Q&A: I’m 20 Years Old & Worried I Haven’t Reached Puberty Yet

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QUESTION: I'm a 20 year old male and I don't believe my penis has grown to its full length. It only gets big when I get an erection. Any ideas why I haven't reached full puberty?

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man in a penis costume

Photo: sea turtle (Flickr)

Sometimes men who start out small and then grow considerably when they become erect are referred to as “growers” whereas men who start out longer when flaccid, and then get bigger but not by much when they become erect, may be referred to as “showers”.

Men’s penises come in various shapes and sizes.

No Two Are Alike

Some men find that their flaccid penis, which is another term for their penis when it is soft, is relatively small, such as an inch or two long.

Some describe it as looking like a small mushroom that pulls back toward the base of their body. Other men have a flaccid penis that extends several inches away from their body.

And for some men, their flaccid penis is almost as long as their full erect penis. There’s a good amount of variation.

None of this has anything to do with puberty though—it’s just one way that men vary in how their genitals look as adults.

Puberty

I would assume that, by age 20, you have already gone through puberty.

You probably noticed that your voice got a bit deeper, that you grew hair under your arms and perhaps some on your face and chest, though some men grow just a little body and facial hair and others grow quite a lot of body and facial hair. This is another way that men are all a little different from each other.

Also during puberty is when men ejaculate for the first time.

If these kinds of changes happened to you, then you have indeed gone through puberty. If you have questions about puberty or about your sexual development, check in with your healthcare provider, such as a doctor or nurse.

Growing & Showing

As for your penis, it has likely already grown to its full size.

Please be assured that it is common for many men to feel like their flaccid penis is quite small and to notice that it only gets larger when they become fully aroused and erect.

Sometimes men who start out small and then grow considerably when they become erect are referred to as “growers” whereas men who start out longer when flaccid, and then get bigger but not by much when they become erect, may be referred to as “showers.”

To learn more about men’s sexuality, check out The New Male Sexuality by Dr. Bernie Zilbergeld.

Next Question: Vaginal Clamping When Reaching Orgasm

A close friend of mine experiences intense vaginal clamping during orgasm. It’s so extreme that it is causing severe pain to her husband’s penis. My friend’s husband is now afraid of sexual intercourse with his wife, and they would like some answers as to what the cause of the clamping is, and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

Read Dr. Debby Herbenick’s response.

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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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