While the average size of an erect penis is similar for most people with male anatomy, the size of a flaccid penis varies.

The penis spends most of its time flaccid, or soft and hanging loosely. In other words, a flaccid penis is a penis at rest. According to a study in BJU International (BJUI), the average length of a flaccid penis in an adult male is 3.61 inches. The average girth of a flaccid penis is 3.66 inches. The girth of a penis is a measure of the penis’s circumference at this widest section.

By comparison, the same study found that the average length of an erect penis is 5.16 inches, and the average girth of an erect penis is 4.59 inches.

A flaccid penis can change in size temporarily due to external factors, such as temperature. For example, cold weather can make a flaccid penis smaller for a short period of time. This happens automatically as your body tries to protect your penis.

Read on to learn more about the flaccid penis.

There’s no relationship between the size of a penis when flaccid or erect. In fact, a study in the Journal of Urology found that the average erect penis size is similar for most adult men, but the sizes of flaccid penises vary.

The study also found that a better predictor of erect length was “stretched” length. That’s when a flaccid penis is pulled slightly to elongate the muscle and skin. It’s not recommended you stretch your penis, however. You may inadvertently cause pain or damage.

To measure your penis, first gather a ruler or tape measure. Place the end of the ruler or tape measure against the top of the penis, which is the area where the penis connects to the pubic bone. Compress any fat around the top of the penis so the ruler or tape measure is as close to the pubic bone as possible.

Measure from the base of the penis to the tip of your glans. The glans is the rounded part of the penis’s tip or end. Do not include any additional length from foreskin.

To measure the circumference, wrap the tape measure around the base or the middle of the shaft.

You can’t assume anything about your erect penis size by looking at your penis while it’s flaccid. Some men may gain a significant amount of length from the flaccid position. These men are sometimes referred to as “growers.” Other men, however, don’t gain as much length with an erection. These men may be colloquially referred to as “showers.”

The terms “shower” and “grower” are not medically relevant terms. There is no specific scientific threshold for dividing penises into either category.

It’s natural for penises to have some curvature, or to “hang” to one side or the other when they’re flaccid. Some of these curvatures may also be present when the penis is erect.

The penis contains three separate chambers. These chambers are responsible for pumping blood into and out of the penis. These chambers vary in length. A penis may bend in the direction of the shortest cylinder.

Likewise, your penis’s curvature, or the side to which it hangs, may actually be the result of habit. When you’re dressing, you may habitually push your penis to one side of your pants or underwear. You may assume your penis naturally hangs on that side, but really, you’ve made a habit of pushing that way.

It’s not uncommon for men to be curious about their penis size and question if it’s “normal.” It’s also not uncommon to wonder if your penis is capable of sexually satisfying a partner. In fact, your perception of your penis may affect your confidence, your self-image, and your sexual performance, so it’s important to understand what “normal” means when it comes to penis shape and size.

Almost all men fall within the “average” penis length category, according to the BJUI study. Only 5 percent of men are larger than the average length and girth, and only 5 percent are smaller.

That means the chances are you’re as normal as every guy around you. Each man’s penis is different in length, girth, and appearance. Never compare yourself to others because you’re each unique.

For many men, self-confidence is tied to a positive body image. That can include confidence in your penis’s shape and size.

If you think your penis is smaller than average, you may have a negative body image. You may also find that you experience negative consequences with sexual satisfaction or have difficulty with sexual performance due to your issues with self-confidence.

Talk with your doctor if you find that you’re overly worried about your penis or fear something is wrong with it. This can include the shape or size. It might also include concerns about the curvature or length when flaccid. Your doctor can perform a physical exam and reassure you of your health and normal size, or recommend a treatment plan if they have any medical concerns.

Comparing yourself to other men can affect your self-esteem and confidence. Embrace the idea of being “normal,” and relax knowing that every man is unique and different.