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The Average Penis and Erection Size: Real Data

Kristin Hall, FNP

Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 9/29/2022

Worried about your penis size? Relax, you’re not alone. At some point, just about every guy has wondered how their penis stacks up compared to the average.

Like many aspects of sex and anatomy, penis size is a subject that creates distorted perceptions of what’s “normal.” Most studies of penis size around the world show that the average penis size is, to put it simply, not quite as big as people may think.

According to a detailed review of study data by researchers at King’s College London published in the journal BJU International, the average flaccid penis size is around 3.6 inches, or 9.16cm, from base to tip.

When it comes to flaccid circumference (a circular measurement around the penis), the average man measures in at around 3.7 inches, or 9.31cm.

Erect, the average-sized penis measures approximately 5.2 inches (13.12cm) in length, with an average circumference of around 4.6 inches (11.66cm). 

Not quite what you’d expect, right? From harmless bragging to porn-induced expectations about penis size, there are numerous factors that contribute to the belief that the average man’s penis is, well, bigger than the real average. 

In this guide, we’ll look at some more of the data behind the average penis size. We’ll also look at whether or not dick size (or lack of) is really an issue that you should spend any of your time worrying about.

Finally, we’ve discussed a few options for increasing penis size and sexual performance, from less-than-proven approaches such as jelqing to more evidence-based options such as staying in shape, using medication to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) and improving your mental health.

Do I Have an Average Dick Size?

Penis size is a common source of anxiety for men. Because of unrealistic expectations about what is and isn’t normal perpetuated by media and pornography, a surprising number of guys worry about whether or not their penis is big enough. 

Although occasionally worrying about your penis size is far from abnormal, feeling anxious or dealing with excessive or persistent concerns about penis size are, in a certain way, a form of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

In fact, some researchers have even coined the term “penile dysmorphic disorder,” or PDD, to describe men who have a preoccupation with their penis size.

In an effort to help clinicians dealing with this form of BDD, several researchers have dug into the data to determine what is and isn’t normal when it comes to penis size.

Most of this research suggests that people’s perceptions about the normal range for penis size are, to put it mildly, not totally realistic. It also suggests that many men are far more concerned about their penis size than their female partners. 

As we mentioned above, a detailed review from researchers at King’s College London suggests that the average penis size -- using a sample of more than 15,500 men -- is about 3.6 inches, or 9.16cm, when flaccid, and approximately 5.2 inches (13.12cm) when erect.

This finding should come as a relief to many men, confirming that the “six inches” average that’s often promoted in media and casual conversation isn’t even close to the reality of penis size. 

Real Study Data vs. Public Perceptions of Penis Size

What’s particularly interesting about the topic of penis size is the difference between real study data, which comes from high quality surveys, and the perceived average penis size that people report when they’re asked about what they think is normal.

In a survey conducted by UK-based company Health Bridge Limited, researchers asked people to state what they believed was the average penis length. The survey featured men and women, drawing data from thousands of people located throughout Europe and North America.

The average penis size reported by participants varied between countries, with Poland reporting the biggest perceived average penis length at 6.18 inches (15.7 cm). 

Austria, Italy, Germany and the United States all featured estimates well above the real average for penis length, at 6.14 inches (15.6 cm), 6.02 inches (15.3 cm), 5.83 inches (14.8cm) and 5.63 inches (14.3 cm), respectively. 

For the most part, the survey participants overestimated the average penis size by about half an inch to one inch (1.3 to 2.5 cm). 

Of the 10 most widely-surveyed countries, only the UK guessed an average size that was below the real average, estimating that the average erect penis is 4.88 inches (12.4 cm). 

Put simply, the survey showed something that other scientific research largely confirms -- most people overestimate the average penis size, often by a significant amount. 

This mismatch between perceived penis size and real penis size might not seem like that big of a deal. However, it may contribute to feelings of anxiety, frustration and insecurity for many men who feel like their penis isn’t big enough.

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When is a Penis Too Small?

Before we get into whether or not penis size really matters, it’s important to get one major detail out of the way. While penis size generally isn’t that big of a deal, there are some conditions that can cause you to develop a penis that’s far smaller than the average.

These include micropenis -- a condition in which the penis grows to a far smaller size than most men -- and buried penis, in which a normal penis is “buried” and partially hidden due to skin and fat from the abdomen, thigh or scrotum.

