sexual dimorphism (physical size difference between a male and female of a particular species), and how this difference effects testes size. The more the male copulates, the larger the need for more sperm -- hence the need for larger testes size. (Perhaps, as a urban myth, that is why some males equate testes size with manliness ["balls"] as it combines "courage" with sexual conquest [sperm] tales shared by bonded males). When we consider the chimpanzee, the human, the orangutan, and the gorilla, (with the smallest male starting from the left and moving to the right), the male on the left copulates the most, and is the almost equal in size with his female counterpart; his testes weight on average a hefty 4 ounces. Human males are approximately 20% heavier and about 8 percent taller than women of similar age and have an average testes weight of 1& 1/2 ounces. In comparison, the male Gorilla is about twice the size of the female and has a testes weight on average about 1 ounce. Here we are faced with The Theory of Testes Size as conveyed to us by Jared Diamond's 1992 book, The Third Chimpanzee: "Species that copulate more often need bigger testes; and promiscuous species in which several males routinely copulate in quick sequence with one female need especially big testes (because the male that injects the most semen has the best chance of being the one to fertilize the egg). When fertilization is a competitive lottery, large testes enable a male to enter more sperm in the lottery." p 72.
Hence the theory, that males who compete the most amongst other males for direct access to females have evolved the largest testes, where the male who has no real competition, and thus easy sexual access, has had no need to evolve large testes. On the next page of his book, p 73, Diamond gives a chart that I wish I could duplicate here because of its simplicity and visual impact of information -- it really is worth ten thousand words. It is titled: Males, as Females See Them. At the top of the page, and centered, is the universal circle symbol representing the human female and her relative size. Below, are four male circle symbols slanting diagonally down from left to right; on the upper left is the male chimp, followed by the human male, then the orangutan, and lastly, the gorilla. Each male circle gets smaller as it progresses down from left to right representing its size in relation to the human female circle on the top center. Directly below each male circle are two smaller circles representing testes. The largest pair of testes belongs to the chimp, followed by the human male next (who, as we all know, is no saint of sexual virtue), followed by the orangutan, and then the gorilla. (The gorilla male only has sex a few times a year, so his smaller testes are adequate for the task). The reason for the less frequent copulations is that he has a harem of three to six females that he dominates and protects and does not have to face competitive sexual access. Our chimpanzee cousin is on the opposite spectrum -- he's got to work up a sweat to copulate with a willing female, and when he does, his sperm has to compete inside the female for fertilization rights amongst other male's sperm as the female chimpanzee most likely has copulated with other males in her group during her estrus cycle.
Now, continuing on the same chart and studying the male circles, jutting out diagonally towards the upper right on each male symbol is the universal arrow symbol representing the approximate length of their erect penises. If we compare penis size and testes size of all four male species, everything falls into place as one goes up the symbols from the gorilla, orangutan, and chimpanzee in relationship with penis size approximating a similar ratio to testes size -- except for the human male. The erect human male penis, in relation to its testes size, sticks out like a great anomaly, poking logical science in the eye.
Let's take a quick detour here and turn to the next page, p. 74, where we find the next chart: Females, as Males See Them -- only this time, we are comparing breast size in relation to body size. In this chart, we see the male circle symbol at the top center and the female circle symbols below, diagonally increasing from left to right with the female chimp on the left, progressing diagonally downward with the largest bodied female, the gorilla, as the last. We have the same lineup; chimpanzees, humans, orangutans, and then the gorilla female. When we look at the human female in relation to the other primates, we see an instant anomaly: the human female breasts are much larger in proportion to the chimpanzees’, orangutan’s, and gorilla’s body's. Once again, like the human penis, we are faced with the begging question of why. Although the focus of this essay is the human penis, we have the opportunity to understand the reason for both these human anomalies. The most likely reason that human breasts and human penises are so large is that, we as a species, wanted them that way. It is mind -- shaping biology -- through choice -- over thousands of generations.
