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Average Penis Size: How Do You Measure Up?

Dr. Laurence Levine
Expert in male sexual health, leading Urologist in USA

by Dr. Laurence Levine 10 min read

Banana being measure as if it were a penis

It's kind of an age-old worry among men—am I big enough?

You can probably guarantee, not long after the first caveman climbed out of his cave and found other male counterparts, he grew more worried about the size of his stick.

Some men have this tendency to beat their chest and proclaim they carry the largest stick around.

And, for whatever reason, the larger stick seems to be somehow symbolic of how macho or alpha you are or what you can achieve in bed—none of which is true.

Quick FAQs

A study done on 15,000 men determined the average to be 3.6 inches in length and 3.7 inches in girth when flaccid and 5.2 inches in length and 4.5 inches in girth when erect.

Use a firm ruler to press any fatty tissue out of the way so the ruler is resting on the pubic bone and then measure to the tip.

Yes, there are several options available to you, but these all come with certain risks and should be discussed with your doctor and therapist before you decide to proceed.

Surprisingly a lot more women are concerned about girth rather than length. What's more 85% of women said they were happy with their partners penis size while only 45% of men were happy with their size.

Percentage of men happy with penis size oppsoed to percentage of woman happy with partner size

A study of over 50,000 individuals showed that about 45 percent of men are not happy with their penis size and wish to be larger, while 85 percent of women say they are perfectly happy with their partner's penis size.

Does size really matter? What is the average penis size, really?

Let's dig deeper to find out how you measure up—you may be surprised.

So what is the average anyway?

One of the largest systematic reviews ever performed gathered data from more than 15,000 observations to get a more accurate look at the average penis size.

This study, published by the British Journal of Urology in 2014, involved only men without abnormal penises or those that may have been directly affected by surgery or injury.

What is the average penis size

The outcome?

  • Flaccid averages: 3.6 inches long and roughly 3.7 inches girth
  • Erect averages: Roughly 5.2 inches long and around 4.5 inches girth

By charting the measurements derived from the review into percentile ranges, researchers determined that only about 10 men out of 100 will be near six inches when erect.

Only about 5 of 100 are over that.

So, to sum it up, if you have anything over 5.5 inches, consider yourself blessed as only about 15 of 100 men can compare.

The bulk of the male population is carrying somewhere around five inches. Only around 10 out of 100 guys have four inches or less.

Are you a grower or a shower?

Growers grow substantially when aroused.

On the contrary, showers don't tend to experience a great deal of growth with an erection; they are often close to the same length and sometimes girth when flaccid as they are when fully erect.

For reference, a 2018 study showed:

  • Growers usually see more than 1.5 inches of growth from their flaccid state
  • Showers usually see less than 1.5 inches of growth from a flaccid state to erect

It also was recorded that of the 274 men, 26 percent were considered growers, while 74 percent were considered showers.

Younger men were more likely to be growers than showers, but there really were no significant factors of race, underlying health conditions, or even the average size when soft.

Percentage of men that are growers or showers

So, why does this matter? This goes to show that the size of a soft penis is not always indicative of the size of an erect penis.

What is the correct way to measure my penis?

How to properly measure a penis

The most widely recognized way to measure the length of your penis is from the connection point at the pubic bone to the tip of the head (glans).

To measure correctly:

  • Compress fatty tissue situated at the front of the pubic bone
  • Hold the end of a FIRM RULER at your pubic bone (On The Top Side Of Your Penis)
  • Stretch the tape outward to the tip of your penis

If you're uncircumcised, don't use added foreskin to account for any length; only measure to the tip of the head.

Girth can be measured by wrapping the tape around either the middle or base of the shaft of your penis.

Is it possible to increase the size of my penis?

Because so many men are concerned about penis size, usually more concerned than their female counterparts, the sexual wellness market is ripe with pills, creams, sprays, and devices touting an ability to enlarge the penis.

"Buyer beware" is always the way to go with any ad promising incredible growth results—these claims are not just unfounded, most are totally bogus.

There is no evidence whatsoever that they do or can do anything.

At best, some over-the-counter products may enhance blood flow to your penis for a better erection.

In some way, that action could give you a little extra girth or length, but these products won't make such a substantial difference that it would make a profound difference. And, results you see would, of course, be temporary.

