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Living With the Myth of the ‘Big Black Cock’

Five African-American men on navigating the giant stereotype

At some point, every black man has to confront the notion of the BBC, the Big Black Cock. It lurks in TV shows like Insecure and Girls. It’s swung like a club of bravado in songs from Frank Ocean; Tyler, the Creator; and even Jay Z. And it’s ever-present in pop culture — e.g., when Conor McGregor claimed he’s “half black below the waist.”

Also at some point, usually early in our lives, we realize that we didn’t come up with the stereotype — or at least the terminology. When I first heard the term BBC as a teen, it confused me. Shouldn’t it be Big Black Dick? Wasn’t a “cock” a rooster? It obviously didn’t take long for me to learn that “cock” meant “dick,” but over the years, I realized it was only white people who used it that way. “I’ve only heard white people say it, and I cringe every time,” a female friend texts me when I ask her about it for this story — the same answer I receive from the other nine black friends I speak with about the topic.

It’s a difference that inspires a fair amount of Twitter chatter, too.

Of course, since the myth of the BBC finds its roots within the white community, it’s not surprising that a white man’s word would be used to describe it.

That said, it’s a myth that black men embrace when it’s beneficial to us. “I’m gon’ stick around / I’m gon’ let my nuts hang,” go the lyrics to “Futura Free,” the last track on Frank Ocean’s Blonde. “You got some just like me don’t you? / Or maybe not just like me / You know I’m Africano Americano / And even if you’re half Japanese / Roots run deep / Family tree, throw a big shadow.”

The lyrics themselves are a simple nod to the idea that no matter what race it’s mixed with, the large black member reigns supreme. Ocean’s Odd Future-mate Tyler, The Creator makes the same kind of reference on his most recent album Flower Boy. “You a house nigga, so you don’t know / How that shit go with my big lips and my big nose / And my big dick and my short hair,” he rhymes on “I Ain’t Got Time.”

And most recently, in a Season 2 episode of HBO’s dramedy Insecure, the main male character Lawrence comes face-to-face with an idea of the Big Black Dick. After having a threesome with two non-black girls who likely picked him because of this specific myth, he’s expected to bounce back after dropping a load with the first girl to please the second. When he says he needs a moment, he’s made aware that the other black guys the girls had been with had the ability to immediately reload. They quickly discard him to discuss other topics as he lies in bed wrestling with feelings of inadequacy.

Most of this is fiction — TV shows and songs that engage in at least some form of hyperbole to build drama and the subsequent entertainment value. Yet there’s some undeniable truth in there as well. To determine how much is fact and how much is fiction, I talked to five black men about their experiences with the Big Black Cock legend, the advantages that come with everyone in the world thinking they have giant dicks and how women of color perceive this sizable stereotype. (Note: We did allow for anonymity so as to get the most honest answers possible.)

25-Year-Old Bisexual Black Man

I absolutely think there are expectations that black men have to live up to that other men don’t — mainly, to be well-endowed and to provide sex that should have your partner in physical pain the next day. Case in point: One time, I went to a club in the Meatpacking District with some friends. There were five of us, and we were the only black guys I noticed in the club. As I was leaving, this white woman, who was tipsy but not drunk, walked right up to me and said, “You look like you have a big dick, what’s your name?” I laughed. What made it more about race was when a friend of hers screamed, “You always go for black guys!”

It was like, “Whoa, I’m just a piece of meat to you.” The younger me might’ve went for that, but now, I’m good! Sometimes being seen as just a sexual fantasy can be tiring. You want somebody to be into you as a whole, not just the size of your manhood or the kind of sex you’re expected to provide. If I sense any of those vibes — people saying things like, “Is it true what they say about black guys?” — I tend to move on.

It’s also interesting to note that I’ve never experienced this with black men or women.

21-Year-Old Straight Black Man

Whenever a white woman fucks a black dude, they don’t view it as normal sex. Instead, they have the expectation of it being mind-blowing, “I’ll be able to tell my girlfriends about this” porn sex.

White women reveal their intentions of fetishizing black men in the courting process, giving off obvious tells like, “Do you like The Weeknd?” They think they’re being cool, but what they’re really trying to say is, “I want to fuck you because you’re black.” Overall, black men don’t complain about anything so the last thing we’d complain about is getting to fuck, but it happens all the time. Insecure was just the first thing I’ve seen that fully gets the idea across in a relatable way, but also holds black men accountable for letting white women get away with a bunch of shit they have no right getting away with.

For example, a long time ago, I was talking to this white girl at a party about an old Donald Glover bit where he makes a joke about fucking a white girl and her saying, “Fuck me with that nigger dick” and him cumming harder than ever before. At the end of the night, we end up fucking, and she basically says the same thing minus the nigger part. She clearly had this script in her head of what her first time fucking a black guy was going to be like.

The pressure is different with black women. While they don’t have these high, high expectations, if you underperform their expectations, it can be scary because there’s this stereotype of black women being very vocal when it comes to black men’s failures.

27-Year-Old Straight Black Man

One time, my freshman year in college, a young lady made a comment. We were playing a drinking game with some friend, and although I’m like 5-foot-6, she makes this comment, “I bet you still have a big dick.” First of all, that’s weird to say to somebody. Secondly, she’d never been with a black dude so that was just her perception of… whatever.

It was especially weird with her because she had criteria for white men — they had to be at least 6 feet tall. Actually, she had criteria for every other race except for black guys. If you were a black guy, you probably could still get it because she assumed you had a big dick and you were this mythical creature. It’s like the old cartoons from those Jay Z videos with the big lips and stuff. It’s like, “You really think we’re all like this?”

There’s not the same expectation from a black woman because they see you as an equal. Because they’ve been around us for so long, nothing is a surprise or a mystery. For the majority of the black girls I know, it’s about stuff like bills and if you’re going to step out on them. They’ve been around enough black guys to know there’s a variety; it’s not just about your dick size.

34-Year-Old Gay Black Man

I had one experience when I was like 19. I’d met a Latino guy, and he automatically expected me to be this dominant, aggressive, brutal top, which wasn’t me. I could see the disappointment in his face. His response after we hooked up was like, “I thought all black guys were tops and all hung and dominant.” And it’s like, “I’m versatile.”

I’ve been with a few black guys, and we’re not all hung — a majority maybe, but not all of us. And sex-wise, my personality is just based off the chemistry and my mood.

At the time, I was confused because I was so young. I’d only been out for three or four years. But it made me really aware of how people view black men. They think we’re all thugs, we all have great bodies, or we’re all dominant. These days, the minute I see something like “looking for BBC” on a profile or it’s said to me at a bar, I end the conversation. It’s an immediate turn-off. I have white guys who come up to me, too, asking if they could be my slave or vice versa; I’m always like, “No!”

30-Year-Old Straight Black Man

Black men are painted in a certain light sexually by society just like every other race, culture and subculture. There’s enough history, media and porn to comfortably identify what those stereotypes are. And like everyone else’s stereotype, sometimes it works to our advantage and sometimes it doesn’t. That’s at least been my experience. It’s sort of like Lawrence’s threesome scene in Insecure: Being oversexualized got him into the threesome, but it also was the source of the two women’s disappointment when he came quicker than they’d hoped.

As for myself, I don’t particularly look like the “big black buck” that black men are portrayed as. However, if you pay attention, you can identify when and where you might be sought after because of that stereotype. Probably in most, if not all of the instances when I’ve slept with women of a different race — not just white — I could identify moments where they might’ve desired me in the hopes that I possessed some of the stereotypical traits of a sexualized black man.

Their biggest tell: They were a little too eager to tell me I was the first black guy they’d slept with.