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 abnormally 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.

Now that you've got the averages under your belt, let's talk about what these numbers mean. While these ranges represent mean penis lengths, flaccid penis lengths have a lot more variability than erect penis lengths. In other words, a group of men can have fairly different flaccid lengths, but their erect penis sizes might be fairly similar. Some have termed erections as the "great male equalizer" for this very reason.

Research has shown that about 85% of men overestimate the population's average penis size. This misperception (and accompanying insecurity) often starts in childhood and young adulthood. Whether penis size anxiety originates from seeing substantially endowed men featured in erotic images and pornography, from friends' exaggerated reports, or from junk email that incessantly advertises penis enlarging miracle drugs, it's not surprising that many males mistakenly think they don't measure up.

The great news is that whether you are smaller or bigger than average — or hang right in the middle — it is what you do with your body, mind, and phallice that matters to most sexual partners. While some men and women might report enjoying a larger-than-average penis, most will be able to receive an abundance of pleasure through communication and skill regardless of how big or long the penis is. In fact, larger-than-average penises can present with their own set of challenges during oral, vaginal, and anal sex (see Penis too large for pleasurable sex?). Incidentally, penis size does not have any effect on male or female fertility.

If you are feeling self-conscious about your penis size despite this info, try examining where these feelings come from. What exactly about your penis is causing concern? Are you comparing yourself to an unrealistic ideal? Have you had a bad experience in the past or with a sexual partner? Getting to the source of your anxiety may help you move forward. Chatting with someone else, such as your health care provider, may relieve any lingering worries.

Lastly, don't fall for all those products on the market making claims to enlarge your penis; there are no products or techniques that have been proven effective and many of these "cures" can actually cause your body harm. Check out Bigger penis promises: True claims or false advertising? for more info on this topic.


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