Many people report dissatisfaction with either the length or size of their penis. Those with a thin penis may worry that they cannot fully stimulate their partners. However, there are many more important factors than penis size for sexual satisfaction.
People who feel anxious about penis size should consider that size may not be as relevant as they think. Research shows that size is just one of many factors that affect sexual satisfaction.
Even when a thin penis does affect sexual performance, there are still options to have a fulfilling sex life.
In this article, we explore average penis girth, whether it affects sexual satisfaction, sex tips for more pleasure, and penis enlargement methods.
It is difficult to establish an average penis girth, because studies measure penis thickness differently. Some papers look at erect penises and measure the penis across, while others look at only flaccid penises, and measure the circumference.
According to a 2014 study, the average circumference of an erect penis is 12.2 centimeters (cm), or 4.8 inches. While the study relied on the men’s own measurements, these sizes are consistent with prior research.
Most people experience significant increases in size and thickness when they have an erection. Those who worry they have a thin penis when it is flaccid, could have erect penises of average or above-average thickness.
A 2012 study of men who had an experimental technique to thicken their penises had an average circumference of 10.8 cm during an erection, and 8.1 cm when flaccid. As these men wanted augmentation surgery, they perhaps represent a group who felt they had low penile girth.
Whether size matters is an individual question. There is no definitive answer that can apply to every situation.
A person’s penis size may matter if they:
- find it difficult to have penetrative intercourse
- cannot provide adequate stimulation to their partner
- cannot penetrate their partner
- make penetration painful or causes injuries
Most research suggests that beyond these cases, most people do not care about size.
For example, a 2006 study of heterosexual couples reports that 85% of women expressed satisfaction with their partner’s size. This is despite 55% of men who say they were satisfied with their penis size.
A 2016 paper emphasizes that women do not report size is the most important part of sexual satisfaction. Clitoral stimulation is critical to many women’s ability to orgasm, which suggests that sexual skill—not size—is more important for female satisfaction.
A 2015 study suggests that women do not have a preference for a large penis. Instead, they prefer an average size penis for a long-term partner.
Researchers have not conducted as much research with men who have sex with other men.
A survey of more than 550 men who have sex with men by the Gay Men’s Health Project found that 49% think size does not matter. However, 37% said size does matter. The survey also found that 51% said size affected the kind of sex they had.
A 2014 study highlights that men with different penis sizes reported feeling shameful about their size. Their size did not correlate with shame, which suggests even people with large or thick penises might say they have size anxiety.
Penile dysmorphic disorder is a psychiatric condition where the size or shape of a man’s penis becomes a focus of shame. This condition can occur independently of the penis size or appearance relative to others.
Several strategies can help men who worry they have thin penises. Tips and suggestions include:
- considering that their sexual partners may not care about penis size
- knowing that penis thickness anxiety does not necessarily mean a person has a thin penis
- focusing on other ways to please a partner, such as clitoral or penis stimulation
- prioritizing oral sex
- considering anal sex
- experimenting with sex toys in foreplay and sex
- practicing open communication with sex partners
- sharing concerns about penis size with a partner, who may offer assurances
- experimenting with different sex positions, such as entering a partner from behind
- using furniture, pillows, or other props to try different ways of entering a partner
- trying positions that keep a partner’s legs together, such as entering them from the side or behind, which makes it feel like the penis is thicker.
A person may wish to try exercises to stretch the penis. However, these techniques normally focus on length rather than girth.
While these methods are generally inexpensive and low-risk, the Urology Care Foundation suggest they are generally ineffective.
A 2012 study suggests fat injections could increase penis thickness by around 2 cm.
However, the American Urological Association do not recommend penis enlargement procedures, due to the lack of scientific evidence in their effectiveness and safety.
Penile surgery also carries risks. Augmentation procedures could cause erectile dysfunction or damage to the penis.
Penis size anxiety is common. However, most people who have concerns about their penis shape or size usually fall within normal ranges.
In many cases, a person’s partner may not care about their size. Anxiety, not size, may be the main problem in these situations.
Open communication, support from a sex therapist, and a willingness to experiment can all make sex more pleasurable, regardless of either partner’s size or shape.
There is limited evidence to suggest that enlargement methods are effective, and many come with serious risks. Anyone who has concerns about the appearance or function of their penis should speak to a doctor.