Opinion
3 min

New study on average penis size may surprise you

Men ‘seem to have a very distorted picture of what [size] other men are,’ says researcher

Dear Dr Ren,

I avoided dating girls in high school by being a nerd. I’m now in second year at university and have joined a gay-straight alliance and gained enough confidence to want to start dating other guys.

My issue is that I have a really small penis. I’ve seen other guys’ junk in change rooms. What if I find that I just can’t . . .

Measure Up

Dear Measure Up,

All of us hope to be found attractive by those we find hot. When we anticipate being sexual together, of course we also want to feel good about exposing our genitals to another.

Boys and men tend to obsess about the size of their willies. Everyone else’s dick is bound to be bigger (and therefore better) than their own. You need some facts.

First of all, penises are either “showers” or “growers.” You have been comparing yourself in locker rooms, where you see other men’s stuff in a flaccid or soft state. Size will vary depending on circumstance. Some soft penises look small but grow a lot when they become erect (the grow-ers) while others are big or long while soft, but don’t grow the same percentage when hard (the show-ers.) In other words, there’s a lot of variation between different men’s cocks in different states.

Regardless, you probably want to know how you compare to others. A new study, published in March in the British Journal of Urology, of over 15,000 (mostly Caucasian) men from around the world calculated penis dimensions and came up with the following statistics. The average flaccid penis is 3.61 inches (9.16 cm) long and 3.66 inches (9.31 cm) around. The average hard cock is 5.16 inches (13.12 cm) long and 4.59 inches (11.66 cm) in circumference.

I’ll wait here while you measure.

Wondering about all the guys who aren’t average? Well, outliers are rare. Only five percent of men had erect schlongs larger than 16 cm or smaller than 10 cm. So unless you’re a porn star, you are actually pretty much like any guys you might want to date.

To dispel a myth, there was no strong evidence to link penis size to any other physical characteristics like height or body size. Noticing his big hands? Just means he buys big gloves, too.

Another myth: there are creams, pills, or certain foods that will “enlarge your manhood.” All snake oil.

The study’s lead researcher summarized that men “seem to have a very distorted picture of what [size] other men are, and what they believe they should be.” Even perspective plays a part in this. Looking down at your junk distorts your view compared to looking across or up at someone else’s. It’s called foreshortening.

Basically, there’s just not much difference between penises. Certainly not enough to worry over.

Facts out of the way, let’s talk a bit about your concern. When considering someone as a potential date, does the size of his package matter? Hopefully you are concentrating on how you feel about him as a person, and about how you feel in his presence!

Good sex is not reliant on the size of the equipment, rather the skill with which it is employed. It is also about becoming sensitive to picking up on cues, showing your enthusiasm, liking what you are doing, etc. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Great sex happens when lovers connect deeply, enjoying themselves and each other unreservedly.

As a late bloomer, you lack the dating sophistication that most men acquire earlier. You need to learn to tolerate the lows of rejection and heartache, as well as to manage the highs of mutual attraction, limerence and relationship formation.

Don’t worry about the size of your penis. It’s irrelevant. Concentrate instead on building your confidence through your gay-straight alliance and other friends, continue your coming-out process, and enjoy the journey of learning to be a happily sexual gay man.