Body Image

Is there such thing as 'normal' or 'typical' labia/vulva?

In short, no.

Genital shame/anxiety is a growing problem. This, in part, is due to the fact that most people don't get the opportunity to see a wide variety of genitals, and therefore presume that there is one specific way in which they should look.

Inner and outer labia, like most other body parts, vary widely. They range in size, symmetry, shape, colour, etc. There is no such thing as a universally ideal or typical labia.

Several user-content blogs have popped up, intended to showcase the massive diversity in appearance of the vulva. Presumably, the hope is that by publishing these sorts of images, that people who see them will feel less dissatisfaction/shame about their genitals. The following are two examples of these types of blogs. Click on the images below to visit the sites (NSFW). The questions, comments, and replies are all interesting to read, too.

Learn more about the second blog here..

 

The science of erections and why many men struggle.

erections erectile dysfunction impotence | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

My latest piece for AskMen.com. A review of the physiology of erections, what causes erections, and how performance anxiety leads to erectile difficulties.

How Erections Work
AskMen Science: We Took A Long, Hard Look At What Makes Your Manhood Tick
by Dr. Jason Winters
You probably don’t remember the first time that you got an erection. That’s because it almost certainly happened when you were an infant. Infant males start getting erections at an early age, as their nervous systems develop. Most will also play with themselves and may even engage in masturbation-type behavior. It’s all part of developmental discovery, and is considered completely normal and healthy.
Some parents, not knowing this, freak out and worry that their kids are becoming sexual at too early of an age. They may unintentionally shame their sons, which can lead them to have some toxic feelings about sex, masturbation, and their bodies.
While shaming boys for getting erections and playing with their penises is to be avoided, as boys get a little older, it’s important to establish boundaries in terms of where and when it’s appropriate to play with oneself — for example, no masturbating at the dinner table.
By adolescence, most boys become well aware that their dicks get hard and that stimulation feels good. It’s usually around puberty that most guys start masturbating to get off. It’s also around that time that spontaneous boners become a thing.
Many guys have traumatic memories of spontaneous boners happening at the most embarrassing times, like in class, on the bus, or hanging out at the swimming pool. It’s pretty much a universal experience. Spontaneous boners can be the result of random nervous system activity, and can also be due to unnoticed sexual arousal (i.e., horniness).
But while most guys have spent a lot of time thinking about their erections, they might not know much about how and why they happen — so I'm going to clear all that up for you. 

Check out the rest here: link.

Dove's viral ad campaigns: Evolution and Real Beauty Sketches.

Repost.

The media often feeds into our ideals when it comes to physical appearance and attractiveness. It's also likely that our ideals inform what the media chooses to portray (in other words, it's a two-way street).

When it comes to celebrities, this makes sense - they are paid to be our fantasies. And when it comes to marketing and advertising, there is clearly value in connecting products and experiences with people who are very attractive. This, in and of  itself, isn't necessarily a concern.

It does become a concern, though, when people start to compare themselves and others to these ideals, ideals which are largely unrealistic. For some people, these comparisons aren't just passing thoughts - they become fixated on them, and go down the rabbit hole of anxiety and negative self-image.

Additionally, almost all media images and even TV/movies/commercials involve significant production (e.g., makeup, hair, etc.) and employ digital manipulation, typically in post-processing (e.g., photoshop), to make actors and models even more so-called attractive. So the comparisons that consumers are making are not even with real people.

Dove has come up with several marketing campaigns intended to challenge beauty ideals portrayed in media.

Keep in mind the Dove is owned by Unilever, who also own AxeAxe isn't exactly social progressive when it comes to healthy representations of women in particular. Also keep in mind that these are marketing campaigns - they were intended to increase Dove's sales, and they were very successful in doing so. So are these campaigns really about making the world a better place, or are they about making shitloads of money off of women's insecurities, but in an indirect way?

