no single penile aspect is essential for a penis to be considered pretty
July 22, 2015 1:16 PM   Subscribe

"There are many age-old questions that have plagued humanity since the dawn of time; where did the universe come from? Is there really a god? What on earth is going on with Donald Trump's hair?

"But scientists have now answered one of these great unknowns; what makes a good-looking penis?"
Scientists claim they've worked out what makes the perfect penis [NSFW] - The Independent

The original research cited in the article: Ruppen-Greeff, N. K., Weber, D. M., Gobet, R. and Landolt, M. A. (2015), What is a Good Looking Penis? How Women Rate the Penile Appearance of Men with Surgically Corrected Hypospadias. Journal of Sexual Medicine. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12942

More about the study can be read from the abstract:
Introduction
Some men with corrected hypospadias perceive their penile appearance to be abnormal, although health professionals consider these results satisfactory.

Aim
The aim of this study was to investigate how relevant women consider single aspects of penile appearance to be. Moreover, we studied whether women perceive hypospadias-affected surgically repaired genitals (HASRGs) to be as normal-looking as circumcised genitals and identified the most relevant predictors that influence whether a penis is perceived as normal.

Methods
In this cross-sectional study, 105 women in different age groups (age range: 16–20, 25–30, and 40–45 years) completed a standardized questionnaire.

Main Outcome Measures
Participants had to rate the importance of eight penile aspects and to indicate how normal they found the appearance of standardized photos of 10 HASRGs and of 10 circumcised genitals. Furthermore, they were asked about demographic characteristics and their sexuality.

Results
Results showed that women considered the position and shape of the meatus as the least important penile aspect. Furthermore, results showed that HASRGs with distal hypospadias were perceived to be as normal-looking as circumcised genitals, whereas genitals with more proximal hypospadias were perceived as significantly less normal. However, the difference need not be considered clinically relevant, as the effect size was small. Observer-related predictors of a more positive perception of HASRGs were higher age, higher sexual interest, and perceiving the general cosmetic penile appearance as more important and penile length as less important.

Conclusions
Overall, women were found to consider the “position and shape of the meatus” as the least important penile aspect. These findings may stimulate reflections regarding the relevance of surgical correction of the meatus in minor forms of hypospadias. In addition, this study indicates that women perceived genitals of men with distal operated hypospadias (which represents the majority of hypospadias) to be as normal as nonaffected, circumcised genitals. Ruppen-Greeff NK, Weber DM, Gobet R, and Landolt MA. What is a good looking penis? How women rate the penile appearance of men with surgically corrected hypospadias. J Sex Med **;**:**–**.
Links [NSFW]: pdf | HTML

From Men's Health: 15 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Penis, by Mike Zimmerman
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (100 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite


 
[more inside] heh heh
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:22 PM on July 22, 2015 [20 favorites]


Man do I hate the word "girth". It's right up there with "moist".

Though I'm not surprised the MEATUS (great word, btw) has little bearing - as always, the perfect penis is the one you love the most.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:23 PM on July 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


meatus is my new favorite word.
posted by photoslob at 1:24 PM on July 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


Oh, THAT's what the meatus is. Ok. I literally can't remember ever noticing one so this all seems right to me.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:26 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't like "moist" but I didn't mind "girth" until you just said you hate it and now I can't get back to feeling neutral about it. (I suppose it was bound to happen. I never liked the word "girdle.")
posted by discopolo at 1:28 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Length comes in at number six, with the look of the scrotum trailing closely behind.

I see what you did there.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:28 PM on July 22, 2015 [45 favorites]


This is gonna seriously disrupt the established metagame over on Critique My Dick Pick.
posted by cortex at 1:31 PM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Actually, it was the thread about CRITIQUE MY DICK PIC where I fell in love with the word meatus.

And while I know that you probably were kidding, Cortex....it always amuses me how few people who read CMDP get that she is not grading the schlong, but is instead grading the photo quality.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:33 PM on July 22, 2015


"NSFW"

The statue of David is not safe for work now?
posted by dgaicun at 1:35 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Subjects were women of three different age groups (age ranges: 16–20, 25–30, and 40–45 years), which we supposed correlate with different degrees of sexual experience. They had no affiliation to the hospital or to any of the patients.

