Writing in 1704, English surgeon John Marten claimed that the “bigness of a man’s yard” seldom causes problems – “it very rarely happens that any woman complains of it”. Marten did report one case of marital sexual incompatibility, allegedly brought on by the husband’s excessively large penis:
“I knew a very lusty man that married a very small woman, and by means of yard being of almost the longest size, his wife could not suffer him… without a great deal of pain…”
The unhappy couple had been married for four years without painless intercourse or conception. They had consulted other physicians, who prescribed “styptic and astringent fomentations” to reduce the size of the offending organ, but these treatments had failed. After examining both, Marten concluded that:
“…’twas the length of it that did the mischief… To remedy it I advised him… to make a hole through a piece of cork, lined with cotton on both sides, of about an inch-and-a-half in thickness, and put his yard through the hole, fastening the cork with strings round his waste (sic).”
According to Marten, his device worked perfectly: the couple reported a greatly improved sex life and conceived a child soon after. In 1709, five years after the publication of his book, Marten was prosecuted for producing obscene literature and trying to “corrupt the subjects of Our Lady the Queen”. The charges against him were dismissed.