Surgical penis enlargement is also possible.

Men have had various materials injected into their penis usually with bad and abnormal-looking results and most of these products like fat or hyaluronic acid reabsorb over time.

The other approach which is gaining interest amongst physicians is the implantation of the Penuma device.

This is a soft silicone insert find is surgically placed by only a few specialists trained to do this procedure.

Penis enlargement options
 Medical penis enlargement options

If you are set on surgical penis enlargement, you have a couple of options to consider:

  • Suspensory ligament division - surgical division of the ligament that holds the penis in place via attachment to the pubic bone
  • Surgically applied skin grafts - skin grafts are taken from other areas of the body are implanted around the shaft to increase penis girth
  • Pubic bone liposuction - involves removing fat around the pubic bone to make the upper part of the penis more prominent
  • Fat cell transfer - involves harvesting fat from one area of the body and injecting it into the penis
  • Traction therapy- wearing a stretching device on the penis for 3 or more hours daily for 3-6 months, is safe and if done as directed can result in 1-3 cm (0.5-1.5 inch) length gain. There are several different devices on the market, which are relatively inexpensive but men don’t frequently gain the length because they don’t put in the time, and often they want more than can be accomplished with stretching

    Inflatable penile prosthetics, typically only recommended for men with erectile dysfunction may also offer some level of penis lengthening.

    These devices are permanently inserted into the penis and can be pumped up with saline water at will to create an erection.

    However, they can malfunction (15% over 10 years fail) and there is a risk of infection (1-3%).

    Am I a candidate for penis enlargement surgery?

    Who is a candidate for penis enlargemnet surgery

    Penis enlargement surgery has a long and not so good history which is why the American Urological Association (AUA) considers it experimental at this time.

    Some surgical methods, such as injecting fat to enhance the girth and suspensory ligament division to enhance the length, have been deemed as neither safe nor effective by the AUA.

    The fat simply reabsorbs and the cutting of the suspensory ligament can cause sensory problems, make the erection angle change from straight out to straight down and really does not lengthen the penis at all.

    It may just make it look longer as it hangs down more.

    There are never guarantees with enlargement surgeries, either, and some offer only limited enhancements.

    For example, fat cell transfer tends to lead to up to 80 percent of bodily reabsorption within a year.

    Penile implant surgery using silicone components with something as the Penuma device is showing promise as the more effective, modern option for men who want an enhanced penis size.

    However, the implant does not come without risks and is expensive at around $16,000 with no insurance coverage.

    Surgical enlargement should only be considered for men who are truly in a bad place because their penis is legitimately smaller than average.

    Research has shown that most men who actually seek penis enlargement have a penis that is perfectly normal.

    The only true candidate for penis enlargement surgery is someone with "micropenis" syndrome, which means the penis is less than three inches when fully erect.

    Psychological counseling

    Man talking to therapist about average penis size

    Before discussing ideas of penis enlargement with your doctor, be sure to address the size of your penis from a psychological standpoint first.

    Some men do opt to undergo counseling with a professional before making big decisions about medical treatment options.

    Through therapy, you would address questions like:

    • Is your penis actually smaller or close to the average?
    • Is your own perception of your penis unrealistic?
    • What are your ideas associated with average male penis size?

    Because penile-lengthening surgeries are only recommended for people with penises less than three inches erect, which is rare, therapy can be an excellent resource for some men.

    Counseling is almost always recommended if you are experiencing severe concerns about your penis size.

    What do women have to say about penis size?

    Studies have indicated repeatedly that bigger doesn't always necessarily mean better in terms of what women prefer.

    What women have to say about the average penis size

    When women were showed more than 30 3D models of penises of various sizes in one study, the bulk of participants preferred 6.3 to 6.4 inches length and 4.8 to 5 inches circumference.

    Interestingly, women preferred only slightly larger penises for a one-time sexual experience (6.4 inches long and 5 inches girth vs. 6.3 inches long and 4.8 inches girth).

    Women had ample options in the aforementioned study. They could pick models from 4 to 8.5 inches long and 2.5 to 7 inches in girth.

    The conclusion of the study goes to show that women may prefer a penis size that is only barely above what could be deemed as average.