In the youngest age group (16–20 years), 33 of 136 female pupils (24.26%) from schools of two different educational levels agreed to participate. Further, two randomly selected population samples of women (400 women aged 25–30 years, and 400 women aged 40–45 years) were ordered from a local database agency. This agency manages a large address file, which may be regarded as representative of the population. Of those 800 women, 66 women (8.25%) participated in the survey, and 25 women (3.13%) were untraceable. In addition, another six women who were friends of the invited women participated. Finally, a total of 105 women completed the questionnaires.


I'm guessing there is a pretty good chance all the women were white. The authors didn't report anything on race, nor did they broach the topic in the limitations. I just hate studies like this one seems to be, where you ask a bunch of white people something and then proclaim "HEY! EVERYBODY THINKS LIKE THIS!". I mean maybe I'm wrong and the penis pictures were from a diverse population, as well as the women they got from the "local database agency" and their 6 friends. But I doubt it.
posted by cashman at 1:38 PM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


as always, the perfect penis is the one you love the most.

Yes, I've got the perfect penis!
posted by Ned G at 1:38 PM on July 22, 2015 [17 favorites]


The statue of David is not safe for work now?

There's gold in them thar hills a set of penis pictures in the article on page 3.
posted by cashman at 1:39 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


No, I am 100% dead serious about comparing CMDP to the minmax strategy-jockeying dynamics of e.g. Magic: the Gathering tournament ladders.
posted by cortex at 1:41 PM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


what did i expect when i googled hypospadias besides dicks? not sure but i was still surprised
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:41 PM on July 22, 2015


He slid his moist girth against the squeaking chalkboard...
posted by Segundus at 1:43 PM on July 22, 2015 [21 favorites]


meatus is my new favorite word.

Oh yeah? Not if you've got Wilford Brimley saying, "the meatus, the meatus," in your head.
posted by barchan at 1:43 PM on July 22, 2015 [15 favorites]


I don't strive for perfection, but, instead, for constant improvements.

So far, I have installed an LED lighting system and solar panels to take my penis off the grid, as well as a guest room for unexpected visitors.
posted by maxsparber at 1:44 PM on July 22, 2015 [25 favorites]


""But scientists have now answered one of these great unknowns; what makes a good-looking penis?""

It has to look exactly like my penis...only with tons of googly eyes. Because if a dick doesn't look like an Old One then what's the point?
posted by I-baLL at 1:47 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't be the only one who thinks that the use of non erect penises was a serious flaw in this study? I mean, you know, speaking for myself, when it comes to judging the perfection of a man's junk, I want to regard it in its aspect of rigidity, uh, personally.
posted by dis_integration at 1:57 PM on July 22, 2015 [14 favorites]


I just hate studies like this one seems to be

Yeah, isn't it absolutely horrible that the population of a country that is not the United States doesn't have exactly the same racial distribution as the population of the United States.
posted by effbot at 1:57 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


take my penis off the grid

That's generally good advice. Unless, y'know, you're into that sort of thing...
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:59 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


take my penis off the grid

one less dick in the cloud!
posted by effugas at 2:01 PM on July 22, 2015 [11 favorites]


So... lol's and all I guess, but the issue of corrective surgery being performed on intersex people without their consent to "normalize" genitalia such that they represent a heteronormative aesthetic goal is.. uh, problematic.
posted by odinsdream at 2:01 PM on July 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


No, I am 100% dead serious about comparing CMDP to the minmax strategy-jockeying dynamics of e.g. Magic: the Gathering tournament ladders.

CMDP is all about lighting (natural, multisource) and framing/focus. For the most part, selfies are downgraded so you need a second person to act as photographer. CMDP also rewards athletic guys who include a lot of their bodies within the frame, which I personally hope gets nerfed in the next update.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:04 PM on July 22, 2015


"what makes a good-looking penis?"