First campaign: Evolution

 

The next campaign: Real Beauty Sketches

If you haven't seen the ad yet, watch it first before reading the rest of this post:

 

Now on the surface, this seems lovely and all - Women, you're more beautiful than you think! Now buy our product! But most commentators have have been highly critical, calling the ad campaign patronizing, manipulative, and worse. Here's some commentary from the Globe and Mail:

Dove’s new campaign: Real beauty or sentimental manipulation?

[...]

Women have reportedly wept over this video. And who could blame them? The soft lighting and schmaltzy music were calculated to jerk those tears out come hell or high water, preferably the latter. For Dove, this latest effort in its successful Real Beauty Campaign, launched in 2004, was a highbrow social experiment. To me, it’s sentimental manipulation, sentimental because it encourages women to rerun that old script of themselves as noble but underappreciated, smart but self-sabotaging, hard-working but undermined by societal beauty pressure. It’s the kind of underdog myth that gets women feeling all cozy and sisterly about their dear, beleaguered psyches, which invariably need a pat on the back.

The Beauty Sketches video felt out of touch not only with modern, confident women in Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In wave of feminism – some might even take it as a backlash to it – but also with the complex etiquette of vanity. Every woman knows that even if she considers herself pretty, it’s inappropriate to brag about it. In an interview situation, she would never go on and on about the beauty of her eyes (hence the unlikeliness of my tongue-in-cheek script). The judgment of her would be cruel. And yet the glaring paradox is that we’re living in a highly narcissistic digital culture that encourages vanity. Just have a look at the comment threads of teenaged girls on Facebook, a fascinating study in vanity manners and disingenuous modesty. Often, they will post a flattering picture of themselves looking beautiful and then express surprise when friends respond with compliments. “Really?” they will write in the thread. “Thx! U R pretty too!”

Almost immediately (and inevitably), a video spoof of the Dove Beauty Sketches campaign surfaced, featuring men who report feeling great about their looks (one says he thinks he looks like a “white Denzel Washington”) while casual onlookers express otherwise. It’s tag line: “Men: You’re less beautiful than you think.” The humour was a powerful and confident response suggesting that, while women acknowledge the differences in vanity issues between the sexes, stereotyping them in such a simplistic fashion is just plain hilarious for all concerned, men and women.

And this is also why I don’t get too worked up about the perceived hypocrisy that a company that sells beauty products (including skinlightening creams in countries such as India) claims to be worried about how women are overly critical about their looks. Hey, that’s marketing, which I think most Western women get. And if they don’t, then they’re not paying attention, because just as we’re bombarded with beauty messages, so are we deluged with commentary about how we should be wary of them.

So, yes, the whole Real Beauty premise is just a cleverly subversive piece of communication: To avoid the beauty industry’s messages about what to look like, you should buy our product. But let’s be honest: In one way or another, women are complicit in these pitches about how to improve themselves. That’s what the fashion/beauty industry is all about. And if we choose to engage in it, it’s mostly because doing so is a lot more fun than paying income tax.

Most women, on the whole, are very aware of which aspects of their looks they like and which parts they hate. That’s life – unless you consult a plastic surgeon. Even Elizabeth Taylor, whose face was a masterpiece, hated her chin. It was too small, apparently. Not that she would have made note of that if she were asked about her appearance. And that’s because she would have known that we hate beautiful women who quibble about their smallest, inconsequential self-perceived flaw.

The spoof video:

This criticism has been echoed elsewhere, for example:

Reddit thread

Huffington Post

And some more silliness, to lighten things up:

What Google searches tell us about peoples' sex lives.

Google makes all of its search data publicly available. According to Google, 100 billion searches are done each month. That means a lot of data. And because sex is something that is searched often, there is a treasure trove of sex-related search data for the taking. 

This piece in the New York Times by economist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz digs deep into the Google search data to tell us about our anxieties and the states of our relationships. There are a couple of nifty infographics that summarize his findings. The piece is worth a read - it's fun and informative.