In 2000, an obscure cognitive psychologist by the name of Geoffrey Miller published The Mating Mind. that has revisited Darwin's stepchild theory of sexual selection, and, as a result, through his careful analysis has resulted in theories that have created quite a stir in the evolutionary community. What Miller is arguing is that all the "stuff" you see around you in our complicated human world, such as art, music, architecture, SUV's (Sport Utility Vehicles), million-dollar mansions, professional football teams, etc., etc., are not really needed for survival in the evolutionary world. Our brain's architecture was set in the Pleistocene era 100,000 years ago where none of this "stuff" existed. His basic argument, and those of some theorists before him, but never argued as eloquently as Miller, is that all this "stuff" is similar to the peacock's tail designed to attract the attention of the complicated, modern human mind -- ornaments designed to attract the opposite sex in the overall plan to copulate and pass one's genes. Well, you might admit that this argument appears to be quite a leap in attempting to convince you that erect human penises are equal to large SUVs (although some human males today might place equal importance to the two), but it is not that hard to convince you that mentally, the human mind "attaches" importance to anything that it wants, and that is exactly what has occurred when we begin to exam human penises and breasts as ornaments designed to appeal to the cognitive parts of our brains.
Most scientists agree that the "lower" animals react biologically to mating clues that entice both males and females to copulate; but when it comes to this magnificent product that we call the human mind, mechanisms become very complicated. According to Miller, it is very apparent that we humans prefer beauty and form over violence and harsh competition. We humans have decided to take the path of novel stimulation that activates our brains in a pleasurable way instead. Below is an excellent passage from Miller's book in explaining this "ornamental mind theory" that "pursues promising lines of stimulation": "Imagine a species that stumbles into an evolutionary utopia in which sexual selection is no longer driven by male competition for dominance and display, but by mutual choice or mutual pleasure. The males who deliver the greatest rapture to females are sexually favored, passing on the pleasure-giving abilities to both sons and daughters. Equally, those females who deliver the greatest bliss and contentment to males are favored, passing on their pleasure-giving abilities to their offspring. Each generation provides more pleasure than the last, and receives more. The species spirals upward into rapture, leaving behind all the genes for unpleasantness, unkindness, inattentiveness, and poor foreplay." p. 156.
Of course, the human mating dance is much more complicated than examining variants in pleasure traits -- physical and mental. The human animal, although endowed with this amazing analytical instrument called a brain, is still attached to the primal sources of its biological imperatives. In our complicated modern world, the human female is constantly on alert to find a male that will assist her in child-rearing; she wants a man who will commit to a long-lasting relationship who will stay by her side, "for better or worse." In our modern world, the male seeks a female that will assist him in his ascent in the fiercely competitive world that males have created for each other to test their "manly" success. Both male and female pressures are at work to create a "functioning unit" -- or at least, that is if both participants understand and agree on the unified path that they will embark upon; if that is not the case, then most likely they have "united" for cultural appearances, and most likely will fail at their joint venture (divorce rates equal about 50%), or live in perpetual subdued misery in their relationship. For an excellent reference to this mating dance, the sexual passions, jealousies, and emotions that hold sway in 37 cultures from an evolutionary perspective, I highly recommend, David Buss' The Evolution of Desire.
Miller's view is that sexually selected traits (such as the size of the penis and breasts) started as "micro-innovations"; if they lasted for more than a few hundred generations they most likely evolved as "indicators of fitness,” giving the conclusion that these processes are good at explaining why animals have a strong preference for what they like in sexual traits. Miller continues his view that sexual preference tastes across species would eventually have a pronounced influence on evolutionary contingency; each species would then spin off its own costly, exaggerated body part as an indicator of "fitness." This leads us to the theory of the "handicap principle" first argued in 1975 by Israeli biologist Amotz Zahavi that recalled Darwin's sexual selection theory. Zahavi's theory is very simple: the more "costly" the sexual ornament (in terms of the energy need to grow, preen, and carry around), the better the indicator of an individual's fitness to carry genes into the next generation. Any species that could not pay the price of the "upkeep" of such ornamentation, would not be selected, and thus be eliminated from the gene pool. Miller's main theory in his The Mating Mind, is that these "traits" of good conversation, artistic ability, wooing techniques, and etc., that begin as "micro-innovations," then lead to "ornamentation," which then leads to fitness indicators. Once again, Miller: "As we shall see, many fitness indicators advertise fitness by revealing an animal's condition. They are "condition-dependent" -- very sensitive to an animal's general health and well-being ("condition"), and very good at revealing differences in condition between animals. This sets up a chain of relationships that will prove absolutely central to many arguments in this book: genetic mutations influence fitness, fitness influences condition, condition influences the state of fitness indicators, fitness indicators influence mate choice, and mate choice influence evolution." p. 111.