Hm, nope. A penis is many things, but aesthetically pleasing is not one of them. It ranks slightly above the naked mole rat on the beauty scale.
posted by Gordafarin at 2:07 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I mean hey, it's right in the damn conclusions in the paper, although weirdly I would have concluded "Yay people don't give a shit and maybe we could recommend a lower rate of infant genital surgery" rather than "Don't worry, a normal penis will result. Everything will be fine."
posted by odinsdream at 2:08 PM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Hm, nope. A penis is many things, but aesthetically pleasing is not one of them. It ranks slightly above the naked mole rat on the beauty scale.

There are like 8 million homosexual sub cultures that disagree with you, but, yeah, uh, eww, dicks are gross, right?!
posted by dis_integration at 2:13 PM on July 22, 2015 [21 favorites]


I am not at all comfortable with the phrase "cross-sectional study."
posted by Midnight Skulker at 2:13 PM on July 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


I can't be the only one who thinks they wear expensive suits and walk amongst us. One of them is running for president.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:14 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Only one?
posted by I-baLL at 2:15 PM on July 22, 2015


One that I am sure of.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:22 PM on July 22, 2015


Wait. I don't see anything in the article or abstract about spines, or spikes. Should I be worried that my penis spine is abnormal?
posted by halifix at 2:26 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Hm, nope. A penis is many things, but aesthetically pleasing is not one of them. It ranks slightly above the naked mole rat on the beauty scale.


Careful, careful. You might get yelled at for saying that. Or anything about a friendzone not being a real thing. And definitely don't say any penis resembles a perfectly respectable 70s actor who won an Oscar. Trust me on that. Though you might be made of stronger stuff.
posted by discopolo at 2:32 PM on July 22, 2015


one less dick in the cloud!

Once again, the Cloud-to-Butt extension triumphs.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:33 PM on July 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


Girth. Moist.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:36 PM on July 22, 2015


Moistness full of girth.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:37 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just hate studies like this one seems to be, where you ask a bunch of white people something and then proclaim "HEY! EVERYBODY THINKS LIKE THIS!".

Also, only women get a vote. So we now have the opinion of a small sampling of white women in the UK. (I'm guessing the researchers were a bunch of straight white guys in the UK. Just a hunch.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:37 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Don't forget that since this is the UK the results are practically useless for an American audience. The attitudes about circumcised penises in the UK are quite different than in the USA. In the US un-cut dicks are considered abnormal.
posted by kittensofthenight at 2:45 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Someone I know was on top and flipped backwards off the bed and broke her husband's penis. We had a shop and she worked there. She'd been late to work before and was kind of on notice, but we let that one go and giggled at each other all day. Most people would make a lame excuse instead of telling you something like that and it was so damn funny. They have kids now. It is just cartilage.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:54 PM on July 22, 2015


there is no cartilage in a penis...
posted by desjardins at 2:58 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was wondering about the circumcision factor too (here in Canada we tend to do it much less than the US but maybe more than Europe, just anecdotally). They used circumcised penises because the operation makes the penis more similar to a circumcised penis, which makes sense. It's weird that they didn't include circumcision in their appearance preferences questionnaire, though. Again anecdotally, it seems like a lot of women do have a preference in that area (usually whatever's most common in their country, I think), though not usually an extremely strong preference.
posted by randomnity at 3:07 PM on July 22, 2015


posted by Mr. Yuck at 5:54 PM on July 22 [+] [!]

eponysterical
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 3:08 PM on July 22, 2015


Yeah, randomnity.

I think that... one on one... it may not matter but those are exactly the types of localized differences in preference that definitely effect what the average standard of dong-loveliness will be.

Also: Alas what a Comely-Dong! Sorry.
posted by kittensofthenight at 3:11 PM on July 22, 2015


I feel pretty. Oh so pretty. I feel pretty and witty and bright. And I pitty any girl who isn't me tonight.

