Does Size Really Matter?

Just as girls and women are bombarded with the message that thin is better, popular media also reinforces the notion that bigger is better when it comes to the size of a man's penis. In our culture, penis size is equated with sexual power and masculinity. But does size really matter?

The answer: it depends. The issue is less actual size than perception of size.

An average penis is 3.5 inches when flaccid, six inches long and four to six inches in circumference when erect. Men you see in pornographic movies and photos are unusually well endowed, so persistent exposure to these images can cause men to over-estimate the average penis size and under-estimate their own size.

A study published in Psychology of Men and Masculinity (2006) reported the results of an Internet survey of more than 52,000 heterosexual men and women on the topic of penis size, self-image and women's perception of, and satisfaction with, their partners' penis size. The very large sample size permitted researchers to detect the smallest differences among responses.

The results may surprise you. Here are a few of the highlights.

  • 66 percent of men characterize their own penis size as average; 22 percent as large and 12 percent as small
  • 67 percent of women rate their partner's penis size as average
  • 84 percent of women say they are satisfied with the size of their partner's penis
  • 55 percent of men are satisfied with their own penis size
  • Of those men who say their penis size is average, 46 percent still would like it to be larger
  • Penis size correlates with a man's perception of his own physical attractiveness
  • The small percent of women who rate their partner's penis size as small, also report less sexual satisfaction
  • Men who are dissatisfied with their penis size tend to hold that view throughout their lives

Men equate penis size with length. However, in several other studies, researchers consistently found that width (girth) is more important to women than length. As you might imagine, women who've had many sexual experiences were more likely to judge penis size as important.

Since the overwhelming majority of women are satisfied with their partner's penis size, it appears that men don't need to be as concerned about their size. Men also put more emphasis on the importance of penis size to sexual satisfaction than is warranted. This widespread emphasis on penis size has been a real boon to the penile enhancement industry.