Koro Syndrome

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The Incredible Shrinking Man is interested in mapping shrink desires that already exist in society. But we shouldn’t close our eyes to the opposite; the fear to shrink.

One of the more curious manifestations of this fear is the Koro Syndrome, the pathological fear that the genitals are shrinking into the body, sometimes unflatteringly called penis panic. Curiously this syndrome not only occurs in individuals but has the tendency to cause mass panic. Koro Syndrome has a long and distinguished history. It is first mentioned in China (known there as ‘suo-yang‘) where it is cited in the ancient Chinese text ‘The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine‘, a traditional medical manuscript which dates from about 300 BC. Similar descriptions appear in Chinese volumes throughout the ages, and the idea exists as a folk belief among some Chinese and Asian peoples today. Minor Koro epidemics have seized localised parts of Asia at various times, including a well documented 1967 outbreak in Singapore. Hospitals became inundated with men worried that their penises were shrinking into their body. Many had resorted to pegs, clamps and even a constant firm grip from concerned family members attempting to prevent the member from vanishing entirely.

If we decide to become smaller, how do we deal with the fear and sensitivities of men about this particular bodypart.

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