    It is not necessarily that penis size has no relation to penis satisfaction, but research has pointed out that most women are more concerned about girth than length where size is concerned.

    One major turn-off for females is lacking confidence in a male mate, which can be rampant for a man who thinks he is smaller than the average erect penis size.

    Plus, men who are self-conscious are more prone to sexual dysfunction, like a hard time getting it up, because of anxiety.

    So, if you have any faith in scientific examination and broad-scale response from the female population, you most likely have little to worry about if you fall within the "average size" group.

    Factors that affect penis size

    Different factors that affect penis size demonstration with fruit

    You've probably heard all the myths and sayings:

    • Look at the size of his hands ...
    • If he has big feet ...
    • Tall guys always have bigger ...
    • Older men have longer ...

    While most of these sayings are based purely on myth or someone's personal sexual experiences, only a few things hold true.

    For example, only the size of the hands is directly relational to the size of the penis. A study of 63 men showed that height, age, and foot size are not good predictors at all.

    Furthermore, the size of your penis is not determined by just one thing.

    So many things can determine the size, including genetics, hormones, and more.

    Puberty and hormones

    The penis does not actually reach its fully grown state until between the ages of 16 and 21.

    Usually, the most rapid time of growth for boys is during puberty, or between the ages of 12 and 16. The penis also has the most substantial growth during this time, and hormones may directly affect the outcome.

    For example, testosterone levels, partially related to genetics,may affect penile size particularly if suboptimal amounts are not released during penile growth.

    There is no evidence that once the penis has stopped growing that taking more testosterone or rubbing on the penis will increase penis size. So don’t mess with testosterone for this either.

    Contrary to popular myth, masturbating "too much" during puberty does not directly affect penis growth during puberty.

    Yes, testosterone levels can ebb and flow during masturbation, but return to normal relatively quickly. These small variances have no notable effect on growth rates of anything, including the penis.

    Exposure to hormones in your environment during puberty could have a direct effect on penis size.

    For example, if a male child were exposed to female hormones during puberty they may have their natural testosterone levels interrupted, and their penis growth interrupted as well.

    Obesity

    Obesity and the average penis size

    Even though the research on the topic is limited, there may be a weak link between higher BMI (Body Mass Index) and shorter penile length.

    However, it should be noted that properly measuring penis length by compressing the fat around the pubic bone yielded pretty much no change in length.

    There is no doubt though that as men gain unhealthy weight the fat is often deposited over their pubic bone area which can shield or obscure the penis.

    This also encourages the penis to “turtle“ or retract back into the body.

    Genetics

    Genetics can have a role to play in penis size, genetics inherited from both your mother and your father.

    However, neither parent will directly determine what size a penis turns out to be for their shared child.

    Two siblings or even two identical twins can have totally different penis sizes. Although, it is more common for siblings to have similar penile sizes.

    Ethnicity

    Race is not always going to mean you have a certain penis size, but it may play a small role.

    In an Indian study of penis size by country, sizes ranged from 3.5 inches to 6.3 inches, with French men being on the longer side of the scale.

    Takeaways

    Couple happy about average penis size

    So, all things considered, the average penis size is probably less than you anticipated and not even as important as you expected.

    Not your fault, really—big penises are kind of placed on this pedestal as something spectacular in all forms of media.

    Those bigger D’s are really popular in porn, but seriously, bigger objects just look better on camera.

    Those 8 and 10 inches are not representational of real life, by any measure.

    To make matters worse, men have this inbred need to be comparative where the lower unit is concerned, and most equate larger with more manly—not true at all.

    Ladies may want slightly bigger than average in studies, but not something so spectacular that no man could measure up.

    The real matter of importance in bed is one, being erect, and, two, lasting long enough.

    If you're having problems with the latter,Promescent Delay Spray may be something to consider.

    Make sure she enjoys every inch you got for as long as possible, and she's bound to be perfectly pleased.

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    Dr. Laurence Levine
    Dr. Laurence Levine

    ​Dr Laurence Levine is a Professor of Urology and practices at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He is focused specifically on Male Sexual Health and is past President of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA). Dr. Levine graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine where he received his MD and completed his training in Urology at the Harvard Program in Boston.​


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