In previous articles, I’ve tried to reassure anxious men that penis size doesn’t matter to the substantial majority of women. And every time, comments have poured in from gals calling me a fool, saying that size matters a great deal to them.
Okay, size matters to some women. I’ve never said it didn’t. But based on decades of conversations with sex therapists and many women, I’ve concluded that the substantial majority of women don’t care, that they’d rather be with men who are warm, kind, solvent, caring, and funny, who share their values and interests than one who has a phone pole in his pants. Unfortunately, I couldn’t back that up with research because I knew of no study that explored women’s feelings on the subject. Now I do.
Recently, researchers at UCLA and Cal State LA published a report showing that 84 percent of women feel “very satisfied” with their man’s penis size. Fourteen percent wish it were larger and 2 percent would prefer smaller. The 84 percent figure means that seven out of every eight women think their man is just fine, corroborating my assertion that size doesn’t matter to the substantial majority of women.
This study is particularly persuasive because its methodology goes way beyond your run-of–the-mill survey of 100 college undergraduates. The researchers posted their questions on MSNBC.com and got responses from 26,437 women ages 18 to 65. Respondents were a self-selected group, which raises questions about demographic representation. But 26,437 is a huge number, a number so large that statistically it obviates concerns about self-selection and strongly suggests that the findings are truly valid.
Women Are More Satisfied Than Men About Men’s Size
The survey also attracted responses from 25,594 men. Two-thirds of them rated their penises as “average,” exactly matching what the women said about their partners. But women were only half as likely as men to call their man’s penis “small,” and were more likely to call it “large.”
Men who called theirs “small:” 12%
Women who called their man’s “small:” 6%
Men who called theirs “large:” 22%
Women who called their man’s “large:” 27%
From Ancient Greece to Michelangelo to Porn
Our equation of manhood with a big penis stands in marked contrast to how the ancients viewed genital size. In Aristophanes’ play, The Clouds (423 B.C.), a character admonishes delinquent young men that if they continue to behave badly, as punishment, their penises will grow larger, but that if they repudiate their wicked ways, their organs will remain as they should be, small.
Five centuries later, the Roman novel, Satyricon, (c. 50 A.D.) describes bathers at a public bath who make fun of one character’s large penis, calling it as ridiculous as contemporary reactions to the outsized shoes of circus clowns. Like the Greeks, the ancient Romans thought the most attractive penises were on the small side.
The classic view that small is beautiful persisted through the Renaissance. Consider Michelangelo’s David or male nudes sculptures by other artists of that period. The penises are surprisingly small. At that time, “masculinity” had less to do with the size of a man’s penis than with the size of his scrotum. A big scrotum that hung full and low suggested large testicles, which in turn, suggested great potency. During the Renaissance, penises were considered little more than incidental injection devices for what really counted, sperm.
That changed in the second half of the nineteenth century as photography (invented around 1840) and motion pictures (1890) paved the way for modern pornography. Porn has always been primarily a masturbation aid for men. Male masturbation is all about erections, so porn transformed penises from injection devices into the center of attention—and for portrayal in photography or film, the bigger the better.
Got a Ruler?
To most people, “penis size” implies length. Some two dozen studies have measured it. Most measure on the top side from the pubic bone at the base of the penis to the tip of the glans—without pushing the ruler into the gut or pulling on the shaft to stretch it. The results:
• The typical flaccid penis is 3.5 inches long. (Small flaccid penises grow more to erection than large flaccid organs.)
• Only 2.5% of erections measure less than 3.8 inches.
• 13.5% are 3.8 to 4.5 inches.
• 68% are 4.6 to 6.0 inches.
• 13.5% are 6.1 to 6.8 inches
• And only 2.5% are longer than 6.9 inches.
Ironically, among women who said care about size, fewer care about length than girth.
Be All You Can Be
The taller the man, the longer his arms and legs—and penis. But according to the survey, compared with the shortest men (5 feet 2 inches) the tallest (over 6 feet 4 inches) reported feeling only slightly more satisfied with their size.
Weight is another story. The slimmest men are much happier about their penis size than men who are obese. This makes sense because as weight increases, the lower abdominal fat pad grows and envelopes the base of the penis, making it look considerably smaller.
Want to make the most of what the good Lord gave you? Forget all the pills and potions advertised on the Internet. They’re all cynical frauds. To be all you can be between the legs, lose weight. But do it for yourself because there’s an 84 percent chance that the woman in your life is perfectly happy with your penis as it is.
Lever, J. et al. “Does Size Matter? Men’s and Women’s Views on Penis Size Across the Lifespan,” Psychology of Men and Masculinity (2006) 7:129.
Clarke, J.R. Roman Sex. Harry N. Abrams, NY, 2003.