When I heard this year’s Sex Wheels & Relationships issue would include a feature on men and body image, I chimed in and said the story would not be complete without at least a few words on penis image. Men are taught from the time we’re boys that being a man depends on our ability to perform sexually. So losing genital function due to disability is a major blow to our masculine identities. How we feel about our most private parts has a lot to do with how we feel about ourselves as loveable and capable sexual beings and our overall confidence level and feelings of self-worth. How do we recover? By talking to each other about our most private parts.
Hence, on Nov. 20 I posted a topic on penis image on the newmobility.com discussion board. I asked questions like: Is your penis a source of pride? A saving grace? The only thing below your waist that still stands up? Or do you envy the penis of your past? Do you wish you had more size, better function, function like you had before?
Interestingly, the first responders were women. They opened with humor and a half-serious suggestion of a photo contest. KimberleyB even went so far as to post a photo of herself with a huge stuffed penis between her legs. “I like my penis. It is my friend,” she said, a pointy witch hat on her head.
The men held back for a while, and at first responded with homophobic humor — “I tend to avoid guys who ask so many questions about my penis,” wrote SteveGIMP.
Jeffh55 was the first man to post seriously about his own experience, and he wrote about how the post-injury medicalization of our genitals can affect how we feel as sexual beings: “… all the icky stuff that body part has endured from butchers describing themselves as urologists added to the unfortunate circumstances that led me to unwelcome weight gain and, perhaps, many years where said member wasn’t used for its primary purpose. This reduced