A micropenis is a penis that’s more than 2.5 standard deviations smaller than the average penis size.

Micropenis is fairly rare. According to an article published in the Journal of Clinical Research in Pediatric Endocrinology,  about 1.5 out of every 10,000 male children born in the United States between 1997 and 2000 displayed signs of micropenis. 

A variety of factors can play a role in the development of micropenis, including hormonal issues and congenital syndromes. 

Buried penis can occur when skin or fat cause your penis to become less visible, even if it has a normal length and circumference. It’s usually caused by obesity, with excess body fat covering the penis and making it more difficult to see.

Other factors can also play a role in the development of buried penis, including elective surgery procedures, traumatic events, infections and skin conditions such as lichen sclerosus. 

Micropenis and buried penis are both recognized medical conditions, and it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider if you think you might be affected by either one. These conditions may be treatable with hormonal therapy, surgery and other forms of treatment.

Does Penis Size Really Matter?

The size of your penis can seem like a big deal, as we often associate a larger penis with more pleasure for sexual partners.

However, most research suggests that penis size really isn’t that important for women. In fact, in the same survey we mentioned above, the overwhelming majority of female participants, 67.4%, claimed that penis size was only “somewhat important” to them in a sex partner.

Another 21.4% of female participants said that penis size just wasn’t important at all. In fact, just 11.2% of all of the women that took part in the survey claimed that penis size was very important to them when choosing a romantic partner.

Other data from more rigorous scientific studies also seems to support the theory that penis size just isn’t a major issue for most women, with relatively few women reporting it’s a major factor in their choice of long-term sexual partner. 

In a 2015 study of penis size and sexual attraction, researchers found that only 27% of women had ended a relationship, in part, due to a difference between their preferred penis size and the size of their partner’s penis.

The same study also found that the majority of women reported preferring a penis size that was only slightly larger than average.

In other words, the overwhelming majority of women don’t use penis size as a significant factor for their choice of long-term partners, and their expectations and preferences for penis size are not that far from the norm.

How to Measure Your Penis Accurately

Well, fellas, you knew this section was coming. While we’re not really in the business of making men feel inadequate, we also understand that if you have concerns about the size of your penis, you may want to measure it and see how you compare to others. In short, we get it. 

While measuring your penis might seem simple, it’s important to do so accurately to make sure you aren’t selling yourself short (or, alternatively, being a little too generous). 

The good news is that measuring your penis isn’t very complicated once you’re familiar with the correct techniques. 

If you want to get an accurate measurement of your penis -- for scientific purposes, of course -- here are some practical tips: 

  • First, decide whether you want an erect measurement or a flaccid measurement. You can do one or the other, or both — it’s a free country. However, it’s important that you don’t compare erect and flaccid measurements, as they can vary hugely.

  • When you’re ready to measure, take a ruler and place it at the base of your penis. Try not to push the ruler in on your abdomen too firmly, as this can add some extra size to your penis and give you an inaccurate measurement.

  • If flaccid, take the tip of your penis and hold it to the ruler’s edge. Avoid pulling on your penis or extending it, as this will also give you an inaccurate measurement. Instead, try to hold the tip of your penis gently against the ruler.

  • If erect, carefully place the edge of the ruler against your penis. Measuring your penis while it’s erect is generally easier, as there’s no need to hold the tip of your penis and keep the ruler in place at the same time. 

It’s important to keep in mind that the exact size of your penis can vary while it’s erect, as some erections may be firmer than others. Try measuring your erect and non-erect penis two or three times, then using the average measurement to assess its typical size.

To measure the circumference of your penis:

  • Take a piece of smooth thread or dental floss (we recommend against twine, as this can scratch your skin) and cut it to a length of a few inches.

  • While you’re flaccid or erect, locate the widest part of your penis, then carefully wrap the thread around it. Make note of where the thread intersects so that you can measure the thread accurately.

  • Carefully remove the thread from around your penis. Make sure not to lose track of the point where the thread intersected with itself.

  • Place the thread on top of a ruler and make a note of your circumference. If you have a soft tape measure, you can also use this to measure around your penis directly.

And there you go. Simple enough, right? As always, it’s often best to take two or three separate measurements over the course of a few days, as the size of your penis may vary based on your level of arousal and blood flow while erect.

