A topic for generations...

"What Is the Average Penis Size?"

A topic for generations...

What Is the Average Penis Size?

By S. Nicole Lane -published on November 24, 2020 on https://www.verywellhealth.com ; Picture: Riou / Getty Images

Whether it's big, small, or just the right size, the penis carries a lot of weight when it comes to a person’s confidence in their sexual ability. Worries about having an adequate penis size is common. In one study, 68.3% of 200 men said they had concerns about their penis size. Societal pressures and inaccurate portrayal in the media generate unrealistic expectations about penis size, which drive anxiety and dissatisfaction.

Penis size generally does not affect sexual function, but those who are less satisfied with their penis size report more sexual health problems. Discomfort over penis size can therefore lead to relationship issues, low confidence, and erectile dysfunction. Those who are dissatisfied with their genital self-image are also more likely to feel uncomfortable to have others, including health care providers, look at their penis. Knowing what the average penis size actually is can help prevent unrealistic expectations from creating these problems.

 The Anatomy and Function of the Penis

Average Penis Size 

The average length of an erect penis is 6 inches, while the average circumference (also called girth) is 5 inches. A flaccid penis, which is when a penis hangs soft, measures on average 3.61 inches with a circumference of 3.66 inches.

Penis size is not static, and can change temporarily with temperature. If a penis is exposed to cold temperature, a flaccid penis may shrink in size. That’s your body trying to protect the penis. Other factors like age will also result in penis size change.

 Learn If It Is Normal for Your Penis to Be Shrinking

Factors Influencing Penis Size 

The size of the penis is influenced by the hormones during puberty, typically between 10 and 14 years old. The penis may continue to grow until a person is 21 years old.

 When the Penis Starts and Stops Growing

A person’s height, foot size, weight, and age have little to do with their penis size. Furthermore, diet, pills, and exercise do not influence the size or shape of the penis. In fact, the size of the penis can rarely be altered or enlarged.

Penis pumps and vacuums, which draw blood into the penis to create an erection, create a stronger erection, but do not increase penis size. The penis is made up of erectile tissues, not muscles, and therefore cannot be strengthened.

Does Size Matter? 

A 2015 study looked at cisgender women’s preferences for penis size and how they may influence cisgender men's comfort within their own body. Looking at photographs of erect penises, the women in the study preferred only slightly larger penises than the average size (6.4 inches).

It also looked at sexually active women and their preferred penis for a one-night stand compared to the preferred penis size for a long-term relationship. They preferred a 6.4-inch penis for a one-night-stand and a 6.3-inch size for a long-term relationship, which is not a big difference. Another study found that girth was more important than length since it leads to more sexual satisfaction.

In a study published in the British Journal of Urology International, 85% of women were satisfied with the size of the partner’s penis while the men were less pleased with their penis size. Approximately 45% of the men said that they thought they had a small penis, but small penises are incredibly rare. A micropenis is when a penis is less than 2.8 inches in length when it's erect. It affects only 0.6% of men.

The size of a penis can affect a cisgender men's sexual experience and performance through psychology. Since smaller penis sizes can result in low confidence, the person who think they have a small penis may not become as erect during sexual activities, prematurely ejaculate, or lack performance overall. Because of this, there is a stigma that surrounds smaller penis sizes as not performing as well as larger penis sizes.

Flaccid or Erect 

Flaccid and erect penis sizes may differ. For those whose penis grow less than 1.5 inches when going from the flaccid to erect state, they are known as showers, while those who grow more than 1.5 inches are growers. A 2018 study found that the penis grew 1.5 inches on average for both groups.

Smaller flaccid penises lengthen at erection by a greater percentage than larger flaccid penises, with most men reaching an average size of 5 to 7 inches. The flaccid size of a penis is not a good predictor of erect size.

Healthy erections that lead to more length and girth have to do with tissue elasticity, your genes, collagen, and blood flow. 

Problems with a Bigger Penis Size 

A large penis is also linked to higher infection risks because it introduces more friction during intercourse from a condom, which can introduce more bacteria into the vagina. The increase in friction may also lead to genital injury. A larger penis has been associated with high infection rates in men who have sex with other men as well.

How to Measure Penis Size 

To measure penis size, simply use a ruler or a tape measure. When the penis is flaccid, measure from the tip of the penis to the area where the penis connects to the pubic bone. If the penis is erect, measure from the tip of the penis to the pubic bone. To measure the circumference, wrap a measuring tape around the middle of the shaft (the body of the penis). Compare the flaccid and erect penis measurements to find out the difference between the flaccid length and erect length.

A Word from Verywell 

Many men are concerned or worried about their penis size falling short of their partners' expectation or if its size will impede any sexual pleasure for their partner. It's important to remember there is no “normal” when it comes to penis size. It’s as unique as the size of your nose or other parts of your body. A larger penis does not guarantee sexual satisfaction. A larger size, in fact, can carry a higher risk of infections.

If you’re concerned about your penis size and how it’s negatively affecting your sexual performance and self-esteem, talk to a doctor or a therapist. A physical exam can reassure you that your penis is healthy and sized normally. Counseling may help you work through your feelings.

Article Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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