From the New York Times

Searching for Sex
ARE you confused by sex? I certainly am.
One of the many reasons sex is puzzling is that we lack reliable data. People lie to friends, lovers, doctors, surveys and themselves.
Three years ago, when I was a graduate student in economics, I began to write about how new data, particularly Google searches, could give us fresh insights into socially sensitive topics. Since then, many people have asked me to write about sex.
I was wary because I wanted to do more research. Now I’m finally ready to report. Call it everything you always wanted to know about sex, but didn’t have the data to ask.
Let’s start with the basics. How much sex are we having? Traditional surveys are no good at answering this question.
I analyzed data from the General Social Survey, a classic source. Heterosexual men 18 and over say that they average 63 sex acts per year, using a condom in 23 percent of them. This adds up to more than 1.6 billion heterosexual condom uses per year.

And one of the infographics: 

Google sex searches marriage sexual behavior | Dr. Jason Winters | Sex Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

Read the rest here: link.

 

The Bodyimage Project.

Passed along by Afrooz (thanks!), via Dodson and Ross.

Projects like this are not new, and that's a good thing. Over the last several years, a few have sprung up. Their express purpose is to provide some balance to the highly produced and processed (i.e., digitally manipulated) photos of models and celebrities that you see in the media. These projects are fundamentally about diversity, and how diversity is good.

The Bodyimage Project by Marshall Bradford is still in its development phase. Given its early success, he's committed to something much larger, which will be coming down the pipeline in the near future. For the time being, however, he's posted some photos through his Facebook account.

From the description:

Image is everything. If you don't look like the media tells you to you will never make it in the world. Forget about finding love and happiness. That's what the pretty people get.
Or that's what we are told. I don't really feel that way. As a photographer in Las Vegas I have shot my share of high polish perfect modeling photos and I'm not saying I won't shoot stuff like that in the future. I am also an artist and to that end I have the need to try new things with my art.
My thought with this project I wanted to show what we really look like. I wanted to photograph people simply being themselves and being proud of that. People should love how they look and love themselves first. No matter the way you look you should remember that your happiness comes from within. That's the goal of this work. To allow the subjects own beauty to show. I have learned a lot starting this project and I'm excited to see where it leads me to.

Go check out the project and photos here: link (you need to be on Facebook; also, Facebook doesn't allow photos of genitals and breasts, thus the silly edits)

OMGYes: New project and program to turbo boost female sexual pleasure.

This project and web-based service appears to be really promising.

It's a collaboration between some entrepreneurs and researchers at Indiana University (home of the Kinsey Institute).

OMGYes looks to be a slick, engaging, and richly informative educational tool. Its purpose is to increase women's sexual pleasure through a series of online videos and interactive experiences. Subscribers (and their partners) learn diverse skills and techniques, which are based on research and the experiences of the OMGYes women.

The most interesting part of the program looks to be the interactive video and touchpad manual stimulation component. Subscribers learn how to stimulate the various OMGYes women's genitals using the trackpad; the OMGYes software (and OMGYes women) provides real-time feedback.

Here's the intro video:

Dr. Stephen Snyder, a sex therapist in New York, wrote a piece published by Huffington Post, about his experiences test-driving the interactive learning tools.

"Yeah, that's it! Mmmm . . . that's GOOD!"
My computer is talking to me, whispering words of encouragement as I trace big circles with my finger on my trackpad. My cursor grazes over the vulva of the woman lying before me onscreen. 
Her name is Amber. Amber likes a circular stroke on the upper right corner of her vulva next to her clitoris. 
I've just finished watching a video where she demonstrates the technique on herself. And now the program has loaded an "interactive" module, for me to try it on her. 
Tentatively, not knowing quite what to expect, I click "Begin." 
Amber's vulva, freshly shaved and beautifully lit, appears on the screen. A delicate white arrow traces a circle in the exact spot where I'm supposed to start. Hesitating at first, I press the trackpad, and a cursor appears on Amber's vulva. As we approach Amber's clitoris the image morphs a bit, and her clitoral hood stretches towards my cursor. 
We are suddenly connected -- her vulva and my finger.

Check it out the full article here: link.

