He wanted a larger penis. He wanted one that was longer and thicker. That was why he was here. The doctor listened patiently, nodding at all the right moments, concern and sympathy oozing from his lips and eyes. There was nothing new about this for him; they passed through his office on an hourly basis, all chanting the same needy litany. They had tried non-surgical ways of enlarging the penis, such as using penis extenders like ProExtender and SizeGenetics.
It was like a conveyor belt of anxiety, inadequacy, humiliation and downright wretchedness. Everyone he saw wanted a larger penis, felt it would make him feel like more of a man–a real man–and not feel embarrassed when he dropped his shorts.
For 35-year-old Jim Hamilton, sitting in that room with its dull standard-issue office furniture and its view of Beverly Hills and downtown Los Angeles, owning up to the thing that had haunted him through most of his teenage years, right up to this moment, was the toughest thing he’d ever done. Up there in that office, he felt helpless and vulnerable. This was his worst nightmare–publicly acknowledging the inadequacy of his penis.
Not that he’d come here just to talk about it, or to sit in the waiting room with everyone shuffling awkwardly, trying to avoid catching anyone’s eye and praying that nobody he knew walked in. He wanted help, real help, and Rodney Barron, M.D., urologist and founder of the West Coast Center for Men, had promised he could do something more than just recommend using a penis pump like Penomet to temporarily make his penis larger. That wasn’t enough.
The extraordinary procedures Dr. Barron would detail were unfathomable only a few years ago. Now surgical advances have made it possible to actually answer–or exploit, depending on how you look at it–man’s greatest insecurity of all, the size of his penis. And it’s not just a phenomenon of image-conscious California. Dr. Barton has treated men from Britain, France, Germany, Scandinavia, Australia, Japan, Canada, Italy, Spain–everyone, it seems, has the penis problem.
But who are these haunted souls coming for help? “It’s a tremendous cross-section,” Dr. Barton says. “They’re married, single, widowed, divorced. They’re straight, gay, Asian, black, Caucasian.” The majority are in their 30s and 40s, everyone from truck drivers to chief executive officers, from laborers to doctors. Sometimes their faces, if not their privates, are familiar. Melvyn Rosenstein, M.D., an urologist in Culver City, California, claims to have performed the procedure on more than 30 name-brand celebrities, including an action-movie hero, a sitcom star, and a singer with a recent top-10 hit.
The key is having the disposable income to do it. This cure doesn’t come cheap. Extension (lengthening) or enlargement (increasing the circumference) cost about $4,000 each, or you can get both in a package deal for $5,800. But even though 75 percent of the men Dr. Barron sees for initial consultations never come back, he still performs about 15 to 20 operations a month. And that doesn’t begin to tap the well. “I could probably do 15 a week if I wanted to give up the rest of my urology practice,” says Dr. Barron. In fact, Dr. Rosenstein says he averages more than 125 penis enlargements a month.
How desperate his patients are for help can be measured, according to Jim Hamilton, by the fact that Jim didn’t bolt out of that ghastly waiting room and flee his appointment, even though he really wanted to.
“I don’t think that any man who doesn’t have this problem can understand the way you feel,” Jim says. Even his wife, Debbie, had never fully comprehended his misery.
“I’m a big guy,” Jim says. “I’ve always worked out and played a lot of sports. I take a lot of pride in my physique, except when my shorts are off. Showering in a locker room with other people around is a very uncomfortable experience; it’s something that you worry about.
“In the end, you develop a kind of routine. You shower with your back to everyone, you don’t get involved in any conversation while you’re there because it means you might be expected to turn and talk, and you get out of there, get a towel around you and your pants back on as quickly as possible. It’s a really traumatic experience.”
But if being in a locker room full of men was distressing, it was nothing compared to being alone with a woman, terrified that she might discover his secret.
“I started dating when I was 18. I wanted to come on strong, but I didn’t dare. I didn’t want the girls joking about me after we’d been to bed. I lost my virginity when I was 19. We were both really drunk, so she had no expectations.
“After that things got a lot worse. I always liked older women, and they liked me. They’d tell me I was wonderful, but it was too bad I was so small. They used to call me their big teddy bear, which did nothing for my ego.”
As with showering, Jim developed a routine for his sexual encounters. Rule number one: Keep the lights off. “I’d always get into bed with my pants off at the very last moment and pray they weren’t expecting too much. Afterward, I’d get my pants on as soon as possible and hope that there were no complaints.”
But how small is small? Prior to his operation, Jim says, his penis was 2 inches long flaccid, and a little under 4 inches when fully erect. The U.S. average for men, says Dr. Barron, is 3 to 5 inches flaccid and 5 to 8 inches erect.