10 Fascinating Facts About The Penis: From The Average Size To How To Measure Yours Properly

Photo: Diane Alkier on Unsplash
10 Fascinating Facts About The Penis: From The Average Size To How To Measure Yours Properly
Health And Wellness, Sex

How much do we really know about the penis? As much as we all take pride in this (sometimes) little package, many women and men alike don't really know all that much about it.

Most people understand the penis’s role during sex, but for all the praise and attention men seek when it comes to declaring that their penis is better than any other on the planet, they often know shockingly little about their own anatomy.

What is the average penis size, and how do you measure a penis properly anyway?

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.

RELATED: If He Has One Of These 4 Penis Types, Your Sex Will Be Amazing

For instance, take a look at these two little known 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 percent of men falling 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 often 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 you probably didn't know about penis size.

1. How to measure a penis properly, both by length and girth.

The correct way to measure a penis for accurate length — a measurement referred to by urologists as Bone Pressed Erect Length (BPEL). BPEL and Bone Pressed Flaccid Length (BPFL) — is to 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 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. Some people use dollar bills to measure a man's 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 sized average 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.

RELATED: What Women Really Think About The Size Of Your Penis

3. The average penis is not as big as people 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 probably smaller than most would think.

As self-measured and self-reported, when erect, the average penis is 5.6 inches long and 4.8 inches in circumference.

4. Men who claim to be bigger than average aren't necessarily huge liars, though.

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 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.

The smallest recorded human penis measured 0.30 inches (one centimeter), while the largest measured 13.5 inches in length and 6.25 inches in girth.

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 ...

RELATED: Meet The Man With The Biggest Penis In The World

6. Small penises generally are not considered 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.

RELATED: The Truth About Whether Penis Size Actually Matters To Women

7. Gay men tend to be bigger (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. There is a way to make your penis look bigger.

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."

RELATED: Study Shows The Penis Size Most Women Actually Prefer

9. The key to knowing how big a man's penis is might be in the 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 a penis.

So the longer the ring finger is compared to the index finger, the bigger the penis.

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 connect the size of men's penises to the size of their feet, noses, thumbs, and earlobes.

One study even looked for a connection between flat buttocks and long penises. One tribe in Nigeria believed this to be the case, but scientists later determined the opposite, if anything, is more likely to be true.

We could go back to having men wear tights, but they would probably just stuff their codpieces.

RELATED: Millennial Men Have Huge Penises (If You Believe This Survey)

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

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.