It's also worth visiting the OMGYes website, even if you aren't interested in becoming a subscriber. There are a bunch of videos (NSFW) and demonstrations of the interactive tool, as well as some basic resources. Link.

Man with bionic penis to lose virginity with dominatrix who once ran for parliament.

File this one away in news of the extremely uncommon.

From i100 at the Independent (in its entirety - link):

A man whose penis was ripped off in a road accident, and who has subsequently received surgery to fit an 8-inch bionic penis, is to lose his virginity to an “award winning” dominatrix who unsuccessfully ran for parliament.
Mohammed Abad, from Edinburgh, was run over when he was six years old in Huddersfield, in 1978. During the accident his penis was sliced off as he was dragged 600ft by a car.
Mr Abad had surgery to fit a fully functional 8 inch bionic penis in 2012. The organ has two tubes which inflate when he presses a button on his testicle.
Abad said:
“I have waited long enough for this — it’ll be a great start to the new year.
My penis is working perfectly now so I just want to do it. I’m really excited. I can’t wait for it to finally happen.”
Mr Abad also says he dreams of one day becoming a father.
He will meet up with sexual freedom campaigner Charlotte Rose in London this week for a dinner date.
Rose, a 35-year-old who won the British Erotic Award for ‘Sex Worker of the Year’ in 2013, ran for MP in the Clacton by-election in October 2014 and the Rochester and Strood by-election the following month as an independent on a platform of sexual freedom.
Rose, a mother of two, said she will waive her usual £200-an-hour fee:
“I am so honoured that he chose me to take his virginity.
We plan to have a dinner date so we can get to know each other and then two hours of private time. I’m not charging him.
I’m happy to help him build up confidence.
Hopefully he can then find a lovely lady to settle down with.”

Penis size: Does it matter?

First contribution to AskMen.com: more to come.

Does Penis Size Matter?
How Big Is Normal? And Do Women Really Care? Get The Answers Here
by Dr. Jason Winters
Penis size is a major source of anxiety for a lot of guys. The anxiety can be bad enough that it completely undermines their self-confidence as sex partners. This is understandable given the importance of the penis size in many men’s minds. Despite this very real feeling concern, is penis size that important when it comes down to doing the dirty?
What Exactly Is Average?
Penis size, much like most human traits, follows the bell curve. This means that almost all guys fall within the normal range.  Very few men have penises that would be considered particularly small or large. At one end of the penis size spectrum is congenital micropenis, defined as approximately 2.5 inches or less in length, fully erect. About half of one percent of men would fall into this category. At the other end of the spectrum is someone like Jonah Falcon, the man who currently holds the record for the largest penis. His penis is 13.5 inches erect, making it extremely difficult if not impossible to have penetrative sex. So what’s the average?

Read the rest here: link

 

Video retouching.

Second post on retouching, following up on the Dove marketing campaigns.

We tend to compare our physical attractiveness to the ideals presented to us by the media. However, the images and videos we see have been significantly changed during post-processing. In other words, what we see does not represent any sort of reality. This is the first example that I've seen of 'live' video retouching.

Man has 80-pound scrotal mass removed.

For 20 years, Dan Maurer had been living with a rare condition called scrotal lymphedema that causes the scrotum to grow to an enormous size. The condition had gone misdiagnosed and doctors had told him that he simply needed to lose weight. When he did lose weight and the mass continued to grow, he knew it was something else. It wasn't until he saw a piece on TLC featuring another man with the same condition that he realized what was going on. He immediately sought out treatment. Recently the mass was successfully removed.

You can read more about his story here.

And a video clip:

 

If you're curious about the surgical procedure to remove the mass, check out this video (NSFW, and features surgery):

Art: The Great Wall of Vagina.

I've posted about this project previously (link), but it's come up again - two students passed along a link to a recent article in Cosmopolitan.

