The Average Penis and Erection Size: Real Data
Reviewed by Peter J. Stahl, MD
Written by Our Editorial Team
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.
Alright, fellas. Let’s not beat around the bush. According to a detailed review of study data by researchers at King’s College London published in the journal BJU International, the average erect penis length is approximately 5.2 inches (13.12cm), with an average circumference (a circular measurement around the penis) of around 4.6 inches (11.66cm).
The average flaccid penis size is around 3.6 inches, or 9.16cm, from base to tip. When it comes to flaccid circumference, the average man measures in at around 3.7 inches, or 9.31cm.
Not quite what you’d expect, right?
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 penis size (or lack of) is really an issue worth stressing yourself out over.
We’ll also discuss a few options for increasing penis size and sexual performance — from less-than-proven approaches like jelqing to more evidence-based options like staying in shape, using medication and improving your mental health.
How Do You Even Determine ”Average Dick Size?”
What even is “average” when it comes to penis size? And how did we decide on it? Like, did all the penis people on the planet have a conference? Was there a Zoom® call we weren’t looped in on?
Eh, not quite.
While average penis size varies drastically across a pretty massive spectrum of eight billion humans around the world, researchers have tried their best to give us some ballpark numbers.
Most of this research suggests that people’s perceptions about the normal 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.
For instance, the King’s College study findings mentioned above (5.2 inches for the average erect penis length and 3.6 for the average flaccid length, for those keeping score at home) should come as a relief to many of us. This confirms that the “six-inch standard” promoted in media and casual conversation isn’t even close to the reality of the average penis size in America.
And to determine those numbers, researchers measured over 15,000 penises by their average flaccid and erect lengths and circumferences. If that’s not dedication, we don’t know what is.
But because of the criminal lack of universal technical penis measuring standards, even with a sample that size, there’s no telling how accurate their findings really were.
And that’s just one study.
Real Study Data vs. Public Perceptions of the Average Penis Size
Occasionally worrying about whether you have a normal-sized penis is, well, normal. We all feel self-conscious from time to time. But feeling persistently anxious or being excessively concerned about the average male penis size is a form of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).
And if you have an unhealthy obsession specifically with your penis size, that’s considered a specific form of BDD called Penile Dysmorphic Disorder, or PDD.
What’s fascinating, though, is the difference between real study data, which comes from high-quality surveys, and the perceived average penis length that people report when they’re asked about what they think is normal.
As you could probably guess, we’re all cumulatively suffering from some pretty hard penis imposter syndrome.
In a survey conducted by UK-based company Health Bridge Limited, researchers asked people to state what they believed was the average penile length. The survey featured men and women, drawing data from thousands of people located throughout Europe and North America.
So we’re all on the same page, researchers in this survey used the same stats as the King’s College study above (5.2 inches, erect).
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).
The average male penis size reported by participants varied between countries, but the coveted “King of the Liars” Award goes to Poland, whose respondents reported the biggest perceived average penile length at 6.18 inches (15.7 cm).
Austria, Italy, Germany and the United States all featured estimates well above the real average 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.
Of the 10 most widely-surveyed countries, the UK participants were the only ones to modestly guess an average size that was below the real average, coming in at just 4.88 inches (12.4 cm).
This mismatch between perceived penis size and real penis size might not seem like that big of a deal on the surface, but it may contribute to feelings of anxiety, frustration and insecurity for many men who feel like their penis isn’t big enough.
In an article published in Sexual Medicine, men who are diagnosed with BDD due to their perceived penis size are excessively preoccupied and demonstrate repeated behaviors of checking and comparing. These same individuals tend to experience a high level of distress in their social and occupational environments due to their preoccupation with the topic.
Some men can also develop what’s called small penis anxiety (SPA), which is described as a syndrome of men who are dissatisfied or constantly worried about the size of their penis, even if they’re packing perfectly average-sized equipment.
Men with this condition often feel hopeless, have low self-esteem and may develop performance anxiety.
Small vs. Average Penis Sizes
Hey! Before we dig into this section, we just want to remind everyone that penis size isn’t everything. That said, there are some circumstances in which you may have an indisputably small or hidden penis due to things like genetic predispositions, congenital issues or even certain environmental factors.
These factors include:
Let’s take a closer look at some of these.
Micropenis is a clinical condition in which a penis ismore than 2.5 standard deviations smaller than the average size. In non-scientific terms: they’re like, pretty small.
Luckily, micropenis is a fairly rare condition. 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 occurs when a normal penis is “buried” and partially hidden due to skin and fat from the abdomen, thigh or scrotum. Buried penis occurs when skin or fat obstructs the visibility of your penis, even if it’s average-sized. 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. They can help you develop a treatment plan that may include things like topical hormonal treatments or surgery.
Other Factors That May Affect Penis Size
Of course, there are other factors that can influence the overall size and appearance of your dick. Luckily, all of the below factors are treatable.
Hormones. Yep, you guessed it. Insufficient hormone levels during growth and developement (like testosterone) can greatly impact the size of your penis.
Obesity. The point of taking care of your physique isn’t just to look good. In fact, obesity can cause conditions like buried penis.
Smoking. Will smoking actually affect your penis size? No. But smoking and erectile dysfunction have a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Smokers often have decreased blood circulation, which leads to difficulties with maintaining an erection. Now, we’re no scientists, but we’d argue that you can’t measure your erect penis if your penis can’t get erect.
Nutrition. We’re not saying your penis will grow if you eat your Wheaties®, but what you eat can have a definitive impact on your erection quality. And like our point above about smoking and erection quality, being able to get hard and stay hard is the basis for understanding your true penis length.
