Does Penis Size Really Matter?

By Dennis Thompson Jr
Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

As some men fret over their perceived masculinity, women have a different view on the subject. The facts might surprise you.


It's an age-old issue that men struggle with: Does the size of my penis really matter? The question covers layers of worry and fear, as men consider their possible inadequacy.

The answer is more complicated than you think. And fortunately, the problem is more often centered in your own perception than in your partner’s.

Penis Size: Facts and Misconceptions
First, the facts. According to a study reported in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity, the erect penis size of most men — 68 percent — is between 4.6 and 6 inches long. About 16 percent of men have an erect penis size longer than 6.1 inches, and of those only 2.5 percent are over 6.9 inches. About 16 percent of men have an erect penis size that’s shorter than 4.5 inches, with only 2.5 percent of those under 3.7 inches.

So now you know. But do you know who is worried about penis size? Look in the mirror.

In the same study of more than 52,000 participants — men and women — 45 percent of men reported that they were unsatisfied with their penis size and wanted to be larger. Compare that figure to the 16 percent who actually are shorter than average. And the perception didn’t change with age, either — about the same number of older men were unhappy with their penis size as were younger guys.

These concerns of inadequacy have consequences. Men who believed their penis size was too small were less likely to undress in front of their partner, more likely to hide their penis during sex, and more likely to judge themselves unattractive. On the other hand, men who thought they had a large penis were likely to be more self-confident and believe themselves to be attractive. Interestingly, 84 percent of the women surveyed reported that they were satisfied with their partner's penis size. So it's not her problem, guys — it's yours.

That's not the end of the story, though. Penis size does matter to women, but it turns out that when women talk about penis size, it’s usually about the width, not the length.

"A very long, skinny penis is not as pleasurable as a shorter, fatter one for most women," said Patti Britton, PhD, a sex coach and clinical sexologist in Los Angeles, Calif. "It's really the thickness of a male's penis that is the element allows her to feel what we in sexology called containment — the feeling of fullness that's produced with an object or a penis inside the vaginal wall."

Penis Size: What Really Matters
Penis size is not the final determining factor in a man’s ability to satisfy a woman or enjoy sex.

The two of the most sexually sensitive areas for a woman, the clitoris and the G-spot, are both easily reached and aroused. "The G-spot is only one-third up inside the vaginal barrel," Britton explains. "For women who tend to be G-spot oriented, a small or short penis can do the job, and the G-spot can produce ecstatic pleasure."

If you feel your penis is too skinny to satisfy your lover, there are ways around that as well. Sex toy companies have created latex or rubber rings or sleeves that fit around the penis and provide that feeling of fullness for her. "Many feature nubs or ribbing along the outside that allow him to provide additional stimulation while inside her," Britton says.

"There is an adage, it's not the size, it's how you use it," adds Britton. "If the male is a skilled lover manually and orally and sensually, he can produce high levels of pleasure and success in his lovemaking."

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