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In Case You Were Wondering, Here’s the Average Penis Size

Article By Kayla Kibbe

~ MAY  2023 ~

Whether you’ve got a penis of your own or you have sex with people who do—or, hell, even if none of those things apply and you’re just curious—chances are you’ve found yourself wondering what, exactly, is considered “average” in the size department. (And, thus, by extension, what’s considered “big,” ofc.)

Luckily, science finally has an answer to this age-old question—and no, despite what most mainstream porn would have you believe, it’s not eight inches. Per the findings of a notable 2014 study published in the British Journal of International Urology, the average penis size is as follows: Around 5.16 inches in length when erect and 3.61 inches in length when flaccid. As for girth, the same study found averages of around 4.59 inches erect and 3.67 inches flaccid.

For reference, this means that a penis length above six inches would put someone in the 95th percentile in this category, according to urologist Darshan Patel, MD, Assistant Professor of Urology at UC San Diego Health. Translation: Out of 100 men, only five will have an erect length of six inches, says Dr. Patel.

There you have it! That’s the most common, widely agreed-upon answer to this even more commonly asked question. Like all studies, this one, which analyzed data from 17 previous papers that measured 15,521 penises (why yes, that *is* a lot of dicks!) is not without its limitations—like the fact that it’s nearly a decade old and, JFYI, recent research suggests that the average penis size is actually increasing. Not to mention, as urologist Jagan Kansal, MD, CEO at Down There Urology, notes, “average penis size varies depending on different factors such as geography, age, and ethnicity.” But! It remains a significantly more accurate and reliable source than much of the previous data that often relied on self-reported stats—which, for, ahem, obvious reasons, tended to be exaggerated. So if these measurements surprise you, that’s not on you.

“Commonly held beliefs about average penis dimensions may be influenced by pop culture and previous self-reported studies, which can be less reliable,” says James Elist, MD, a urologist based in Beverly Hills, California.

All of this to say, there’s a lot that we—dick-havers and non-dick-havers alike—don’t know about penis size, what actually determines it, and if/how you can change it (if you so desire). Let’s unpack, shall we?

What Factors Influence Penis Size?

As anyone who has seen more than literally a single penis in their life is well aware, these babies come in all shapes, sizes, and skin tones. There are many factors that influence these characteristics and make each and every dick a unique (and uniquely wonderful, if we may) specimen. According to Dr. Kansal, the biggest players in the penis-size determination game are genetics, hormonal levels, overall health and nutrition, age, and body weight.

“Genetic makeup and hormonal balance play significant roles in determining penis size, while ethnicity and environmental factors have lesser effects,” says Dr. Elist.

So, as is true of most physical aspects of one’s existence, you’re more or less born with what you’re gonna get in terms of penis size. Big dick genes breed big dicks, if you will, and vice versa. That said, various environmental factors can affect the size (and/or perceived size) of a given penis. Which brings us to…

Does Penis Size Change Over Time?

Okay, so is any penis-haver going to suddenly wake up one day with something significantly smaller and/or larger down there? No! But there are various factors that may affect one’s penis size over time, such as:


Various age-related factors can affect penis size, including the natural weight gain that tends to come with getting older.

“As men age, they might experience a slight decrease in penis size, which can be attributed to factors like reduced testosterone levels, decreased elasticity of penile tissues, or the accumulation of fatty deposits in the suprapubic area,” says Dr. Elist

If you need a translation on that last part, (which, same), “accumulation of fatty deposits in the suprapubic area” refers to weight gain around the genitals—which can be and often is a very natural part of the aging process.

“I often tell my patients that when they are younger, around 50 percent of their penis is outside the body and 50 percent is inside. However, weight gain can alter this ratio, causing a smaller percentage of the penis to be outside the body and leading to the appearance of a smaller penis,” says Dr. Kansal.

A natural age-related decline in testosterone levels can also result in a slight decline in penis size with age, adds Dr. Kansal. As people with penises age, “the amount of collagen and elastin in the penis decreases, which can lead to a loss of elasticity and firmness.”

Erectile Dysfunction

According to Dr. Kansal, erectile dysfunction can, over time, result in decreased penis size, as regular erections actually help to maintain size.

”The old saying, ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it,’ holds some truth,” he says. “When you are younger, regular nocturnal erections help to stretch the penis and maintain its size. However, when you experience erectile dysfunction, you miss out on this consistent stretching, which can accelerate the process of collagen replacing elastic tissue and ultimately shorten the penis.”

