7 Things You Believe About The Male Body That Aren't True

'Little men are lightweights' and other famous myths debunked

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1 | "You know what big feet mean, don't you?" 

There is a reason men take a certain pride in having big feet in the way that they don't, say, a big hand or nose. And that's because they know it makes other people think they have a big penis.

Alas, the clown-feeted among us can quit smugly declaring 'I take a 12!' next time we're at the bowling alley: study after study has proven the feet/manhood link to be utter nonsense, this 2002 study of over 100 men from all age ranges by the University College London being just one. 

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2 | "Men hit their sexual peak at 18"


It's a horrible thought: that you're in your sexual prime before you've figured out how to attract potential partners without drinking eight pints of Snakebite and putting on your 'pulling shirt'.

But while it is true that around 18 our testicles are producing testosterone at a rapid rate – that's where all those annoying bi-hourly erections came from – we don't actually reach our maximum testosterone levels until around 30, which is when our sexual desire - and if you've been doing the past twelve years correctly, ability in the sack – exceeds that of our spotty teenage selves. Phew.

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3 | "Big lads can always handle the most booze" 

Pub logic dictates that your mate with a 'big' prefix to his nickname must be the one who can handle a drinking session the best, while the smallest among you is most likely to throw up in the taxi home. Not so.

While it is a fact that the effect of alcohol depends on how much of it there is in your blood - and large men usually have more blood pumping around them than small ones – there are other factors such as food consumption, age and (most importantly) genetics that affect how well you can handle your bevvy. 

4 | "Hair loss comes from your Mother's side" 

Many a young man has quietly scrutinised their Mum's Dad's head for a premonition of their own futures, but unfortunately it isn't that simple.

A key gene for baldness does pass down on the X chromosome but it's far from the only genetic indicator, and the brutal factor of the matter is that having a bald father – or indeed baldness anywhere in your family – means your follicles are likely to face a similar fate.

5 | "Your nose and ears never stop growing" 

This one seems self-evident: take a look around an average old people's home or early morning bus queue and it's beaks and lobes galore. Ergo one of the many indignities of a long life must be that your two most comical facial features never stop growing while everything else about you shrinks.

The truth is actually even more depressing. Cartilage in your ears and nose is elastic, and the things that keep them firm – collagen and elastin fibres – break down with age. So our ears and nose don't grow as we get older, they sag. Something else to look forward to, then.

6 | "Men think about sex every 7 seconds" 

The one you know doesn't apply to you, but makes you secretly wonder if every other man is some kind of sexual tyrannosaur. Rest assured: none of us are thinking about sex every seven seconds, even if you append that with 'on average over a lifetime' (OK, maybe Hugh Hefner).

If you really need stats to back this one up, check out Edward Laumann's 1994 study of sexual practises in the United States which found 43 per cent of men reported thinking about sex only a couple of times a week, which may sound a little low, but has to be a hell of a lot closer to the truth than eight times a minute.

7 | "Shaving makes hair grow back quicker and thicker" 

With the exception of 'just be yourself', it is difficult to think of a line that has given more false hope to generations of teenage boys that the idea you can turn your bum fluff into a beer-securing man beard via a campaign of superfluous shaving.

Scientific American, among many, many other reputable sources, have denied this is true, meaning whatever facial hair you have you are stuck with, we're afraid. 

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