Arts & Culture » Culture

Flunking geometry

• You recently printed a letter from a young man who was concerned about the size of his erection. You assured him that his size was perfectly average. He claimed to be 4 inches in diameter. If that were the average size of most men's erections, the human race would die out within a generation or two since sex would be about as painful as giving birth! Wouldn't a 4-inch circumference be more "normal" or "average"?

• You say 6 inches long and 4 inches in diameter is "absolutely within normal range"? Bearing in mind that these dimensions are reminiscent of your run-of-the-mill jar of spaghetti sauce (a 1-pound, 12-ounce jar of Prego is about 6 inches tall, but only 3 inches in diameter), I find myself feeling badly out of touch with the most recent statistics in this area and hope that you might be able to point to some reputable source of data supporting your assertion.

• Hoo, boy! Did I get shortchanged (or should I say "thinchanged")? I've got a 4-inch diameter drainage pipe in my basement; to imagine a human — or otherwise — penis with that dimension is mind-boggling. The best I can muster is 1-and-one-half-to-2 inches in diameter, 5 inches in circumference and 7-and-one-half inches in length. Dang it! I so wanted to be "normal."

• Wow! At 4 inches in diameter, he's as big as the bottom of a large pickle jar. Four inches in circumference, maybe? That would probably be more within normal range.

• I suspect he really means circumference and I am more than surprised that you agree that his description is "absolutely within normal range for an adolescent or a grown-up male." Does this fact appear in the Guinness Book of Records or am I really out of touch with reality?

Gee, every penis I have ever seen was at least 4 inches in diameter! Yours isn't? OK, OK, I was grossly in error in not catching the young man's original misstatement. No geometry whiz I, but I really excelled in applied biology. —Isadora

• Recently, one gentleman wrote concerning his dismay at the uncomfortable reactions of women to his asking them on a date when they're not interested in his company. I've come to accept that it can be very difficult for a woman to decline an invitation, but it's unfortunate that many resort to either "I'm busy" or "I have a boyfriend." Perhaps this is simply a snap response that spares hurt feelings and isn’t personal. I'm surprised that more women simply don't have a prepared line such as "Oh, I'm flattered by the invitation, but I have to say no. Thanks for asking!" Of course, ladies, it wouldn't kill you to have a cup of coffee with a guy that you're not instantly attracted to. Gee, you might actually make a new friend or it could network into some other benefit.

• Why do women give out fake phone numbers at the end of the evening? They have been trained not to appear rude and don't want to say "Sorry, I’m not interested" to a man's face. Why do women sometimes give men the cold shoulder once a man does call? Once they get home they've had some time to think about it and decide that maybe this guy isn't someone they're interested in seeing after all. In general, I think women avoid confrontation more than men. Sometimes, giving a fake number is safer than saying "no." It means nobody will follow you to your car or scream and call you a bitch in the middle of a crowded bar.

• I disagree with your advice to the 62-year-old man who just wanted to get laid. I've tried going on cruises, Club Med, etc. as a single attractive man and have gotten nowhere with women. I've put up with hours of conversation about their kids and homes and the inevitable comment they make is that they are looking for a long-term romantic relationship with someone who lives nearby. When you go on any type of vacation the women are typically there with a girlfriend and must justify to her any activities they engage in separately. I'd advise the guy to go to part of the country where massage parlors and escort services flourish or to a country where much lower prices for services prevail. I think your reader would be better served by seeking out honest, hardworking, attractive young women in these places rather than spending hours and hours socializing with old, haggard, demanding women carrying loads of emotional baggage in exchange for an extremely slim chance of any physical relief.

With charm like yours I can't imagine why you found so little success. Many other older men do. Maybe it's your cologne? —Isadora Isadora Alman is a board-certified sexologist and a California-licensed marriage-and-family therapist. Contact her via this paper or Her Sexuality Forum is at

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