Huh... Sorta totally makes a drag version of this song make scientific sense now...
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:28 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing the researchers were a bunch of straight white guys in the UK. Just a hunch

A Norma, a Daniel and a Markus. And they're all based in Zurich.

So we now have the opinion of a small sampling of white women in the UK.

The article says the sample was 105 women and breaks down by age group, it doesn't mention race. It seems likely the respondents, and indeed the penises, were from Switzerland.

I just hate studies like this one seems to be, where you ask a bunch of white people something and then proclaim "HEY! EVERYBODY THINKS LIKE THIS!".

The study does not claim this and likely would not have been published if it did. Here are the conclusions in full:

"The present research showed that, although mild types of hypospadias are often only operated to achieve a slit-like meatus at the tip of the glans, women considered the “position and shape of the meatus” as the least important aspect of a penis. This may stimulate reflections regarding the relevance of correction of the meatus in minor forms of hypospadias, although the women participating in our study were not exposed to photos of non-corrected hypospadias.
In addition, our study indicates that most HASRGs, particularly mild distal forms, are perceived as normal genitals. As a consequence for clinical management, we suggest that patients and their parents should be informed about these results to prevent the development of shame."
posted by biffa at 3:40 PM on July 22, 2015 [11 favorites]


A Norma, a Daniel and a Markus. And they're all based in Zurich.

Which also has a University Children's Hospital, which I suppose is the one where the photos were taken. I don't see a reference to the nationality of the women who appraised the penises, but it's a good bet they're Swiss too.

Please everyone, read the links before you snark.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:44 PM on July 22, 2015


But scientists have now answered one of these great unknowns; what makes a good-looking penis?

Just don't call it cute, k?
posted by Thorzdad at 3:54 PM on July 22, 2015


Scientifically-proven penis. A gummy arc of fact!
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:57 PM on July 22, 2015


Just don't call it cute, k?

Acceptable terms include:

- Regal
- Handsome
- Beautiful
- Nice (but only if followed by "cock")
- Huge / enormous / gargantuan etc.

Unacceptable terms include but are not limited to "like a grotesque nose."
posted by grumpybear69 at 3:58 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


I read the Independent article, but I skimmed past the fact that the study was done in Zurich instead of the UK. I erred.

They still only asked women, though. A whole 105 of them. In Switzerland. (So, no reason to assume that crowd was pretty white.)

The article was describing this as scientists determining the "perfect" penis. (Admittedly that was the article, and not a claim made by the study itself.) Cashman was suggesting that the sample was most likely full of white people, and I was pointing out that the sample was female-only. Snark aside, that stuff still holds. This was a very small, selected group.

Also, uncircumcised cocks are "abnormal"? That sounds a bit harsh. You know, that is the dingle's natural state.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:06 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


A penis is many things, but aesthetically pleasing is not one of them. It ranks slightly above the naked mole rat on the beauty scale.

As her wife I may be biased, but I've gotta say I find nakedmolerats sexier than any dick.
posted by DingoMutt at 4:08 PM on July 22, 2015 [13 favorites]


"Penis Fact #2
Doctors can now grow skin for burn victims using the foreskins of circumcised infants. One foreskin can produce 23,000 square meters, which would be enough to tarp every Major League infield with human flesh."


That is some visual...
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:15 PM on July 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


A penis is many things, but aesthetically pleasing is not one of them.

Speak for yourself. I think they're kinda cool.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:18 PM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: What's the point?
posted by Oyéah at 4:19 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ursula Hitler- You're right it is harsh, and I obviously don't have the research to back me up, but I say that based on experience observing reactions from female partners. It feels abnormal.
posted by kittensofthenight at 4:27 PM on July 22, 2015


Also, uncircumcised cocks are "abnormal"? That sounds a bit harsh. You know, that is the dingle's natural state.