Now we get to the interesting part of this essay: how is the shape of the human penis determined? Miller states that the search begins with taxonomitists. These are those gleeful people who spend their lives classifying different variants of a species and give us those complex Latin names that everyone in biology is required to know but can never remember, pronounce, or spell -- (except those people who don't have a life -- I'm only teasing -- I'm just jealous because I have difficulty with all three). The prevailing method is that if you are having trouble telling the difference in a classification, then you look at the color pattern, what "weaponry" has evolved, and finally, one looks at the genitals. Miller informs us that William Eberhand, in his book, Sexual Selection and Animal Genitalia, tells us that the one of the first things that begins to diverge when one species splits off into another species is the penis shape. And what force makes the penis change shape? To quote Miller: "In Eberhard's view, this is because female choice focuses on the details of penis shape, and female choice apparently drives most micro-innovation." p. 169.
Now, stop the presses. You mean, that science -- which is dominated mostly by white males of European descent have declared that the human penis has been selected to be this oversized shape because the female wants it to be that big. Sure, why not? Again Miller:
"Given two otherwise identical hominid males, if female hominids consistently preferred the one with the longer, thicker, more flexible penis to the one with the shorter, thinner, less flexible one, then the genes for large penises would have spread. Given the relatively large size of modern human penis, it is clear that size mattered. If it had not, modern males would have chimp-sized sexual organs." p. 233. And again:" The male human penis does not appear to be especially well adapted for producing auditory, olfactory, or gustatory stimulation. That leaves the sense of touch as the medium for female choice." p. 234.
Now, I am a true believer that once our sisters have found conditions suitable for finding the best suitable mate in her local environment, she goes through a mental transformation in preparation for child birth by enjoying sex in abandon as much as any male. Since the human female does not display the bright pinkly colored fluid-filled anogenital sac that her chimpanzee cousin displays while in estrus, the human female expands her copulatory stimulations opportunities to any time of the month she chooses, including during their menstrual cycle. And as Miller points out, can judge the long-term potential of their mates for their love-making skills. Miller also makes his most convincing argument for female choice in human penis shape: "If efficient sperm delivery were the only point of copulation, a single thrust would be sufficient...Copulatory thrusting seems designed to maximize the intensity, duration, and rhythmicity of tactile stimulation delivered to the female genitals." p. 235. And finally: "Female hominids may not have preferred thicker, longer, more Flexible penises per se. They may simply have liked orgasms and larger penises led to better orgasms by permitting more varied, exciting, and intimate copulatory positions. This rather contradicts the view of the penis as a symbol of male domination. If we were a species in which males dominated the sexual system, we would have one-inch penises like dominant gorillas. The large male penis is a product of female choice in evolution." p. 236.
So, if you add all of Miller's arguments together, he gets my vote that the female has had the most influence on forming the shape of the human penis. But, not so fast; I'm going to put a roadblock in front of his arguments and argue something else that I feel has had an effect on the size of the human penis. I feel that penis size could also be the result of "limited selection" fitness pressure by males placing restrictions upon other males. I argue this because males, who most likely bonded into alliances surrounding alpha males and became the dominate influence on physical strength determinations in their local environments, perhaps equated large penis size with "manliness," and restricted other males whose penises were "not up to manly proportions.” I argue that male-bonding is so essential to the social group of our ancestral hunter gatherers that part of the daily ritual would be the constant exclusion of “loser” males having access to fecundate females. This then, limited the selection “choices” available for the female.
Although we have no evidence that these roaming male groups existed with our ancestors, they do exist with the chimpanzees, and variants of roaming male groups exist with hunter-gatherer tribes today and found in every socioeconomic level of human society. And these groups, despite all protest that they are equal and non-discriminatory, are famous for their exclusiveness and entrance restrictions into their social "clubs": we find them in the exclusive male clubs on Wall and Fleet Streets; we find these male groups in the halls of Congress with their "Old Boy Networks"; we find Enron-like chief executives officers in all major industries, enriching their exclusive selves while screwing their workers; we find these male groups at accounting firms who look the other way with their accounting responsibilities and then consult other male groups in the “how-to” of the same procedures; we find them as police officers who "profile" members of lower socioeconomic groups while ignoring white-collar crime; we see groups of young males roaming in packs at shopping malls looking for "action; we find "wilding" groups of males at soccer matches (particularly in Europe) just begging for a fight; we find them in large cities at outdoor plazas with their skateboards displaying their "daring deeds" that involve proving their "manliness" and courage to each other. Do you think that it is possible, in a world devoid of televisions, radios, newspapers, movies, organized school activities and the like, that a bunch of naked young males roaming together in the Pleistocene, and evolving into our modern era, eventually got around to observing, comparing, experimenting with, and creating unscientific "facts” about their penises? Do you think it’s possible that these young males compared sizes and established display rule norms at their local environments that equated large penis size with "manliness"? It is possible that these display rule norms included the "knowledge" of equating the "power" of their sex tool and the "pleasure" that it gave to women?
