There’s a tired old trope that men who drive sports cars are compensating for being less than well-endowed. Much like guns, MMA, and monster trucks, sports cars are sometimes viewed as things guys get into because they are lacking self-esteem in regard to their manhoods. Fair or unfair, the stereotype exists.
A group of psychologists conducted a study to answer the question if there’s a connection to a lack of trouser power and excessive horsepower. They concluded that, yes, there is a link between having a small penis and liking fast sports cars. While this claim has generated dozens of sarcastic headlines, is the study legitimate or just clickbait junk science?
An Experiment In Auto Exotica
Lamborghini Huracán O.CT800 Supercharged by O.CT Tuning
The Department of Experimental Psychology at the University College of London has published a study titled “Small Penises and Fast Cars: Evidence for a Psychological Link.” They conducted an online experiment with 200 English-speaking males aged 18-74, in which the participants were tricked into taking a survey on memory retention while shopping.
The participants were given “facts” that they were told they would need to remember later, and sometimes that information was a vast overestimation of the average penis size. The point of that was to make the men in the study think their own was below average size. After that, the participants were shown pictures of luxury goods, including exotic sports cars, and asked to rate how much they desired those items.
The results were said to show that the men who were made to think they had small penises wanted the sports cars more than the men who weren’t deceived. The authors of the study claim this is definitive proof that “a man driving an expensive sports car is compensating for his male inadequacy.”
Is It Science Fiction Or Science Fact?
Front three-quarters shot of a Ferrari SF90 by Novitec
It should be noted that this study was not peer-reviewed, so it is not yet considered definitive proof or settled science. Besides that, there are a number of reasons to doubt the methodology, and the first is that 200 participants are far too small (pun intended) of a sample size to draw any sort of conclusion. Also, the men in the study were lied to in order to manipulate a response.
The study purports to show that men who drive fast sports cars have small penises, but there’s no indication that anyone who participated owns or has driven such a vehicle. None of the men in the study were physically examined either, so at best, what the study shows is that guys who were deceived into thinking they’re small enjoy pictures of hot sports cars.
The only way to make a conclusion like the one in the study valid is with a completely, and likely impossible, new experiment. If they could find a thousand or so Lamborghini and Ferrari owners who would be willing to let scientists take a tape measure to their trousers, they would have reliable data to work with. The chances of that happening, however are somewhere between slim and none.
Women Like Fast Cars Too
Another issue with the study is that it doesn’t clearly define what a “fast sports car” is, but it also ignored the fact that men aren’t the only sex who enjoy these types of vehicles.
Former Myth Busters cast member Jessie Combs set the four-wheel land speed record in a jet-powered race car before her untimely death. Danica Patrick was the first woman to win pole position at the Daytona 500 and the only woman to ever win an IndyCar Series race. Pop diva Lady Gaga owns a Lamborghini Huracán.
If the hypothesis is that men like fast sports cars because they are compensating, other factors for being attracted to speed have to be considered as well. It also can’t be discounted that not everyone who enjoys these vehicles is a man.
Boys Being Boys Is Not Science
The exotics roll in at the 2022 Supercar Show of Sonoma
There may actually be a link between men compensating for having a small penis and owning an expensive sports car, but this UCL study doesn’t prove it. They conducted an online survey with a small group of participants, who were never physically examined or shown to own or drive a vehicle that the authors couldn’t define.
The study sought to find a link between “small penises and fast cars,” then showed that men who may or may not have small penises like pictures of sports cars, and concluded that men who drive fast cars have small penises. Those are three different things, none of which is supported by the data of the study.
Some guys love a spinning roundhouse kick knockout, watching someone jump a motorcycle through a flaming hoop over a tank full of hungry sharks, and awesome cars with obscene amounts of speed. That’s called boys being boys, not some deep psychological issue.