Obviously in many senses and on a global scale it's circumcision that's abnormal but it's widespread enough in the US (becoming less so than it used to be) that it's not uncommon to have an aesthetic preference for it.
posted by atoxyl at 4:28 PM on July 22, 2015


Is a dick pic a selfie?
posted by Cookiebastard at 4:30 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've definitely heard women state that preference, and heard tell that it's a thing in some gay circles.
posted by atoxyl at 4:31 PM on July 22, 2015


I really liked Teenage Dirtball but after that Meatus pretty much wilted.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:33 PM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


They're using circumcised penis pictures to represent the norm for comparative purposes within the experiment, I would guess it's easier than having two comparator sets for the post-operational cocks and make the experiment that bit easier. Swiss males are predominantly uncut (less than 20%) so I would guess they picked circumcised for a more straightforward comparison with the post-op cocks.

Also worth remembering the researchers aim is to look at whether women are bothered by the look of the cocks that have been operated on and feed this into helping to build a higher quality of life for people who have had treatment for a medical condition.
posted by biffa at 4:56 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


The study gives the reason for using photos of circumcised penises:
Circumcised men were chosen as controls because the absence of a foreskin means they have a similar penile appearance to men with a corrected hypospadias.

posted by Joe in Australia at 5:38 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just to be clear, these surgeries are essentially forced genital surgeries on intersex babies too young to consent to these procedures. From what I've read, parents are often not even informed that their child is intersex and no-surgery is rarely presented as an option.

We've discussed this before.
posted by zug at 5:48 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Here is a great post from the intersex roadshow talking about hypospadias and their "correction", also from the blue.
posted by zug at 5:56 PM on July 22, 2015


The dapper penis polished his pearly penile papules and doffed his top hat, winking and saying that he was very pleased to meatus.
posted by h00py at 6:00 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


We've discussed how to make your penis smell perfect before.
posted by asperity at 6:01 PM on July 22, 2015


They still only asked women, though. A whole 105 of them. In Switzerland. (So, no reason to assume that crowd was pretty white.)

What exactly is your gripe? Their research question was: how do women view penises. They were in Switzerland. They have limited funds.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:17 PM on July 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


The thing about flaccid uncut dicks is they look like they got caught in a taffy puller

But once they're not flaccid it's still good
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:23 PM on July 22, 2015


As a consequence for clinical management, we suggest that patients and their parents should be informed about these results to prevent the development of shame.

And if you decide to keep knives away from your baby's equipment, then...what? Develop all the shame you can?
posted by mittens at 6:27 PM on July 22, 2015


What exactly is your gripe? Their research question was: how do women view penises. They were in Switzerland. They have limited funds.

The gripe is that 105 women in Switzerland will not - cannot - accurately reflect the great diversity of tastes and opinions that exist in the world. This study doesn't tell us anything about "women," in the global sense.

And yeah, as a guy whose sexual interests are exclusive to other guys, I'm kinda wondering why the burning hell they didn't throw a few queers into the mix. It wouldn't have been that difficult, I'm sure. Also, let's not forget (as the writers of this article seem to have done) that there are some women who don't like penises at all!

Sigh. I hate these news reports on studies like this. You know, where they average out the opinion of a small sample of people and then make a grand authoritative statement about "What [Large Diverse Group] Like." Or, worse, they make it about the subject of the study, as in this headline. Tastes vary, thank fuck, or most of us would never get laid.

Penises are beautiful, despite claims to the contrary in this thread. A substantial aspect of their beauty is the great and surprising variety of their appearance.
posted by erlking at 6:47 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Erlking, the study isn't "We Rate the Top 20 Penises!" or anything like that. It's meant for children who have hypospadias, and their parents. It's basically:
Q: DOES MY (MY SON'S) PENIS LOOK FUNNY?
A: NO.

