Metro column 20

Richard Herring: Men can't admit they feel ashamed about their genitalia
Comedian Richard Herring addresses one of the most important questions of the age: what are men actually for these days?

With the Edinburgh Fringe little more than a month away, I am working away on this yearÂ’s show, Talking Cock, an examination of man and his manhood.

I spend all day reading about willies, thinking about willies and talking about willies. ItÂ’s driving me insane. IÂ’m beginning to wish IÂ’d done a show about really big tits instead.

Notice how I feel the need to assert my heterosexual masculinity there, because for men, even discussing your own equipment in anything but a jocular fashion is unmanly.

And confessing that you might have a problem down there, well, you might as well put on a dress, pick up a parasol and parade along the promenade blowing kisses to the ice cream man.

Men canÂ’t admit they feel ashamed about their genitalia, worried about their sexual performance or concerned they might not be able to get an erection, because being a man is all about having a knob the size of a babyÂ’s arm that can get erect at the drop of a hat.

When I was a teenager that wasn’t a problem. If someone dropped a hat – BANG. Instantaneously priapic. Sometimes just a hat on its own would be enough: perhaps precariously perched on the edge of a table. It might drop at any moment. It was the anticipation that was half the fun.

Now I am nearly 45 and I need hundreds of hats. Each more depraved and disgusting than the last.

But IÂ’ve stumbled across a way to get men to open up about their placenta pokers.

IÂ’ve set up an anonymous internet questionnaire and the insecurities of mankind are being revealed.

You’d be amazed how fragile we are behind our macho façade, ladies. Which is why this is a show for women just as much as men.

I donÂ’t want to turn it into a competition. IÂ’m not saying the penis is better than the vagina. Because if IÂ’m honest with you, I prefer the vagina. I think itÂ’s great. (IÂ’d go as far as saying that the vagina is my all time third favourite bodily orifice.
I just really love both earholes. What were you thinking?)
So thereÂ’s also a questionnaire for women.

We have this idea that men are more promiscuous than women and my survey seems to bear that out.

When asked how many sexual partners theyÂ’d had, heterosexual women averaged about ten, while heterosexual men claimed to be closer to 20.

Odd that. Because if you think about it, heterosexual men and heterosexual women must have had exactly the same number of partners on average – there is always one of each of us at every encounter.

Either women and men are equally promiscuous or thereÂ’s one super-friendly woman out there servicing the entire male population.

Our desire to conform to gender stereotypes is so ingrained that men add a few notches to their bed-post while women conveniently sand off a few of theirs. People lie even on an anonymous questionnaire.

ItÂ’s clear to me that males are in crisis. We donÂ’t know what our role is in this modern world.

Machines mean our brute strength is not required for industry, computers save us from being cannon fodder in wars and science is approaching a point where men arenÂ’t even needed for reproduction.

Will we live in a future where men exist only as sperm donors? Where women will keep us chained up in dungeons and milk us like aphids? Like most men, I bloody hope so.

Richard HerringÂ’s Talking Cock: The Second Coming will be debuting at the Edinburgh Fringe in August.

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