Hi, I'm Ant Smith and I have a small penis. I wrote a poem about it, and it's one that seems to have been well received by many men, and a fair few women too. Which is good for me, as I've been well acquainted with the shame and stigma that surrounds the type of tackle that the poem tackles.
In fact, the interest has been so large that it seems I am now on a campaign to abolish penis size anxiety. So that you can concentrate on the story, I'll tell you now – it is four inches.
The majority of men might have average-sized penises (which according to the NHS is around 5.5 to 6.3 inches erect), but for those who are shorter than most, the psychological consequences can be severe, sometimes even fatal.
I know guys with perfectly average-sized equipment that still have insecurities. And they're not alone - in one study, 45 per cent of mostly average-sized men said they weren't happy with their penis size.
What's making a lot of men unhappy is society's expectations towards masculinity and penis size. Our view of what is normal is skewed. But we have it in our own collective power to fix that. This is why I wrote the poem Shorty.
At first I only let a small set of people very close to me see the poem. Discussing it around a kitchen table was initially awkward but everyone had some story or point of connection with the piece. I was drawn to see how broad that connection was, and I determined to try it live at Carl Chamberlain's Sing For Your Supper open mic night.
Before performing this poem I ask the audience if they're ready for some truth. Four minutes of powerful punishing truth. I then launch into the opening line declaring my diminutive self:
I have a tiny cock
Like a crooked little finger
Everybody else's dick
Is inevitably bigger
This raises a laugh, which I would say drives home the importance that articulating otherwise unspoken truths can have. Or so I hope.
I have tackled other topics in this manner. Like my lack of desire to have children (which I call my “voluntary joyous childlessness”), or how disturbing grief can be when dealing with the death of a loved one (“Dear Mortician”), or simply daydreaming of a killing spree in the office (“F*ck It The Morning”).
Lies, obsession, fear all prosper in darkness. We can only conquer them by bringing them into the open; or at least I try to do so. This means that once I'd written the first draft of Shorty I knew I had to perform it. Otherwise, I'd be a hypocrite.
The first time I performed the poem was horrible for me. On the journey to the venue, I blushed and reddened just thinking about what was to come. On stage, I spat the words out like bullets to a stunned room. I received what would be the first of many handshakes from a man particularly relieved after hearing the truth.
As I continued to perform Shorty, I didn't expect the spiralling level of interest. It was slightly awkward at first, but being honest in the declaration “Ant Smith Has A Four Inch Penis” has brought me nothing but positive experiences. After all the feelings of shame I grew up with, you'll probably understand why I believe that poetry mixed with truth and comedy is one of our greatest healers.
A little advice is a dangerous thing, so it seems fair that I should wrap this story up for you. My own self-awareness and acceptance has certainly grown through the experience of publishing/performing this poem. Only a couple of years ago I was still deeply ashamed. And this shame at times affected who I was and how I behaved.
There was a darkness in my personality that I barely shared with myself, let alone my wife. But along the way I came to realise that this left our love incomplete. I came to ask myself "How can I expect my caring, wise and witty wife to love me if there's a part of me that I cannot love myself?"
For her part she has exercised her wisdom and says “Ant is a man who identifies as having a small penis.” This is perfect as it simultaneously accepts my identity without judging it herself. Our relationship has never been stronger. The truth will out!
If anyone wants to experience my poetry live then you can get in touch at email@example.com. Or if they want to contribute to my (clothed) video for the poem, they should see this page.