AUSTRALIA: Does size really matter?

Psychologists at Victoria University in Melbourne are investigating the link between men's penis size, body image and mental health. Principal researcher Dr Gerard Kennedy said the study was among the first to look at the association between men's beliefs about their penis size, how they felt about their bodies, and psychological wellbeing.

"We want to know whether men who report satisfaction with their penis size have higher self-esteem and better body image than men who are dissatisfied with the size of their penis," Kennedy said.

The researchers predict that men with an actual or perceived larger-than-average penis may experience greater confidence and improved body image than men who believe they have smaller-than-average members.

"If men believe that a large penis size is the cultural ideal then this could affect how they perceive their general physical attractiveness," Kennedy said. As well as men's penis size, the study will look at the effect of muscularity on self-esteem and whether men with low self-esteem are more likely to use the internet for dating and socialising.

This relates to a second hypothesis that assumes first impressions during dating situations are largely dependent on physical attractiveness. The researchers suggest that individuals with low physical self-esteem might find it easier to use the internet for dating and socialising purposes.

Kennedy said it was the first time the relationships between male body image, self-reported physical attributes, self-esteem, and preference for internet dating had been investigated. So far, more than 300 men had taken part in the study by completing an online questionnaire.

The researchers have called for more males aged over 18 to sign up for the study at But they warned participants would need a tape measure and somewhere private as they were required to measure their manhood in both relaxed and aroused states.