Average size of penis?

Dear Alice,

What's the average size of a penis, both when erect and flaccid?

— Curious to know

Dear Curious to know,

Let the truth be known! The average length of a flaccid, or unaroused, penis is between three and four inches and the average length of an erect penis is between five and seven inches. In fact, a penis is only considered to be small if it measures three inches or less when fully erect. Finally, the average girth, or circumference, of an erect penis is four to five inches around. While there’s sometimes stigma associated with smaller sized penises, when it comes down to it, all penises work the same, regardless of size.  

Now that you've got the averages under your belt, it’s worth providing more context about these numbers. While the ranges represent average penis lengths, flaccid penis lengths have a lot more variability than erect penis lengths. In other words, a group of cisgender men (cis men) can have fairly different flaccid lengths, but their erect penis sizes might be fairly similar.

Research has shown that about 85 percent of cis men overestimate the population's average penis size. This misperception often starts in childhood and young adulthood and can lead to insecurity about whether their own penis size measures up to the norm. The cause of this concern over having an adequately sized penis could be from seeing substantially endowed cis men featured in erotic images and pornography, hearing exaggerated reports from friends, or receiving junk email that incessantly advertises penis enlarging miracle drugs. Whatever the source may be, many cis men develop an unhealthy fixation on their penis size to the point that it impacts their social life.

The great news is that whether you are smaller or bigger than average — or hang right in the middle — it’s what you do with your body, mind, and phallus that matters to most sexual partners. While some individuals might report enjoying a larger-than-average penis during penetrative sex, most are still able to receive an abundance of pleasure through communication and skill regardless of how big or long the penis is. In fact, many people don’t place any value on their partner’s penis size either way. One survey found that 77 percent of women who have sex with cis men deemed the length of their partner’s penis to be insignificant to them. Penis size also doesn’t have any effect on fertility.

Though your question seems to have stemmed from mere curiosity, if you’re feeling self-conscious about your own penis size, rest assured that this concern very common and often unwarranted. Even if you fall below the average, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, as it’s something completely out of your control! What's also critical is that many products on the market try to take advantage of those insecurities and claim to enlarge the penis. In reality, there are no research-backed solutions or techniques to lengthen the penis, and some of the touted "cures" out there may even have undesired side effects. 

At the end of the day, size of the penis doesn't make a difference to most. It's more about how the tool is used than how big it is!

Last updated May 27, 2022
Originally published Nov 01, 1994

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