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Wise Guys: Do Men Check Out Other Penises?

Tue, Nov 10, 2009

Advice, Wise Guys

locker_roomphoto by smoMashup

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following:  Do guys check each other out in the locker room? Or what about at the urinal? Not necessarily in an attraction way, just in an “how do I measure up” kind of way?

Straight Married Guy (Fred): Nope. There’s an unspoken rule, at least among straight guys, that in the men’s room you look anywhere but at another man’s equipment. The straight male culture is so incredibly homophobic that the mere suggestion of potential homosexuality that comes from looking — even just for a split second, even accidentally — is what keeps straight guys eyes averted as if every penis were the Lost Arc. (I wonder what the protocol is for gay guys?) The only other John Thomases hetro men ever see is the elephant timber in porn, which doesn’t help at all, so if a guy just has to know how he measures in the real world up he’ll probably resort to asking a woman (and we all know how well that works).

Gay Single Guy (Daniel): Yes, guys check out other guys’ equipment — even if they are straight. This isn’t to say that straight guys actively and persistently look in order to compare one man’s anaconda to another man’s pretzel stick (though I am sure some do), but comparing is something that potentially happens on the sly and in one’s own head (a guy thinks to himself, “Well, he’s certainly bigger than me”).  It’s not unlike women checking out each other’s breasts, except where women feel comfortable commenting on the differences (“Oh, you have such nice boobs” or “Her breasts aren’t that big but they’re perky”), straight guys cannot comment on another man’s wang without being thought of as a homo. Gay guys obviously don’t have that problem, so they’re free to talk — but when they do, it’s waaaaaaaaaay more sexualized. Hahaha!

Straight Single Guy (Mark): Not to put too fine a point on it, but…no, sorry.  Nothing to do with attraction or even comparison — I guess it’s just an unspoken courtesy to give that modicum of privacy in an otherwise exposed situation.  At the urinal, there’s simply the invisible line below which thou shalt not gaze, and in the shower, it’s pretty much the same understanding.  So yeah, guys check each other out in the locker room probably about as often as girls actually have pillow fights in their underwear at slumber parties.  But seriously, I suppose girls are more stereotypically body conscious and comparing-prone, so I’d imagine they’d be the ones more likely to check out what’s doing with their cohorts in that environment and see how they, um, stack up.  But guys are utilitarian — we’re all business in the locker room.  We want to empty our bladders, or shower up and get dressed again, and get out of there to carry on with our busy days of manliness [cue Tim Allen "Home Improvement" sound effect].

Our “guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Gay Guy is one-time stripper and sex columnist Daniel; our Straight Single Guy is Mark Luczak, a tech geek at Carnegie Mellon University; and our straight married guy is shy. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

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40 Responses to “Wise Guys: Do Men Check Out Other Penises?”

  1. Johnny Says:

    1. At a urnial, your gaze should only ever be directed up and down – never side to side. Looking at another dude at the urinal – at his dick or at his face – might get you an angry, “what the fuck are you looking at?”

    2. Locker room – displays of nudity seem to be a generational thing. Old guys tend to strut around naked like ancient Greeks. Don’t know why. In that case it’s not a check-out – you just can’t miss it. When showering, same thing – sometimes you can’t help but see. Ostentatious penile displays aside, I’d never intentionally look.

  2. Rei Says:

    Straight guys have to stop it with thinking they are a homophobe with one accident look at another guy’s penis. Jeez, its kinda up tight.

  3. ? Says:

    Rei-do you know what homophobe means? I think you mean homosexual.

  4. Dave W Says:

    Johnny hit on something that the two straight guys totally homophobically avoided: sometimes you can’t help but see it. There’s that moment when you turn around, and, “Holy horse cock!!”

  5. Madamoiselle L Says:

    I asked my husband about this, and in a round about way, my teenage son. (I’ll explain.)

    My husband said, “You look STRAIGHT AHEAD at the urinal or the wall, you save talk for the sink, you do NOT look or, God help ya, get caught doing it.” He was telling me one guy where he works leans on the wall and moans when he pisses, and he said, “If I see that dude going into the can, I HOLD IT until he comes out. Weird.”

    The reason I asked my son was the whole circumcision thing. (My son is not cut.) People would say to me, when he was a little boy “He’s gonna get made fun of in the locker room.” Now, most of my friends have NOT had their sons circed, and at present only about half of newborn boys in the US are, it was slightly higher when he was born. I once asked him if there was “teasing” from the uncut or cut boys.