It's wonderful to think that Pleistocene woman picked their males by a "romance novel" approach of comparing witty conversation, song, dance, comedy, and pledges of unending love; that our species "spiraled upwards into rapture" leaving "unpleasantness, unkindness, and inattentiveness" behind. But here's the reality of the world in 2002: 75% don't live in an idealist world of polite elite male populations where there are enough resources to create layers of middle class scenarios for modern courtship. Strip away all resources and you are left with the harsh landscape reality of the Pleistocene. The political, social, and resource realities of locations like Afghanistan, Egypt, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and yes, even modern Saudi Arabia, tell us the truth that male-bonded groups dictate the social fabric of those local environments -- which includes the political, social, and religious domination of women. And to hazard a guess -- 99.999% of our Pleistocene ancestors most likely did live not live in an idealist world of free female choice either. From my own observations and experiences in the lower socioeconomic levels here in America (2002), one hears male-bonded groups discussing females in mainly derogatory terms and not in pleasant methods how they need to be "pleased" and "lifted up." Many conversations that I have overheard by these males indicate that it is their belief that women are property to be used or traded as they wish. But most of the negative remarks at my local environment are linked to "feminine weakness.” I believe these myths may have evolved from the assumption that women could not defend themselves, their children, or their village in times of danger. These are the exact opposite of the necessary "masculine strength skills" required by the demands of their male-bonded world. As our complicated societies evolved, this left these "dirty" and "dangerous" duties, which perhaps, carried the cost of the "ultimate sacrifice," the sole responsibility of the physically "strong" males. And with those responsibilities came the rank, privileges, and compensation that the local environments established (established by other male-bonded groups -- perhaps the elders, and passed from generation to generation) as "reward payments” for those "sacrifices."
To take this theme of female weakness that male “defenders” may have one step farther; this then leaves us back to my argument of “unmanly” males being excluded from having access to females. We now stand at the front door of homophobia and failure of some males to meet the physical requirements necessary to gain entrance into male-bonded dominate groups. All articles that I have read in major cultural publications about homophobia seem to flow back to this same obsession of dominate male "strength" vs. submissive male "weakness." To cite a recent perfect example, a story in the local press reported on a Montana gay-rights battle where a local home, known to be occupied by a gay couple, was firebombed. Involved in this dispute was a local pastor, one John Haveman of the Open Door Baptist Church, whose weekly radio sermon was canceled because of his anti-gay statements after the firebombing. In a sermon that ran the Sunday after the firebombing (but was recorded days before), Haverman referred to gays as "sissies," and "limp-wrists." These are obvious references to feminine "weakness characteristics." Montana gay-rights battle intensifies, by Gwen Florio, appearing in The Denver Post, Feb. 25, 2002, p. 1A.
If we continue along this theme, one can easily see how the majority population of "strong" males that dominates a local environment excluding "weak" females, could just as easily exclude "weak," males. All statistical data that is now available on male homosexuals concludes that they are easily in the submissive minority and represent less than 10% of the population, and only seem to be noticeable when found in demographic clumps in major cities and only when they become a political factor in voting statistics. Could one of the "weak" signs of manhood along with "limp-wrists" and "sissie behavior" involve the visual representation of a small penis or small testes? Am I arguing that the visual size of a man's penis is, and perhaps was, perceived visually relating to his strength? There is no data available to indicate that this is the case, but I feel that future studies by some alert graduate students in the future may be able to pinpoint the hidden truth. But let's not confuse cursory inspection of visual clues of other males with manly "weaponry" that scientists once considered as part of a fitness indicator to other males. We have heard this argument before that the male penis was used as a display of force, and I agree with Miller, that if that were the case, the penis would have evolved some form of "weaponry" ability to compete with other males.