From Cosmopolitan:

McCartney says the vagina has become something that companies have begun shaming people for so they can make money off of them by telling the they need to have surgery to make it look better, saying, "I do believe that cosmetic surgery is a fairly unnecessary procedure, it's a psychological problem. There's a whole industry base set up to persuade women they're defective and to give them an answer." He says he gets letters almost daily from women wanting to volunteer or who have told him that his artwork has helped with the anxiety they had surrounding the appearance of their vaginas.

[...]

His hope is that the project will help women of all ages (which is something that is desperately needed), since he says, "every generation is going to go through the same anxieties, every girl is going to think, 'Oh my god, what's wrong with me'." 

And his artist statement:

For this, my latest major sculpture, I cast, over the course of 5 years, the vaginas (well the vulva area in fact) of hundreds of volunteers. The Great Wall of Vagina is an exploration of women's relationships with their genitals. When I assembled the first panel of 40 casts in summer 2008, I stepped back disappointed. I realised the sculpture would need to be much bigger to have the impact I wanted. From this original piece (called Design A Vagina) has grown an epic sculpture. The final piece now has 400 casts arranged in 10 panels of 40.
"Why did I do it and what's it all about?" I hear you ask. Well, it became clear to me whilst working on a not dissimilar piece for a sex museum that many women have anxiety about their genital appearance. It appalled me that our society has created yet one more way to make women feel bad about themselves. I decided that I was uniquely placed to do something about it.
The sculpture comments on the trend for surgery to create the 'perfect' vagina. This modern day equivalent of female genital mutilation is a bizarre practice which suggests that one is better than another. Taste in nothing is universal and any desire for 'homogyny' could be very misguided. 400 casts arranged in this manner is in no way pornographic, as it might have been if photographs had been used. One is able to stare without shame but in wonder and amazement at this exposé of human variety. For the first time for many women they will be able to see their own genitals in relation to other women's. In doing so they may dispel many misconceptions they may have been carrying about what women look like 'down there'. The sculpture is serene and intricate and it works on many levels.

 

 

 

New study: What is a good looking penis?

penis chandelier

This study, recently published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, has been reported on widely, despite it being small and not originally intended as a examination of penis traits generally considered most attractive. The researchers were interested in the impact of surgery for hypospadias, a congenital condition characterized by a urethral opening in the wrong location (i.e., not at the tip of the glans), on perceived penis attractiveness. Because they had subjects rate control penises (i.e., those unaffected by hypospadias), they also had data demonstrating aspects considered most attractive for penises in general.

From Refinery29:

For a new study published in the The Journal of Sexual Medicine, the researchers asked 105 women in three different age groups — 16 to 20, 25 to 30, and 40 to 45 years old — to rank the importance of "eight penile aspects," including girth and length but also such traits as scrotum appearance. According to the women, the most important aspect was "general cosmetic appearance," followed by pubic hair appearance, penile skin, penile girth, glans shape, penile length, scrotum appearance, and position and shape of the urethra in last place. One takeaway, then, is that penis owners feeling insecure about creatively positioned urethras can relax. 
In addition to ranking penis traits, study participants also compared 10 photos of circumcised penises with 10 photos of penises that had been surgically treated for hypospadias, a condition in which the urethra is located on the underside of the penis; the participants then rated how "normal" they found the treated penises to look (they weren't informed beforehand which penises were which). Apparently, this study was inspired by the shame that some people with hypospadias feel, even after receiving surgery. The women in the study found the majority of the penises with hypospadias to look as "normal" as the circumcised-only penises; the change in their reactions to "different"-looking penises was deemed too small to be relevant.

Read the rest here.

Smallest penis in Brooklyn competition.

Write up at the Gothamist from last year's competition, copied in all its glory:

[NSFW] Photos: Smallest Penis In Brooklyn Contest Returns With Bigger Crowds, Bigger Penises

As promised, the Smallest Penis in Brooklyn pageant made its return to the borough this weekend, with five new penises and the bodies attached to them vying for the coveted title. For a few stifling hours, Bushwick's Kings County Bar transformed into one giant bachelorette party—assuming that party was held on the 4 train during rush hour, because that's how mobbed this bar was, with everyone and their mother (there were a few mothers there) anxious to see all the teeny peen.

