What is small penis syndrome?
People with small penis syndrome or PDD do not have an unusually small penis. Instead, they are severely anxious about their penis size.
Having a small penis is not a medical diagnosis. Very rarely, a person’s penis is small enough to interfere with sexual functioning, and doctors will refer to it as a micropenis. People with a micropenis have a penis that is at least 2.5 standard deviations smaller than the average penis.
PDD is a type of BDD, which is a disorder that distorts a person’s perception of their body. BDD can trigger immense anxiety in a person about their appearance.
People with PDD feel shame and anxiety about penis size. They may mistakenly believe that they have a micropenis, even when their penis size is normal.
Characteristics of Men with Small Penis Syndrome
The men who self-identify as having a small penis that affects their lives in substantively negative ways and who have commented to this effect on Mental Help Net tend to share characteristics in common
A certain psychological rigidity, obsessionality or fixation is present. These men are absolutely adamant in their conviction that their genitalia are too small. They insist that they have measured themselves and seem inordinately focused on such measurement. They are similarly convinced that they are incapable of pleasing a woman via intercourse, although they are, by and large, not able to cite much evidence to show that this is true. In fact, many of these men admit to having had few or no sexual experiences. There is an implication that some of the few sexual experiences had by some of these men were with prostitutes. Many may have had only a single sexual encounter. Others state that they avoid sexuality entirely as they feel deeply ashamed of their penis size. All of these men affirm the belief that women would universally treat them with contempt if they were to see them nude.
It is common for people to occasionally worry that their penis might not be large enough, especially when they feel pressure from the media and from seeing larger male genitals in pornography.
However, people with small penis syndrome obsessively worry about penis size.
Some symptoms of small penis syndrome or PDD include:
constantly comparing their penis size to that of others, including those in the media
a belief that the penis is unusually small, in spite of evidence to the contrary
distorted perceptions of penis size
placing an unusually high value on penis size
feeling ashamed or embarrassed about penis size
difficulty having sex with a partner because of anxiety about penis size
reduced sexual function, including getting an erection or having an orgasm
Some people with small penis syndrome have other symptoms of BDD. These might include:
obsessive preoccupation with appearance
repetitive or compulsive behavior relating to appearance, such as grooming or buying clothes
chronic distress about appearance
depression or anxiety about appearance
Although small penis syndrome and BDD might appear to be the same condition, there are essential differences. Small penis syndrome is not a medical diagnosis, whereas doctors can diagnose a person as having BDD.
For people with mild-to-moderate anxiety about penis size, researching data on average penis sizes or asking a doctor about what constitutes a micropenis may help.
If a person is concerned about sexual performance, they may find comfort from a partner’s reassurance and support. Research suggests that the majority of heterosexual women are satisfied with their partner’s penis size.
Medical treatment can help men with BDD or anxiety about penis size. Some treatment options include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of therapy helps people understand how their thoughts affect their feelings and behavior, and it can help them find ways to reduce anxiety.
Understanding and addressing triggers. For some, specific triggers — such as pornography or relationship problems — can cause penis size anxiety. Some people can reduce symptoms by identifying their triggers and working to manage them.
Sex therapy or couples counseling. When penis size anxieties affect a person’s relationship or ability to have sex, therapy can help a couple work together to overcome the anxiety.
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