The issue of surgical alteration of children's genitals is a vexed one, and people who seem to know a lot about it (paging DrMew) think it's a bad idea for a whole lot of reasons. Interestingly, the study concludes that a lot of surgical "correction is a bad idea:
Functional deficits are rare in mild forms of hypospadias, and they are often only operated to achieve a slit-like meatus at the tip of the glans. Nevertheless, hypospadias repair can lead to complications, and the treatment is assumed to be psychologically traumatic for patients. Our study found that women rated the position and shape of the meatus as the least important aspect of penile appearance. In line with other authors, the question arises whether every distal type of hypospadias benefits from routine surgical correction in early childhood.
So while it does (sort of, effectively) support surgery by saying that it the outcome will be perceived as "normal", it does so by saying that there is a wide range of normality and, to at least some extent, people don't actually care so much about it. Which is good!
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:56 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


His name is Robert Paulson.
posted by 4ster at 7:08 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: What's the point?

About six inches on average, same as in town.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:34 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am on board with what most of erlking said... but I would go on to say that my real objection is not to the study so much as the article's framing and what we can very safely assume will be the framing in a gazillion other articles worldwide: THESE ARE THE STANDARDS FOR THE PERFECT DICK, ACCORDING TO SCIENCE! Well, no, these are most certainly not the standards for the "perfect" dick, if such a thing exists.

But I was also just goofing around, to some extent. I don't care that much and I feel like people are starting to get genuinely peeved about this stuff. I'm not interested in arguing. If this study was really for the benefit of intersex kids, that's a whole other discussion.

I say that based on experience observing reactions from female partners. It feels abnormal.

I apologize if I'm getting too personal here, but... Am I to understand that the women you were with made you feel abnormal about being uncircumcised? That is... so not cool. If somebody is sharing their most intimate parts with you, common courtesy dictates that you should not make the possessor of those parts feel abnormal. (Well, unless it's like, "Wow, these genitals of yours are far above the norm! Really, these are some spectacular genitals you have here! Good show!")
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:34 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's clear that this penis-study totally blows. Their methodology was limp.
posted by jnnla at 8:07 PM on July 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


Hm, nope. A penis is many things, but aesthetically pleasing is not one of them. It ranks slightly above the naked mole rat on the beauty scale.

For you, perhaps. For me and literally every other gay/bi/queer/_____ man I have ever had the conversation with, penises very definitely have an aesthetic value.

I'm with you on scrotums though. There's just... there's really just not much attractive there.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:41 PM on July 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I really liked Teenage Dirtball but after that Meatus pretty much wilted.

Nah. Too poppy for me. I preferred that EP from that hardcore punk band, Dayglo Abortions: Feed Us the Meatus of Your Fetus
posted by jonp72 at 8:56 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is it Photoshop? I'm guessing Photoshop. That's usually the answer, right?
posted by comealongpole at 8:59 PM on July 22, 2015


In the US un-cut dicks are considered abnormal.

Um, what? The incidence of circumcision in the US was down to 32.5% in 2009, from 56% in 2006. That doesn't suggest "abnormality" in non-circumcision or even a strong preference for circumcision anymore.
posted by blucevalo at 10:19 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Boys born in 2009 are only 6 years old! I think the point was that uncircumcised penises are considered abnormal in the US to those who are about to have sex with them. This will be less so as time wears on and those born in the early 2000s reach their 20s. 2025 will be the year of the uncut penis in America!
posted by the lake is above, the water below at 10:35 PM on July 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


Yeah, that's the incidence of new circumcisions - which has declined from 90+ percent in the 70s. So it's still the norm but it's changing.
posted by atoxyl at 10:47 PM on July 22, 2015


Or if you mean that it must not be considered abnormal if parents aren't choosing it I guess that's fair enough.
posted by atoxyl at 10:49 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'll just put this here then "Everthing you didn't want to know about my penis".
posted by boilermonster at 11:34 PM on July 22, 2015


Hey sorry for that derail but for men born up until the 90s in the US being uncircumcised is certainly an issue. I'm glad the rate is going down but I hope those parents know how to teach their children to clean properly.

The study's purpose is pretty awesome, but the framing of the article sucks. The FPP's framing is a lot better and I agree that the results of the actual research are awesome. It doesn't matter where your meatus resides! Its the rest of you that matters!