The madness kicked off around 2 p.m., when a block-long line started trickling in—word on the street was that the first ladies in line had been there since 11:30 a.m. The bar was bedecked with penis-related balloons, streamers and decor. Bartenders were serving up a special "Penis Colada" drink: a creamy, white concoction that by no coincidence looked like semen, and came with a penis-shaped straw to boot. By 3 p.m., you couldn't move a muscle in the joint, but it was time for the festivities to start. The judges—broadcaster Carolyn Fox, sex educator Kendall McKenzie and bar owner Aimee Arciuolo—took their seats. Uproarious drag queen Chicken Bitches, donning a fur coat and ferocious blonde wig, was back to reprise her role as Master of Ceremonies, introducing the contestants.

A block long line for smallest penis contest. pic.twitter.com/GxdsIfNSk2

— Zee Y (@ZeeLoveGeeks) June 14, 2014

Now for the micro penises. There were five contestants this year: the Puzzle Master, Rufio, Rajkumar, Twig 'n Berries and Spiderman mask-wearing Peter Parker, who was a contestant last year, albeit under a different name. Rip Van Dinkle, who was a star sensation at last year's competition, was unable to make it this year thanks to travel woes, according to his Facebook. The contestants were introduced to the audience via a question-and-answer session, where Rajkumar instantly won the crowd's (and judges') hearts by singing and dancing to an Indian song and telling the crowd he liked "kissing" in bed.

And though this was a tiny penis competition, it was pretty clear from the get-go that both Rufio and Twig 'n Berries had perfectly average-sized penises. "Your dick is too fucking big," judge Fox told Rufio, before slamming him with a poor score. Note that the penises were covered with decorative toilet paper. "Because of legal regulations, we cannot show you the dick," Chicken Bitches advised us.

Post-Q&A came the swimsuit competition. The fellers lined up on top of the bar, junk camouflaged with aqua-colored cloth covered with sea creatures (like crabs!). There, they were sprayed with water by Super-Soaker wielding bar staff, and urged to dance for the crowd. Once again Rajkumar came out the winner. Once again, Rufio's normal-sized penis earned shame from the judges. "That looks like a big ol' dick," one judge yelled at him. At this point, the bar was so packed I had to find sanctuary up against a garbage can in the corner, for fear of getting trampled by a team of squealing, micro penis fetishists.

Today there was a "Smallest Penis In Brooklyn" contest. And that's all you need to know.

— Coffee and Cupcakes (@stridestruggles) June 15, 2014

Contestants had a real chance to shine during the talent section. The Puzzle Master reenacted Buffalo Bill's "Would You Fuck Me? I'd Fuck Me" scene from Silence of the Lambs, before dropping trou and treating the crowd to a view of his tucked-away junk. Rufio told terrible jokes. "What's the difference between a penis and a bonus? Your wife will always blow the bonus." He was appropriately vilified by the judges and Chicken Bitches, who had emerged as the hero of the night.

Crowd favorite Rajkumar treated us to a full-throttle Bollywood dance, and Peter Parker rocked out to "Jump On It." Twig 'n Berries delved into a rendition of Monty Python's "The Lumberjack Song," before taking his pants off and titillating the crowd with a rare full-frontal (and not small, the cheater!) penis sighting.

Finally, there was the crowning. The contestants wore tiny tuxedos over their penises in celebration. Last year's winner, Nick Gilronan, was there to hand off the title, telling the crowd that his life hadn't changed too much since he crushed last year's competition, but he did get laid a couple times this year. Rufio and Twig 'n Berries were tossed from the top three, due to their attempt to sneak regular-sized penises into a small penis competition. Briefly, a horrific sewage smell spread through the bar, and many attendees fled for fresher air, finally alleviating some of the claustrophobia.

Ultimately, Rajkumar was proclaimed the winner, landing $200 in cash, a date out in Bushwick with two sisters, and a place in Small Penis history.

