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Scientists say categorizing penis erection size could be helpful in certain surgeries. SyncRapeephat/Getty Images
  • In a new study, researchers are categorizing penises in terms of how much they grow during erections.
  • They label penises that are relatively large when flaccid as “showers” while those that are smaller at first and then grow substantially during erections as “growers.”
  • They say the classifications could be useful in some surgeries.

Size isn’t everything.

And, according to new research, when it comes to erections, where men start isn’t necessarily an indication of where they finish.

Some men are considered “showers” — having a visibly larger penis when flaccid — while others are “growers” — appearing smaller at first, but exhibiting a larger penis size when erect.

European researchers are actually defining the terms scientifically to see how many men fall into each category.

Their findings were presented at the European Association of Urology (EAU) Congress in Milan, Italy. The study hasn’t been published yet in a peer-reviewed journal.

Urologists from three hospitals in Madrid, Spain, studied 225 men, taking ultrasound scans of their flaccid and erect penises.

They concluded that men whose penis increased in size by more than 56% when erect can be considered “growers” while those whose penises increased by less than 31% should be categorized as “showers.”

However, less than half of the men studied fit either definition.

Researchers led by Dr. Manuel Alonso-Isa of University Hospital HM Puerta del Sur in Madrid found that 24% of men were “growers” while 25 percent were “showers.”

The rest fell in the middle.

“This study gives credence to the concepts of the fact that some patients will have more of enlargement of their penis than others with an erection,” said Dr. Stanton Honig, the director of male urology at Yale University in Connecticut.

”It does not comment as to whether men who have shorter penises are more likely to grow than men with longer penises, so further work is necessary here,” he told Healthline.

The study had a serious purpose.

The researchers said that the findings could help physicians make surgical decisions.

“It is important to be able to predict if a patient is a grower or a shower as when we see them, they are usually in a flaccid state,” said Alonso-Isa. “If they grow a lot when they get an erection, it might mean they need a different surgical approach compared to someone who doesn’t grow much.”

Men who had longer penises when flaccid were more likely to be “showers,” the study found, while growers tended to have thinner layers of the tissue known as tunica albuginea, which surrounds the spongy erectile tissue inside the penis.

“This makes sense as the tissue is being stretched further,” said Alonso-Isa.

However, researchers were unable to establish any relationship between shower/grower tendencies and factors such as age, weight, or smoking status.

Experts said having a baseline definition of penile-growth characteristics could have medical and mental health benefits for men.

“This is a frequent area of concern for our patients and the emphasis should be on normalizing baseline and erectile length for all,” said Maarten Albersen, a urologist at the University of Leuven in Belgium.

Dr. Nicole Prause, a sexual psychophysiologist whose expertise includes genital physiology, said the classifications in the study are “purely clinical judgment.”

“They are not tied to any other meaningful physiological, psychological, or relationship characteristic,” she told Healthline. “To me, the distinction appears to be just physiological: those with a shorter penis when they are flaccid are much more likely to have a larger relative increase.”

“What is interesting is that men are more likely to express dissatisfaction with their flaccid size,” she said. “This suggests that men, since they tend to be shorter when they are flaccid, are focusing on the ‘worst case’ rather than being excited to have such a large increase.”

From a human sexuality standpoint, the question of whether a man is a “shower” or a “grower” is largely irrelevant, Nancy Sutton Pierce, a California-based clinical sexologist, told Healthline.

That penis size is still a primary concern for men reflects “the false pretense the sexual gratification of women relies on the measurement of the penis,” said Pierce.

“If the women’s clitoris isn’t being stimulated in some way, shape, or form, she isn’t going to be having a lot of fun no matter how big or how small the penis is,” she said.

She advised men that “you are more than your penis size.”