(Redirected from Penis size
Penis size is of great concern to many men. Some consider having a large penis a mark of masculinity; others are concerned that their penis is too small to satisfy their sexual partners. These insecurities have led to the creation of a whole industry devoted to penis enlargement.
Regarding the length of the adult fully erect penis (measured along the top of the penis from the belly to the tip), several studies have been performed. Those studies that relied on self-measurement consistently reported a higher average than those that had staff take the measurements.
- The Kinsey Reports found in 1948 an average length of 6.20 inches (15.25 cm) with a standard deviation of .77 inches (1.96 cm). (Self-measurement)
- An UCSF study by Wessells et.al. published in 1996 found an average of 5.1 inches (13.0 cm). (Measured by staff)
- A study by a Brazilian urologist found an average of 5.7 inches (14.5 cm). (Measured by staff)
- A German study in 1996 also reported an average of 5.7 inches (14.5 cm). (Measured by staff)
The flaccid penis is measured when fully stretched, from the belly to the tip, excluding the foreskin. The length of a stretched flaccid penis closely conforms to erect length.
Average stretched penile length at birth is about 4 cm, and 90% of newborn boys will be between 2.4 and 5.5 cm. Limited growth of the penis occurs between birth and 5 years of age, but very little occurs between 5 years and the onset of puberty. The average size at the beginning of puberty is 6 cm with adult size reached about 5 years later. W.A. Schonfeld published a penis growth curve in 1943.
Regarding the length of the adult flaccid fully stretched penis:
- Lee et.al. reported in 1980 an average of 13.3 cm with a standard deviation of 1.6 cm
- Sutherland et al reported in 1996 an average of 12.4 cm (5.2 inches) (std. dev. 2.7cm or about 1 inch) in Caucasian peoples, an average of 14.6 cm (5.7 inches) in blacks, and an average of 10.6 cm (4.2 inches) in Oriental peoples.
The length of the unstretched flaccid penis is no guide to the size of the erect penis; indeed, some men with small flaccid penes may have larger erections than men with larger flaccid penes. When a man with a relatively large flaccid penis has a normal or below average length penis when fully aroused, or when a man with a relatively small flaccid penis has a normal or above average length penis when fully aroused, they are known by the slang terms as "showers" and "growers" (or, "peek-a-boo penises") respectively.
Environmental conditions play a role in the size of a relaxed flaccid penis, in particular cool temperatures. One general physiological response to cold is decreased circulation of blood to the appendages. As the size of the penis very much relies on blood supply, this results in a decreased flaccid size. The slang term "shrinkage" is sometimes used to describe this phenomenon, and was featured in a famous episode of Seinfeld. As humorist Garrison Keillor once said, "At forty degrees below zero, all men are indeed equal."
A penis whose stretched flaccid length is more than approximately 2.5 standard deviations below average size for the age group but otherwise formed normally is referred to in a medical context as a micropenis. Some of the identifiable causes are deficiency of pituitary growth hormone and/or gonadotropins, mild degrees of androgen insensitivity, a variety of genetic syndromes, and HOX9 gene variations. Some types of micropenis can be improved with growth hormone or testosterone treatment in early childhood. Penis-enlargement self-treatments are not effective for this condition.
A news post on New Scientist dated Dec 6, 2004 reads "A new surgical procedure has allowed men with abnormally short penises to enjoy a full sex life and urinate standing up, some for the first time. Tiny "micro-penises" have been enlarged to normal size without losing any erogenous sensation, say UK doctors."
Men tend to misjudge the size of their penis relative to that of other men they have seen naked, simply because of the foreshortening effect obtained from always looking down at the penis from above. In addition, as Paul Fussell noted in his memoirs, men who are overweight or have large stomachs may fail to allow for the partial concealment of the penis by their abdominal region and thicker skin at the base of the penis.
A survey by sexologists showed that many men who believed that their penis was of inadequate size actually had a normal-sized penis. Most sexologists believe that worries about penis size come from some other source of anxiety or perceived inadequacy.
A Dutch study found in 2002 that about 20-30% of women consider the size of a penis to be important.
Some men dissatisfied for some reason with their penis size seek to enlarge their penis. See penis enlargement for a discussion of the methods used.
Myths and legends
In some cultures, mass hysteria involving the believed removal or shrinking of the penis has been observed. See penis panic for a detailed discussion.
Another myth is that shoe size is correlated to penis size. This myth does not hold up under statistical analysis.
Race and penis size
The question of race and penis size is controversial, and has not been definitively established. The only reliable penis-size studies commonly quoted in the literature are the Kinsey study, the UCSF study, and an Italian study, none of which even attempted to correlate size with race. There is an ongoing government study in India, as well, commissioned with the goal of helping reduce the high condom failure rate there. This study is not likely to answer the question either. There have been many other studies with claims of varying rigor—for example, the LifeStyles condoms study—but they are generally flawed by selection bias.
Frantz Fanon covers this subject in some detail in Black Skin, White Masks, 1952, where he tends towards the view that the supposed positive correlation between large penises and African ancestry is a myth, a conclusion that he backs up with statistics. On the other hand, J. Philippe Rushton has published statistics claiming otherwise (Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective, 1995).
- Wessells H, Lue TF, McAninch JW. "Penile Length in the Flaccid and Erect States: Guidelines for Penile Augmentation," Journal of Urology, Vol. 195, 995-997, 1996.
- The Kinsey Institute penis size bibliography
- Sutherland et al. "The effect of prepubertal androgen exposure on adult penile length." Journal of Urology, Vol. 156(2S), 783-787, 1996.
- Lee PA, et al. "Micropenis. I. Criteria, etiologies, and classification." Johns Hopkins Med J 1980; 146:156.
- W.A. Schonfeld, Am J Dis Child 1943;65:135