We’ve all heard the saying “it’s not the size that matters, but what you do with it”. The reality is that recent scientific studies show that size does matter, and that penis size does play a role in overall male attractiveness. In a 2013 Australian study Dr. Brian S. Mautz concludes that even the size of a flaccid penis plays a role in how attractive a male appears to a female. The study looked of course at things like shoulder to hip ratios, physical height versus penis length and the results were pretty much the same.

“In sum, we show that flaccid penis size alongside its interaction with shoulder-to-hip ratio and height significantly influenced a male’s relative attractiveness. Our results directly contradict claims that penis size is unimportant to most females. Some studies indicate that preference for a larger penis might arise because penis size is associated with higher rates of vaginal orgasm. In turn, vaginal orgasms are associated with higher levels of associated sexual satisfaction.”

Brian S. Mautz, Bob B. M. Wong, Richard A. Peters, and Michael D. Jennions PNAS April 23, 2013 110 (17) 6925-6930; https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1219361110

Simply put, none of the women in the study said “I like small penises.”

So why then are the penises in Greek, Renaissance and Western art so small?

It is commonly believed among art historians (are the researchers men?) that a tiny penis in Greek society was associated with intelligence, logic and rational thinking, while a penis of normal to larger than normal length was associated with lust, desire and a loss of self-control. In other words, “small” men who weren’t getting any had no choice but to develop their minds.

We also must consider that most of the art that we see in museums is created by men and perhaps the artists chose to depict men with small penises so as not to have women start wondering why they aren’t sexually satisfied. Just saying…

Therefore, there would be nothing more dangerous than depicting a tall smart man with a large penis in art.

If the representation of the female nude by a male artist is by extension the representation of the male gaze, what does the representation of the male nude by a female artist look like?

One look at the male nudes by an artist like Sylvia Sleigh and we have our answer.

Size does matter.