Why You Should Stop Worrying
About Your Penis Size and Learn
How to Use It Instead
By Boston Medical Group | April 5, 2019 | 10 Min Read
“Am I normal?” is the title of the systematic review and study from the British Journal of Urology International (BJUI) about the average penis size for men around the world. It is considered one of the most comprehensive studies on the matter to ever be published. The report made a splash when it first hit the web, popping up in several top news and lifestyle sites.
The title gets to the heart of what really troubles every single man who
types those keywords on their browser’s search engine, looking for a
general answer to very personal question: what’s the average penis
size and do I have it?
There’s no shame in being curious or wanting to know more about
your body. On the contrary, it’s good you’re not just out there worrying
needlessly. You want to put any doubts to rest. The problem comes
when you’re worrying too much, despite your partner and others
telling you there’s nothing to worry about.
You’re here reading this article because you want answers, so we’ll give you those. But we don’t want to just throw numbers at you, as that only tells us part of the story. You need context about this and a whole lot of facts about what really matters when it comes to penis size.
1. What’s The Average Penis Size?
Let’s first get this out of the way. BJUI’s systematic review cobbled together 20 studies about penis sizes from different countries, and is a collaboration between King’s College London and the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS).
This worldwide review of studies found that, on average, a flaccid penis is 3.61 inches in length when flaccid and 5.16 inches in length when erect. Girth is 3.66 inches when flaccid and 4.59 inches when erect.
That should be enough for any man, but of course, you’ll have questions and wonder if your potential partners or fellow men out there know this too, and aren’t going to judge you for your perfectly average or possibly even above average penis.
Ironically, it’s usually women who know more about average penis sizes than men do, since they tend to actually see them and see more of them. They are also the ones to be affected more about sizes. Which is why “only 6% of women rate their partner’s penis size as small and 84% say they’re very satisfied with their lover’s size. In contrast, only 55% of men report a similar level of satisfaction with their own size,” says Toronto-based sexologist (PhD) and author Dr. Jess O’Reilly, and as this Bustle compilation from Amanda Chatel about women’s opinions on penis size proves, it is about how you use your penis, not so much size (and too big is a genuine problem for many women).
Not as big as you think
According to one study from 2013, the average penile length in the United States is 5.57 inches (14.15 cm) erect and a mean erect penile circumference of 4.81 inches (12.23 cm). Those numbers are a bit larger than the ones from the BJUI report, likely because the measurements were self-reported, i.e., the participating men themselves gave the measurements. It gives the study less credible than others, although the researchers defend their study by adding that their results were consistent with other research about penis sizes.
The study tried to convince men to report accurately because the size they gave to researchers was the one to be used for some condoms they were going to be sent later on, but that still puts into question the reliability of the study itself.
Self-reported measurements are stillaccepted because there are issues with measurements carried out on volunteers by others. “The concern with the self-report method is that guys will lie or exaggerate, while the concern with the clinical measurement studies is that only more well-endowed men will opt to participate” says Dr. Justin Lehmiller, Founder and Editor of Sex and Psychology.
Nevertheless, many of the studies that travel around the internet in search of views and clicks are based on the self-reported method, which is why the BJUI report is so valuable. And because of that, we’ll stick to the global average of 5.16 inches long given by the report.
What is the average size by state?
Average size in all of America is just 5.57 inches, despite what some states might claim. Most studies are done through indirect methods (like measuring condom sizes ordered by mail), so it’s hard to take some of these studies seriously.
One experiment carried out by a male sexuality clinic found that the three states with the largest self-reported sizes were Alabama with 7.44 inches, Louisiana at 7.15, and West Virginia with 7.00. The rest of the states, starting with Vermont at 6.98, all came in below 7 inches. Most averaged above 6, with only eight states averaging below. Those were Delaware (5.22), New Mexico (5.36), Maryland (5.50), Georgia (5.69), and Rhode Island (5.83).
Big caveat about this: All sizes are self-reported, which might be why the sizes come in at least an inch above what the BJUI study shows.
What is the average size by race or ethnicity?
It’s always dangerous of mixing race or ethnicity with any topic, because we should be wary of spreading stereotypes, even if we think they’re harmless or “good” for one race or another. The subject of penis sizes is no different.