Rajkumar lives in Manhattan, but moved here from India by way of Bloomington, Indiana after winning a Fulbright. He says having a small penis has never stopped him from finding romance. "I have enough fun with women," he told us, noting that ladies never complained about his size. "It's okay, from whatever to whatever. You are what you are." After all, Gupta says, true love has nothing to do with your disco stick. "Penis size is of the least importance," he said. "Most important is love and devotion. It's all about love." Gupta plans to make a film about his journey from India to Indiana, and hopefully his Smallest Penis title will earn a mention. "I really believe it's going to be a blockbuster," he said.

And so concludes our commentary on the Great Small Penis Shitshow of 2014. A few notes: Kings County Bar will be moving a few blocks away at the end of this month, and Arciulo promises the space is much bigger than the current incarnation, which will hopefully alleviate some of the miserable crowding that crushed this year's show, should you choose to attend. Also, between competitions, music comedy duo Afterbirth Monkey treated attendees to some excellent penis-themed music, stealing the show from all the actual penises. I'd pay $5 to see them again, if not the scrotum.

New study: Average penis size.

Previous penis size studies have been criticized for several very good reasons, the two main ones being biased sampling (i.e., males with smaller penises wouldn't be likely to participate) and unreliable self-report (i.e., subjects are likely to report their penis sizes as larger than they actually are). This new study tries to address these criticisms, although it is far from perfect.

Reported at the Guardian:

Average penis size revealed in study results International study of 15,000 penises is being used to reassure men concerned they are not within the ‘normal range’

The enduring question now has a scientific answer: 13.12 centimetres (5.16 inches) in length when erect, and 11.66cm (4.6 inches) around, according to an analysis of more than 15,000 penises around the world.

In a flaccid state, it found, the penis of the average man is 9.16cm (3.6 inches) in length and has a girth of 9.31cm (3.7 inches).

The numbers should help “reassure the large majority of men that the size of their penis is in the normal range”, said British researchers who had assembled data from studies where participants had their member measured by a professional.

The team then used the collated numbers to devise a graph that doctors can use in counselling men with “small penis anxiety”.

In the worst cases, men may be diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder – a debilitating psychological condition that can lead to obsessive and anti-social behaviour, depression and even suicide.

In reality, only 2.28% of the male population have an abnormally small penis, said the study – and the same percentage an unusually large one.

The study participants were men aged 17 to 91 who had their penises measured in 20 previously published studies conducted in Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States.

The team found no evidence for penis size differences linked to race, though most of the study participants were of European and Middle Eastern descent and a full comparison could thus not be made.

Nor did the researchers find any convincing correlation between a man’s foot size and the length of his manhood.

They acknowledged their results may have been somewhat skewed by the possibility that men who volunteer to be examined may be more confident in their penis size than the general population.

The team said their work, published in the BJU International journal of urology, was the first to combine all existing data on penis length and girth into a definitive graph.

The information may be useful for reassuring men worried about their size. But it may also have the unintended effect of denting the egos of those who thought they were abnormally well-endowed.

Doctors may also use the graph to help men find well-fitting condoms, said the team.

To check out the study, click here.

France contemplating BMI limits for models.

From the CBC:

France likely to ban super-skinny models Proposal would also ban pro-anorexia websites and forums encouraging eating disorders

The link between high fashion, body image and eating disorders on French catwalks may lead to a ban on super-skinny models.

France's government is likely to back a bill being discussed in Paris banning excessively thin fashion models as well as potentially fining the modelling agency or fashion house that hires them and sending their agents to jail, Health Minister Marisol Touraine said on Monday.

Style-conscious France, with its fashion and luxury industries worth tens of billions of dollars, would join Italy, Spain and Israel, which all adopted laws against too-thin models on catwalks or in advertising campaigns in early 2013.

The union representing fashion agencies opposes the ban, arguing that regulating a model's waist line will take a toll on the agencies' bottom line.

Under the proposed legislation, any model who wants to work has to have a body mass index (a type of height to weight ratio) of at least 18 and would be subject to regular weight checks. Health Minister Marisol Touraine says the ban would protect young women who see models as the ideal female form. Plus, many models in France are still in their teens.

