Most people understand the penis’s role during sex, but for all the praise and attention men often seek when it comes to declaring their penis is bigger and better than any other on the planet, they often know shockingly little about their own anatomy.
Some of the most frequently asked questions about the penis include:
- What is the average penis size?
- What is considered a big or small penis?
- How many men have 7 inches? (And how many have 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 inches?)
- How do you measure your penis?
You’d think that understanding all there is to know about their favorite organ would be top of most guys' to-do lists, but unfortunately, that’s not the case for many. And while ignorance can be bliss, knowledge, especially about that oh-so-favored of body parts, is most definitely power.
For instance, take a look at these two little known penis facts:
- Smoking cigarettes can cause a man's penis to shrink.
Smoking might be one of those "masculine” hobbies some guys think makes them look cool, but researchers at Boston University School of Medicine found that smoking cigarettes can shrink a man's penis up to an entire centimeter.
- There really are "showers" and "growers."
And researchers found that approximately 74% of men fall into the former category. So don't judge a book by its (soft) cover, because at least 26 percent of the time, it might have something quite impressive hidden away that you’re not seeing ... at least, not yet.
Considering how important a penis can be to a man’s confidence and his self-esteem, it's unfortunate that so many men believe their capacity for how well they can perform in bed depends almost solely on their penis size.
While this may not seem entirely fair, it turns out that penis size can be a predictor of some matters related to sex, including a woman's ability to have orgasms during penetration. So the idea of being a "size queen" might have some logic to it.
Men and women alike may debate whether or not penis size matters, but while it’s no secret that the penis is there for both baby-making and having a damn good time, there are a lot of things many of us don’t know about phalluses, so prepare yourself to become better informed.
Here are 10 facts about the penis, from the average size to how to measure yours properly.
1. How to measure a penis properly, both by length and girth.
The correct way to measure a penis for accurate length is via a measurement referred to by urologists as Bone Pressed Erect Length (BPEL). BPEL and Bone Pressed Flaccid Length (BPFL).
To measure penis length: Place a ruler or measuring tape on the top side of the penis, pressing the base of the ruler firmly toward the pubic bone and extending it from there down to the tip of the head.
To measure penis girth: Simply wrap a measuring tape around the widest point of the shaft. Alternatively, you can wrap a string, shoelace, or similar item around the same section, mark where the ends meet, and measure the section of string with a ruler.
2. You can also use dollar bills to measure a penis.
There is a clever (if technically less accurate) way to compare a man's penis using a United States dollar bill if you don't want to whip out the measuring tape.
The average sized penis will be smaller than the width of dollar bill, which measures 6.14 inches.
If your/his penis comes to the end of the word "One" on the front, it's approximately 5 inches long. If it lands on the first "A" in America, it's about 4 inches.
I don't know about you, I may may never look at dollar bills the same way again.
3. The average penis size isn't as big as many say it is.
You know you shouldn't care, but since you're probably curious, a study of 1661 men published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that the average penis size is smaller than most would probably think.
As self-measured and self-reported, the average penis is 5.6 inches long and 4.8 inches in circumference when erect.
4. The same penis may actually be bigger or smaller, depending on the "circumstances."
The researchers note that the way a man achieves an erection before measuring his penis can affect his results. Most participants in that study "measured their penis while alone, using hand stimulation to become erect."
However, it's also worth mentioning that those who "became aroused through oral sex reported larger penis size on average than those who attained erections through fantasizing."
5. How many men have a penis measuring 7 inches or more?
Only 15 percent of men have penises measuring more than 7 inches long, and only 3 percent measure over 8 inches. But that doesn't mean that huge penises don't exist; they absolutely do.
In comparison, the blue whale's penis is the largest in the animal kingdom, averaging 7 feet 10 inches long and about one foot in diameter.
And after his big photo scandal, we now know where Justin Bieber's penis falls on this scale ...
6. Typically, small penises are not considered to be a medical concern.
Penis size is only a concern if shorter than 1.4 inches at birth and 3 2/3 inches in adult males. Penises this size are known as micropenises. According to Cleveland Clinic, "Estimates vary, but studies indicate 0.6 percent of men worldwide have the condition."
In such instances, hormone treatment may be prescribed, and surgical reconstruction, known as phalloplasty, is possible. This surgery, however, can be risky, complicated and painful.
7. Gay men tend to have bigger penises.
Yes, really. Researchers at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction studied 5122 men classified as either heterosexual or homosexual over the period from 1938 to 1963.
They found that the majority of homosexual men reported having penises an average of a third of an inch longer than those of heterosexual men.
8. You can make your penis look bigger than it is.
The best way to increase the perceived size of your penis size is by losing belly fat.
Makes perfect sense given that, as noted in Vice, "the more excess fat a man accumulates, the more the penis is buried, causing it to effectively lose length."
9. The key to predicting a man's penis size might be found in looking at his fingers.
Researchers at Gachon University in Korea discovered that the difference in length between a man's ring finger and index finger indicated the length of his penis.
The longer his ring finger is compared to his index finger, the bigger you can expect his penis to be.
10. Scientists spend a lot of time trying to figure out how big a man's penis is without looking at it.
Scientists have tried to find a correlation between the size of men's penises and the size of their feet, noses, thumbs, and even earlobes.
One study even looked for a connection between flat buttocks and long penises, as a tribe in Nigeria believed this to be the case. However, scientists later determined the opposite, if anything, is more likely to be true.
In summary, we could simply go back to having men wear tights so their penis size would be more obvious to all, but they would probably stuff their codpieces anyway.
Linda Sivertsen, aka BookMama, is the author of two New York Times bestselling books, host of the Beautiful Writers Podcast, founder of the Carmel Writing Retreats, and creator of the The Boyfriend Log app.