If this helps anyone decline surgery for intersex children the researchers behind it have done a great fucking job. Or anyone who is born a little differently. Frankly I always felt my foreskin was a mistake that should have been rectified and was shamed and made fun of for it throughout my childhood in the 90s. In the grand scheme of things not a big deal, same as weird teeth or a wonky eye, but any work that affirms our physical diversity and shuts down unnecessary surgery on babies is good by me.

Isn't this one of the classic topics that Mefi doesn't do well? We're doing a pretty good job today. 2015! 2015!
posted by kittensofthenight at 11:39 PM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm kinda wondering why the burning hell they didn't throw a few queers into the mix

I was wondering the same thing. I mean, for pity's sake, not all kids born with hypospadias are going to grow up with an exclusive sexual interest in women.

I can think of lots of reasons the study was limited to women, the most charitable being a desire to make the project fast and light, so that it could be completed and published quickly, in order to address a concrete need on on the part of clinicians, patients, and parents. (And if that's the case, I have to say: limiting the survey to women also limits the usefulness of the results.) Less charitably, I have to wonder if it has to do with not wanting to risk running afoul of the institutional (or personal) homophobia of funding agencies, reviewers, readers, journals, ethics panels, and the like. As it currently stands, the results are interesting, but if I were a parent considering surgery for a very young child, this paper would be extremely frustrating.

Though really, I'm pretty horrified by the idea of addressing a kid's potential body shame by saying, "Hey! A bunch of Swiss women voted in 2015 and as it turns out, people like you aren't noticeably freakish! So you're fine!"

Instead, how about: "You're fine. Full stop. Your rights to respect and dignity as a person and as a sexual being inher your blood and bone. And nobody gets to fucking vote on it."
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:51 PM on July 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


The gripe is that 105 women in Switzerland will not - cannot - accurately reflect the great diversity of tastes and opinions that exist in the world. This study doesn't tell us anything about "women," in the global sense.

Uh, academic research operates on a budget. I'm sure these researchers would have loved to interview 1 million people all over the globe. But you simply can't reasonably criticize a research project for not asking the question that you want it to ask and for not having an unlimited budget.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:24 AM on July 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Again, I think it's a question of media framing. The media is definitely running with this story as PERFECT PENIS DETERMINED, ACCORDING TO SCIENCE! No matter what the study's intent was, we're still seeing the media take the opinions of 105 Swiss women, a tiny and carefully selected sample of the globe's population, and reporting those results as if they are universal. That's rather irritating.

As for the whole "penises are ugly" business... Come on, folks, man parts really aren't any uglier than lady parts. If either one looks good to you, it's usually just because you want to do sex stuff to them. Looked at objectively, we're all kind of a bumpy mess down there. (Although as a bisexual, I get to enjoy the sight of man and lady parts. Jealous?)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:39 AM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


If this helps anyone decline surgery for intersex children the researchers behind it have done a great fucking job.

That's exactly the opposite of what the paper's conclusions state, though. Yes, that conclusion would have indeed been great, and oddly is supported by their data. They even use another paper as a reference which concluded how completely mundane and common it is for penises to have a wide range of urethral positioning, and further how those penis-owners had completely normal sexual functions and didn't think of their penises as abnormal.

Then they weirdly press on with this "objective" search for the "normal" penis in their own paper, and find (SURPRISE!) nobody cares about the position of the urethra when classifying aesthetics.

And the final weirdness is that instead of taking all that data and make the completely sensible conclusion, they instead jump completely illogically to "Well, press on with all that surgery and stuff because it's not really noticeable later, so your MAN SON won't be ashamed of his MAN PENIS later in life."
posted by odinsdream at 5:42 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


