And by “my” penis I mean “your” penis, of course.

This is a perennial question. For some reason, which I do not understand, the feminist perspective (note: I’m a feminist) is often to belittle the question, but really, that isn’t fair. It is not that difficult to imagine how anyone would come to a question about whether or not a particular organ of the body, the head, the breasts, the butt, the thumb, is somehow out of proportion. The penis is just one of many body parts that people may obsess over, and the larger scale issue of the intersection between physical and mental health should not be put aside for the penis, even if it is the Organ of the Patriarchy.

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See: Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?: And Other Reflections on Being Human

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This is also a question that typically results in a plethora of jokes. That is understandable. “Dick jokes” as they are called may or may not be funny but there is no shortage of them. In fact, here, I’ll provide a space for you to write in whatever “dick joke” you happen to be thinking of at the moment:

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OK, are we done? Thanks. That was very funny, I’m sure.

A large penis size study

Interestingly, it has been hard to get a handle on the question of average penis size for humans, and even more importantly, the range. The range is more important because it is actually possible for a person to suffer what is generally called “dysmorphic disorder.” This is where a perceived disproportion of mis-shapennes of some body part causes psychological problems of some sort. In order for medical practitioners to place a person’s penis in the proper perspective, it is necessary to have an idea of what the range and nature of variation is. Partly to this end, a study looking at penis size across 20 separate studies involving over 15,000 males has been conducted by a team of medical scientists in London, and it was just published. The abstract of “Am I normal? A systematic review and construction of nomograms for flaccid and erect penis length and circumference in up to 15 521 men” by David Veale, Sarah Miles, Sally Bramley, Gordon Muir, and John Hodsoll reads in part:

To systematically review and create normograms of flaccid and erect penile size measurements….Study key eligibility criteria: measurement of penis size by a health professional using a standard procedure; a minimum of 50 participants per sample. Penis size nomograms may be useful in clinical and therapeutic settings to counsel men and for academic research.

The results? Here:

Flaccid
9.16 +/- 1.57 cm
3.51 +/- 0.62 in
n=10,704

Stretched
13.24 +/- 1.89 cm
5.21 +/- .74 in
n=14,160

Erect
13.12 +/- 1.66
5.16 +/1 0.65 in
n=381

There are a lot of details in the paper, which is available on line. The samples were collected by medical professionals (as opposed to some other studies which were self-reported) and under a variety of conditions.

The most important result, for clinical use, is a nomogram that allows one to check where a particular value is typical or atypical across the general population. This one shows penis length for flaccid, stretched, and erect penises.

Penis length nomogram (flaccid, stretched, erect)

Penis length nomogram.

There are similar data for circumference, you can check the paper out for that.

Does hand size or foot size predict penis size?

Some will find it interesting that there was a reasonable (but small) correlation between penis length and index finger length in one of the studies reviewed here. This is potentially interesting because the timing of hormonal conditioning in utero is thought to affect the growth pattern of various body parts. Also, there is an “urban belief” (I’d rather not call it a myth unless it is shown to be false, and I’m not sure I’d say that based on this study) that there is a correlation between “hand size” and “penis size.” At present, the penis-hand link is not exactly hard science.


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Check out our new science podcast, Ikonokast.
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You’ve heard, I’m sure, that there is an urban belief that a man’s foot size predicts penis size. This is not supported by the present research.

Does penis size vary by “race”?

If you are a regular reader of this blog you probably know about the “science of race” problem. Numerous studies, mostly done quite a few years ago, seemed to demonstrate racial differences in things like intelligence, criminality, etc. These studies have largely been debunked on two main grounds. First, the definition of and biological validity of the “races” is poor; humans really just don’t have races, even if you happen to think they do. Second, the studies themselves tended to be deeply flawed, sometimes to the point of absurdity. For example, one study found that “blacks” have smaller brains than “whites” but to obtain this result each estimated brain size for the “black” data points was reduced by a standard value.

Penis size as a race thing was also looked at in those studies, and there are plenty of cultural and social tropes surrounding this issue. If there was a “black”, “white”, and “mongolid” (so called) set of races, earlier work done by some of those racists scientists ranked penis size in that order (from largest to smallest) and some researchers wrongly linked that to level of evolution; as penis size gets smaller brain size gets larger, humans grade from animalistic to civilized, that sort of thing. The penis-brain relationship is, of course, absurd, but it is possible that humans vary in penis size across geography just as humans vary in other physical traits like skin color (not by race but by space). The present study showed no such relationship, so if there is a difference across humans in penis size it is not very striking. Having said that, this study was mostly done of white males (320 “Negroids” as the study uses the term, and 445 “Mongolids”)

Do men exaggerate their penis size?


