Boffins at King's College London are looking for gents in committed relationships who don't mind slipping a variety of rings over their old fellas to measure the relationship between satisfaction and depth of penetration during sexual intercourse.
The research effort is erupting out the uni's Institute of Psychiatry, and is officially dubbed Am I Normal? Investigating the Relationship between Penis Length and Sexual Satisfaction.
The university's intranet is currently carrying a recruitment blurb advising potential members of the study that is has the full approval of the Psychiatry, Nursing and Midwifery Research Ethics Committee.
Specifically, they are aiming to recruit heterosexual couples that "have been in a relationship for more than six months and who have intercourse at least twice a week".
The blurb goes on to add that "couples will be required to have intercourse whilst using a penile ring which limits the depth of penetration" as well as complete a detailed questionnaire after every encounter. We assume this ring-enhanced intercourse and interview process is only required once they're on the study, and not as part of the application process.
Anyone throwing their hat into the ring will be pleased to know that they're allowed to withdraw at any time.
However, if their application moves forward, they will be required to meet investigators, and discuss "intimate sexual topics". Once accepted, the male members will have to measure their penis girth, before being issued with their ring.
"There are multiple rings," the ad continues, "and the investigators will inform the male partner when to swap the ring." Again, we assume this doesn't actually mean researchers will be alongside the research subjects during intercourse – or that there is only one ring of each size to be shared among the entire research pool.
Puzzlingly, "the maximum sexual encounters required for the research project are 20, but we expect most couples to finish in six weeks presuming intercourse twice per week."
The academics behind this ground-breaking if not in-depth research include Professor David Veale, the brains behind previous studies to divine the average male penis size, and the effect of penis size on male shame. ®
Talk of penis rings in The Reg office inevitably lapsed into ruminations on the Lord of the Rings, and why the elves only got three rings. The consensus is that being immortal, elves rarely have sex, otherwise there'd be elves all over the bloody shop.
If it sounds like we're taking the mickey, we're not. We're for any scientific research that will help couples pursue happier, more fulfilling relationships. Although we still think the elves should exercise some self-restraint.