Let’s get this out of the way quickly: The BJUI review couldn’t find credible evidence of differences between races on average penis sizes.
The study states “it is not possible from the present meta-analysis to draw any conclusions about any differences in penile size across races,” no matter what popular myths or anecdotal “evidence” says.
The main problem with current data about penile sizes around the world and differences between ethnicities is that there isn’t one single and comprehensive study that measures length and girth with the same methods across races, ethnicities, or even countries. But so far, there’s no evidence any single “race” is more endowed than others by any significant margin.
We have to remember that guys can be generous when measuring themselves and will perform the measurements inconsistently. Then there’s the issue of participant selection effects—are men of a larger size more inclined to participate in such studies? says Dr. Justin Lehmiller, Founder and Editor of Sex and Psychology, and that’s consistent with men around the world and in any country.
2. How Do You Measure Your Penis?
Measuring penises is both easy and complicated for several reasons. While the BJUI study is one of the most recent, the researchers add that, like all other studies, the participants in them might not represent the real diversity of penises in the world. A lot of these studies are made mostly in Europe and North America, although there are several from other countries.
But in any country, researchers are always afraid about the possibility that the only men that agree to have their penises measured are those confident in their size in the first place. Nevertheless, most studies try to get a varied set of volunteers and measure everybody in a standardized way.
And by using a disposable tape measurer. The authors of the study recommend a disposible tape measurer for higenic purposes, as most erect penis have to be stimulated by the participants when watching pornography or after recieving a prostaglandin injection.
How they measure length and girth?
Length is simply the measure of the penis from its root to the tip (glans, without the foreskin), while girth is the measurement of the circumference of the penis at the base or the middle. And all credible and trusted studies carry out the measurements by a professional health practitioner working for the studies, because men will likely lie about their size if the measuring is left to them.
As we mentioned before, the BJUI International study is one of the most comprehensive ever, and they also made it clear what they didn’t measure: men with congenital or acquired abnormalities, erectile dysfunction or wanted to get a penis enlargement of any type. Oh, and creepily, no cadavers either.
Another unknown factor in measuring erect penises is the question about how the penis gets erect. Does it matter? Anecdotally, many men report getting better erections depending on what are they being aroused by, but this has not been explored nearly enough in studies in order to draw even a hypothesis.
Does your penis shrink as you get fatter or older?
Reliable studies about average penis sizes are rare, and much rarer still are longitudinal ones that take into account the effects of weight gained or lost, and age.
There’s one study from Saudi Arabia that tries to answer the question by simply measuring the penis sizes of men with different body-mass index (BMI) —which measures obesity—, and those of different ages.
When it came to the sizes between men with different BMI, there was a weak correlation between shorter erect penile length and greater BMI. This meant that, yes, some men lost length in their penises after gaining some weight, but this wasn’t true when measuring from the bone to the tip. So that extra skin after gaining weight did hide parts of the penis .
You could go for a liposuction if you don’t want to work off all that weight, but the best solution is always to change your habits and get slimmer. That’s the best option for everything, honestly.
“For every 30-50lbs of excess weight you will likely lose
around an inch of visible penis. lose weight” – ManVFat
And as for the effects of age on your penis size, there was even less correlation. Men between the ages of 70 and 20 had less than a centimeter (.39 in) of a difference in their length.
Myths about penis sizes
Insecurity and curiosity about your own penis size comes from constant comparisons to those of other men. But few men actually get to see the penises of their peers, so the next best thing is to look for “clues” that might tell us just how hung or not another guy is.
Are big feet indicative of a large package between a man’s legs? Are small hands telling us a man has a tiny penis? Do tall men have larger ones?
Short answer to those questions: No, no, and… maybe.
The BJUI review of studies found that, on average, there
was a weak correlation between height and penis size,
although nothing definitive could be concluded by the
studies that were found about the issue. One study found
flaccid length to be moderately significantly correlated with
height, while three others found weak correlations.
In any case, the difference between a tall man’s average penis and a short man’s average penis are relatively insignificant, and not worth any effort into equating tall men with large penises. Most of the time, you’ll end up with an average penis. So all men below the average of 5.8 feet in height shouldn’t worry at all about being compared to their taller brethren.
“There are so many things in life us guys can’t control,
like our height. Don’t waste time and mental energy
dwelling on this stuff. Instead, focus on improving what
you can control, like your style, grooming and social skills.