    My son said to me, “Ma, if you get caught looking at, much less TALKING about an other guy’s dick, you’ll probably get beat up, or at least called a homo. You don’t look at or talk about some random guy’s dick in the locker room.” So, no, no teasing about being natural and uncut. Whether it is because they “don’t look” or are understandably afraid to be “caught” looking is debatable. (I did ask him to please use the word “Gay” or “GLBT” instead of “homo” but he rolled his eyes and walked away.)

    If you factor in that a man peeing is NOT hard, and is going to look a lot different in a sexual situation, there really isn’t much of a need. I am assuming.

  6. daNorse Says:

    “…at present only about half of newborn boys in the US are, it was slightly higher when he was born…”
    My holy shit!! I really had no idea that Americans mutilated their children to such a degree! I am shocked and I really think this is a cruel thing to do to defenceless children!! Shame on you!…
    Oslo, Norway

  7. a guy Says:

    I play in a sports team that has communal showers and one big open change room and yes guys do check out other guys they don’t ogle or stare but yes they do check out the other guys tackle

  8. Madamoiselle L Says:

    daNorse said: ““…at present only about half of newborn boys in the US are, it was slightly higher when he was born…”
    My holy shit!! I really had no idea that Americans mutilated their children to such a degree! I am shocked and I really think this is a cruel thing to do to defenceless children!! Shame on you!…”

    Hey, My man and I DIDN’T do this to OUR boy. There’s my story of HOW I talked my husband into the idea that we were NOT going to cut our son, on the thread about circumcision. In fact, most of my friends, (mostly earth mother types, but not all) have left their sons the way Nature made them. When I was dating, an uncut member was very very rare, you had to date either a European Guy (yum) or the child of some early hippies. Things HAVE gotten better here.

    For the USA, a 50% circ rate is actually progress. Anyway, there is an other thread where the entire thing is about circs.

  9. daNorse Says:

    Madamoiselle L,
    I didn’t try to criticize you or anything.
    It’s just that here in Norway the atrocities done to children in the way of genital mutilations have in recent years been focused on. Here African immigrants send their children — mostly girls — back to Africa on “vacation” where the mutilation is done.
    This has NOTHING to do with religion or culture, and the practise have been prohibited by law for many years — I thought all western countries had similar laws.
    My reaction was just a result of my supprise that a supposedly civilized country can allow this things to happen. In the name of humanity this must be stopped and I salute you for sparing your child. Fact is NO ONE would ever dream of cutting pieces out of their genitalia when grown up. Would you?
    David, Oslo, Norway
    P.S. In a strictly male environment no one ever looks at each others penises. You ladies can see this in action on the beach. Especially on a nude beach.

  10. Mandy Says:

    I would have thought ‘homo’ would have been more acceptable than Gay.

    Mind you, it doesn’t matter one way or another here, considering during Pride week (especially on the day of the big pride parade) it’s hard not to walk into a naked homosexual (and more often than not what you’re walking into is a little hard. A little less so when I do it being a girl, but my buddy [being not gay but very gay friendly] walked into a few awkward situations that day…)

    Anyway, that all is besides the point.
    I was under the impression that the difference between show-ers and grow-ers would have negated the need to look. The aforementioned buddy can fit in one of my hand if I do anything before he’s expecting it, and within a few minutes is too big for me to wrap my hand around, or cover completely lengthwise with both hands.
    So what would be the point of trying to judge him in the locker room?

  11. Madamoiselle L Says:

    Mandy said: “I would have thought ‘homo’ would have been more acceptable than Gay.”

    Most of my Gay friends refer to themselves as “Queer” or “Fags” but I prefer my 16 year old hetero son to use a more neutrally acceptable term. (Not that he will…) And, when coming from Other People, most Gay men around here don’t really prefer “homo,” unless you know them, but I think it is different depending on the Community you live in.

    I know African Americans who use the N word, and “prefer” it between freinds, but I certainly don’t want my children using it. I think what some groups call themselves is not always what they prefer from other people. It again, depends on the area you live in and how well you know the person.

  12. Mandy Says:

    That’s fair. I understand.

