Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

Ask A Very Smart Brotha: How Do Men Know Where They Measure Up?

Hi Damon,

It’s pretty easy it is for women to compare themselves to other women physically. Like “I have a bigger butt than her, she has bigger boobs than me etc.” But, it’s obviously more difficult for men. Do men want to know how they um, measure up? If so how they go about finding out?

Curious About Comparing

Dear Curious,

There are two possible answers to this question.

1. “No, we don’t care about that shit. What I look like giving a damn about what some other dude is working with. That’s kinda gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with being kinda gay, but still kinda gay nonetheless. “

This is a lie.

2. “Yes, we do care.”

This is the truth.

Now, before I answer the second part of your question, I’m going to tell you a story a friend shared with me a few years ago. He happened to come across some porn when he was in his early teens, and this made him extremely self-conscious. Apparently, this was the only time he’d ever seen another penis besides his own before, and he didn’t realize that the foot-long men in adult videos are, um, outliers. Basically, he assumed that the average man had a “porn sized” penis. It wasn’t until he actually started having sex—and came across some research on private part size—that he realized he had nothing to be self-conscious about.

This story is an example of the awkward thought process regarding men, penis size, and how we measure up to other men. No one is actually supposed to admit to caring about it—and, unless you watch porn, you’re probably never going to see another erect penis beside your own—but men do care about it. Possessing the ability to please women sexually is a big deal to most men, and many of us feel that the bigger you are, the more enjoyment women will have while sleeping with you.

There are numerous socialization-related reasons why males grow up feeling this way—Adult Videos, knowing that bigger/taller men are more attractive to women, Missy Elliot and Trina songs, etc—and it’s not until men get a little older that we start to realize that while size matters, it’s not everything. Sure, there are a small percentage of women who need enormous penises to satisfy them. But, for most, while a workable size still is necessary, things like rhythm and stamina and the ability to stay completely erect matter just as much.

Anyway, as far as how to find out how we “measure up,” there are a few ways to do this. Since, as you mentioned in your question, men can’t just look at another man the same way a woman can see another woman’s breasts or butt, none of these methods are full-proof. But, they’re all we have.

You can read more at Madame Noire

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • Givenchy

    I once had an ex-boyfriend say that he used to peek at his friends’ junk while they used the urinal to see how he measured up lol

  • rooseveltdunn

    Luckily this isn’t a concern ;)

  • Wild Cougar

    Hmmm. Do men look at other mens feet and hand size. In proportion to the body? That’s the first thing I check, cuz pants bulge doesn’t tell you a lot. But hands and feet are good measures. Btw, did you know that Bill Clinton has freakishly large hands?

    • meisarebel

      I would honestly be surprised if men do that (check hands and feet).

      I think Champ’s second option over at Madame Noir is actually the most tried and true one. A woman’s responses to you before, during and after sex should be all a man needs to worry about. And frankly speaking, if he’s really concerned about how he “measures up” he has some insecurities he needs to work on. I never understood why men ask women “so how was it?” or “was I the best you ever had?” or anything similar to that. It’s not necessary, and seems moronic.

      • nillalatte

        *looks at watch. looks back at meisarebel. looks at calendar*
        Where you been?! Muwah.

    • GirlSixx

      COSIGN on the Hands thing, but the feet.. Not So Much!!! Don’t sleep on men with a 9-10 size shoe.. Look at dem Hands!!! “justsayin….

  • chameleonic


    — i mean. that is actually pretty gay. but not if theres a girl there! i bet if a whole bunch of guys showed themselves to a woman shed compare for them. and then it would be normal because its a woman doing it and not another man asking another man about what makes his d*ck so special. like, ‘let me look at it and observe it and see how mine measures up.’ thats kinda homo unless youre a college athlete because they do that homo sh*t all the time.

    as a woman though, i always wonder if s*x is just s*x, because i react differently to men i actually respect or admire. because it feels different. so i wonder if someone i like as a man, if it even matters what s*x is like. because. hm. i dont really think about it first? its like secondary to me liking you as a man. so i compare men in my head by like outward and economic manliness and this is his sexuality to me. i just assume it wont feel like anything but itll feel good because its new to me. i dont understand what the ACTUAL s*x has to do with how good he is at it or why he would care about how another man performs during s*x.

    thats not even the most potent form of manhood, in theory. i wonder why thats mens primary form of comparison to one another.

    • chameleonic

      but with a rhetorical curiosity.

    • Never

      You assume it’ll feel good because it’s a new experience? That’s interesting; I almost always raise a curious eyebrow because, in my experience, chemistry is incredibly important. Can she kiss? Is she going to clank my teeth the first time we do kiss? And then there are the myriad subtleties that comprise “good s*x” as a whole, and that definition varies by individual. I also believe that many of us, for whatever reason (conditioning? dunno, will ruminate on that) endeavor to be our current’s “best ever” lover. And that, more often than not, sets one up for failure/disappointment, because there’s that other dude out there who might make her leave footprints on the wall and paint chips under her fingernails…and dudes should be okay with that. Chemistry. Well, that and a willingness to bring a tube of Astroglide, a car battery, and a bottle of mouthwash into the bedroom.

