Scientists do not really know the average length of a penis, but they believe it is probably around 5.1 to 5.5 inches. This is smaller than most people think.
Many people experience anxiety about whether their penis is big enough and if it will satisfy a sexual partner. This can affect a person’s self-confidence and self-image. Often, however, these fears are unfounded.
A 2019 research article notes that most males believe the average length for an erect penis is around
While sizes vary widely, the average length is probably 12.9–13.97 cm (5.1–5.5 in), and most likely toward the smaller end of this scale. While results vary slightly, most studies estimate the average to be within this range.
In this article, we look at some facts from various scientific studies to try and provide a realistic answer to this question. For many, this will offer reassurance about what to expect of the average penis size.
In 1996, experts carried out a study that led to a set of guidelines for when a person may need surgery for penis enlargement.
The study measured the penile dimensions of 80 males before and after drug-induced erections.
The researchers concluded that the average penis size was
The study also found that the size of a person’s erect penis did not correlate with their flaccid penis size. In other words, a penis may have different lengths when flaccid but similar lengths when erect. They also found no link between age and penis size.
The researchers concluded: “Only men with a flaccid length of less than 4 cm (1.6 in), or a stretched or erect length of less than 7.5 cm (3 in) should be considered candidates for penile lengthening.”
Micropenis and buried penis
Some people are born with micropenis, when a penis is unusually small, usually due to hormonal or genetic factors. A micropenis fulfills the same functions as an average-sized penis, but people may feel dissatisfied with its appearance. Hormonal treatment or surgery can increase its size if a person wishes.
Sometimes, an average-sized penis may appear small due because there is additional skin around it. People may refer to this as a buried penis, and surgery can resolve it.
Ongoing research continues to produce similar findings about penis size.
A 2014 review looked at measurements taken by healthcare professionals for up to 15,521 males aged 17 and over.
The average measurements were as follows:
- flaccid penis length: 9.16 cm (3.6 in) when stretched
- flaccid penis girth: 9.31 cm (3.66 in)
- erect penis length: 13.12 cm (5.16 in)
- erect penis girth: 11.66 cm (4.59 in)
In this study, the average dimensions for an erect penis were 14.2 cm (5.6 in) in length and 12.2 cm (4.8 in) in circumference.
The participants submitted their own measurements and received condoms in exchange. However, self-reported measurements are often unreliable.
A 2019 study found that many males overestimate the size of their penis when self-reporting, especially if they have experienced sexual activity with another person.
The research surveyed 170 college-aged males attending a human sexuality course. Results showed that those with sexual experience with another person were more likely to overestimate than those with no mutual sexual experience.
The authors speculate that sexually experienced men have a “greater sense of masculinity, sexual competence, and prowess.”
Of the 16 studies cited from various countries, the earliest was carried out over a hundred years ago and published in 1899.
They all arrived at similar average penis lengths:
- flaccid lengths ranged around 7–10 cm (2.8–3.9 in)
- flaccid circumferences ranged around 9–10 cm (3.5–3.9 in)
- erect lengths ranged around 12–16 cm (4.7–6.3 in)
- erect circumference based on only one study was around 12 cm (4.7 in)
To measure penis length, press a ruler into the groin and measure from the base of the penis to the tip.
To measure penis girth, wrap a measuring tape around the widest part of the penis.
Some males worry about whether their penis size will live up to the desires of a partner.
However, some older research suggests that penis length is not important for many female partners.
In one study,
In another survey,
The models ranged from 10–21.6 cm (4–8.5 in) in length and 5–17.8 cm (2.5–7 in) in circumference.
The choices varied according to the nature of the relationship that participants were considering.
- For long-term sexual partners, they chose a length of 16 cm (6.3 in) and a girth of 12.2 cm (4.8 in).
- For one-time sex partners, they chose a length of 16.3 cm (6.4 in) and a circumference of 12.7 cm (5 in).
Overall, their desired size turned out to be slightly above the averages found across studies.
Health experts have also raised concerns about how anxiety around penis size affects gay males. The Gay Men’s Health Project, based in the United Kingdom, surveyed 586 males. It found that 38% of respondents said their penis size causes them anxiety.
The project urges males to seek help if they have concerns and to remember that, like people, penises come in many shapes, sizes, and skin tones.
Hormone treatment, surgery, and other techniques
Doctors do not usually recommend treatment unless a penis has a flaccid length of under 4 cm (1.6 in) or a stretched or erect length of less than 7.5 cm (3 in).
Experts highlight concerns about the number of males seeking surgery to lengthen their penis. Often, these people overestimate how the size of an average penis.
According to a
In 2015, researchers in Saudi Arabia published a
After medically inducing an erection, the researchers took measurements, finding, on average:
- penis length was 12.53 cm (4.9 in) from the skin over the pubic bone to the penile tip
- penis length was 14.34 cm (5.6 in) from the pubic bone to the penile tip
- penis circumference was 11.50 cm (4.5 in)
The researchers also measured the participants’ body mass index (BMI), which increases with obesity. There was a weak correlation between greater BMI and shorter erect penile length when measuring from the skin over the pubic area, but not when measuring from the bone to the tip.
This suggests that the penis appears shorter when there is more fat under the skin at the visible base of the penis. Weight loss can often resolve this.
The researchers also found a small difference in size between males aged 20 years and those aged 70 years, but the difference was less than 1 cm.
Many males worry about the size of their penis, and this can affect their self-confidence and self-image.
Guidelines that most doctors follow when helping someone decide if they need treatment state that the average size for a flaccid penis is
In addition, research suggests that small penises are relatively rare. Anyone with concerns about their penis size should speak with a doctor or sexual health specialist, who can advise them.