  13. pontypool1 Says:

    I can’t help but feel that it is “subjective” at “the end of the day”… At some point in their lives, men are going to observe other men’s genitals – simple as… It’s “not a done thing” to look at another man in the “mens room”, but in mens showers, it’s gonna happen – it ain’t as if every guys gonna be looking at the floor/the ceiling etc. I think it’s a “natural thing” to look at at another man’s genitals “in passing” – it doesn’t mean that they are gay… maybe comparing size, etc, whatever…. Let’s not get “so hung up” about a str8 guy observing another man’s genitals…

    Geez, do you reckon that our ancestor “cave men/women” had this discussion – they observed genitals for what they were, simple as. We are “too hung up” about “perceived” homosexuality etc. As to the recent trend of trimmed/shaved pubic area, “don’t even go there” – guess there will be some cosmetic cream/scent/aroma available – if there isn’t already…

  14. Rei Says:

    C’mon guys, everyone glances, not, ‘look up and down’ but innocent looks. Guys do a lot of sizing up while watching porn. I know its not the same as being physically in a urinal, with other dudes; but guys like to know where they size up in the competition.

  15. Abe Says:

    In the Shower. Yes. Always and Absolutely. You got to have developed glaucoma if you don’t see other dude’s dicks in the shower. Not the dude next to you but across from you. And taking a long warm shower after hard work is nice!

    On the Urinal: Never. This is rude. Peeing is a semi private activity, halfway to taking a dumb. So be quite, stare to the wall and don’t even try to talk.

    Locker Room: This is where the friendly and harmless look in the shower can become a “homo stare”. So no, and don’t ever try. Reason: It only OK looking at other’s nakedness when you are also completely naked. Otherwise you’ll put someone on the spot or create an awkward situation. Certainly you don’t want to be put on that spot, right?

  16. Onslo Says:

    In access to what “pontypool” says, really wake the “f**K” up! I’m a straight man in a relationship for over three years, and seriously what the hell is with all of this?
    I love the ridiculous fact that when one man looks at another mans privates he might be “gay”. Come on already. It’s just an appendage, not “Pandora’s Box” for heavens sake. And just in case your wondering, I’m an artist, I see plenty of people both male and female nude. That’s the secret, “nude” not naked…
    I love those paranoid guys at the gym, who struggle to put their shorts on under their towel. “OH my god now you’ve seen my penis, you must be gay! And now that I’ve seen you seeing my penis “I” must be gay! Oh how will I survive?”
    Grow up! So all men in the military are gay?
    And all men on the football team are gay? And so on, and and so on…
    You really can’t look at someone else and say “Wow, that’s a short dick” or “that’s a big set of nuts” and just leave it at that?
    Really, how senseless are you?
    If you don’t like it, don’t look. But it won’t make you blind or “gay” if you do, it’s just common sense.

  17. Fizzle Says:

    Sometimes us straight guys do it to size up the other guys. Im not gay, some times I used to think I was but Im not. We all have male and female genes in our bodies and they are fighting for control of your body. When you lose your testosterone you start feeling girly. If your straight and worried, just stop drinking sodas and eating unhealthy. Start supplementing some testosterone and you’ll be a man again.

  18. pontypool Says:

    I’ve always felt uncomfortable about exposing even a small part of my genitals in public – i.e. at the gent’s urinal. Yep, “its a given” that men “simply look at the wall” when at public urinals, we don’t acknowledge each other etc… If I’m with some mates, we do talk..
    I remember 10 years ago, in a Mens changing room, I desperately tried to avoid showing my “tackle”. An older guy was trying to do the same.. when another man, with his 2 young sons changing without any embarassement said “we’re all made the same”… He was right – we drew more attention to ourselves by trying not to “expose our genitals” than other men in the changing room who didn’t give a damn…

  19. AL Says:

    My son and I usually go together for swimming or to public bathroons while traveling. There is nothing to share or discover. That´s human nature, if you know that maybe you´ll have some natural and healthy curiosity to watch others from a natural point of view. So please, do not misunderstood personal intentions from nature, ok.

  20. Jay Says:

    All baby boys should be circumsized period! Its cleaner, less prone to infection and uncut men, there’s been a medical study uncut men cause cervical cancer in women. A deadly disease that usually women don’t know they have until its diagnosed too late!

    Europeans, and guy from Norway are backward thinkers; they all think they know more than North Americans NOT – we in North America live in the New World, Not the Old World as in Europe!!! Why else did people emmigrate to America i.e. US and or Canada!!!

  21. James Says:

    I am straight and in my 30s, and single. I socialize with some couples I have been friendly with since high school. Everyone in the group know I am nicknamed “rope” by the guys in our group. So obviously some straight men have checked it out.