But, in my humble opinion, I argue that males who depend on male-bonded groups to assist them in their daily lives, developed social rule "requirements" or "standards" to be meet, and as standards to be judged worthy enough to join one's bond. Perhaps, our male ancestors, in their bonding, who used their penises as instruments of their love-making skills with the females and shared those skill techniques with other males used the information as a form of “social glue" that held groups together. And perhaps, those love-making abilities were attached to the size of the penis (that does fit the Miller argument). The new evolution of standing upright with bipedism not only allowed for greater view of the human penis to women, but it did so to males equally. So is male penis size then related to a self-image requirement needed to be accepted in these male-bonded groups? Perhaps. If so, then these clues for self-imagery may have come from penis size comparisons; and that meant visual comparisons. It also most likely meant that our male ancestors may have peeked, and peeked more than just a fleeting glance.
These "requirements" about one's own penis that males share in their male bonded world may have evolved from the daily struggle of existence. And one of those daily "struggles" would be to have sex with the female sex. even today, as we look at young male-oriented publications, with names like "Maxim," "Gear," etc., they all carry the same theme: male bonded activities that include physical competition (sports), male group risk-taking activities that depend on athletic ability (skate boarding, sky diving), "wilding" (delinquent packs of males roaming and seeking amusement with no goal as an objective), and yes, even "drinking" as a competitive sport). And of course, the main reason that males pick up the publication in the first place is to view the latest cultural ideal of the female found on the cover presented in various stages of undress within the magazine. Along with the photos of the women are "male-shared information" stories on how to "score" (an adaptation of a athletic metaphor to achieving copulation) with "chicks." And since Miller has convinced us that the female loves the size and shape of the human penis, then young males need all the advice they can get to "give the ladies what they desire." A sad part of these articles reveals the stark truth: the articles seem to carry no advice in morals, responsibilities, or consequences that successful copulation carries for the female if she becomes pregnant. The articles merely seem to convey the idea that anything past copulation is the female’s problem.
We can also see this same theme of male-to-male assistance in the movie industry. If we watch the popular movie, American Pie very carefully, what's the theme? A group of male "losers" as the protagonists are seen pledging their "goal" of "scoring" with the opposite sex for the first time before they graduate from their high school (the last staging area before leaving home and becoming independent). The genre in Hollywood is called, "coming of age" movies -- a passage from childhood to young adulthood that seems to be tied to the copulatory act. The males in American Pie, and other movies are young, between the ages of 15 to 25, and are bonded together by friendship with each other and "encourage" each other into action. In Pleistocene times and after, this "encouragement" could have easily included this "prop your buddy up" encouragement before a battle with a large beast of prey, a wholly mammoth hunted for the tribe's survival, or a battle with a tribe in the next valley that has just attacked one's clan and kidnapped their women. The internal brain function of male-bonded support is the same, but the mechanisms of external actions are different -- set by the group response and local cultural environments. It is within these male-bonded group activities of the "locker-room" tales of sexual conquests that science needs to observe, record, and publish. We need to "eavesdrop" in on private conversations, ala' Robin Dunbar, in order to advance our knowledge in science. It is my argument that within these "locker-room" and "boardroom" locations is where males bond the most and tales and "secret rules" of exclusion or acceptance that effect all members of our society are formed; and let's not exclude female groups as well (they may be even more harsh than males). I know that there are privacy matters at stake, but I am sure that others are frustrated as much as I am about the pace of scientific knowledge concerning human nature; I feel that we are running out of time as a species and may just blow ourselves up before knowing how to prevent it.
I have not found any scientific papers concerning male-to-male choice concerning penis display, but we must look at convincing logic that males must have used visual glues as to the overall physical shape of other males before engaging in any hand-to-hand combat in the Pleistocene and after. If our ancestors failed to "size up" the competition that they faced, any poor judgment could have proved fatal. In the absence of hard evidence, our ancestors had to rely upon the stored memories of our ancestral brains concerning the fight ahead. We are not talking about sizing up the competition who manufactures a new micro chip device, and the advertising campaign designed to sell that product; we are talking about Pleistocene competition and violent behavior; and the information needed had to be as fast and as accurate as our ancestral brains could muster. Miller himself argues that snap decision were perhaps a vital part of courtship in the Pleistocene era -- if quick decisions were necessary about possible mating partners, is it then equally plausible that quick decisions were needed concerning male-to-male combat assessment?
