Long and short of sexual myths

Sarika Jagtiani

Oh, you have such a big hand, I think we all know what that means, Mr. Big Stuff.

Credit: Andrew popik

As a sex columnist, people tell me things I don’t necessarily want to hear.

I am like a sex shrink of sorts.

While this is usually entertaining, it is also surprising how many myths and stereotypes about sex still exist.

I think a lot of men assume that women don’t think or talk about sex, or even joke about it, as often as men do, but I disagree. Get a group of women together and the conversation will inevitably turn toward sex at one point or another.

Witness a recent Loft outing with three of my girlfriends.

My friend Kate believes education is the key to success, so as a result she’ll often bust out with questions about sex at random times. I’m surprised she doesn’t take notes.

“What is it like to give a blow job?” she asked, her eyes glowing with anticipation.

“It’s like you have a big dick in your mouth,” said Audrey, without missing a beat.

After the hooting laughter had died down, Audrey confessed her affection for a certain part of the male anatomy.

“I love balls,” sighed Audrey.

So yes, we think, talk and laugh about sex just as much, if not more, than you guys do.

Unfortunately, we also have to think of our safety a little more than you do.

Nearly 3 percent of college women endure a completed or attempted rape during a typical college year, according to a 2001 report released by the Justice Department’s national Institute of Justice and Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Sadly, some people still believe the victim is in some way to blame.

I was talking to an undergraduate student at the beginning of the semester, and he asked about my thesis topic.

I explained that it was going to deal with the media’s coverage of rape cases.

He said it was an interesting topic, mainly because he was friends with a group of men who had been accused of raping a woman, and she was a real “whore.”

If I hadn’t been shocked into silence, I would have explained that regardless of the victim’s sexual history, rape victims are never to blame.

I spoke with Cheryl Stahl, M.Ed. and Sexual Assault Prevention Specialist for Kent’s crisis center Townhall II, for an article on rape victims, and she agreed with me.

“Victims are very quick to blame themselves for some or all of the crime committed against them and that was the most challenging part of working with them — helping them see that the victimization is never their fault,” Stahl said.

Stahl also said false reports of rapes are no higher than any other crime — less than 1 percent. So the myth that women “cry rape” is just that — a myth.

And the idea that the victim’s attire, or men’s rampant sexual urges had something to do with the crime? Ridiculous. Rape is an act of violence and control, not sexual urges run amuck.

Just some things to remember next time you hear about or know someone who’s been raped.

But on to less violent matters.

One of my favorite myths is the one that states you can gauge the size of a man’s penis by the size of his feet. Or hands. Or by his race.

Sorry, but I don’t buy it.

“Penises vary by individual,” said my friend Tasha. “The biggest dick I’ve ever seen belonged to a skinny 18-year-old, so here’s what I say — take your stereotypes and shove ‘em!”

She’s actually on to something.

The size of a non-erect penis depends on “the degree to which its veins and other blood vessels are open or shut,” according to an article on www.netdoctor.co.uk, a British Web site similar to www.webmd.com.

Dr. David Delvin and psychotherapist Christine Webber, authors of the article, pointed out that pioneers of sexual research Masters and Johnson measured 300 men’s penises and, lo and behold, the largest flaccid penis measured in at about 5.5 inches and belonged to a slim man who was 5-foot-7. The smallest? Two-and-a-half inches long. The man was stocky and 5-foot-11.

So don’t judge a penis by its owner, and that includes his race.

According to Devlin and Webber, there is no correlation between penis size and race.

This corroborates the anecdotal evidence I’ve found, which is basically that everyone I talked to had a different take on the subject. One doctor said that in his experience, African-American men had larger penises on the whole than their Caucasian counterparts. One friend, who’s slept with nearly an equal number of African-American and Caucasian men said there’s not much difference. And a man I spoke to said that Asian men have thin penises; black men have longer, but thinner, penises; and white men are a mixed bag.

In other words, go forth and research for yourself. If you find anything conclusive, let me know.

Sarika Jagtiani is a graduate student in journalism and the sex columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].