It is also interesting to note that self reported data (not used here) tends to indicate larger penis size, but it may not be a matter of exaggeration.

Herbenick et al. [32] found from their self-report data of 1661 men, a mean erect penile length of 14.15 cm and a mean erect penile circumference of 12.23 cm. This is about 1 cm larger than the mean erect length and 0.6 cm larger than that the mean circumference from our nomograms. This might be dismissed as the unreliability or bias of self-report but they argue that their sample was more accurate, as the data were reported anonymously over the internet and were motivated to obtain a condom that fitted their erect penis. Their data also suggest that the mode of getting an erection may influence erect penile dimensions (e.g. being with a sexual partner at the time of the measurement) and that this may be more accurate than self-stimulation especially in a clinical setting.

So, maybe they do, maybe the don’t, but if the do, they are not doing it by much. I suppose that when it comes to lying about penis size, one does not want to get caught with one’s pants down. As it were.

Note: Robert Martin has quite a few posts on penis size, which you can look over here.

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Other posts of interest:

Also of interest: What is the link between Bigfoot, Aliens and Sex? Read In Search of Sungudogo: A novel of adventure and mystery, set in the Congo.

Comments

  1. #1 Everett F Sargent
    Randy Candy
    March 5, 2015

    The angle of the dangle …

    Seriously though, it’s not the length but the length times cross sectional area divided by it’s density, or mass.

    Now if that ‘baby’ has a mass of +6 sigma (say 10 kg), one would call that one ginormous baby!

  2. #2 Christopher Winter
    March 5, 2015

    You’ve heard, I’m sure, that there is an urban belief that a man’s foot size predicts penis size. This is not supported by the present research.

    I heard that a man’s handgun size reflects penis length. I suppose there’s no supporting data for that belief, either.

  3. #3 anon
    March 5, 2015

    You have changed “nomogram” in the original to “normogram” throughout. But nomogram is correct.
    Wikipedia says it comes from “nomos”, greek for “law”:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomogram

    [An overzealous mass spell checker! -gtl ]

  4. #4 poose
    March 6, 2015

    I’ve (sometimes) wondered if I should make myself known to the world of biomedical research as I have a few highly unique traits, including one relevant to this post. I’ve often wondered if the data may be important on a genetic level.

    In short, I seem to have a connective-tissue disorder (which I suspect is either a subset of or related to Marfan’s Syndrome) whereby if have a set of hyper-mobile finger joints. I can literally bend all of my fingers fully backwards against the BACK of my hand, and even unjoint my thumb and twist it 180 degress backwards so my thumbnail is pointing towards the palm of my hand.

    Yes, it’s a wonderful party trick.

    I also have a slightly above average set of “Wedding Tackle”:
    A fully erect penis in the seven-inch range, but (quelle du horror!) a set of testicles that can best be defined as “midsize chicken eggs” and a highly-stretchable scrotal sac that (on a bet) I was able to stretch and cover a tennis ball (don’t ask). Also, my stretched penis length is about a full inch LONGER than my erect length!

    Also, for the record I have no erectile issues (at 50 yrs. old), prostate’s fine and no ejaculatory issues either.

    Thoughts? I’d love to demonstrate all of this and provide genetic samples if it would help further our knowledge base.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    March 6, 2015

    This might be a TMI situation.

  6. #6 poose
    March 6, 2015

    Sorry, I thought it relevant, and was offered only as data. Please delete if you feel it’s inappropriate.

  7. #7 poose
    March 6, 2015

    btw-bye. I shall not darken your door anymore.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    March 6, 2015

    No, I was just using levity. If i wanted the comment deleted I’d have deleted it before it was posted!

  9. #9 Shelama
    March 7, 2015

    What does she say?

  10. #10 Neven
    Austria
    March 8, 2015

    In fact, here, I’ll provide a space for you to write in whatever “dick joke” you happen to be thinking of at the moment:

    Okay, so I was on a holiday in Italy and wanted to buy some condoms. I went to the local pharmacy and asked for condoms. Unfortunately, the man behind the counter only spoke Italian, and I didn’t.

