It is well accepted that our physical appearance can influence our psychological well-being. Breast augmentation, a “tummy tuck” and Botox injections for wrinkles are just a few examples of physical interventions, performed for cosmetic indications, that can have a favorable impact on how an individual feels about their body and enhance self-esteem.
How men feel about their genitals is referred to as “genital image” or “genital self image". Research suggests that a negative male genital self-image may contribute to a man’s anxiety about sexual performance. For example, if a man is worried about his partner’s perception of his genital size, appearance, or function, this anxiety may in turn contribute to male sexual dysfunction. It is also possible that men affected by sexual dysfunction may come to feel negatively about their own genitals, contributing to feelings of shame or anxiety and avoidance of sexual intimacy.
Although most men feel positively about their genitals, a significant proportion (10-20%) of men report embarrassment and/or dissatisfaction with the appearance of their genitals. As clinicians and sexual health educators it is important that our first approach is to promote a healthy self-image by providing education and/or reassurance regarding the “normal” variations in male genital anatomy.
It is also important to recognize that at times with the appropriate indications, physical interventions performed for cosmetic indications can facilitate and promote a more favorable genital image and enhance self-esteem.