I’ve been a little obsessed by penis size lately. I think it’s something to do with having recently begun life modelling with the good folks at Life Drawing MK. The prospect of exposing myself to a dozen assorted local artists for a couple of hours inexorably drove me to studies into the average circumference of the male organ (4.59 inches, seeing as you ask) and the various, sometimes mutually exclusive ways of measuring its length.

Life drawing also led me to study posing. And posing always leads to David—and, by extension (a little erectile humour there)—to Michelangelo.

I was struck by the seemingly absurd ratio between David’s magnificent body and his somewhat underwhelming dangly bits. While the proportions of his head, torso and limbs are absurdly pleasing, his genitalia hang there like a piece of blue tack left over long after something of importance has fallen off.

While the proportions of David’s head, torso and limbs are absurdly pleasing, his genitalia hang there like a piece of blue tack left over long after something of importance has fallen off

God—or whoever designed David’s body (sans genitalia)—got it exactly right. They got the female version even more spot on (a little vaginal humour there): slightly wider at the hips and chest, indented at the waist—the perfect Coke bottle shape with the superbly aesthetic enhancement of breasts. All the ratios are exquisite; a Fibonacci wet dream.

The Dream of Human Life

But David’s manhood… Nope. It’s pathetically small—and it’s not just David. Michelangelo’s other pre-eminent penis, that of Adam pointing his finger at God on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, suffers the same fate; so too the unfortunates in another tableaux in the chapel, The Expulsion from Paradise. Not even Jesus fares better in The Entombment. Worst afflicted is the poor dude in The Dream of Human Life, which should be retitled The Dream of Even Just a Remotely Decently Sized Willy.

Some critics have suggested The Dream of Human Life is a veiled self-portrait by Michelangelo, which may explain much. As does The Creation of Adam, where Adam admonishes God with a wiggly finger, as if he’s saying, “Oi, why didn’t you give me a decently-sized trouser-snake?”

Is Michelangelo right in blaming the Divine Designers, otherwise known as Evolution? Personally, I disagree. In A brief history of shame, I wrote how the emergence of patriarchies in pre-biblical times gave rise to sexual shame. This led to both the suppression and repression of socially unacceptable sexuality.

Physical tension

While it is straightforward to see—or at least imagine—the emotional effects of sexual repression, what is less obvious is that there’s also a physical component. Repressing our sexuality creates a tension that has to go somewhere—and that somewhere is the region around the shameful body part: the pelvic muscles.

When I first understood the insidious workings of sexual shame, I discovered that some of my pelvic muscles were tight as steel rods. And, of course, because of the shame, no one in the mainstream massage industry is willing to release that tension because the sexual parts of the body are verboten.

But release that tension and amazing results ensue, invalidating the most clinical of penile measurements. Following a lead in André Van Lysebeth’s Tantra: The Cult of the Feminine, in Does sexual shame affect penis size?I wrote how releasing muscular tension in the pelvis improves blood flow to the penis that, naturally enough, increases its size—both at play and at rest. Suddenly, the penis comes into right proportion with the remainder of the body.

So here may lie the answer to our conundrum: why are Michelangelo’s willies so small? Because they have been artificially constricted by our society’s invisible, entrenched sexual shame.

Image: The Creation of Adam (1508-12) by Michelangelo, from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel