As with any body part, no two people have the same penis. Penises can vary in features, such as length, girth, and curvature.

The penis is a male organ with functions that include reproduction and urination. It has two main features. The body, or shaft, connects the penis to the abdomen. At the opposite end of the shaft is the glans, or head.

This article lists some common types of penises, which it primarily classifies by measurement, and provides some related information.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Medical Illustration by Diego Sabogal

Penises come in different lengths when flaccid or erect.

According to a small study from 2018, about 26% of penises are “growers,” which means they expand significantly in length when erect from a flaccid state. In comparison, about 74% of penises are “showers,” which means they do not expand significantly in length when erect from a flaccid state.

Estimates about average penis length can vary. For example, an older study looked at the penis size of males in the United States. It found that the average erect length was around 5.6 inches.

Additionally, a 2023 systematic review and meta-analysis found that, worldwide, the average erect penis length was around 5.5 inches. It also indicated that average erect penis length has increased by 24% across the world over the past 29 years.

However, another 2021 article suggests there are issues with many penis length studies, including the fact that participants self-report measurements.

These studies use self-reported data and are therefore subject to bias, which likely fuels the widespread belief that the average penis size is closer to 6 inches. In reality, the average is likely to be lower.

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Penises also have different girths or circumferences. Depending on the individual, they may be thinner or thicker in appearance.

An older 2014 study into the penis size of males in the United States found that the average erect girth was around 4.8 inches.

However, as with penis length, a person needs to note that many penis girth studies use self-reported measurements, which are known to be fairly unreliable.

Some penises are completely straight when erect, though many have a bend or curvature. There are three main types of curved penis. These include penises that:

  • curve upward from its base
  • curve downward from its base
  • curve to the left or right

Additionally, some people may have multiple kinds of curvature. For instance, some penises may curve to the left and upward.

Penile curvatures are common and typically benign. They are rarely painful and do not usually make penetrative sex more difficult.

However, atypical penile curvature can sometimes be a symptom of Peyronie’s disease. Some possible symptoms of this condition include:

Scientists are not sure exactly what causes Peyronie’s disease.

However, one possible explanation is that the condition results from mild, recurring trauma to the penis. This can occur during intercourse or masturbation. It may also happen during sports or other accidents.

Peyronie’s disease can also be due to a rupture in the penis, known as a penile fracture.

People with autoimmune diseases may also develop Peyronie’s disease if the immune system mistakenly attacks cells in the penis.

Anybody who suspects they may have Peyronie’s disease needs to seek medical advice. Sometimes, people with the condition who experience no other issues, such as pain, can still use their penis for sexual activity without needing medical treatment.

In some cases, doctors may recommend surgery to remove the plaque or reduce the curvature in the penis.

For some people, the circumference of the base of their penile shaft is the same as the circumference of their penile head.

For others, this ratio is different. Some may have a penile head with more girth than the base of their shaft, or vice versa.

A person with a penis is born with a retractable layer of skin that covers the penile head, which people commonly refer to as the foreskin.

Many people around the world have undergone surgical removal of their foreskin, in a process known as male circumcision.

A trained person may carry out male circumcision on children and adults, often for cultural or religious reasons. Doctors can also perform them in medical treatments.

Circumcised penises do not have a foreskin, which means that the glans is always visible. Uncircumcised penises have a foreskin, which often covers the glans, especially when the penis is flaccid.

Some infants can be born without a foreskin, which is a condition called hypospadias. Here, the opening of the penis is not at the tip. Surgery is usually necessary to correct this issue.

Uncircumcised males can also develop phimosis, where the foreskin cannot retract over the hood of the glans. This can lead to irritation and infection. People with the condition generally require medical circumcision.

Because circumcision is a surgical process, it can sometimes lead to health issues, including:

  • infection
  • necrosis, or tissue death, of the penile head
  • cut to the penile head or urethra, which is the tube through which urine leaves the body
  • penile loss

However, people need to note that this procedure is very common. According to Seattle Children’s Hospital, infections following circumcision, one of the most common possible complications, affect just 0.5% of people.

Penises also vary in other ways, for example:

  • Hair: Most males have pubic hair around the base of the penis and testicles unless they choose to shave the area. Hair can also grow on the shaft of the penis.
  • Veins: Some penises may have visible veins, particularly while erect, while others may have a smoother appearance.
  • Color: Penis color varies between individuals, and a person’s penis may be a different color from the rest of the skin. It may also vary in color while erect due to blood flow.

Many internet sources misinform and perpetuate myths about penises. In reality, they are highly varied, just like other body parts, with varying lengths, girths, and curvatures.

Anyone who has concerns about their penis can seek medical advice from a trained professional.