This is how you build confidence, which improves every area
of your life, including the bedroom.”
Brock McGoff – Founder of The Modest Man.
Showers vs. growers
Like we mentioned before, an optimal erect penis should be around 5 to 6 inches in length, and about 3.5 inches in girth in order to function properly, but there’s an urban legend about showers and growers. Supposedly you either have a relatively small flaccid penis, which gets bigger when it becomes erect, or you have a relatively large flaccid penis, which also gets bigger when it becomes erect.
That said, there are some medical conditions or disorders that can affect the elasticity of a penis, which can result in something akin to the “shower” effect. Erectile dysfunction, for instance, can reduce the strength of your erections, thereby making your erection not as large as it might otherwise be.
In this way, who suffer from erectile dysfunction aren’t just missing out from the joys of sex, but also from seeing the full size of their penis. Getting professional treatment for erectile dysfunction will also help them see much better growth when erect, and so enlarge their penis size, in a way.
“There’s really no such thing as a “shower,” When men
get erections, their penises get bigger. That’s true
across the board, regardless of how big or small
you are flaccid.”
Meagan Drillinger – Men’s Health
3. How Small is a Small Penis?
Terms like “small” and “large” are —of course— relative. A “large” soda at a McDonald’s in France is tiny compared to a “large” one in the U.S., for example, where the size is usually considered “medium”.
So, these are the things to take into consideration before applying terms like “small” and “large” to your body parts. It’s better to think about it as “above” and “below” average, or if you insist, smaller than average, and larger than the average, which is less than those 5.17 inches length and less than 3.67 inches girth, while erect.
But how smaller than average should you be before you’re going to stand out? Almost 90 percent of men have penises that are between 4 and 6 inches when erect, leaving out the really small or really large penises in that leftover 10 percent. If you’re smaller than 4 inches, then you might indeed have a relatively small penis.
“At the end of the day, there’s much more to satisfying
relationships and sexual confidence than this
one simple measure.”
Dr. ED / Zava (UK’s online medical service)
What to do with a smaller than average penis?
A smaller than average penis can work perfectly well for most women and men. We write about this more later on, but you should know that most women need more than just penetration in order to achieve an orgasm during sex, and so a small penis isn’t much of a detriment to a healthy sex life between couples.
“Swivel and screw” is the most popular one for men with smaller penises, along with the “spins on doggy style.” Girl on top is another good one, even if some men might have problems due to their ego. All sex positions for small penises are made so that the penis comes into contact more easily with the clitoris, which is the key part of any sex position with women.
ELEVATE YOUR GAME (TOYS, ETC.)
“if you’re genuinely concerned that your penile
shortcomings are leading to a less than pleasant sexual
experience for your partners, there are products you can
procure that can change all that in a flash.”
Aly Walansky for AskMen
The strap-on: This might sound weird, but one option is a brief harness usually reserved for lesbian women having sex. It’s essentially a dildo strapped to a piece of underwear, that can ensure a deep penetration.
Massagers or silicone vibrator rings: Some toys, like silicone rigns or compact vibrators, can go on a man’s small or micropenis, and help a woman achieve orgasm by stimulating her clitoris through a small vibrator attached to the toy.
A micropenis is any penis smaller than 2.05 inches while flaccid, and 3.35 inches stretched or erect, although some researchers consider less than 3 inches erect as the micropenis threshold.
Having a micropenis is considered the only legitimate medical reason why men can opt for penis enlargement surgery, in order to improve its function if that’s the problem with it. A lot of men with micropenises might not care, afterall.
While there are some medical procedures available for this condition. The usual treatment for a micropenis is phalloplasty, which involves cutting the ligament that joins the penis to the pelvic area. The average length increase is 0.8 inches (2cm), but only 35% of people who get the treatment are happy afterwards. For most men, acceptance is probably their best option.
Super Size Me (penis enlargement)
Before considering any penis enlargement surgery, don’t forget about this crucial fact: There are no definitive solutions to any penis size problems.
“A man must use his entire body, as well as his mind,
to help his partner reach orgasm. Be a bigger man – but
in the right way!”
Patrick Banks, dating coach and
head writer for Wingman Magazine.