    You can’t help but see penises in the locker room or showers. You just don’t stare. I am a coach. The youngest coach in our locker room is very shy about undressing in front of others. The oldest one, in his 50s, will strip bottomless in a heartbeat. Another in his 40s showed us all his hernia surgery, nude, and was complaining they totally shaved him from waist to knees and showed us the resulting rash. He only had his tackle out briely and held his hand in front of it after showing the scar. Not a big deal. And from being a reservist, the young guys are obvious and draw laughter for their extreme modesty. But a buddy of mine is shy about it because he shaves and doesn’t want razzed. He speculates that’s why many young men cover up–to hide shaved or cropped pubic hair.

  22. Real Says:

    Christ, but it is amazing how afraid some men are of their sexuality. All men will check another guy out. If he says he doesn’t, he’s lying. It’s no big deal and is only a normal part of sexual curiosity.

    I’m as straight as they come and happily married, with a good sex life with my wife. I have, on occasion had sex play with another man my entire life. No, I am not gay and just hiding in the closet. No, I am not bi. I’m straight. I cannot be romantically attracted to a man, though I can enjoy a little sex play with one. I’m not alone. Research is proving that sexuality is fluid and that the labels we use are meaningless. The terms gay, straight and bi only allow us to pigeon-hole ourselves to give us a sense of belonging.

    So I know that guys check me out whenever they can. I know that some of them are very uncomfortable with doing it too. And I know that many of them go home and masturbate to the fantasy image of my penis. But they will swear that they would never do such a thing. I consider this a sign of sexual immaturity.

  23. Evolved Says:

    They’re just penises people-GET REAL! Who cares is you see or look at another person’s genitalia-MY GOD! We all have bits whether they’re female or male-who the f*ck cares? It doesn’t make you gay, straight or bi or whatever. LMFAO

  24. Real 2 Says:

    Every guy that says they do not look, that its some unwritten rule, is a liar. If there is a naked guy in the locker room your going to look. Of course you don’t stare, but come’on – our penis is the most important part of our body, and so when the rare opportunity arises (no pun intended) to see another man’s penis, you take a glance and you take mental note. Why is it that everyone in my high school knew who Frank “Footer” was? It’s not because we were all talking about him openly or that every guy in school was gay. It’s because someone had the guts to nickname him and immediately everyone knew who he was talking about – because EVERYONE looks.

  25. Matt Says:

    Every man tries to avoid it in fear of appearing or being “gay”. Every man wants to get a quick look. And most men look either by accident or quickly get a glimpse before the guy notices.

  26. Jacq Says:

    Does it matter? Studies show that a longer non erect penis will grow less when erect than a shorter one.

  27. Johnny Says:

    ^ Yes, it matters. It’s way too universal a preoccupation to not matter.

  28. Jeff Says:

    i dont know how to say this. but you guys might want to replace those two straghts contributors

    because as part of their jobs, they are supposed to give facts, not opinions ( which is exactly what they gave here).

    if they have hang up about this type of thing.it is their choice ( but i always think it is a bit sad that straight guys are so insecure with their masculinity that they would deny anything that associate them with being gay).

    i mean if you are not gay, so what is the problem.

    but if that is their choice, then so be it.

    but they have no right to do this when they are asked to give facts.

  29. emandlo Says:

    Jeff, these guys’ “jobs” (ha ha, they’d laugh at that description, as we pay them only in love and gratitude and generous linking) is to give the first answer that comes to mind. Sometimes this is an experience, sometimes an opinion, sometimes a story… but it’s not intended to be a textbook by any means. The whole point of this feature is to present a collection of opinions to give readers a range of thought and to jump-start a discussion on this site.

    We don’t even know what it means to give a “factual” answer to this question, unless someone were to conduct a massive-scale study of American men and hooked them up to a lie-detector test while they gave their answers…

  30. FIDELIS Says:

    i do not think a guy staring at another guys penis makes him gay. i for one had friends who usually compare their penis sizes in the room of one when we pay him a visit. it is something natural because when comparing there was no excitement in any of us. Also we usually attend youth camps where we all use one room to have our bathe, in this case how would u avoid staring when people walk pass u naked.so in conclusion,when it comes to locker rooms or when on a camp or in a team, u can not help but stare because everybody is naked. but when in the men’s room, give the person next to you the privacy he wants.

  31. Justin Says:

    If a man is secure about his sexuality and appreciates what he has got he should be able to handle being complimented on his dick/balls & arse. I know if I got a compliment about anything below my belt I wouldn’t get angry or creeped out. I would say thanks and put on a smile. I swear people try and make life much more complicated than it needs to be. Who cares if the guy next to you is looking while you get your kit off or your taking a piss? Seriously.

