Does Size Really Matter?

(Includes advice on How To Measure A Penis)

Dr Vernon Coleman

At birth the average erect penis is little more than one inch long. By the time a boy reaches the age of twelve his erect penis will probably be about twice that length. It's then that things usually start to improve fairly dramatically.

By the age of fifteen the average erect penis is around five inches long (12.5 cms), and by full adulthood the average erect penis is around six and a half inches long (that's nearly 17cms) and three and a half inches in circumference (9 cms).

One of the very few physical benefits associated with ageing is the fact that the size of an adult penis tends to increase slightly with age - and the length of a fairly ordinary, average sort of penis can increase by as much as an inch throughout its owner's adult lifetime.

The size of the average penis seems to have got slightly bigger over the last century or so. Surveys done in the late nineteenth century showed that the length of the average penis ranged between three inches and four and a half inches in length (that's between 7.5 cms and 11.5 cms) so there seems to have been a healthy increase in the last hundred years or so.

The majority of men are remarkably close to average size and genuine under or over development is relatively rare and is usually accompanied by other signs of poor development. There is far more variation in the size of female breasts than there is in the size of male penises.

There may be a considerable change in the size of a penis when it becomes erect and penis size tends to even out rather a lot during the process of erection. A penis that seems particularly small when limp may double or triple its length when erect whereas the increase in length of a penis that is larger when limp may be less noticeable. The length, width and general size of a penis at rest gives absolutely no indication of its potential size when aroused. In some men the main effect of erection is to increase the length of the penis. In others the main effect is to increase the width. In some men erection has a relatively slight effect on the size of the penis. A penis which is small when limp may, when erect, become larger than a penis which promised much when limp. Nature has her own way of ensuring that her favours are distributed fairly.

Incidentally, it is a myth that you can tell the size of a man's penis by looking at his overall height or the size of his nose or his feet. The height and weight of the owner have little influence on the size of a penis.

To measure a penis you should gently grasp the end of the erect penis between thumb and first finger and lie it along a ruler which has one end pushed gently against the male pubic bone. Measure to the tip of the glans NOT to the end of a stretched foreskin.

Men worry a great deal about the size of their penis and whatever Freud may say, true penis envy is commoner among men than among women. Men worry about the size of their penises about as much as women worry about the size of their breasts (which is very often). Such worries are common among both homosexuals and heterosexuals. A study of one thousand gay men in America showed that over a third thought that the size of a partner's penis was very important. Almost all the homosexuals interviewed - even those who had penises noticeably larger than average - felt that their penises were too small.

Young boys often feel under-endowed when they look around in the school showers. What they do not realise is that boys of a similar age may have reached puberty much earlier and their organs may, therefore, have started to get larger sooner.

Men often feel under-endowed when they look around in the showers after playing squash or football or working out in the gym. What they fail to realise is that each man's view of his own penis is apparently shortened by an optical illusion when he looks down on it. If two men face each other naked both will almost always think that the other has a considerably larger penis. Some comfort can usually be obtained by looking into a mirror when a more accurate view can be obtained.

Most of these fears are unfounded anyway. There is no correlation between the size of a man's penis and his ability to satisfy a woman in bed. When women do find large penises more exciting it is usually because they look more exciting rather than because they provide more or better sexual satisfaction. Some women like to admire large penises in the same way that some men like to admire large breasts. The admiration is largely artistic rather than functional.

Occasionally a man may worry that his penis is too big. And some women worry that if a man has too large a penis it may hurt them during sex. Theoretically it is possible that an unusually large penis could hurt a woman but the risk is fairly small since the female vagina can expand and adapt itself to cope with a baby's head (which is rather larger than any penis ever recorded).

The thickness of a penis has far more effect than the length of a penis on a woman's chance of reaching an orgasm during vaginal sex. The unstretched vagina is usually around four to five inches long so the average penis is longer than is necessary to reach the cervix.

It is the thickness of the penis which decides how much the labia minora will be moved during intercourse and it is the movement of the labia minora which stimulates the clitoris and produces the female orgasm.

Women may find a long, slender penis attractive to look at but a short, fat penis is more likely to provide them with sexual satisfaction.

I constantly receive letters from male readers who are too shy to initiate sexual contact with women they fancy because they fear that they will be rejected or - worse still - laughed at when the partner of their dreams sees how much they've got (or rather how much they haven't got) tucked into their trousers.

The good news in all this is that even if a man does have a slightly smaller than average sized penis he can, by carefully selecting the positions he uses when making love, maximise the amount of satisfaction his partner receives.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2007