4. How Big is a Large Penis?
The easy answer is, again, larger than the average wherever you’re from, but even so, what’s larger than normal? What is normal? If by “normal” we mean the average, we’ve already established that’s about 5 inches when erect, so anything more than that should be considered larger than normal.
But if you’re one of the lucky ones with an undoubtedly large penis, meaning a good inch or two more than the 5 inch average, you should be aware that there is such a thing as “too big” for many women, because by the end of the day, if you’re going to use your penis for penetration, the person on the receiving end has to feel pleasure as well and can only do so if everything fits and doesn’t hurt.
How porn has distorted our penises
Like with most of modern sexuality, porn distorts our perception of what is a “normal” penis and what’s desirable when it comes to the moment of intercourse and sex overall.
Bigger hasn’t always meant better. In fact, for most of history a small penis was preferred aesthetically to a large penis, as anyone can tell by looking at statues of naked men from Ancient Greece. This was because genitals were mostly seen as tools for reproduction, so the scrotum got most of the attention in that regard, while a penis was only a way to introduce the sperm into the womb. So, at least aesthetically, the less the penis got in the way, the better.
Bigger penises started to matter more with the advent of photography, which then lead to pornography as we know it today. With pornography growing in importance, having a bigger penis (along with bigger breast in the case of women) became more attractive and something to covet, as pornography is pure visual stimulation.
Men also masturbated more now, so having more to stroke also became an important psychological factor. While we’re talking about body dysmorphia, it’s also worth mentioning here that male pornstars are chosen for their specific talents. So what you might witness on the NSFW corners of the internet, it’s not a reflection of the average man. But you knew that already, didn’t you?
“Men, at least heterosexual ones, may be worrying
that there are lots of 10-inch penises out there. Actually,
you’d fall into the top 5 percent if your penis is 6.3 inches
when erect. Porn stars get the job because their
penis size is rare”
Temma Ehrenfeld for PsychologyToday
What is considered big? or too big?
Like stated before, “too big” is likely more than 7 inches for any woman. Anything more than 7 —and it’s likely that’s already too much to plenty of women— will cause pain and even some damage to the cervix. If it’s too wide, it risk literally tearing a woman’s vagina apart and causing extreme pain. Tread carefully.
Girth-wise, average is also best for vaginal sex. Anything more than the 4.59 average is pushing it (literally) and might not be that comfortable for most women, although there are exceptions to the rule of “average is best” of course, just like for men.
What to do with a large penis
We can write an entire article about what women want when it comes to sex, but suffice it to say that it’s not all just about penetration for most women. Most women derive sexual pleasure from stimulation of the clitoris and the top part of the vigina or cervix.
It’s only the first 2 to 3 inches inside the vaginal canal that really give off most of the pleasure, plus any other parts of the body that are arousing, depending on the person. Men with larger penises need to take this into account and be careful when penetrating, asking their partners if anything hurts or if there’s anything else you can do for them.
5. What Do Women Think About Penis Sizes?
When it comes to what women think about most penis size, a vast majority (84%) think their partner’s penis is fine, according to a study from UCLA and Cal State LA. Only about 14% of women wished their partner’s penis was larger, and 2% actually wanted a smaller one.
More illuminating, is the fact that women feel more satisfied than men about the size of penises. In almost every circumstance, men rated their penises as smaller than what a women would rate it.
In this day and age of conversations about masculinity and a man’s role in the world, family and in a relationship, these questions about a key component of the male identity are understandable.
For a lot of men, their penis size is a determining factor in how to feel about themselves as the male component in any healthy relationship. And being in a healthy relationship is itself a key component in being a happy person. So, “am I normal” is a question many men have as a consequence of this.
“Being with a well endowed man isn’t always
the joyride a woman thinks it’s going to be.”
Natasha Ivanovic for LovePanky
Should I be happy with my size?
You should always be happy with who you are, and like we said, there’s a use for every size and solutions to many problems. And yes, it’s likely you are average, if that is what you mean by normal.
Like we mentioned before, the vast majority of women are happy with their partner’s penis, and of those that aren’t completely satisfied, not all of them just want it to be bigger. Some actually prefer a smaller one.
“A man’s sex life is fundamental to his existence and well-being,”
Daniel Ha, founder of Boston Medical Group,
an American based network of clinics that treat P.E. and E.D.