Let’s be real… size matters.
There will always be size queens–men whose obsessions with large members matter more than the person it’s attached to, and who won’t entertain the idea of anything shorter than a footlong sandwich even when they themselves are closer to a six-inch–but for many of us, size only matters in that it often dictates the roles we think we (or our hook-ups) fall into.
If you are particularly large, for example, a lot of guys will expect you to play the top. They want to take advantage of that, ahem, girth. Some might even argue that it’s simply a waste of a perfectly good tool if it’s not used in the way they expect. On the contrary, if guys are average or on the smaller size, they might feel pressured to play the more passive role based on assumptions that “small = bottom.”
So, where did this all originate? Is it some sort of evolutionary drive that the larger guy must always be the “masculine,” dominating one in the bedroom? Or does it come from some social construct we’ve adopted over time, which says that if you’re smaller, you shouldn’t want to do anything else but receive? Whatever the origin, these paradigms are often incorrect and limiting.
Size matters beyond what’s packed inside our boxer briefs. Guys with larger bodies–whether they are taller, stockier, beefier, or rounder–are also often expected to play a certain role. I think back to the viral video meme several weeks ago with the guy talking about his upcoming “date” (with his mom in the room, no less).
“You know, the guy I’m talking to is 6’4”,” he tells his mom. “Can’t wait to get my sh*t wrecked!”
The nature of this statement assumes that just because the guy coming over to play is super tall, it means he’s going to be an aggressive top. Sure, maybe his trick already confirmed this, but chances are the young man in the video is just assuming.
Humans often place people into specific boxes. Categorizing makes the world feel more manageable. It helps us know what to expect and how to interact with others. But the problem with categorization is that it’s not always correct. Perhaps the lanky “date” referred to in the video likes nothing more than to be on all fours with a little “bro” taking him from behind? Or maybe he’s not into anal at all? Sadly, he wasn’t never even given the chance.
Societal expectations are rampant everywhere. It’s our task, as fully actualized queer people, to reject them if they aren’t authentic to who we are. Just because you’re 5’6″ and have a small frame or an average-sized penis doesn’t mean that you always want to be pinned back and thrown around by a domineering “masc” dude. Maybe you actually want to be the one in control. Maybe you prefer to bottom for someone who’s smaller (which is often the case!). Or maybe you like a multitude of body types and roles.
Whether you’re a top, a bottom, vers, or a side, it’s important to own your preferences, even when others might be expecting otherwise. On the apps, state your preferences up front to avoid having to debunk any future assumptions. Get in the habit of stating your truth, even when it feels difficult or like you might be disappointing someone. By doing this, you won’t be settling for something you don’t really want, and you’ll be more likely to have pleasurable sexual experiences. But more importantly, you’ll feel better about yourself because you honored your true feelings.
So yes, size matters, but it’s often more about function and role than anything else. Debunk those expectations if they don’t feel right to you. You’re too complex to be put in a box.
Oh, and lastly, for all you size queens out there, might I suggest asking yourself whether you’re looking to hookup with an actual person, or if your goal is simply to fulfill a fetish.
If it’s the former, don’t forget that you’re having sex with a person, not just a penis. And if it’s the latter, know that you’re closing yourself off to tons of great guys just because 98% of them (including, most likely, yourself) don’t fit into some idealistic fantasy. Those enormous Sean Cody guys you lust over aren’t accurate depictions of real life, and you could be missing out on great sex or connections by pretending that they are.
Jake Myers is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with a specialization in LGBT Affirmative Psychotherapy.