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Does penis size matter?

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The answer to this question rather depends upon your perspective. If you believe that you have a small penis, it may matter very much to you, however unimportant the issue might seem to others. Some men become quite obsessed by the size of their penis and will consider almost anything, including surgery, to enlarge it. Most of these men will have a penis that falls within the suggested normal size range, but that does not always make them feel normal or better about themselves. Both they, and their doctor, should recognize that this is primarily a psychological problem, connected to physical and sexual self-image, rather than a physical handicap. Researchers have repeatedly shown that penis size does not affect partner satisfaction during sexual intercourse. Some men born with a severely shortened and malformed penis, even less than 5cm (2″) long when erect, enjoy very satisfactory sex with their partners. Men are much more likely to be bemused by men’s anxieties surrounding penis size, than amused by its actual size.

What is a normal penis size?

When measuring penis size, it is important to distinguish between the respective sizes of the flaccid, stretched flaccid and erect penis. Many men are concerned about the apparent size of their flaccid (“soft”) penis, and worry that other men will laugh at them in the shower, or that sexual partners will ridicule them when they see them naked. The flaccid penis varies considerably in size, ranging from less than 5cm to over 10cm (2″ to 5″). The size of the flaccid penis does not determine the size of the erect penis. Research suggests that the average size, measured from the pubic skin (precisely where the penis joins the body) to the opening (urinary orifice) at the tip, is about:

  • Unstretched, flaccid length 8.8cm (3.9″)
  • Stretched (pulled firmly out from the body), flaccid length 12.4cm (4.8″)

Fewer men seek medical advice about the length of their erect penis. Masters and Johnson (1966) found that the size of the erect penis ranges from 12.5 to 17.5cm (5″ to 7″). They also demonstrated that men with a smaller flaccid penis had a proportionally greater increase in size on erection. The average size of the erect penis, measured in the same way as above, is around 12.9cm (5.2″).

What is an abnormally small penis?

No widely accepted definition of what is an abnormally small penis exists, but guidelines for selection of men for penis enlargement (penile augmentation surgery) recommend that only those with a flaccid length of less than 4cm (1.6″) or erect length of less than 7.5cm (3″) can be considered for surgery.

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