Does Size Matter?

Men catch a lot of grief for being obsessed with their penises…is it big enough? Thick enough? Hard enough? Etc. But given that Mother Nature’s prime directive is to reproduce, and given the prominence of the male member, maybe this attention isn’t so odd. If a woman’s ovaries were as conspicuous as a man’s penis, I'll bet women would be as obsessed about those reproductive assets as men are about theirs.

Posted on | Harry Fisch, MD | Comments ()

Men catch a lot of grief for being obsessed with their penises…is it big enough? Thick enough? Hard enough? Etc. But given that Mother Nature’s prime directive is to reproduce, and given the prominence of the male member, maybe this attention isn’t so odd.  If a woman’s ovaries were as conspicuous as a man’s penis, I'll bet women would be as obsessed about those reproductive assets as men are about theirs.


Unfortunately, even in this supposedly enlightened era of sexual information, a lot of guys don’t have a clue about what “normal” is when it comes to penises.  Lurid – and often artificially manipulated – photographs of monster penises on websites for "penis extenders" don’t help things. So in this blog I want to present a brief primer on penises, just to set the record straight…and maybe set some male minds at ease.


First, length. Scientific studies of the size of erect penises – and there are a surprising number of them – consistently show that the average erection is a little more than 5 inches long. Like any aspect of anatomy, though, people vary. On the small side of things, a guy is considered normal if his erect penis is at least 3 inches long. On the long end of things, 2 research efforts found that the longest erect penises in their study populations were about 8 inches long. Longer penises certainly exist, however. In his book Penis Size and Enlargement: Facts, Fallacies, and Proven Methods, Garry Griffin provides the following estimates:

  • Only 15% of men have a penis longer than 7 inches when erect.
  • Only 3% of men are bigger than 8 inches when erect.
  • Only one man in 10,000 has a 10-inch erection.

It’s also true that penises that are relatively short when flaccid, tend to enlarge proportionately more during erection than larger penises. In other words, you can’t tell from the size of a limp penis how it’ll look when erect.

Does race have any effect on penis size? Nope. Several studies, starting with those reported in Alfred Kinsey’s classic 1948 work Sexual Behavior in the Human Male have found no differences, on average, in penis length between whites, blacks, and Asians.

Contrary to all sorts of folklore, there is no correlation between penis size and the length of one’s nose, or feet, or index fingers, or any other part of the anatomy. In Masters & Johnson’s classic studies, for example, the largest penis of the 312 men studied was hung on a guy who was 5 feet 7 inches tall, while the smallest penis was on a guy who was 5 feet 11.

Here’s one piece of common wisdom that I think is true: “It’s not the size of the instrument, it’s how you play the tune. The longer you play the tune the better it is." There’s so much more to satisfying sex than the size of a guy’s penis!  

Blog written by Harry Fisch, MD
Dr. Fisch is the director of the Male Reproductive Center in New York City. He is a board-certified urologist and microsurgeon...