Big penis mistaken for erect one


In recent years, I have developed a slightly large penis. It isn't huge, only about 7.5 inches hard. The problem is that when limp, it is noticeable through my pants. Sometimes, I am accused of having erections when I do not have them and it is embarrassing when that happens. Also, it happens at places where that is very unacceptable, like family functions and work. Wearing briefs isn't an option because they are constrictive. If I wear baggy pants (which isn't really my style), that helps a little, but then I really do get erections too easily since there isn't anything putting up any resistance. What I really need to know is if there is a comfortable way to hide it that I have not thought of.

P.S.: Please nothing involving tape. It pulls off hairs when I take it off, but it does seem to hide it well when it's taped to my leg.

Dear Reader,

It's totally understandable that you’d feel embarrassed in these situations and want to figure out how to put a stop to the attention being drawn to your crotch area. But before getting into some possible solutions, it may be helpful to remember that erections are totally normal and often out of a person's control, so regardless of whether that’s actually what’s happening, it's nothing for you to feel ashamed about, as it's a natural bodily process. There’s nothing inherently perverted or even necessarily sexual about an erection (or what appears to be an erection) — sometimes, they just happen. At the same time, your desire to find a way to prevent this potential awkwardness from occurring altogether is valid, too, as long as it doesn’t end up making you feel bad about yourself.

First, to start with the easiest option: wardrobe changes. Many people find form-fitting underwear to be the cheapest and easiest way to minimize the visibility of genitalia. You mentioned that “wearing briefs isn’t an option because they are constrictive,” but it may be helpful to reflect on what aspect specifically is uncomfortable for you. If you don’t like the seam around the leg openings, boxer briefs may be a better fit for you since they extend down your thighs like boxers, just tighter. If the problem is how snugly the briefs cup your testicles, you may be able to find another brand with a bit more ball room. It might take several tries to find the right brand, style, and size that gives you the appearance you want without sacrificing too much comfort.

If compressive underwear isn’t a viable option for you, there are other wardrobe changes you might consider. As you’ve already discovered, wearing baggy pants may help conceal your penis when limp, though the lack of constriction does result in any errant erections being more obvious — think “tent” rather than “bulge.” Or, if you’d like to forego baggy pants altogether since they aren’t really your style, would you consider wearing longer shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, or jackets that cover you below the belt when sitting and standing? If you’d rather not alter your style too much, you may also consider talking to a professional tailor. It might feel like an uncomfortable conversation, but their whole job is to help ensure that clothes fit well. They may be able to alter or reinforce the crotch area of your current clothes, or they may be able to offer shopping advice on what fabrics or styles of pants would smooth out your silhouette rather than cling to every curve of your body.

You’ve also mentioned that tape has been an effective concealment tool for you, though not exactly a comfortable one! One way to avoid pulling out hairs is to shave that area of skin one to two days prior to using tape and to always use medical tape rather than duct or clear tape, since these can damage the skin and cause pain. It’s also recommended to cover the penis with gauze or toilet paper before applying tape to avoid inadvertent injury to the sensitive skin around your genitals. If you do plan to use tape, you might also consider applying anti-fungal powder to prevent odors. Alternatively, with some experimentation and creative thinking, you may find a way to stick your penis to your leg without using tape. As an example, some people who wear dresses buy strips of fabric that go around their thighs to prevent chafing in humid weather — you might find that you could repurpose one of those items to hold your penis flush against your thigh, no tape required.

Finally, the most effective (though likely least comfortable) method of concealing the appearance of genitalia is a practice called genital tucking. It’s most commonly used by transgender people or drag performers, though it can be done by anyone with a penis regardless of gender identity and gender expression. In short, tucking involves adjusting the placement of the testicles and penis to fold them close to the body and then using constrictive undergarments or tape to hold the whole thing in place. This can significantly reduce the visual prominence of external genitalia, to the point where some people who tuck are able to wear bikinis, leotards, or other skin-tight clothing without any visible bulge. However, tucking isn't without its physical risks, including skin irritation, testicular pain or torsion, or potential impacts on fertility. For more information on tucking, the Desert AIDS Project has created a helpful how-to resource guide, while Pride in Practice has more information on the potential health risks to tucking and a compiled list of additional links, videos, and stores that may be of interest.

While there are many different options you can try to help solve the problem at hand, if you feel that your anxiety surrounding the visibility of your penis is becoming a major issue and taking a toll on your daily life, you might consider speaking to a mental health professional. Ultimately, you deserve to feel at home in your body and navigate the world without shame or stigma.

Last updated Dec 24, 2021
Originally published Jan 26, 2001

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