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Teasing in school locker rooms regarding penile appearance.

PURPOSE: Parents of young boys seeking circumcision or circumcision revision commonly cite concern that their sons may be teased in middle or high school due to the appearance of the penis. There are no current data to substantiate or refute the likelihood of such teasing. We explored the validity of this concern by investigating the extent and frequency of teasing regarding penile appearance.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: An anonymous questionnaire was administered to undergraduate men at the University of Iowa. Participants answered questions regarding middle and high school demographics, school sports and gym class participation, and any teasing experienced or witnessed due to penile appearance in locker rooms.

RESULTS: A total of 290 men completed the questionnaire. Mean subject age was 19.2 years (range 17 to 24). Of the individuals surveyed 98% were required to participate in high school gym class and 96% participated in a school sport. Of the subjects 10% were teased about their penile appearance and 47% reported witnessing someone else being teased. The most common characteristic singled out was penile size. However, having an uncircumcised penis or a "strange" penile appearance accounted for 33% of the witnessed penile teasing. Only 3% of the cohort wished that they had a different penile appearance.

CONCLUSIONS: Teasing in the locker room about penile appearance occurs frequently. While our study is limited to 1 Midwestern university population, it appears that parental concerns regarding teasing related to penile appearance are valid, although most causes of teasing may not be alleviated by surgical therapy.

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