      • chameleonic

        i dont think ill have good s*xual chemistry with anyone cuz i hardly have experience. even though i know how to use my body when its just me or im dancing…ive never even danced with a guy before. and the “couple” times i did have s*x it was awkward because…it just was. moving with someone isnt the same as dancing by yourself. but i think maybe when im truly into someone and not just….’can you pop this for me while i squirm in discomfort’ maybe there will be chemistry.

        but hell have to teach me stuff and i would hope he knows im not comparing him to another man but i guess its cool if he aspires to be my best. more yum yum for me! *jigs*

  • J. Delancy

    Hand and feet size do not indicate d*ck length. Not that I haven’t put on a knowing smirk when women comment on the fact that I’m 5ft 9 but wear a size 11 shoe.
    Scientifically proven is the length of the ring finger in relation to the middle finger. Something to do with testosterone in the womb. Feel free to look it up.

  • Never

    Lol. Being Jamaican I had to fight several…expectations. Ooooh ya’ll don’t eat cooter (no comment), ooh ya’ll beat your women (…no comment), oooh ya’ll like to have s*x with women while they’re on their period (*side eye + c’mon man face*), ooh..ya’ll be SWANGING…and I was like…we do be? While I was younger (I moved here at 18 years of age) and still not quite capable of availing myself of this obvious advantage via stereotype, I wasn’t quite sure how to respond…because no basis for comparison existed.

    So I smiled and nodded. And in retrospect it’s..interesting, because it’s definitely magnified in our culture. Champ mentioned “stamina”, and Buju said – at 18 yrs of age – “mi a di stamina daddy now fi di gyal pickney, tell all di sexy body gyal dem fi run come a mi…” Lady Saw reminded us “from yuh sloppy inna bed yuh haffi move…” Mavado two years ago said “man a long distance stulla, man a long distance stulla, mino feed pan bulla…” This is serious business, this…s*x and size stuff.

    I can’t say I’ve ever been overly concerned about the next bruh, because…*impending pseudo-dry brag alert*..I’m..okay. Like whatever the nigh universal “yep, you’re good” categorization is. So I was fine with that.Plus I’ve always been selfless, so the focus was rarely on me anyway. My motto was and still is…if she’s good, I’m good.

    • nillalatte

      Standing applause. And, I loved the accent too. BOL!

  • Javier

    I have done it myself and I look at other guys sometimes either on the nude beach or at the showers in the gym to measure up.

    And I can say I was very concerned about my size, because it seemed that almost everyones was bigger than me, and I try almost everything. One day, I was very very lucky, like finding a four leaves clover, and I found this amazing guide.

    This was exactly what I was looking for, and IT WORKED. Forget about pills, weights, pumps, even surgery, some of them don’t work, or can even cause irreversible damage to your buddy, and I am pretty sure is not what you want. Whit this guide, you will find the safest way to achieve what every man wants, a bigger and thicker penis. Don’t wait until tomorrow to make up your mind, do it now, and I am sure you will thank me.

    Just go here and start achieving what you have been waiting for.

    • Royale W. Cheese

      I’ve never seen such perfectly-placed spam. Well played, spam-bot.

      • Sweet GA Brown

        I will remember this persons name.

  • Royale W. Cheese

    Other metrics that men size-up
    Wealth: sometimes the man vs. man competition is so fierce, the women get ignored in the battle. Men get more concerned about the ‘idea of having the potential to get more women.
    Swag: this inspires men to imitate other men’s demeanor
    Physique: I’m sure Ron Jeremy was pretty happy with his package, but I can’t help but suspect that he wished sometimes that he was an actual hottie. What’s the male equivalent if a butter face? But-his-face? But-his-gut?
    Hair: I have a theory that losing one’s hair, or having too-thin hair makes a man feel the same as a woman having small boobies. It feels like nature hates you.

    • Obsidian

      @Ms. RWC:
      LOL> Ron Jeremy is hands down, thee most successful male pornstar EVER – by his own estimate, he’s slept with, on camera, somewhere between 3K-4K women. He’s made over 2K films/videos. Most of them with the “hedgehog” gut, too. Guys half his age and gut in the business, wish they could say the same thing. If ever there was living proof of the EvoPsych-informed fact that a Man’s looks/physique ain’t everything, Ron Jeremy is Exhibit A.

      As I always say to my brothers – who you gonna believe – what the ladies say – or your lying eyes?


    • Obsidian

      @Ms. RWC:
      Oh, almost forgot: about the hair (or the losing thereof) thing? Don’t you believe it. One of the most badass Alpha looks a Man can have, is going completely bald. Just ask Neil “Style” Strauss, author of the NTY bestseller, “The Game”.
      It’s all there, in black and white.
      Who loves ya, baby?

      • chameleonic

        thats so true. bald men look…hardened. no pun intended. they just look visually different and more. aggressive? or. something. i dunno. its a good look though.

  • Tx10inch

    Let’s just say, I’m very happy with my screen handle. No complaints here.

  • msdebbs

    A woman’s reaction when you whip that thang out should be a clear indication I remember I had a friend of a friend that wanted to sleep with me sooooo bad. I never took him seriously until he pulled it out…we did it. I learned that day size really doesn’t matter. There’s really no point in having a big d*ck if you don’t know what to do with it. It’s like having a ferrari in the drive way but you don’t know how to drive ….ugh such a effin waste.

    • chameleonic

      lmao! me too! thats how i lost my v-card. dig ol bick. lol. buuuuut it was awkward and it kinda hurt but in a good way…that made me wanna stop.

    • GirlSixx

      “A woman’s reaction when you whip that thang out should be a clear indication”

      Gospel — Benedicton!!

      Whether it’s a look of disappointment, a look of intrigued/lust or a look of fear – you will know.

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