That really wasn't how I understood their conclusion:
The present research showed that, although mild types of hypospadias are often only operated to achieve a slit-like meatus at the tip of the glans, women considered the “position and shape of the meatus” as the least important aspect of a penis. This may stimulate reflections regarding the relevance of correction of the meatus in minor forms of hypospadias, although the women participating in our study were not exposed to photos of noncorrected hypospadias.
Translation: Lots of surgeries are done to make the meatus be "slit-like". But women don't really care about that! So you ought to think about whether there's any point "correcting" mild hypospadius.
In addition, our study indicates that most HASRGs, particularly mild distal forms, are perceived as normal genitals. As a consequence for clinical management, we suggest that patients and their parents should be informed about these results to prevent the development of shame.
Translation: But anyway, if you're worried about stuff looking "normal" then yes, women do think that people with surgically-corrected mild hypospadias look normal. But see the preceding paragraph re: they didn't necessarily care about it to begin with.posted by Joe in Australia at 5:54 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm reminded of that film where Jude Law rhapsodizes upon the nature of his magnificent penis whilst receiving oral sex from a fellow prisoner.

I'm reminded of this for a friend.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:08 AM on July 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, someone find a link to those folks that do ritual scarification and insert pebbles under the penile skin. There was chatter about men wanting to be less "primitive" (yes, I know...) and stop doing it at puberty, and some push back from women that expect husbands to be ribbed for her pleasure.

It's apropos. For a friend.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:11 AM on July 23, 2015


I think the point was that uncircumcised penises are considered abnormal in the US to those who are about to have sex with them. This will be less so as time wears on and those born in the early 2000s reach their 20s.

Very good point. And well-taken. But the trend has been falling (and, to be fair, rising at times again as well) since at least the mid-1980s. (Pun is there for the taking.) The trend, therefore, for the past roughly 35 years, despite fluctuations, seems toward non-circumcision being the norm. Which may be a lot of things, but "abnormal" isn't one of them. /pedantry
posted by blucevalo at 7:50 AM on July 23, 2015


I am really disappointed that no one picked up on my metagame/nerf joke.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:21 AM on July 23, 2015


you know that 'scientific experiment' where they took a bunch of passport photos and 'averaged' them to create the perfect human being

given the easy accessibility of dick pics, imagine how big your n value could be. imagine how irrefutably perfect that averaged dick pic would be

tangentially, is anybody here a grant writer
posted by runt at 8:23 AM on July 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


imagine how big your n value could be

105 Swiss women say they don't care how big your n value is.
posted by mittens at 8:28 AM on July 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


105 Swiss women say they don't care how big your n value is.

It6's not that they don't care, it's just not the most important criteria for evaluating your... research.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:53 AM on July 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


So you ought to think about whether there's any point "correcting" mild hypospadius.

But that's not what the conclusion you quoted says. It does not recommend that such surgeries should be reduced or considered more carefully. It frames the issue as "so we do these surgeries, and we want to know whether patients who undergo these surgeries are going to have EXTRA SHAME later in life. SURPRISE, they do not!"

Which, yay? But yeah, back up a step there, because your conclusions ALSO SUPPORT not doing such surgeries for cosmetic reasons. So, they should flat-out say that. But they don't say that, very noticeably. I find that really concerning, especially in light of the completely crazy media pivot this is taking on wrt "NORMAL PENIS FOUND! SCIENCE WINS!" shit.
posted by odinsdream at 8:53 AM on July 23, 2015


there is no cartilage in a penis...

Holy crap, you are right. All these years...

posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:03 PM on July 23, 2015


In Switzerland. (So, no reason to assume that crowd was pretty white.)

Realize this is days after the fact, but I thought it worth mentioning that Switzerland, like pretty much any country in Europe right now, is not the homogenous lilywhite playground people in the US seem to think it is. Switzerland has immigrants and asylum seekers from all over the world. And that doesn't even include the non-white native born Swiss. It'd be great if someday we could no longer associate "European" with "white" by default, and for non-whites to be recognized as members of the continent too, but I know that's going to take some time yet.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 5:19 PM on July 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't have said it about France or Germany or a lot of other European nations, but in the US Switzerland is often used (generally in a joking way) as a place that's full of pale, blond white people. Sweden too. I couldn't have told you anything about the actual demographics of those countries, and I'll admit I was buying into some stereotypes.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:39 PM on July 26, 2015


Pedantry: it's pronounced mēˈātəs. Three syllables.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:29 PM on July 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


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