During puberty, the penis will grow in both length and girth. Once puberty ends, there is unlikely to be any further penile growth. That said, some males may experience growth into their early 20s.
Many males have concerns about the size of their penis at some point. However, research shows that most have a penis size that is within the normal ranges.
Studies also indicate that most people are happy with the length of their partner's penis.
In this article, learn about penile growth during puberty, the average penis size, and the truth behind some of the most common penis size myths.
During this time, the penis will get longer and thicker. The rate at which growth occurs varies from one person to another.
Once puberty ends, the penis will stop growing. This is typically by the time the male reaches 18 years of age.
Other changes that affect the penis and genitals during puberty include:
- testicle growth
- thinning and reddening of the testicles
- pubic hair growth around the penis
- nocturnal emissions of semen, or "wet dreams"
- more frequent erections and ejaculation
- 9.16 centimeters (cm), or 3.61 inches ("), when flaccid
- 13.12 cm, or 5.16", when erect
The average girth, or circumference, is:
- 9.31 cm, or 3.67", when flaccid
- 11.66 cm, or 4.59", when erect
Studies show that most males who believe they have a short penis overestimate the average penis length. The majority of these people are actually within the normal ranges of penis size.
There are many products — including devices, pills, and creams — that claim to increase penis length and girth. The internet also holds many claims that stretching exercises may have similar effects.
According to the Urology Care Foundation, however, "almost none of them work." That said, there is some limited scientific research to suggest that penile extenders may increase length (but not girth).
In order to see results, it may be necessary to use these devices for several hours per day over the course of 4–6 months. Note that the studies showing benefits face criticism in terms of small sample size and selection bias.
Instead of using unproven devices and techniques, some people may benefit from improving their self-esteem and body confidence by seeking counseling and exercising as much as possible.
There are also a few tricks that people can try to make the penis appear bigger. These include losing weight (if there is excess weight around the stomach) and trimming back pubic hair.
There are a number of myths about penis size and shape, and these can cause unnecessary stress and feelings of inadequacy in people of all ages. The following are among the most common myths:
1. Shoe size correlates to penis size
There is a common belief that a male's foot or hand size indicates the size of their penis. This is simply untrue. There is no link between the size of the penis and that of another body part.
2. The size of a flaccid penis indicates its size when erect
There is no link between the size of a penis when flaccid and erect. The length of a flaccid penis varies greatly from person to person, and many factors can influence it — including room temperature.
3. Most people want their partner's penis to be bigger
Many males seem to believe that their partner would like it if their penis were larger. However, research seems to indicate that this is not the case.
One 2006 study, for example, reports that only 55% of male participants were happy with their penis size, while 85% of female participants expressed satisfaction with the size of their partner's penis.
4. A longer penis increases sexual satisfaction
Another concern for some males is that a longer penis increases sexual pleasure for one or both partners. However, at least one study from 2001 suggests that people tend to rate girth as more important than length for satisfaction.
It is also important to note that several other factors play a role in sexual satisfaction, including individual-, partner-, and relationship-related factors. For example, research indicates that communication, mood, and desire all play a role.
Also, some experts suggest that being romantic and sensitive is more important than penis size for sexual satisfaction among females.
A micropenis is a very small but normally structured penis. It results from either hormonal or genetic abnormalities.
Doctors usually diagnose this rare condition when the penis measures 2.5 standard deviations below the average stretched length.
If a stretched adult penis measures under 9.3 cm (3.66"), doctors consider it to be a micropenis.
Although there is no cure, hormone therapy may stimulate growth in children with a micropenis. Surgery is another option. Early diagnosis and treatment tend to provide the best outlook.
It is important to remember that micropenis is very rare. In fact, only 1.5 male children per 10,000 (0.015%) received a diagnosis of micropenis between 1997 and 2000.
Males who have concerns about the appearance of their penis or how it works should see a doctor.
A doctor can provide support and reassurance about penis size and shape. They can also investigate any health issues that may be present to provide a diagnosis and put together a treatment plan.
Parents and caregivers who suspect that their child has a micropenis should see a doctor. Early treatment often provides the best outcome.
Many males worry about the appearance of their penis at some point in their lives. Common myths often fuel these concerns. Knowing the facts about average penis size can help people become more confident about their body.
As research seems to suggest, most males overestimate the average penis size. Studies also indicate that most females are happy with the size of partner's penis.
Those who have persistent concerns about their penis size may benefit from seeing a doctor or mental health professional for support and guidance.