  32. JUSTIN7 Says:

    Straight guys will say anything to make themselves appear macho.

    I have caught straight guys stare at my ass while I’m working out in the weight room nevermind the showers.

    I workout in a very straight male oriented gym. I have noticed most younger straight guys will always look at my penis in the shower. I know they are straight because I can tell by their speech and body language. It is funny because they are the one’s that turn their heads and do the looking first. So it is only natural to stare back.

    It is such a shame [and most straight men are missing out] that they think being straight they should not ‘LOOK’ or think of other men in any sexual context . [maybe some do and won't admit it]

    I’m gay and have seen nude women expicitly online. I wouldn’t hestitatey to be with a girl if the opportunity is there.

    We live in such an ignorant isolated lonely society. And straight men put up this macho defense that unbonds the human contact. They only view things from one perspective. Mind you it may be North America and rural towns mentality.

  33. Lisa Says:

    What if your man tells u to look at these mens small dicks over the phone he was laughing like it was a joke so was I but I was like what the hell so now I don’t know what to think is he in the closet …… I mean why would u look at other men’s penis if u are not gay

  34. Narshon Says:

    All men look at other dudes cocks & balls at urinals or in the locker rooms.Some guys flash each other as a joke.Every red blooded male wants to know his cock is as big as the next guy or bigger,and his balls are lower hanging and as big as oranges.Male hierarchy is based on cock and ball size,so listen up you metrosexuals and take a look at his package,whether HE is at full mast or just hanging around.Its healthy to look and honest to as all men look at each other the ones that don’t are liers. Keep it up boys

  35. Johnny Says:

    ^ Yeah, you’re right. That’s why no matter how many women say they prefer average or small, every guy wants to be bigger. Even the already-big guys.

    Because it’s about winning a penis-length contest with other men.

  36. Straight Leaning Says:

    Dear “Fidelis”,

    SEEING another guy’s penis simply means you are in
    the same room as other nude men. A BRIEF glance
    could fall under the heading of curiousity and
    doesn’t mean you’re gay. STARING however, means
    that you are probably “BI” at the very least.

    Just one man’s viewpoint.

  37. Turning Point Says:

    Men want to act like it’s no big deal to have another man looking at their penis. “It’s just an appendage.” So how would you feel if there was a woman sitting in the locker room just getting a glance at the “appendages” as they strolled in and out of the shower. I mean, most women are mothers, have given birth to a male with an “appendage”. So with that notion, does it matter what sex is checking it our or do you only not care if it’s another male seeing what you’ve got?

  38. Rick Says:

    As a gay man who most don’t expect to be gay, a funny thing often happens when newer straight male friends find out – they start asking questions, making confessions even, and asking if they’re normal. Maybe they just feel more comfortable that I’m not so different from them, but something spurs them to open up a bit.

    It would be hard for me to count the number of straight male friends who have confessed to checking out other guys’ penises in person and especially online (anonymity and all). A surprising number even told me amusingly similar stories of having compared or measured with other guy friends when teenagers, even jerking off together. And no, none of those guys was gay or bi, and none ever tried to take that further with me even knowing I’m not the type to gossip.

    I laugh at guys’ attitudes about “urinal etiquette” – I may not peek over much if at all.. but any guy I see freaking out over it, or getting hostile, loses my respect.

    To the comment about it being lack of testosterone causing guys to be curious – bullshit sir. You can give a bunch of gay guys testosterone, do you know what would likely happen? They would get hairier… and hornier – for men. Hormone levels do not = sexual attraction, nor are straight men more “real men” than their gay counterparts.

  39. VINICIUS Says:

    But of course I look, always look, think cute, I’m gay and I like bags. However I get embarrassed when they see that I’m looking. This is not giving up on anyone. I just like to look, and as it says here in Brazil: Looking unbootable piece.
    Hugs from Brazil
    Vinicius

  40. mark Says:

    It amazes me what people worry about. Seriously – have you any idea how much porn men watch? I can pretty much guarantee they watch penetrative sex whenever they get the chance. So just to get some perspective, does anyone think they’re masturbating whilst covering the part of the screen with the penis on it with their free hand? Men cum watching other men duck. Any man who is so scared of being judged that he can’t admit to ever seeing a penis, despite getting his kicks looking at one in a woman in private has no right calling himself a man. Get over yourself. All of nature is wonderful and worth a look. And its natural to do so. This isn’t about whether you look or not. You do. Its about whether you can admit it and be honest or not.


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