"Contact between bands may have been tense and brief, with the threat of violent confrontation balanced against the possible benefits of trade, gossip, and the exchange of sexual partners. Selection would have favored a capacity for very fast decisions about which individuals were attractive enough to pursue. These snap judgments could have been based on information like physical appearance, bodily ornamentation, apparent social status, and public display behavior (such as sports, music, and story-telling). Our ability to judge the physical attractiveness of a human face in a seventh of a second is a legacy of selection for such fast decision-making." p. 204.
How wide spread is this male observance of other male's bodies and penises? I don't think that we can form an accurate picture, but there is very formidable anecdotal evidence. Here is a small quote from Diamond's book in 1992 concerning the female magazine, called Viva. Although the magazine is no longer being published, others are, and the equivalent today would be a magazine called Playgirl which enjoys a large circulation.
"A telling point is that the women's magazine Viva initially published photos of nude men but dropped them after surveys showed lack of female interest. When Viva's nude men disappeared, the number of female readers increased, and number of male readers decreased. Evidently the male readers were the ones buying Viva for its nude photos. While we can agree that the human penis is an organ of display, the display is intended not for women but for fellow men....Other facts confirm the role of a large penis as a threat or status display toward other men. Recall all the phallic art created by men for men and the widespread obsession of men with their penis size." p. 76.
Now of course, some critics will be quick to point out that this visual stimulation may only apply to males who find homoerotic images an important part of their lives; i.e., male homosexuals. Or is it? In preparing the section of his book concerning the male penis, Jared Diamond relied heavily on fieldwork done in New Guinea. There in the backwoods of New Guinea, ALL mature males wear "penis sheaths " that vary in length of up to two feet and up to 4 inches in diameter; they can be curved or straight; come in colors of red or yellow, and in some cases, come with a bit of animal fur at the tip for flair. Now, are you ready for this girls? Here again is Jared Diamond: "Each man has a wardrobe of several sizes and shapes from which to choose each day, depending on his mood that morning. Embarrassed male anthropologists interpret the phallocarp as something used for modesty or concealment, to which my wife had a succinct answer on seeing a phallocarp: "The most immodest display of modesty I've ever seen!" p. 76.
One must remember that Diamond wrote this book in 1992, way before the invention of the internet gave us human genitalia displays galore. But, let me ask you this: If all males in the backwoods of New Guinea strut around with the latest fashion to bring attention to their penises, is it so hard to believe that American males might have more than just a passing interest at another male's "instrument"?
I think that Mr. Diamond has made a good point, but he has not provided statistics to back up his claim (and neither will I in this essay). To state that several thousand American males who once subscribed to a magazine devoted to the pictorials of the American male dropped off dramatically when the photos disappeared does not mean that the wide spectrum of American males are devoted to the observing visuals of naked males and have an obsession with their penis size. However, it is at this point in the essay that I want to take you to several web sites that I located via search engines that are devoted to increasing the size of the human penis and suggest that this subject is not a small (pun intended) matter to just a minority. There can not be that much competition out there concerning increasing the male penis with a paying and willing audience. There can be little doubt that the ads are targeted to males as consumers desiring to fulfill a need that will help to "satisfy" the female's desire for sexual gratification -- and that does fit with Miller's arguments that women seek males with "satisfying" penises. [Disclaimer -- Evolution's Voyage has no connection with these web sites. It does not endorse nor condone the products or information presented, and highly recommends that one observe the principle of "buyers beware." The information is being presented for argument purposes only. Also be advised that there is the possibility that the web sites may contain photographs of the human male penis].
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amazed to discover that I was gradually getting bigger and bigger. Your manual
is impressive, the step-by-step photos are very simple to understand, and your
support team is the best! I hope that you will post this letter on your website
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http://www.morepenis.com [as of 3-28-02]
Now, this next website actually seems to present some common sense along with its stichk:
"Penis size, penis size! Men put such a high emphasis on its value. The question is repeated over and over again..."is Penis Size Important?" It may depend on what specifically the penis is used for. Many women prefer large ones for oral sex, medium ones for vaginal sex, and small ones for anal sex. Which begs us to ask another question..."Is penis size more important to you or your lover?" (The obvious intent here is to sell the principle that the male penis is a pleasure-giving device that women seek, and that the male uses the device as a tool to display his "talents" to women).
Perhaps the best observation we've found comes from J. Scott Verinis, writing in "Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality." Mr. Verinis says that penis size initially matters to both the male and the female. "However, as the relationship progresses, the size of the penis becomes less important to most women, and factors such as the quality of sexual performance and the nature of the interpersonal relationship receive higher priority."
