Curious if a bigger penis equals better sex? Men's Journal investigates the matter.
Penis size is among the most talked about topics in sex, which is odd, considering numerous studies and surveys show that size doesn't seem to impact what a partner thinks and performance in bed. In other words, the length of your member isn't hurting your sex life, but your preoccupation with it might be. "It can become problematic when guys focus too much on these issues instead of having fun, experiencing pleasure, and finding ways to please their partners," says David Frederick, assistant professor in health psychology at Chapman University. Here, with aid from Frederick, are the facts about penis size that should help you move past this all-too-dwelled-upon number.
The average size of an erect penis is 5.16 inches.
Recently, researchers from the UK combined data on penis size from 20 studies, equaling 15,521 penises from men, ages 17 or over. Health professionals conducted all of the measurements and none of the men involved could have erectile dysfunction or be complaining of small penis size. The results were a mean length of 3.6 inches for a flaccid penis and 5.16 inches for an erect penis. Girth for each of these averaged out at 3.7 and 4.6 inches. Four of the studies in this paper found a significant relationship between the stretched length of a penis and its erect length. No strong relationship was found between length and finger ratio, testicle size, age, or foot size.
Sound low? That's because men lie about their size.
There have been many studies and surveys of penis size. Aside from giving us a good idea of average size, these studies can also tell us that men aren't reliable self-reporters of their measurements. "There is about a one inch fudge factor if you let men do the reporting themselves," said Frederick.
It probably won't help her have an orgasm.
What makes women orgasm varies a lot but only about one-fifth of women can climax through vaginal-only stimulation, according to Frederick. This is backed up by this study that found that women who prefer longer penises are more likely to have vaginal orgasms. The study used survey data from 323 female Scottish university students, which detailed their orgasms in the last month, how they felt penile length affected their orgasms, and their penis length preferences. These results could be on to something but it is a rather specific sample of women and the data is from a survey, so more research would be needed before we give it too much heft.
Your weight matters way more than penis length to your partner.
When viewed as part of the whole body, penis length does seem to have some impact on attraction, according to this 2012 study. That is, only until it reaches about three inches (in its flaccid state). For this research, women were shown computer-generated, flaccid, naked men. Attractiveness scores for these nudes increased up to the three-inch mark, then penis length was no longer much of a factor. Instead, women cared more about height and hip-to-shoulder ratio. In the end, tall men got major boosts for a little added length and chubbier ones couldn't keep up, no matter what they were packing.
Most men are unhappy with their penis size.
As shown by several studies, including Frederick's, many men are unhappy with their penis size. Whether or not they are right in thinking they don't measure up, this dissatisfaction shouldn't be ignored. These concerns can affect a man's overall body image and their abilities to have a satisfying sex live. "Few heterosexual men ever see other men with erect penises, unless it is in pornography, where the penis sizes are quite different than the norm," says Frederick.
Small penis syndrome, where a man with an average-sized penis is worried it's too small, is pretty common.
Perhaps the clearest testament to our obsession with penis size comes from this review article from the UK. It combines 12 different studies, including a couple from Frederick, to examine thoroughly why men are concerned with penis size. This review focuses on small penis syndrome — a condition where a man with an average-sized penis is worried it's too small — but in examining this problem, covers a lot of ground. The researchers say that most men have nothing to worry about in the size department (i.e., the average man tends to have an average penis). They also found that the well-known link between race and length actually needs more evidence and that, again, women are generally plenty happy with whatever their guy has going on.
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