Take the 2-minute tour ×
Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for practitioners, researchers, and students in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. It's 100% free, no registration required.

There is a question What does scientific research say about the relationship between penis size and attractiveness?

This answer and this link give the statistics of penis size. Given these statistics, the average man performing in porn, would likely be in the top 2.5% of the population of penis size.

Porn stars are statistical outliers, not the norm; men are more likely to be over 6’3” than to have a penis longer than 7.5 inches.

It also "appears" that men may be inclined to having poor self-perception, regarding their penis size.

Males self-perception
Males may quite easily underestimate the size of their own penis relative to that of others, because of the foreshortening obtained from looking down, due to repeated observation of atypical penises in pornography, or because of the accumulation of fat at the base of the penis.[34] A survey by sexologists showed that many men who believed that their penis was of inadequate size had average-sized penises.[35]

Given that men are the main consumers of pornography, why does pornography feature so many men, out of the norm for penis size?
Would it be more appealing to men, if the men starring in porn, had average sized penis? what is the psychology behind using men with such, abnormally, large penis?

share|improve this question
    
What percentage of women like that sort of thing? My guess is not as many as you'd think. I'd bet a fair sum that women would prefer the 6'3 guy over the >7.5 tallywacker. –  Randy Aug 25 '13 at 12:04
2  
Men like big things... big muscles, big machines, etc, so I guess first we need to understand why that is. Also, I think we need to establish that women may not typically like members of epic proportions, then it will be concluded its an all-male desire. –  Randy Aug 25 '13 at 12:36
2  
I'm gonna go watch some monster trucks on youtube now. –  Randy Aug 25 '13 at 16:18
2  
Well, whoever has the biggest probably has the most testosterone (and DHT - androgenic) which is supposed to be something women want. So guys compete with each other and brag about how big it is... Just like they watch overgrown men beat each other up on tv or big trucks smashing cars. Its all testosterone, being the biggest, baddest. Women are attracted to it, even though they say they don't like it. But they have to, or it wouldn't have evolved that way. –  Randy Aug 25 '13 at 17:05
2  
Also, there is a study showing women who live in countries with great healthcare, choose men with less manly features while women who live in countries with crappy healthcare choose manly men. online.wsj.com/article/… So testosterone is associated with health, but if genetically afforded health is not necessary (substitute medically afforded health), then big muscles and all that isn't that attractive. –  Randy Aug 25 '13 at 17:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Besides the simple mechanics of it being easier to position actors and film the details of intercourse there is probably a supernormal stimulus effect. The term, coined by Tinbergen (1948) when he observed birds laying artificial eggs of ridiculous size, is used to describe the effect of a stimulus which elicits a response more strongly than the stimulus for which it evolved. Very large breasts, buttocks, penises, tall heights, etc. are not necessarily particularly useful but because we evolved to prefer larger values of these for fitness reasons we suffer from a supernormal stimulus effect when they are exaggerated. Imagine the rarity of such things for millenia of our evolution during which food and leisure time were relatively scarce. There was little reason to evolve a preference against extreme proportions.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 Great answer, John. –  what Aug 28 '13 at 16:59
    
There is one problem with this answer for me and that is in this line: "but because we evolved to prefer larger values of these for fitness reasons we suffer from a supernormal stimulus effect when they are exaggerated." Why would men evolve a preference for large penises in other men? If women have such a preference, that is irrelevant, since the pornography in question is filmed to appeal to men and not women. In other words, I believe this as an answer for breasts and buttocks, but I feel there is an extra something missing when it comes to penises. –  Artem Kaznatcheev Dec 5 '13 at 0:09
    
Artem, the question evolved a bit since my answer but you're right, the question doesn't exactly address that as male consumers. I believe the male consumers angle probably has less to do with attraction toward penises at all and more to do with visualizing oneself in the male role. –  John Dec 5 '13 at 14:51
    
@John I agree with you, I've been meaning to add an answer that stresses this aspect (as well as discussing in passing some dangers of evo-psych), but it might make more sense as an edit to your answer if you wanted. –  Artem Kaznatcheev Dec 8 '13 at 12:19

a) Since pornography is about visuals, not actual physical stimulation, visual properties of the body part are more important: big breasts and big penises are more attractive in pornography than they are in real life, because larger penises and breasts "stand out more" and are more impressive to the viewers, even though the same men (or women) might not find such features important (or even attractive) in real life.

b) If more men are unhappy with their penis size, more men buy products that enhance penis size. This is similar to the effect of women's magazines on consumption of beauty products by women. Other aspects of male body image thus affected are musculature (most women don't find huge muscles very attractive, yet many men wish they had them, just like big penisses) and hair (products that supposedly help hair grow). The media industry and the beauty industry work together.

c) Pornography is not about making anyone happy, it is a product that must leave its consumers unsatisfied. More pornography can be sold, if men are unhappy in real life and use pornography instead of working on their relationships. Making men and women unhappy with themselves and each other will make relationships less likely to function and men and women to use consumption as a substitute.

d) In pornography for a male public it does not matter what women find attractive, because they are not the consumers of that medium. The male organs visible in for-men-pornography must be attractive for men and therefore conform to their ideas about male attractiveness.

share|improve this answer
    
-1 A lot of unsupported assertions and opinions here. a) is similar to @John's answer, though I don't see why people should prefer large penises or breasts in porn but not in real life. In b) you seem to be asserting that porn producers cast men with big penises because they are in cahoots with the penis enhancement pill producers. Similarly, c) seems to state that porn is deliberately produced to be "unsatisfactory" and make people unhappy about themselves. d) just restates the OP's point that men seem to prefer big penises but doesn't attempt to answer why. –  ThomasH Aug 31 '13 at 20:06
    
@ThomasH I like this answer, it does provide a theory, much of of consumerism is based on keeping people unhappy and wanting more –  user3543 Dec 5 '13 at 4:03
1  
@ThomasH It seems to me that you didn't even read my answer. For example, you write that you "don't see why people should prefer large penises or breasts in porn but not in real life". I answered that: Because they are more visible. etc. –  what Dec 5 '13 at 16:46

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.