Age. Our bodies produce less and less testosterone as we age (typically a one-percent reduction per year after 30). And since lower testosterone levels can lead to a reduction in penis size, the relationship is clear. Luckily, this is also highly treatable with the help of a healthcare professional.
Does Penis Size Really Matter?
The size of your penis can seem like a big deal, but like… Is it really? Well, you’ll be thrilled to hear that there’s plenty of research out there that suggests that penis size really isn’t that important — especially for women.
In a 2015 study of penis size and sexual attraction, researchers found that only 27 percent of women from a 75-person study had ended a relationship due (at least in part) to a difference between their preferred penis size and the size of their partner.
Researchers in that study asked participants to compare 33 different 3D models of phalluses and answer questions based on their preferences. The general preference was only slightly above the average for both one-night stands and relationships (6.4 vs. 6.3 inches).
Now, that doesn’t really help us if the actual erect penis average is 5.2 inches, but hey — it’s good to know women are probably disappointed with us regardless! Let’s go, boys!
We kid, we kid.
In the Health Bridge Survey mentioned above, the overwhelming majority of female participants — a whopping 67.4 percent — claimed that penis size was only “somewhat important” to them in a sex partner.
And another 21.4 percent of female participants said that penis size just wasn’t important at all. Only 11.2 percent 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.
In a nutshell, 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.
Can You Increase Your Penis Size?
So, let’s get down to brass tacks. Is there anything you can do to add some pennies to your bottom dollar, or should you learn to love the one you’re with?
Although there are various “techniques” for increasing penis size, most don’t appear to offer any long-term benefits. Some of the most common penis enlargement practices include:
Penis enlargement surgery
Maintaining a healthy body weight
“Jelqing” is a penis stretching exercise that involves literally incrementally stretching the penis to create micro-tears in the skin tissue.
Yes, really. People do it. It’s a thing.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. What’s worse, excessive jelqing can cause issues like bruising and scar tissue buildup, which can create a whole new set of problems for your penis.
Penis enlargement surgery
A few of the most common penis enlargement surgical procedures involve severing a ligament in your penis, prosthetic implants and fat transfer surgery. While these surgeries may offer a small amount of increased penis girth and length, the high risks that are associated with these procedures — as well as their high price tags — often outweigh the potential reward.
Anyone considering a penis enlargement procedure should very seriously consider the potential complications of any surgery and be sure to consult with experienced, appropriately specialized experts.
Thinking about “pumping up” your pecker? Well, you might want to think again. Penis pumps, also known as vacuum pumps or vacuum erection devices, are tube-shaped instruments designed to improve blood flow to the penis through the creation of suction pressure.
While they’re commonly used as an ED treatment option (they’re actually pretty effective here!), they won’t make you bigger and they come with some pretty rough side effects, including bruising, penis pain and even ischemia, which is a medical condition in which your muscles become damaged by lack of blood flow.
We’ll pass, thanks.
Maintain a healthy body weight
A more natural (and safe) 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.
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.
ED treatments, delivered
No matter the treatment plan, the best place to start is somewhere.
How to Measure Penis Length
Scientists and urologists use a few different methods to measure the length of your member. The main difference is whether you’re erect and pressing the measuring device into the body (which controls for varying levels of body fat and approximates deep penetrative sex) or if you’re flaccid and stretching the penis. Here are some options:
BPEL (Bone-Pressed Erection Length): The Scientific Standard
Position measuring device (tape measure, ruler, etc.) on top of your erect penis and snug it up to where it attaches to your body.
Press into your body until you hit something hard. That's your pubic bone.
Measure to the end of the penis tip, excluding foreskin if you have any.
NBPEL (Non-Bone Pressed Erection Length): Like BPEL But Not pressed into body
Place a measuring device on top of your erect penis and slide it to where it attaches.
Measure base to tip, excluding foreskin.
Flaccid Stretched: A Convenient Erection Length Estimation
While standing, lift the flaccid penis so it is parallel to the floor and perpendicular to the body.
Position the measuring device on top of your flaccid penis and stretch with a gentle but firm force.
Measure to the end of the penis tip, excluding foreskin.
How to Measure Penis Girth
Erect Girth: The Scientific Standard
Carefully wrap a flexible measuring tape or other material (dental floss, strip of paper, etc.) around the widest point of your erect shaft, excluding the head of the penis (sorry fellas, no cheating!), until it overlaps.
Read the measuring tape where it overlaps or carefully note this point on the other material and measure it on a flat surface with your ruler.
Flaccid Girth: Your Resting Circumference
Wrap a flexible measuring device around a flaccid shaft until it overlaps.
Read the measuring tape or note the length on the other material.
And there you go. Simple enough, right?
The Bottom Line on Average Penis 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 American penis size really isn’t that big, and it’s likely that your partner is perfectly happy with what you’ve got.
“Average” is smaller than you think. The average size is probably much smaller than you think — 5.2 inches, give or take.
There are some contributing factors. Issues like micropenis, buried penis,, obesity and even age can all affect the size of your penis.
Your partner probably doesn’t care that much. We know it might be hard to believe, but there are many more important things out there than the size of your penis. We know. Crazy. Survey after survey shows that women simply don’t care about penis size as much as we think they do.
Still, if you’re interested in improving your sexual stamina and having harder erections, schedule a virtual visit with one of our certified healthcare providers. In the case that you are feeling anxious, depressed or uncomfortable because of your penis size, you may also benefit from trying online therapy with our mental health professionals.