Penis Implants For Men Are Now Available, But What Does It Say About Body Image & The Way Our Culture Judges Penis Size?

Our culture is rather fixated on women and cosmetic surgery: Whether they've had it, whether they haven't had it, whether other people think they should have it, why they might or might not have it — but we're not alone. Penis implants for men are now available for the price of about $13,000 dollars, giving men the opportunity to go under the knife for a longer, girthier wee-wee. The implant — named Penuma — was invented by Dr. James Elist, who got the FDA approval for Penuma back in 2004. He's currently the only doctor allowed to perform this procedure, which takes a mere 45 minutes. (Side note: Can you imagine being a dude and waking up with a bigger penis after 45 minutes?) So far, 1,300 men have visited him to receive a bigger willy, and they don't leave dissatisfied: This silicone implant can nearly double a man's size. Dr. Elist would ideally like to sell the implant to other doctors, and teach them how to do it.

There's a 95 percent success rate, according to GQ, and the risk of complications afterward is very low. Basically, Dr. Elist peels back the skin of the penis (sweet Jesus) and slips the Penuma — described as a "translucent, hollowed-out hot-dog bun" — around all the business lurking inside. Then he puts the penis skin back over it. It's attached near the head, and when a guy gets hard, the implant does too.

To be fair, it is pretty cool that men even have this option. Women can get cosmetic surgery for their boobs and vaginas; it therefore makes sense that men can get it for their schlongs. This certainly opens an interesting discussion, though. The implant only comes in a size large, extra large, and extra extra large (because one extra wasn't enough). And I understand that every man is different, and some just so happen to have noticeably smaller... privates.

Here's the thing, though: In terms of sexual activity, a penis is functional. Boobies are not. Right? Although boobies can be fun additions to sex, they don't exist solely for it; their primary function is to feed babies. So getting bigger ones doesn't present any challenges to your partner. A penis actually has work to do during sex, and many women agree that bigger isn't always better.

And sure enough, one man came to Dr. Elist for the implant already having an eight-inch tallywacker. That's almost three inches bigger than the average penis size, which comes in at 5.17 inches. His response when asked why he wanted to supersize his member? "I don't know, I think I just wanted it bigger." All righty. Someone who wasn't so thrilled with the decision? His wife. "He was very well-off," she said of his pre-surgery peen, later adding, "I do have to say that it has been a little bit more painful. There may be times when I say, 'You know what? Don't touch me with that thing!'" Even blowies are more challenging.

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So how do we view something that might be aesthetically pleasing but functionally uncomfortable? What is a man's motivation for getting a penis implant in the first place — to look better or to pleasure better? Big penises are glorified in our culture in a similar way that big boobs are — except, again, a boob doesn't have to fit in something the size of a keyhole like a penis does. (Regardless, big boobs cause their own painful issues, as well.) Would a man find happiness in looking more masculine (according to our culture's standards) but having a more difficult time pleasuring a woman, who might experience pain due to his size? My vagina hurts just thinking about it.

I feel like a lot of men forget one important thing: Size doesn't always matter, if you know how to use it (wink, wink). A man can be of average size — or smaller — and still send his partner into a rippling wave of mind-blowing orgasms. But men are so horribly judged and evaluated and compared based on penis size. I guess a good comparison might be to look at the way women are judged based on body shape or (once more) cup size — if that's the way we treat men and their penises, you can't blame a guy for feeling inadequate in his undies.

Even if some patients' partners are experiencing discomfort, it looks like the implant has improved some men's performance. One patient explained that his implant "gave me this crazy amount of stamina. Like, I can go for two hours. And I have more control over my orgasms. I mean, I can be going like a Mack truck and still hold back." The implant saved another couple's marriage, turning the man — who had previously experienced bouts of erectile dysfunction due to feelings of inadequacy — into a "sexual maniac."

The river runs so much deeper than we think. Nearly every patient spoken to about this procedure mentioned feeling a lack of confidence, adding that their new size not only attracts the women but also brings more respect from the men. (Make note: Feelings of inadequacy manifested physically as erectile dysfunction!)

But still, I can't get my mind off the wife who isn't enjoying her husband's new size. Because I don't have a penis, I asked my boyfriend if he thought it was worth it to get surgically enhanced if it makes sex difficult afterward. "Well, I don't think it's worth it, unless you're in the adult industry and you use your penis for your job. I can also see the advantage when you're too small and it makes you feel self conscious and you can't really satisfy your partner." Ah, there we have it.

With so many men thinking their packages are less than average (nearly half of them), does their penis size need to change, or does our perception of it need to? Similar to how women are fighting for people to quit criticizing their own body weight and shape, is it perhaps time that we stop classifying men based on what's hanging between their legs? Why is a person's "manhood" based on how long and thick he is, instead of what kind of human being he is? If someone placed my worth on the size of my tatas, I'd be livid (and in big trouble). While it's amazing that this procedure is available, maybe the bigger concern should be why so many men feel they don't measure up — and what we can all do about it.

Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy (4)