A shortage of male university student is leading to men developing the so-called “Golden Penis Syndrome” where they see themselves as a prize that can be won by female suitors. 

The term, which was first used by students at Sarah Lawrence College, New York, was popularised by Jon Birger (American journalist). It refers to heterosexual males who have aninflated ego due the amount of interest shown by their female peers. 

Men believe that this interest is due to their inherent desire. This leads to an increased sense of self and a tendency towards becoming ‘accidental casanovas’ with bad habits such as cheating and ‘ghosting’ women in casual flings. 

They may also be unable to socialize and have sex with others because they don’t need to improve themselves to meet their female peers.  

In reality, however, this increased interest is due to a dearth of viable options for women who want to settle down.

57% of all UK higher education students are women. The proportion is higher in the US, where women account for 59.5 per cent of all college students. 

This imbalance continues to the workplace where there are more women who have received a college or university degree than men. 

Coined by students at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where only a quarter of the student population is male, 'golden penis syndrome' applies to male students who consider themselves to be prize - purely because there is a 'man deficit' among the student population. Stock image

Students at Sarah Lawrence College in New York invented the term “golden penis syndrome” for male students who believe themselves to be prize. This is due to a’man shortage’ among the student body. Stock image

Charisse Cooke, a relationship therapist, told FEMAIL that the ‘Golden Penis Syndrome’ refers to the delusional belief you are exceptionally and uniquely gifted as an individual man, sexually or not, and is above established norms of good manners and respect.

It can lead to a grandiose and self-regarding behavior as well as an exaggerated sense of power over the sex. These men can confuse women, but they can also lure them in with their self-beliefs and apparent promise.  

“But, the women are left disappointed after a cursory or nonexistent date experience and sub-par sexual performances.

“Often the only member of the group, their reputation is a mixture of Peter Pan to be pitied and accidental Casanova.  

Birger, an award winning journalist, visited US colleges to publish Date-onomics. He found that universities with a large female population produced men who believed they were blessed with the golden penis.

How Date-onomics exposed ‘golden penis syndrome’ in US colleges across the country

This topic was one of the reasons I used American college campuses as case studies in my first book Date-onomics. I compared college dating cultures that are disproportionately male (CalTech. Georgia Tech. University of Colorado). Schools that are disproportionately male (New York University), Boston University, Sarah Lawrence College etc..

I used the College Prowler college guides and Niche.com to get a feel for how students view dating at their schools. Both were written by former students of the schools being reviewed.

Here’s how College Prowler described dating at Sarah Lawrence College, which has a 75:25 ratio — or 3 women for every 1 guy: ‘The girls complain about loneliness, the guys get more than they can handle (and don’t complain about it), and mindless, one-night stands are rampant.’

Here’s a comparison: College Prowler describes CalTech’s dating scene, which is 60% male. Breakups are rare and many couples marry after CalTech.

I visited CalTech and Sarah Lawrence while working on Date-onomics and arranged interviews for students. I was there one week after Valentine’s Day. So I asked one interviewee what Valentine’s Day is like at CalTech.

He got very excited, and explained to me how Lloyd House, his dorm room, had a longstanding Valentine’s Day custom.

I asked him, “What is it?” I asked him.

He said that all the men make handcrafted Valentines for the women — and then wake up at the crack of dawn on Valentine’s Day morning to cook the women pancakes.

Sarah Lawrence’s stories were much less charming.

A freshman woman explained to me that she had lost all hope of finding a boyfriend. She explained that straight Sarah Lawrence men do not want relationships.

“Why would they?” she asked. She told me. She said, “It’s as if they have their own free Harem. After a short time of hooking up, one of my friends was dumped. When he broke up with her, the guy actually used the word ‘market’ — like the ‘market’ for him was just too good.’

Something else I learned from my Sarah Lawrence interviews was this term you’re writing about — ‘Golden Cock Syndrome’ or ‘Golden Penis Syndrome’ (I heard both) — was part of the campus vernacular. In fact, I believe it was invented by Sarah Lawrence students.

The Sarah Lawrence children described Golden Penis Syndrome, which was a phenomenon where men allow their excessive success with women to get to their heads, as the Sarah Lawrence kids. It was all about the men at Sarah Lawrence, and not the ratio. They believed they were special and deserving all the attention from women.

They believed they had the golden penis.

The term was first coined at Sarah Lawrence College where only a quarter of the student population is male. 

However, the problem is also present for the UK. 

‘Golden Penis Syndrome definitely exists in the UK because I’ve interviewed plenty of UK women who shared horror stories of average guys who treat them like garbage simply because the men had options,’ explained Jon, a former Fortune Magazine writer turned dating expert who is the author of the new book MAKE YOUR MOVE.

“We are seeing a generation of young men who think that they’re Adam Driver and Michael B. Jordan. It’s not all about them. It’s about the ratio. 

Birger argues that ‘hookup culture’ among college students “trickles down to post-college dating” and that lopsided ratios are a driving force behind both ‘hookup culture’ and declining marriage rates among university educated.

“Officially, university sex ratios wouldn’t matter so much (which I think it should) if we were more open-minded about who we marry and when we get married. 

“But while university sex ratios have been increasing in favor of females, there has been an increase in what academics refer to as “assortative mating”. This is a fancy way for college grads to only want to date and marry other graduates.

“There has been a lot research on the effects of sex ratios on culture. What it shows is that dating culture tends towards monogamy when there is too much male oversupply. 

‘But when men are in undersupply, the dating culture becomes less monogamous — men are more likely to treat women as sex objects and treat relationships as disposable.’ 

He suggests that the shift in attitude might be subconscious for men. He also said that it’s “human nature” to get carried away when receiving excessive attention. 

‘If a man is getting a lot more attention from women than he deserves, he will believe he is worthy of all that attention. It’s human nature. Some women feel special when they get a lot attention from men. 

He believes that this phenomenon is more common in workplaces with a higher male to female ratio.  

“Because of how math works, Golden Penis Syndrome most likely affects men in their 30s or 40s more than people in their 20s. At least, the heterosexual ones. Imagine a dating pool with 40 women and 30 guys. This is a 4 to 3 ratio. 

‘Once half of the women get married — once 20 of the women get married to 20 of the men — the dating pool among the remaining singles becomes 20 women and 10 men — a 2:1 ratio. This is why there are so many amazing women in their 30s and 40s that can’t seem to find a decent man. 

He says that older women seeking a husband should avoid men who have never married into their late 30s and 40s who have high-paid – even dubbing some of them ‘unmarriageable’. 

‘I don’t assume everyone wants to get married or should get married’, he said. “But, if I were a heterosexual female looking to get married I would be wary about men who have never been married past their late thirties or 40s. 

Especially the ones who are more attractive and have better jobs. These men have too much fun playing on the field. They are less interested in getting married or living with a woman for a long time. I’d go so far to call a lot of them unmarriageable.

‘It’s one reason why, in Make Your Move, I encourage 30-something women to consider dipping down age-wise. It may sound counter-intuitive, but I actually think the younger guys are more commitment-minded than a lot of the older ones. ‘ 

Jon said that although men can develop “Golden Penis Syndrome”, it is something that can be overcome in later life. 

He also shared his advice for young students who were afraid to date men with inflated egos.  

“One solution to the college gender gap, which I write about in MAKE YOU MOVE, is encouraging women to be assertive and make the first move with the men they choose,” says MAKE YOUR MOVE. Men like women who are like them. A man is less likely to exploit a woman who says, “Hey, you really like me, I feel really comfortable around your so I was wondering if I could go out on Friday with you.”

‘When it comes to dating, the more you put yourself out there, the more you’ll get back. ‘