September 12, 2007

The Things My Readers Tell Me...

I should have known, the moment I opened my mouth and made a crack about "never running across a designer penis," an alert reader would step up to correct my ignorance.

Dr. Whitehead, I Presume?

Apparently this guy is for real--he calls himself a "phalloplasty surgeon." His site describes the range of surgeries he performs, from penis lengthening and widening to glanular enhancement. I'm not going to post pictures to avoid pornbots, but let's just say he has an extensive "before" and "after" gallery. He uses live tissue grafts, which supposedly are absorbed into the patient's own body after a few weeks or months. Well, whatever works, I suppose. There's only one question in the FAQs I found problematic, to say the least.

Q. Can penile enlargement surgery improve self-esteem and quality of life?
A. With respect to feelings of penile inadequacy, meaning the man's perception that his penile size is smaller than what he would like, even if it is normal, the results of such surgery frequently will improve his sexual and machismo image and positively affect his interactions with sexual partners, coworkers and professional associates.

"Machismo" image? Bull-oney. That reduces the entire experience to nothing more than a cock-stretching contest. I realize some guys do honestly feel inadequate, and some of the pictures on the site show medical problems that need to be addressed. For example, there was one person who needed a tissue tuck to correct something known as penoscrotal webbing, or turkey neck...oh, just go look at the pictures (and no snark, thank you). Nevertheless, societal pressure to do something like this is nowhere near the pressure on women to keep their vaginas tight, their legs shaved, and their vulvas waxed.

(For that matter, I didn't see anything on Dr. Whitehead's site about a male Brazilian.)

Yes, society does put sexual expectations on men. But compared to those on women, they don't amount to a hill of beans.

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