Dear Cecil: I have thought about becoming a bodybuilder, but I’m getting mixed signals from my peers. The guys say I’ll catch more girls but the girls say most guys they’ve dated who are into bodybuilding have very small penises. From observing many body builders in pose trunks I’d say the girls seem to be right. Please help. Stranded, Altadena, California
It’s perfectly possible to have a godlike physique and a normal member. Look at me. But it’s true a lot of bodybuilders seem to be underdeveloped in this department. The problem isn’t bodybuilding per se but rather the use by its more reckless practitioners of androgenic-anabolic steroids.
Steroids help you bulk up but have numerous side effects, among them “testicular atrophy,” as the medical books put it. They can also lead to reduced testosterone and lowered sperm count. One study of 20 bodybuilders on steroids found that 8 had testicular atrophy. I suppose testicular atrophy isn’t the same as penile atrophy, but it’s unlikely the women were in there measuring with a micrometer and there’s no question that one way or another you wind up with less volume in the codpiece.
Then again, another study found that bodybuilders taking steroids “had a significantly higher coital and orgasmic frequency than did comparison athletes,” although they also had more trouble getting it up — an inevitable result, I am inclined to think, of trying to do more with less. Other side effects of steroids include gynecomastia (breast development in men) and a long list of other ailments ranging from cardiac irregularities to acne. How curious that bodybuilders, many of whom take up the sport as compensation for being short, should trade one source of male insecurity for a worse one.
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