Am I Normal? Flaccid and Erect Penis Sizes
Dimensions or measurements of average penis size has long been a focus of sexual and reproductive debate among investigators and scientists. Unfortunately, commercialization of sex and pornography has led to unreasonably high expectations and demands for the size of male copulating organ. For most males, penile size is a matter of great concern and pride/ anxiety. Investigators on the other hand believes that the size and circumference is less important in the maintenance of normal sexual functions and usually does not influence the quality of sex life.
But why does it matter? What is the normal penile size and how can it affect your sexual life?
Normal Penis Size
The size of the penis vary from male to male and even in the same males under different physiological situations. Based on several studies, the average size of the male penis in flaccid (or relaxed phase) is approximately 2.8-3.9 inches (or about 7 to 10 centimeters). Likewise, the girth or circumference of flaccid penis is 3.5 to 3.9 inches or 9 to 10 centimeters (1). During a complete erection (or sexual arousal), the length of the penis increases to about 4.8 to 6.3 inches (that corresponds to 12 to 16 centimeters) and circumference increases to 4.7 inches (or 12 cm).
It is imperative to keep in mind that every male is unique and so is the physiology of their sexual activity. In other words, the size of the flaccid penis does not determine the size of erect penis (2). Many males with a smaller flaccid penis are able to achieve a normal penile length during full blown penile erection. In addition, certain physiological factors can also influence the length of penis during erection; such as mode of stimulation, time since last erection/ ejaculation etc. For example, length of erect penis is slightly higher when hand stimulation is used (3) as opposed to no tactile stimulation.
Likewise, other factors like genetics, race and geographical location also influences the size of penis. For example:
- According to a study conducted on the Italian population and published in the peer reviewed journal European Urology (4), the average penile length in the flaccid state was found to be 3.5 inches. The data was collected from 3300 Italian young males. The average circumference of flaccid penis was found to be 3.9 inches.
- The data collected from Indian male population (from a sample of 301 healthy adult males) suggested that the average length of flaccid penis was 3.2 inches in the study population and average circumference was 3.6 inches (5).
How Small is too Small?
Due to technological advancements and development in the field of research, a number of penile augmentation procedures are now available for males who experience sexual dysfunction due to below-average penile lengths.
According to a study conducted on 80 adult physically normal males, investigators concluded that individual with penis length below 1.6 inches (4 cm) in the flaccid state or 3 inches (7.5 cm) in erect state may experience moderate to severe difficulty in maintaining normal sexual functions and are therefore candidates for penile augmentation procedures (1).
Male Perception of Adequate/ Normal Penile Size
According to a new study published in the peer reviewed British Journal of Urology International (6), approximately 85% females reported complete satisfaction with the proportion and size of their current partner’s penis; however, about 45% males in the study suggested that their penile length is unsatisfactory.
Most males attribute female sexual gratification and intensity of pleasure to a longer and thicker penis size. A lot of men research and rely on penile extenders, physical exercises and commercial products that are capable of enhancing the size of penis, suggesting a state of dissatisfaction with their current size. But in reality most females are least concerned to the size of penis (as long as it is in the normal range).
In short, although penile size plays a primary role in maintaining healthy sexual relations among male and female partners, it has been observed that a lot of males are unnecessarily concerned or anxious about the penile size.
- Wessells, H., Lue, T. F., & McAninch, J. W. (1996). Penile length in the flaccid and erect states: guidelines for penile augmentation. The Journal of urology, 156(3), 995-997.
- Sengezer, M., Öztürk, S., & DevecI, M. (2002). Accurate method for determining functional penile length in Turkish young men. Annals of plastic surgery, 48(4), 381-385.
- Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Schick, V., & Sanders, S. A. (2014). Erect penile length and circumference dimensions of 1,661 sexually active men in the United States. The journal of sexual medicine, 11(1), 93-101.
- Ponchietti, R., Mondaini, N., Bonafè, M., Di Loro, F., Biscioni, S., & Masieri, L. (2001). Penile length and circumference: a study on 3,300 young Italian males. European urology, 39(2), 183-186.
- Promodu, K., Shanmughadas, K. V., Bhat, S., & Nair, K. R. (2007). Penile length and circumference: an Indian study. International journal of impotence research, 19(6), 558-563.
- Wylie, K. R., & Eardley, I. (2007). Penile size and the ‘small penis syndrome’. BJU international, 99(6), 1449-1455.