The Important and Unexpected Ramblings of the Non-Erect Penis
I am not so bad. Not only am I not so bad, but I think I’m pretty great.
You’ve heard of me. Usually at the butt end of a joke. For my sake, I hope we weren’t introduced via my surname, the “F Word” (ahem…flaccid). That one always freaks people out. And then there’s the whole surplus of pseudonyms — limp dick, softie, semi. The over-zealous “grower but not a shower.” The slightly distinguished but still ashamed “half-mast.” Wet spaghetti, sleeping giant, gummy worm. Smush. Smush? Fuck.
No, but really. On a serious note, I want to talk. I’m going to talk because, frankly, men spend 99% of their lives non-erect and for some reason I’m invisible. Who ever decided to give the boner all of the attention?
I know what you’re thinking…you don’t exactly have the sex appeal that your alternate, more muscular counterpart has. Yes, I’m smaller and less erotic, although arguably even that’s up for debate because who ever decided that boners are hot? Probably the patriarchy.
I’m serious. As much as I wish it was, ultimately this isn’t about the organ per se, biggie or smalls. Well it is, but not as a standalone appendage. The truth is that we only hear about the erect penis. Why is that and why don’t we question it? I’ll say it again — men spend 99% of their lives non-erect. That’s basically their entire existence, save morning wood, sexual activity (with self or other), and the occasional spontaneous erection. But the public male image is built upon hardness, performance, and bigness.
Maybe you’re starting to see that my message and my objective to rise to fame (no pun intended) isn’t just important. It’s revolutionary. I’m not just talking about de-stigmatizing the limp dick. I’m talking about a new way of manhood. The way I see it, there’s two implications to this. I’ll break it down for you.
First, there’s sex. Reducing fear of softness is great for all parties involved. If a man doesn’t have to play the absolute and almighty penetrator, it creates room for all sorts of new ways of lovin’. Less penis anxiety. Longer periods of less performance-driven, role-based intimacy. But see, it’s bigger than just sex. Let’s be clear — if there’s anything 2017 has taught us, it’s that the penis does not make a man. But the nature of the penis — of its fluctuating hardness and softness — does carry cultural value and real implications in how we view manliness.
“He couldn’t even get hard!” “I heard he can’t get it up…” “Whiskey dick again???”
The fear of softness? Believe me, it hurts. Some might argue that it’s good penance for overconfident, dominant men. But I also think the aversion says something about our suspicion of a new brand of masculinity — that 99% untapped softness, the possibility of exposing a softened version of self. It’s easy to make this about sex and maybe it’s safe to say that it starts with the sex. But if a man is allowed to ebb and flow in and out of hardness and softness in sex, how does this carry over into his public life as a man? That’s a question that I can only speculate about but I’ve got a feeling.
Here’s the thing: I’m pretty normal. Most of the time, I’m just chilling in a pair of jeans or, on the good days, freely hanging in a pair of mesh workout shorts. For the most part, I’m not very concerned about my appearance or performance. And then come these acute moments of shame, sometimes laughter-inducing moments, where I can’t help but feel like I’m flailing at the face of an impossible standard.
I’m not so bad. Really.
The N.E.P. (Non-Erect Penis)