Italy’s would-be Lotharios flock to surgeons for penis enlargement

Peer pressure means demand for the operation is up 25 per cent

Milan

They might be known as Italian stallions thanks to the exploits of national figures such as Rudolph Valentino, but new data on cosmetic surgery suggests men in Italy are less sure of themselves than we imagined.

One of Italy’s top clinics specialising in penis enlargement has revealed that the number of men seeking surgical assistance to boost their appeal below the waistline is rising by 25 per cent every year.

Diminutive leaders such as Mussolini and Berlusconi might have helped create a reputation for gargantuan sexual appetites and the equipment to back them up. But many Italians are admitting they might need help, after all, said Dr Alessandro Littara, director of the Centre for Sexual Medicine in Milan. “The demand for these operations is growing constantly,” he said. “In the past year alone, we did 300 operations on men. It’s usually to make the penis thicker, but there are quite a few who want it longer and sometimes both.”

He said the average age of patients was from 30 to 50. “This isn’t because younger men don’t feel at a disadvantage. It’s just that older blokes are more likely to have the money to pay for the operation,” he said. The cost ranges from £2,500 to £6,000.

“I call it changing-room syndrome,” said Dr Littara. “With everyone seeing images of the body the whole time these days, men are more aware and worried about their bodies – all the parts are important, and the genitals are no exception.”

He said that most of his clients were married or in a relationship. But the surgery was not done so much for the partner as for keeping up with their male peers.

“We’re living in the age of images, with sexual ones very often on the front page,” he told Adnkronos news agency. “So sex gets more attention and people feel the need to be competitive.” 

He said that some men asked for surgery when they didn’t appear to need it, while others had unrealistic expectations, or even showed signs of psychological problems. “Sometimes the surgeon just has to say no,” he said.

An earlier study, in 2011, by experts at the University of Turin, warned that the financial cost was not the only potential downside to penis-enlargement surgery, however. It concluded that surgical procedures were sometimes dangerous and had an “unacceptably high” rate of complications.

Some pundits, such as Nicholas Farrell, Mussolini’s biographer, have said the obsession with being seen as sexually potent is part of the macho Italian culture.

The fascist dictator once told his jealous lover Clara Petacci that the idea of sleeping with only one woman was “inconceivable”. “There was a period in which I had 14 women and I’d take three or four every evening,” he announced.

The former premier and ageing Lothario Silvio Berlusconi sometimes entertained 20 women at a time and kept at his unsuccessful mission to satisfy the prostitute Patrizia d’Addario “till 8 in the morning”, according to toe-curling revelations in her kiss-and-tell book released in 2009.

But Dr Littara said Italian men weren’t the only ones worried about their endowment. “It’s an international problem,” he said.

This claim is backed by the international survey of penis size published a year ago by an Ulster University academic.

With an average, erect length of 6.2in, Italians trailed behind the well-endowed, 7in denizens of the Congo and Ecuador. But there were comfortably in the global top-10 ahead of Germany, the UK, France and Spain.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Sport
Floyd Mayweather will relinquish his five world titles after beating Manny Pacquiao
boxing
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living