This way, you can get an accurate idea of your normal penis size range and understand how the size of your penis varies based on factors like arousal and general wellbeing. 

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Can You Increase Your Penis Size?

Certain aspects of your body can be changed through things like diet, exercise, medication and grooming. Penis size -- with the exception of a few factors, such as erection quality -- generally isn’t one of them.

Although there are various “techniques” for increasing penis size, most don’t appear to offer any long-term benefits. For example, the popular penis stretching technique “jelqing” isn’t associated with high satisfaction rates and may cause issues such as bruising and scar tissue buildup.

Similarly, surgical procedures for penis enlargement may offer a small amount of increased girth and length, but come with long lists of potential complications. As for products like penis pumps, the results are temporary and the potential side effects numerous.

Since penis size isn’t that big of a deal for most women, the best approach is typically not to fret too much about your penis size and instead focus on things that you can control. 

These include your general physical conditioning (which can have a surprisingly large impact on your perceived penis size), as well as your ability to get and maintain an erection. 

One way to increase your penis size is to maintain a healthy weight. When fat accumulates near your lower abdomen, it can conceal part of your penis and make it look shorter, both for yourself and for your sexual partners. 

You can maintain a healthy body weight by keeping yourself physically active, eating a balanced diet, monitoring your total caloric intake and staying hydrated.

Although it technically won’t increase your penis size, you can also improve your sexual function and performance by treating issues such as erectile dysfunction.

Medications such as sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®) and avanafil (Stendra®) work by increasing blood flow to the erectile tissue inside your penis, helping you to maintain firmer, more consistent erections.

We offer several ED medications online, following a consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate. 

Finally, if you feel anxious, depressed or uncomfortable because of your penis size, you might benefit from talking to a mental health professional. 

We offer a range of online mental health services, including private online therapy to help with body image issues, low self-esteem and sexual performance anxiety.

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The Bottom Line on Average Penis and Erection Size

It’s normal to occasionally feel concerned about your penis size. However, it’s important not to let these worries get out of proportion. Contrary to popular belief, the average penis really isn’t that big, and it’s likely that your partner is perfectly happy with what you’ve got.

However, if you’re interested in measuring your size and seeing where you stack up according to the data, the process is simple enough and doesn’t require any specialized tools. 

If you’re concerned about your sexual performance, the best thing to do is discuss it with your partner/s. Have a conversation and let them know how you’re feeling. By discussing it openly, you may be able to work out how to improve your sex and feel better with each other.

While you can’t really change what you’re working with down there, you can take real steps to ensure peak bedroom performance.

If you’re interested in improving your erections and sexual stamina, schedule a virtual visit with one of our certified healthcare providers.

You can also learn more about your options for maintaining firmer, more reliable erections with our detailed guide to getting an erection faster and staying hard for longer

7 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Veale, D., Miles, S., Bramley, S., Muir, G. & Hodsoll, J. (2015, June). Am I normal? A systematic review and construction of nomograms for flaccid and erect penis length and circumference in up to 15 521 men. BJU International. 115 (6), 978-986. Retrieved from https://bjui-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bju.13010
  2. Veale, D., et al. (2015, November). Penile Dysmorphic Disorder: Development of a Screening Scale. Archives of Sexual Behavior. 44 (8), 2311-2321. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25731908/
  3. What is the average penis size? Does it really matter? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.zavamed.com/uk/does-size-matter.html
  4. Hatipoğlu, N. & Kurtoğlu, S. (2013, December). Micropenis: Etiology, Diagnosis and Treatment Approaches. Journal of Clinical Research in Pediatric Endocrinology. 5 (4), 217-223. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3890219/
  5. Cohen, P.R. (2021, February). Adult Acquired Buried Penis: A Hidden Problem in Obese Men. Cureus. 13 (2), e13067. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7932830/
  6. Prause, N., Park, J., Leung, S. & Miller, G. (2015). Women's Preferences for Penis Size: A New Research Method Using Selection among 3D Models. PLoS One. 10 (9), e0133079. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4558040/
  7. Pereira, H. (2021). Sexual Health Determinants of Normal Weight, Overweight, and Obese Sexual Minority Men. Journal of Obesity. 1272316. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7994078/

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.