It’s a subject many men have wondered about at some point in time: What is the average penis size?
According to a study published in the British Journal of Urology International (BJUI), the average length of a flaccid penis is 3.61 inches, while the average length of an erect penis is 5.16 inches. The average girth is 3.66 inches for a flaccid penis and 4.59 inches for an erect penis. Girth is the circumference of the penis at its widest section.
Keep reading to learn more about penis size, how much size matters for sexual satisfaction, and what you should do if you’re worried that your penis is too small.
What does the research say?
The BJUI research used data from 17 studies, and the study participants totaled more than 15,000 men. In addition to the averages listed previously, the analysis charted sizes and placed them into percentiles.
For example, an erect penis of 6.3 inches is in the 95th percentile. That means that out of 100 men, only five would have a penis longer than 6.3 inches. Likewise, an erect penis of 3.94 inches is in the 5th percentile, meaning that only five men out of 100 would have a penis shorter than 3.94 inches.
Other studies have produced similar results. A study published in the Journal of Urology also found that the length of a penis when flaccid wasn’t a predictor of its length when erect. In other words, men can have erections of similar size, but have flaccid penises of varying size.
How to measure your penis size
Measure length from the top of your penis to the tip of your glans. The top of your penis is where it connects to your pubic bone. The tip of your glans is the round part at the end of your penis. Compress any fat in front of your pubic bone when measuring. Also, don’t include additional length related to a foreskin.
Measure girth around the base or the middle of the shaft.
Does size matter?
Of particular concern for some men is whether their penis will be satisfying sexually for themselves and their partner. Some men may also be anxious about how they look naked.
When it comes to sexual intercourse, bigger may not always be better. In a study in the journal PLOS One, researchers interviewed 75 sexually active women about the size of penis they would prefer for a one-night stand and for a long-term relationship. The women were shown 33 different-sized 3-D penis models made out of blue plastic so as not to suggest a particular race.
The average size preferred by the women in the study was an erect penis that is 6.4 inches long and 5 inches in circumference for a one-time encounter. For a long-term relationship, the average size preferred by the women was a penis that is 6.3 inches long with a circumference of 4.8 inches. Both of these choices were only slightly bigger than the average.
Another similar study of women’s preferences, published in BMC Women’s Health, found that penis girth was more important to them than length for sexual satisfaction.
A man’s perception of his own penis size can have an impact on confidence and a positive body image. Men who are self-conscious about the size of their penis, either in its flaccid or erect state, may experience anxiety-induced erectile dysfunction and other emotional problems.
Therapists working with men who have this kind of self-consciousness often find that a person’s perception of “too small” doesn’t align with what research shows. One study found that of 67 men who were concerned that their penis was too small, none were determined to have a penis considered short enough to recommend penile lengthening.
Can I increase the size of my penis?
The decision to try to increase the size of your penis should be made carefully with the consultation of a urologist. The Journal of Urology study recommended that only men with a flaccid penis length of less than 1.6 inches or an erect penis of less than 3 inches should be considered as candidates for penile-lengthening treatment.
Before pursuing your options, you should get a psychological evaluation and talk with a therapist about your concerns. You and your therapist should address questions such as, “Do you have an unusually small penis, or is it at or near average size?” and “Do you have an unrealistic perception of your penis or unrealistic ideas about what an average-sized penis is?” You should try psychological counseling before any treatment.
If you’re considering treatment, you have some options. One type of surgical procedure is done on the ligament that attaches your penis to the pubic bone inside your body. The operation allows for more of your penis to extend outside your body. Surgery involving a skin graft around the penis shaft to increase girth is also possible.
Some men benefit from liposuction around their pubic bone to help make the part of their penis covered by a fat pad more prominent. Inflatable penile prosthetics, which are surgically inserted into the penis, are also effective in treating erectile dysfunction and for penis lengthening.
If you’re interested in a procedure to make your penis wider or longer, consult with a doctor who has plenty of experience doing these procedures. You should also be wary of online ads for pills, creams, and other treatments that promise amazing results.
While plenty of men wonder if they are at or near the average penis size, or if they’re beyond it, the truth is that the majority of men are within a close range of the average length and girth. Measuring yourself may provide you some affirmation. If you continue to feel that your penis is smaller than you would like, talk with a urologist about your concerns and what options might be best for you.
Tips for a positive body image
If you’re unhappy with your body, whether it’s the size of your penis or the look of any other part of you, try these helpful tips for feeling better about yourself:
- Focus on the characteristics and body parts you do like, such as broad shoulders or a nice smile.
- Maintain a healthy weight and incorporate strength training into your exercise routine. If you look fit and healthy, you may feel better about yourself.
- Don’t become consumed by penis size. You can be a satisfying sexual partner regardless of the size of your penis.
- Don’t compare yourself to athletes, models, and actors. You’ll develop an unhealthy and unrealistic image of what is normal and how you should look.
- Spend more time and energy on pursuits you find rewarding, whether it’s sports, hobbies, traveling, or other activities. Lasting self-esteem comes from nonphysical traits, such as creativity, intelligence, and your values.
Q&A: Penis size and age
Does penis size change naturally as you get older?
It’s normal for penis size to decrease with age. Men in their 60s to 70s may lose 0.4 to 0.6 inches in penis size. Also, an increase in body fat percentage can result in the penis appearing to be smaller as a man ages. Maintaining a healthy weight will optimize the appearance of penis size.Alana Biggers, MDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.