Bottom line: Penis size is important to some of the people all of the time and to all of the people some of the time...but not to all of the people all of the time! http://www.penisenlargementmagazine.com/penissize.htm [as of 3-28-02].
Well, you would think that if they were such an emphasis placed on penis size, and females seeking sexual pleasure in penis size, then more evidence of this desire to seek this mechanism should be found everywhere in the local environment. But, that does not seem to be the case. In counting three hundred and seventy two personal ads in the Westword newspaper (a local, yet, widely distributed free weekly found in the Denver metro area), from January 2002 to March 2002, under the heading Women Seeks Men, I have not found one ad where the female "requests" that the male they seek have a large penis. (Most appear to ask for tall, handsome, financially stable, and a willingness to commit). Once again, Jared Diamond in 1992: "Since these facts make it unlikely that special features of human coitus demand a large penis, a popular alternative theory is that the human penis has also become an organ of display, like a peacock's tail or a lion's mane. This theory is reasonable but begs the question: what type of display, and to whom?...Proud male anthropologists unhesitatingly answer: an attractive display to women. But the anthropologists' answer represents mere wishful thinking. Many women say they are turned on by a man's voice, legs, and shoulders more than by the sight of his penis." p. 75 & 76.
I have not made a similar focus and count on the "Male Seeking Female" ads, but of the ones that I have read, I have not come across any that emphasizes the size of the male's sexual member, but some males have mentioned their higher-than-normal "loving making" abilities. The only conclusion that we can reach from this small, non-scientific sampling is that there is at least a cultural restraint in the local environment where I live prohibiting females from making a semi-pubic request for males with a large penis; the same restraint is at work for males not to mention their privates. Which then leads us to an obvious conclusion: that social display rules override individual biological urges; social display rules and "paying attention" to those rules must be considered as a major module of behavior in our brain's architecture as a consequence that emerged from our hunter-gatherer group days out from the Pleistocene. This then lends support to my argument that males must go through a "social gauntlet" before they are available to be selected by the females. If that is the case, then penis size may be one of the requirements that our ancestral Pleistocene males required of other males to enter their social male-bonded alliance coalitions. The same question can be asked about the female. Do females go through a "social gauntlet" and do they have to enter female-bonded groups before being selected by males? And if that is the case, was breast size part of the "entrance" requirements? We have these biological "urges" out there rising up to the surface, but both sexes must maintain the proper social display rules of the group or risk being shunned or exiled from the group. And what about our cultural leanings towards selecting those we consider to be "pretty?" Seen any ugly males in Kalvin Klein underwear ads with tiny penises underneath? Seen any ugly females in Victoria Secret underwear ads with tiny breasts? Obviously, these are the extreme ideals found in our modern American culture. But if the attention is that high today in 2002, was the level of attention the same with our ancestors?
Well ladies, I've shown you mine; now it's your turn to show us males yours. Why is the modern female breasts disproportionately large in comparison to your primate cousins? Why does the modern female no longer display a fluid-filled anogential sac like her primate cousins that acts like a neon sign to advertise that they are in estrus and ready to receive copulation? Both sexes have so much to learn from each other, but much of the work can't be done unless is directed by one sex or the other. I am afraid that is a sad fact: I believe that male and female scientists can't really segregate their biological underpinnings from their mental makeup (at least not at this timeline of our evolution). But as scientists, like mating partners, they can realize that they can come together for a reason: to produce a synthesis that carries both of their genetic mental direction; they should respect each other's findings as equals and assume that the truth is the ultimate genetic goal. What I am discussing in my concluding remarks is what science is calling the bio-cultural perspective. Yes, we humans are pushed into a direction of human behavior by our genes, but it comes to large bend in the road when it faces culture; the human species has decided that the road of choice is the best road to travel; if that were not the case, then we humans would still be in jungle. Culture represents the group, genes are the individuals. Biologists must face the truth: Individual goals were the past; group genetics is the future. How it all works together is the job of evolutionary psychology.
[Final note: As for Geoffery Miller and his book The Mating Mind. You might believe that I was making major arguments against his book, but the truth of the matter is that my arguments only add to, not subtract from this brilliant mind. The ideas he presents are very important, and the final product that he has presented will influence evolutionary thought and direction for many years to come. I highly recommended absorbing the book and the arguments found within -- click the link above at the book's title to purchase the book from our associated book seller, Amazon.com].
Copyright, Evolution's Voyage, 1995 - 2011