    However much I tried, I couldn’t convey the goal of my errand to him. Finally, I decided to take my dick out, lay it on the counter and put money next to it.

    He watched for a second, put his dick on the counter as well, saw that his dick was larger, and took my money.

  11. #11 L.Long
    March 11, 2015

    I’ve always been puzzled by this. What does it matter? You can get it out far enough to pee neatly, then put it away.
    Why do you need anything bigger???
    Of course smaller would be a nuisance but who cares about bigger and what for??

  12. #12 Dimakatso
    Bloemfontein
    April 3, 2015

    I have also always wondered what is the big deal about this question. If it can do what its meant to do and you are using it right there should not be a problem right?
    I am glad I got a handle on all those rumors about a man’s foot size and penis size, personally that idea freaks me out!
    u12133214

  13. #13 Christos
    US
    August 24, 2015

    I also have a connective tissue issue. My hands and feet are larger and my penis is 7 3/4in 19.69cm long while erect. So a connective tissue issue could lend length to the penis as it is connected to the body by a tendon. I have had issues with it being to long so length should not hold the importance it does in our current culture. Men as a hole are inundated with the larger penis is better in so many ways such as underwear ads, condom ads and adult entertainment (porn).

  14. #14 Louis Long
    United States
    November 20, 2015

    Listen, anybody that tells you that tells you size doesn’t matter is partially true. There are other things you can do with a women that can pleasure her also. To make my point, someone could tell you that money is not that important. I ask that person, would you want more money or less money? I’m sure nobody would choose less. Make your dick bigger naturally: http://tinyurl.com/nag9lvb

  15. #15 brahms
    United States
    January 2, 2016

    So races don’t exist but we vary across geographical space. And that differs from subspecies how exactly?

  16. #16 NINJA!!!
    U S A
    January 9, 2016

    theres a whole science of how big dicks are?!?!?!

  17. #17 Christos
    Wisconsin
    January 9, 2016

    So races don’t exist but we vary across geographical space. And that differs from subspecies how exactly?

    You are correct in a way. There are actually 3 races associated with the current human species. Those races are very well mixed now. So as to geographical differences, those would be caused by adaptation of the humans who occupied an area long enough to change traits. If you look at data especially from the United States you will get a much better idea of averages. This is because of the large number of differently adapted people in a given area. The other issues with many of these studies is self-reporting and individual sample size of peoples from different areas of the world.
    The only true way these studies should be done is by having the measurements done exactly the same every time. This should be accomplished by the use of a specialized tool that does not cause human error. The next part of the study should be done by taking a sample size of a minimum of 100 people from each geographical location on each continent. This is just my opinion but it would yield the most accurate results.
    As stated in a previous post I am over 7in in erect length measured by visible extension and not from my pubic bone. I am in the US and so by way of reporting am well above the average for my region. Now should I live in Asia I would be well above that regions 100%. On the chart now I am well into the 100 percentile range or for better understanding, out of 1000 men only one would possibly have an erect length longer than me.

  18. #18 Christos
    United States
    January 9, 2016

    there’s a whole science of how big dicks are?!?!?!

    If you read my previous comment you will see that I am saying that there is a science to this but a very flawed science.
    There is also a science that has measured the inside of a females vagina. This science has determined 4 shape types and an average depth of 5.5-6inches. This depth can and does change depending on arousal along with the sidewall dimensions.
    This same science has determined that females only have nerves that experience “pleasure” from the vaginal canal opening to a depth of 2-3inches. So this being the case a penis that is 8-10inces, really is not necessary or even the most useful for providing pleasure to a female from intercourse. Beyond the initial 3inces females, according to the studies, only are really feeling a pressure. This has been shown to be important for reasons of child birth. If a female had the same amount of sensitive nerves the entire length of the vaginal canal (birth canal), child birth could or would kill them from the extreme pain that would be felt. Just ask any woman who has given natural vaginal child birth without drugs if she would like her nerves to extend the full length of her vaginal canal.
    Science is fun!!!!

  19. […] I don’t really want to write a blog post about Trump’s junk. But I did feel a responsibility to get this image, the one at the top of this post, out there. If you want to know more about penis size, including the large vs. small hand as indicator of large vs. small penis idea, I’ve got you covered here. […]