Growing Short: Little-Known Facts about Small Penises
The Takeaway First
About half of men in the world have penises that are shorter than average (go figure!), but far fewer men have conditions that actually reduce their penile length. Length can be lost as a result of certain surgical procedures, Peyronie’s disease, and possibly erectile dysfunction. This is not the end of the world, however, as women report that girth is more important than length.
As you know if you read my previous post, the average penile size is about 3.5 inches (9 cm) in the flaccid state, whereas the maximally stretched flaccid length, on average, is 5.2 inches (13 cm). Average erect penile length ranges from 5 to 5.7 inches (12.8 to 14.5 cm), and the average penile girth is about 4 inches (10.0-10.5 cm). What is the significance of these findings?
Penile shortening is a phenomenon that is associated with certain medical and surgical conditions. These conditions include prostate cancer patients treated with radical prostatectomy, Peyronie’s disease and congenital anomalies. There is also some evidence that erectile dysfunction may be an independent risk factor for shortening.
Results are mixed for penis shortening post-prostatectomy. In one study, 31 men were examined, and most of them demonstrated a significant penile shortening of up to one centimeter. (Not a huge difference in the end, in my opinion.) About half of them lost more than a centimeter. I said the results were mixed because some patients actually increased in girth after the procedure. Weird!
These data were confirmed by Halioglu et al. in 2006. This research team compared the penis lengths of men who had undergone androgen suppression and radiation therapy. Men who underwent both procedures lost significant length, but men who underwent radiation alone also lost some length.
My Take on This
Although 99% of the men I see who complain of a “small penis”, some do have something called congenital micropenis. By definition, a penis is “micro” when it is 2.7 inches or shorter and otherwise normally formed.
The biological causes stem largely from defects in the hypothalamus, specifically when an inadequate amount of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is released. This may be a primary hypothalamic or an anterior pituitary problem. Lastly, the micropenis can result from embryonic testis failure causing insufficient masculinization. Bladder exstrophy and epispadias also can result in penile shortening, thought to be related to a congenitally shortened anterior corporal length.
Although it is possible to have an abnormally small penis, preoccupation with the size of your Johnson can go to dangerous extremes. In Japan, some men are diagnosed with koro, a psychological condition in which a man fears that his penis is actually shrinking back into his body. This is imagined, and their penises stay the same length despite their fears. However, koro can be debilitating for a man’s confidence and disastrous for his sex life as a result. All this to say: don’t worry too much about it.
Another reason not to worry too much about length is this: studies have shown that, in terms of women’s pleasure during vaginal sex, girth is much more important than length. Fifty sexually active female undergraduate students were asked which felt better, penis width or length for their sexual satisfaction. Apparently, 45 reported that width felt better (Eisenmen 2001). Another study asked 375 women if size mattered and again, girth was more important than length (Francken et al. 2002). Why is this the case? My assumption is that penis width may be important because a penis that is thick at the base provides greater clitoral stimulation as the male thrusts into the female during sexual intercourse.
What should you do?
Besides high-risk surgical procedures and drugs that usually don’t work, there is not much you can do about your size. Remember that, when it comes to pleasing your partner, length is not as important as girth. If you happen to have neither length nor girth, that doesn’t mean you and your honey can’t get creative.
A new surgical procedure, known as the Modified Sliding Technique (MoST) is available for men with penile shortening after surgery or with Peyronie’s. One recent study on MoST looked at over 140 patients who underwent this procedure after a penile shortening from either disease or surgery increase in penile length by 3.1 cm (1.22 inches). (Egydio & Kuehhas, BJU int. 2015)
An excellent urologist surgeon (no bias although he is good friend), Dr. Robert Valenzuela is one of the leaders in the United States of this procedure for the very motivated.
Eisenman R.Penis size: Survey of female perceptions of sexual satisfaction. BMC Womens Health. 2001;1(1):1.
Francken AB, van de Wiel HB, van Driel MF, Weijmar Schultz WC. What importance do women attribute to the size of the penis? Eur Urol. 2002 Nov;42(5):426-31.
Egydio PH1, Kuehhas FE. Penile lengthening and widening without grafting according to a modified sliding technique. BJU Int. 2015 Jan 28.