Hot Takes by Holly

Let’s Talk about Big Peen

What’s the Opposite of a Size Queen?

Because whatever that is, it’s me. 

So, fellow smut readers, have you noticed that men in romance novels tend to be… well-endowed? That’s rhetorical. Of course you’ve noticed. 

Time for a poll!

What I find so interesting is that, even if it IS the case that an author is in the “angle of the dangle” camp, it just means that we aren’t given a lot of information about penis size. Where are my 5-inch long men in romances? (The average penis size is 5.1–5.5 inches, according to this article in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.)

But let’s talk about those large dudes for a minute. I am yelling about this for several reasons. 

First, because it leads to those scenes where the heroine is like, “Oh my! Do you think it will fit?!?!” and then has a fit of the vapors. And I am over it. I love a good bodice-ripper, but 1987 called and they want their line back. 

But more importantly, we should maybe talk about the unrealistic expectations of male beauty that romance novels perpetuate. We recognize the beauty in a much wider variety of heroines these days than previously; the days of waifs with long hair and violet eyes may not be entirely behind us, but those waifs are joined by women of all ages and shapes and sizes—who all find heroes (or heroines!) who think they are just bangin’. But the men! Six packs, as far as the eye can see. Investment banker? Six pack! Criminal mastermind? Six pack! Duke? Six pack! Farmer? Six pack! Linebacker? Six pack! And along with that six pack, comes, of course, a giant dong that the waif can’t fit her fingers around. 

[Side note: As I was ruminating on this post, this Very Important Twitter Thread by Tessa Dare about having tiny hands happened. So maybe all of these heroines have tiny hands which make penises seem bigger than they are.]

Perhaps the giant dong is a residual of the “romance is for women by women” rhetoric, where they are catering to the female gaze (or, more accurately, the gaze that desires to look at male bodies). Why NOT make the hero a sex object, if no man is going to read about it and feel bad about his lack of endowment? Of course, this ignores the many men and non-binary folks who read romance—and ignores the insidious impact the portrayal of romance men has on everyone’s idea of male beauty. (See also any discussion of any actor who “bulks up” for a role and then reverts back to normal levels of ripped.) 

Let’s go back to some data (all from this handy article)!

The vast majority of men who seek penile-lengthening surgery are, in fact, “normal” (according to one study, 90% of those seeking such surgeries were 4” or larger)—but in male fantasy, the perfect penis size is a whopping 7–10”.

Interestingly enough, female survey respondants are better at accurately describing male penis size; futhermore, female survey respondants rarely list penis size as important for sexual satisfaction. That does bring into question my assumption that those giant shlongs in romance novels are catering to female fantasies, if it turns out I’m actually not alone in my preference for seeing how well the dude uses the dang thing.

Maybe this hot take is really about personal preference, about those twelve-inch monstrosities taking me out of the moment when things are getting sexy, and not about anything deeper.

(If you know of a good romance where a male main character explicitly has a *small penis*, I AM ALL EARS.)

This hot take brought to you by I Dream of Dragons by Ashlyn Chase. I read this book *several years ago* and I’m still mad about the scene where he pulls out his giant dragon penis, the heroine is like “OH NO HOW WILL IT FIT?!?!?” and then remembers that she’s a goddess now, so she’ll just *expand her vaginal canal so it’s the right size for his schlong.* RAGE SCREAM!!!!!!!

Addendum: If you’d like to read a book about a big penis where the monstrosity has negatively impacted the dude’s life, I recommend Learned Reactions by Jaycee Ellis or This is Not the End by Sidney Bell.

10 thoughts on “Let’s Talk about Big Peen”

  1. The monstrous manhood trope makes my eyes roll so hard! I was reading a book only today where the heroine couldn’t wrap her fingers around her lover’s penis and every time I read something along those lines, the first thing I think is “Erm…OW?!” I also think – perhaps weirdly – about how much something as girthy as that must weigh?! Realistically, it wouldn’t be comfortable for a guy to have something that size slapping about between his thighs, right?

    So glad I’m not the only one who finds these well endowed fictional men slightly ridiculous!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t read bodice rippers (I’m a hetero guy), but I have noticed that in other genres the role of the small penised man is always that of a minor villain or insipid side character both of whom elicit mirth from generally supporting female characters or female heroes. Micropenises are fairly rare in reality, but seem over represented amongst the villainous. As a guy with such a shortcoming, I’m hard pressed not to support the villain – just once I’d like the hugely endowed hero to be trounced by the baddy with the tiny willy. Even more against the grain would be a plucky private detective who solves the crime and, despite having a miniscule dick, gets the girl – who, having been bowled over by the hero’s charm, soon forgets the gargantuan proportions of her now defeated and jailed criminal ex and welcomes the private dick’s dick into her larger than average thumb and forefinger.

    Score one for Detective Mike Rowe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never seen a micropenis in a romance novel (in old school bodice rippers, villains tended to be either impotent or queer, though that is thankfully less common than it used to be), but I’m not surprised that villains and fools in other genres are gifted with small penises. I too would love to see the reversal you describe!


  3. I look at it like this, if it fits totally fine, sheathed to hilt as it were, and there’s no issues then the heroine was playing it up bc the average vagine is only 3.8-7.6 inches deep which means they could be larger than average or perfectly plain. I always assume that the leading ladies are giving an ego boost more than anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When I was younger this issue never really bothered me, I didn’t have much Irl experience with size so I was like alien big peen yay. Now that I’m older and have that extra life experience I cringe now reading about a giant shlong because um ow. 8inch+ is just scary territory and it kinda takes me out of the story when in the same paragraph the love inerest is just like yup she has had one orgasm she is good to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 8in+ is DEFINTELY scary territory. That just doesn’t sound fun. (I suspect that I similarly didn’t care back when I first started reading romance as a high schooler – though I am old enough that all the heroines were virgins back then, so there was a whole additional dynamic to the sex scenes)


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