Sociocultural Influences on Men’s Penis Size Perceptions and Decisions to Undergo Penile Augmentation: A Qualitative Study

Gemma Sharp, Jayson Oates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: An increasing number of men are dissatisfied with their penis size and are seeking cosmetic procedures to enhance their penis size. However, less is known about the social and cultural factors that influence men to consider these procedures.

Objectives: To investigate the sociocultural factors impacting on men’s attitudes toward their penis size and also their decisions to undergo penile augmentation.

Methods: One-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with 6 adult men who had previously undergone a penile augmentation. The men were asked about the sociocultural factors that they thought contributed to dissatisfaction with their penis size, and their motivations for having penile augmentation. All interviews were audio recorded and then transcribed verbatim. Interview transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results: Three main themes emerged from the interviews, namely “influence of pornography”, “comparison with peers” and “indirect appearance-related teasing”. The men noted that the large penises of male actors in pornography had skewed their perception of normal penis size. All men had compared their penis size with their peers, usually in the locker room, and often felt their own penis was smaller as a result. None of the participants had received direct negative comments about their penis size, but were aware that having a small penis was a source of mockery from exposure to jokes on mainstream media sources.

Conclusions: These new insights into sociocultural factors, namely media and peers, which influence men’s desire for penile augmentation may assist clinicians in enhancing their communication with prospective patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1253–1259
Number of pages7
JournalAesthetic Surgery Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

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