Overall Health

“Factors like stress, fatigue, diet, or health issues can affect a man’s ability to achieve and maintain a firm erection, which may make the penis appear smaller. While penis size can change naturally for various reasons, these changes are generally minor and should not be a cause for concern,” says Dr. Elist. “Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercising regularly, and managing stress can help maintain overall health and support penile function.”

Can You Change Your Penis Size?

Again, penis size is largely determined by genetics, which are kind of a “you get what you get” situation. That said, there are a number of ways one might be able to change their size—however marginally.

Weight loss

As previously mentioned, carrying excess weight around the genitals can make the penis appear shorter, so losing that weight can make it appear, well, longer.

“Gaining weight, especially around the abdomen, can make the penis appear smaller because of the increased fat around the base of the penis,” says Dr. Elist. “Losing weight may help restore the penis’s visible length.”

According to Dr. Patel, “This is one of the best ways to not only improve overall health but also improve perceived penile length if you are overweight.”

About all those pills, pumps, supplements, other penis-enhancing products…

For most penis-havers, “the first thought when attempting to increase penis girth is pills or supplements,” says Dr. Elist. “There is no evidence that these kinds of supplements work, and some studies have actually shown them to be dangerous, especially with ongoing use.”

As for all those other purportedly penis-plumping products that shady sites on the internet would be only too happy to sell you: snake oil, according to the experts.

“The market is flooded with products and techniques claiming to increase penis size, but most of them lack scientific evidence to support their claims. In some cases, these methods can even cause harm or damage to the penis,” says Dr. Elist. “There are fillers and skin grafts available for penis enhancement, but they come with many risks and are generally not recommended.”

What about surgery?

Generally speaking, surgery to enhance penis size is considered risky and is rarely advised. “The risks associated with these procedures are relatively high and are not performed routinely,” says Dr. Patel.

However, for those who are willing to go the surgical route, Dr. Elist has developed Penuma, the first FDA-cleared penile implant for cosmetic augmentation. According to Dr. Elist, Penuma “is one of the only options that show documented results and can increase penis girth up to two inches, according to a 400 patient, five-year study.” Developed by internationally recognized urologists, Penuma consists of a medical-grade silicone implant that was found to safely “enhance flaccid penile length in patients with retractile penis or other cosmetic deformities via a scrotal or infrapubic approach,” per a safety and efficacy trial done by the American Urological Association.

But while the world may finally have a technically safe surgical option for penis enlargement, it’s still a rather, shall we say, extreme option no one should feel pressured to seek out. Unless you have a legitimate medical condition, your penis is probably fine just the way it is.

Which brings us to…

Does Penis Size, Uh, Matter?

Ah, yes, the other age-old question. And here’s the age-old answer: It depends!

“Research on whether penis size ‘matters’ in terms of sexual satisfaction is mixed. Some studies have found that larger penises are associated with greater sexual satisfaction for both partners, while others have found no correlation or even a negative correlation,” says Dr. Kansal.

As any sex-haver knows, what makes good sex good depends on a wide variety of different factors and personal preferences. The extent to which penis size is one of them, if at all, is going to vary significantly from person to person.

Generally speaking, however, the research suggests that women are a lot less concerned with penis size than men are. According to Dr. Elist, data from a 2002 study published in the European Journal of Urology suggests that women don’t care about penis size as much as men think they do. Only 20 percent of women surveyed said it was important, while a mere one (1!) percent said it was very important. Conversely, 55 percent said it was unimportant and 22 percent said it was very unimportant.

So yeah, as is true of everything all the time, everyone has their own unique preferences when it comes to penis size. Depending on who you’re sleeping with, penis size might matter. It might matter a lot, it might matter a little, or it might not matter at all. Either way, when it comes to penis size and pleasure, bigger does not necessarily equal better. In fact, as Dr. Elist notes, larger penises can sometimes be uncomfortable for some partners during sex. As they say, different strokes for different folks!

The main takeaway? The average penis size is probably a lot smaller than the eight inches mainstream porn has led us to believe is the golden dick standard, and the vast majority of penises you’re likely to encounter in your life will probably fall somewhere within that “normal” range. Like all body parts, penises come in all shapes, sizes, etc., and there’s no magic penile measurements that are going to automatically make any dick or dick-haver some kind of sex god.

TL;DR, if you’re worried about penis size—yours or anyone else’s—don’t be.

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