MEN'S HEALTH ∙ 3 minute read

What’s the average penis size?

By Joe Young | Medically reviewed by Dr Luke Pratsides

Only 55% of men are satisfied with their penis size. But the average isn’t as big as you might think, so you really don’t need to worry about buying a sports car, luxury watch, or fancy pen to compensate. 

Let’s see the facts. 

Average penis size

You’ve heard of the magic number of 6 inches or more. But this isn't based on science. A systematic review of over 15,000 men found the average flaccid penis size to be 3.6 inches, while the average erect penis is 5.17 inches. 

The 6-inch assumption is based on self-reported measurements where men were unsurprisingly generous. 

Grower or shower: fact or fiction?

A new sexual encounter probably begins with you saying, "I'm a grower." But is this urban legend true? 

Recent research found that a 56% or more increase in penis size from a flaccid to an erect state are classified as growers, while those who experience less than a 31% increase are labelled as showers. 

However, there’s no way everyone can claim to be a grower. Most men in the study fell in the normal range whilst 24% were growers and 25% were showers.

What size do women prefer?

It really depends on the person. Some might get a kick out of a large penis, whereas others might even find it painful. 

According to a study, women prefer an erect penis of a slightly larger length for a one-time encounter (6.4 inches) versus long-term (6.3 inches) sexual partners. 

In the same study, men thought that more women would find a longer penis ideal than the women actually did. Also, most men seeking surgery to increase their penis size fell within the normal range. 

When you consider that only 18% of women achieve orgasm through pure penetration and 85% of women are perfectly happy with their partner’s size -  it’s clear the diameter of your penis isn’t the be-all and end-all.

There are other measures of sex too. Maybe you want to last longer or stay hard when the moment arrives. Or maybe you’d like to try something new in the bedroom. Ultimately, talking to your partner is always the best way to deal with any problems. 

Other factors which influence the size 

Beyond the obvious, your penis is constantly changing in size. You don’t want to be caught with your pants down on a particularly cold day. 

Let’s take a look. 

The temperature

Like a baby holding onto its mother for dear life, your penis moves closer to the body for warmth when cold. Your body goes all out to protect its most valuable commodity. This also applies when it’s hot and your testicles hang low to pick up the northerly breeze. 

As you age

As you get older your erections may falter. And you thought getting old was bad enough already. From about age 40, a man's testosterone levels naturally decline by about 1% every year. You may not even notice but eventually this could lead to decreased libido and weaker erections.

Weight gain 

After gaining weight, your penis might look smaller. In reality, it just looks smaller compared to the rest of your body. If you have belly fat, it extends over the base of the penis, making it appear shorter. Your vantage point of looking down on your penis also doesn’t help. It’s the same approach to taking that elusive flattering dick pic. It’s all about the angles. 

Drug use

You may have heard the term pilly willy or whiskey dick. After a night of painting the town red, your appendage might react badly. Cocaine, MDMA, and alcohol interfere with your body, resulting in shrinkage or the inability to get an erection. 

The numan take 

You probably care about the size of your penis. Most men do. But that doesn’t make it necessary for your enjoyment. Shift the focus away from the size, and more about how you use it. Bigger isn’t necessarily better.