Sex Ed

The 5 Most Common Questions About Penis Size

February 13, 2015 by Justin Lehmiller


I have been a sex educator for nearly a decade and, during that time, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about a lot of different things; however, year after year, I can’t help but notice that certain topics come up much more frequently than others. In light of this, I thought I would start putting together some definitive resource guides for the most commonly asked questions on these topics. Let’s start with penis size. Here are the five most common questions I tend to receive on this topic. Each question has a short answer, along with a link to a longer answer.

1.) “What is the average penis size?” It is impossible to definitively say what the average penis size is because (1) no one has studied this with a representative sample and (2) there is still disagreement over what the best measurement method is. That said, the best information I can offer is this: looking across penis size studies that involved clinical measurements (i.e., studies in which guys don’t measure their own penises), the average erect length ranges from 5.1-5.7 inches and the average girth (i.e., circumference) ranges from 4.7-4.8 inches. Click here to learn more about penis size research and a rather ingenious new method some scientists have developed in the hope of obtaining more accurate measurements.

2.) “Are there racial differences in penis size?” Again, we don’t have a definitive answer to this question due to the limitations on penis size research mentioned above; however, the available data suggest that there may indeed be some race-based differences and, further, that those differences tend to be consistent with the stereotypes (although keep in mind that we’re talking about averages here, and there is a ton of individual variability!). Click here to read more.

3.) “Can you tell the size of a man’s penis from the size of his shoes?” The answer to this one appears to be “no.” In a study in which researchers collected data on both shoe size and penis size, they found no statistical association between these two variables; however, they did find that penis size is related to other aspects of male anatomy. Click here to learn more about this research.

4.) “Do women prefer men with larger penises?” According to research, most heterosexual women do not necessarily think bigger is better. For one thing, survey studies reveal that the vast majority of heterosexual women report being satisfied with the size of their partner’s penis. For another, research has found that penis size makes no difference in likelihood of reaching orgasm for most heterosexual women. Of course, these results should not be taken to mean that penis size is unimportant to all women—some women do find larger penises to be more sexually desirable and satisfying. Again, there’s a lot of individual variability.

5.) “Is there anything I can do to make my penis bigger?” The internet is rife with advertisements for supplements, exercises, and surgeries claiming to increase penis size. However, almost all of these products are scams that do nothing more than exploit men’s insecurities for financial gain. Think about it this way: if these products really worked as they claimed, don’t you think researchers would have written about them in scientific journals by now, or that the big pharmaceutical companies would have cashed in on them? The reality is that penis size does not have much potential for change after puberty stops. And while penile augmentation surgeries do exist, there is no standard technique used and there are a lot of risks and potential complications. As a result, rather than try to change your body in this way, you are better off learning to be comfortable and confident in your own skin. Click here to learn more about research on penis enlargement.

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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