Q&A: I Am 20, But My Penis Is Small. What Shall I Do?

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QUESTION: I am 20 years old, but my penis is small. What shall I do?

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Mushrooms

Photo: Avl Dolgin

Mushrooms

By the time most men are 20, they already have their full adult penis size so it’s very likely that it’s the case for you too. I am not sure what you mean by having a small penis size though, as I’ve found that many of the college students I teach have a misperception about penis size.

Misperceptions and Research

Why do men so often have misperceptions about penis size? First of all, it’s very common for men in porn to have a larger than average size penis. Even if their penis is fairly average in size, sometimes the camera angles can make a man’s penis look very large.

Second, some websites and emails that advertise penis enlargement herbs or pills make false claims about the average penis size. I’ve seen some advertisements that claim the average penis size is 7 inches, and that is simply not true.

Most scientific studies that assess penis size find that the average penis is about 5 to 6 inches long. Some studies have found an average around 5.2 inches, others have found an average around 5.4 or 5.8 inches long. In a study that my research team conducted, that involved more than 1600 men, we found an average erect length of just under 5.6 inches longer. So, the studies vary but most are right around there in terms of length.

An Uncommon Length?

Penis size varies, but in a pretty limited range. Yes, some men have a larger penis length around 6 or 7 or 8 inches, or even longer, but the longer ones are pretty rare. And yes, some men have a penis around 3 or 4 inches long, but it’s fairly uncommon to be only 1 or 2 inches long when erect.

Men who have a penis around an inch or so long when erect sometimes decide that it’s just the way they are built and they focus on learning a range of sexual techniques, such as performing oral sex or pleasuring a partner with their fingers, so that they have a number of ways to please a partner. This is good advice for men of any penis size, though, since sex isn’t just about penis size or intercourse and some of my own research shows that sexual variety is linked to orgasm.

Other times men whose penis is an inch or two long when erect may decide to seek treatment from a doctor, such as a urologist. Although penile lengthening surgeries are uncommon, primarily because they carry some risks including painful erections or scar tissue, they are sometimes done for men and they can be effective. If that interests you, you might talk with a healthcare provider.

Feeling Comfortable Is Important

Most men have a penis size that can absolutely be used to pleasure and satisfy a partner. The more men can relax and feel comfortable with their bodies, the more likely their penis will be able to fill with blood during arousal so that they can reach their full erect length. Also, the greater comfort they feel the more likely they will be to relax into sex and be present with their partner, noticing what their partner does or doesn’t like, and responding with care and attention.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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