Q&A: My Penis Is Small—Can I Still Satisfy Women?

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QUESTION: I'm 24 years old and have a small penis. Two girlfriends have felt I've been insufficient in size. My last girlfriend and I were together for three years and after having sex hundreds of times, I couldn't satisfy her anymore. I had to rub her during intercourse to make her feel something. I don't dare to pick up a girl at a club, only to be found too small. Erect, my penis is thin, and 4.5 inches long. I'm so sad. I feel like my life is ruined and I can't be a man and satisfy any girl.

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big white plastic penis

Photo: Sundve (Flickr)

If you're very insecure about your penis size, it may be that you could benefit from more confidence overall in sex.

I’m sorry to hear how sad you’re feeling about your penis.

I hope that I can reassure you that your life doesn’t have to be ruined by your penis size and that many men who have a penis sized similar to yours have active, pleasurable, satisfying sex lives.

The Average Penis

At 4.5 inches long when erect, your length is a little smaller than average but not by much. A number of studies put the average length at around 5.1 to 5.6 inches long.

That means we’re talking about a difference of only about half an inch or an inch, which is unlikely noticeably different in terms of how it feels inside the vagina, at least for many women.

Beyond Size

And regardless of size, could it be that there were other issues in your relationship?

Sometimes people chalk up unsatisfying sex to the wrong thing.

I suppose it’s possible that your two ex-girlfriends found your penis to be too small. But it’s also possible that other things got in the way.

For example, if you’re very insecure about your penis size, it may be that you could benefit from more confidence overall in sex.

Do you initiate sex often? Or do you hold back from doing sexual things you want because of concern about your size?

Some men experience such anxiety about their penis size that it interferes with their erections or with their confidence about trying certain sex positions.

This is a shame because, in fact, research shows that penis size doesn’t matter nearly as much as people think it does when it comes to pleasurable, satisfying sex.

Approach Sex Differently

Great sex is often more about psychological connection and intimacy between partners.

It’s about feeling like partners get each other at some other level that’s unique to sex, attraction, and chemistry.

Pleasurable sex can come from two people loving each other deeply. Sex can also be more exciting when people let themselves go and allow them to be vulnerable to one another.

Technique matters, too, as does sexual variety. Some of my research team’s work has found that engaging in a variety of sex acts—for example, mutual masturbation, oral sex, and intercourse—can contribute to greater sexual pleasure and a higher likelihood of orgasm.

Other research suggests that couples are more satisfied with their relationship and sex life when they touch, hug, and cuddle throughout the week—even during times when they’re not having sex.

In other words, sex is a lot more than about the size of people’s genitals.

To learn about more pleasurable, satisfying, and connecting sex check out Great in Bed, Sex Made Easy: Your Awkward Questions Answered-For Better, Smarter, Amazing Sex, or The New Male Sexuality. Each of these books has unique insights to offer on how to improve sex in time for your next experience with it.

Next Question: Variety & Missionary Position

I was looking around on the internet and I saw a quote that read “Missionary is not an excuse to do nothing” and I feel like that’s me. I don’t know what to do while my boyfriend and I are having sex and I think I just lay there. What am I supposed to be doing?

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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