Koro: When a Country has to Run PSAs to Tell its Citizens “Your Penis is NOT Shrinking!”

koro shrinking penisOver my eight years here at PEGym, I’ve read some pretty strange things. In fact, I can honestly say most penis-related facts now don’t shock me.  Yup, I’m penis-desensitized. 🙂 But, every once in awhile, I read something that makes me go, “Really?!?!”

This is one of those times.

Body dysmorphia – an inaccurate mental image of one’s own physical being – is a pretty common thing in the male enhancement world. There are a high percentage of men who look down at their friend and, despite rulers and statistics proving the contrary, feel that they’re inadequate. However, in China (most often China), there’s an odd phenomenon that takes this to a new level — Koro.

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Koro—The Psychological Disappearance of the PenisAlso known as “penis panic”, Koro is an odd psychological disorder where the man thinks his penis is shrinking, to the point that he is fearful it will actually disappear and it may even result in his death. What’s odder still is this phenomenon isn’t just an individual, but it has historically been a mass phenomenon, with whole groups of men in a community thinking it’s happening to them.

Think Salem witch trials and the rash of witch possession.

Koro has been most prevalent in the lower Yangtze Valley in southern China, with reports dating back to the late 19th century. A year-long outbreak, in the 1980s, had public health officials implementing a marketing campaign, including public service announcements telling men – Your penises are not shrinking! Similarly, an rash of Koro in Singapore, in 1967, saw similar PSAs being produced, trying to quell the panic of men in the area.

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In China Koro is usually thought to be brought to a community by female fox spirits, in Singapore and Thailand by mass poisoning, and in Africa by sorcery. According to the Journal of Sexual Medicine, in the late Middle Ages in Europe, a man could lose his membrum virile through magical attacks by witches. However, research has shown that it is more often a symptom of socioeconomic or political tensions than any otherworldly curse.

In addition to mental health campaigns, Traditional Chinese medicine treats Koro with a variety of herbal remedies. These include animal penises (you are what you eat?), ginger soup, pepper soup, and the cure-all treatment that knows no cultural divide – alcohol.

The one thing this psychological phenomenon reiterates is the power of the media, even in its most archaic form of word-of-mouth story sharing, has on people.


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