So, a woman who is 5-foot-7 would have to weigh at least 121 pounds. The normal weight BMI range is around 18.5 to 25.

Fines, jail time

The law would enforce fines of up to $79,000 US for any breaches, with up to six months in jail for any staff involved, French Socialist Party legislator Olivier Veran, who wrote the amendments, told newspaper Le Parisien.

The bill’s amendments also propose penalties for anything made public that could be seen as encouraging extreme thinness, notably pro-anorexia websites that glorify unhealthy lifestylesand forums that encourage eating disorders.

In 2007, Isabelle Caro, an anorexic 28-year-old former French fashion model, died after posing for a photographic campaign to raise awareness about the illness.

Some 30,000-40,000 people in France suffer from anorexia, most of them teenagers, said Veran, who is a doctor.

In 2013, designer Hedi Slimane was chastised for casting shockingly thin male models at an Yves Saint Laurent show in paris. It was not immediately clear whether France's proposed legislation would apply to male models as well.

Meet a very successful cam model.

Watch the clip first and see what comes up for you. I've added some commentary below.


So, thoughts?

Three things stuck out to me:

1. She notes that there is a subgroup of men who troll and harass her, and presumably say some nasty stuff. Why is this the case? What is going on culturally that there are men who feel entitled to demean, belittle, and harass female strangers on the web, especially those who do this type of work? I suspect it's because there's a group of sexually/romantically disenfranchised men who have been hurt or rejected by women, or who feel powerless and unattractive, and as a defense mechanism or to communicate their upset have become callous, mysogynistic, nasty, and abusive. You see this in the Pick Up Artistry scene, and in places like the RedPill on Reddit. They externalize their pain and suffering, and then create an entire ideology to support it.

2. She talks about body image and her struggles with her weight (in her case, being thin because of an illness). In some types of work, body appearance is a critical part of success (e.g., modeling, being a server in a restaurant, being a fitness/personal trainer, being in the media, etc.) - this has been an issue of much debate and concern. In camming, body appearance is also very central to success. So there is likely increased risk of body image dissatisfaction doing camming, which is tied to lowered self-esteem. It sounds like it is a real struggle for her, which might be worrisome. But, it's not for us to say, I suppose.

3. She mentions that she has lots of young followers, in particular female followers. I'd be a little worried about how these followers see her, and if they understand what camming and fantasy is about. Hopefully in her interactions with them, parts of her other than her sexuality become apparent. In other words, hopefully her followers can celebrate her sexuality, but also recognize that she is much more than simply a physically attractive object of desire (which actually increases her attractiveness to her fans - personality and interactions with fans play huge roles in cam models' success).

Androgens and bodybuilding.

Testosterone (an androgen) plays an important role in male sexual development, and in sexual arousal and response (although its role is nuanced). Androgens, including testosterone, stimulate muscle development, which is why anabolic steroids, which are androgens, are so popular with bodybuilders. By injecting large doses of anabolic steroids, bodybuilders can put on much more muscle than they could naturally.

Androgens, in large concentrations, can have a freakish effect on muscle development (along with lots of hard work in the gym):

 

And not to be outdone by the men:

Women describe their vulva.

These descriptions come from a fun study done by the people that run LargeLabiaProject.org. The sample is clearly not representative, and the study is not peer-reviewed. Nonetheless, they report some interesting findings. The section in which they provide women's descriptions of their vulva is particularly compelling. You can read the whole paper here. And some of he descriptions (check the main document for many, many more):

Page from Labia Minora and Vulvar Appearance
Page from Labia Minora and Vulvar Appearance

The origins of labia insecurity.

There have been several theories proposed as to the root causes of labia insecurity, one being the effect of pornography. This theory is particularly pertinent in Australia, where censorship laws are such that softcore porn cannot display inner labia (which appears to be entirely arbitrary - since when are inner labia more explicit???). Here's a brief clip describing the state of affairs (NSFW):