April 26, 2006

Q&A: How To Measure Your Penis (Correctly)

Dr. Debby Herbenick answers a question from a male reader about how to correctly measure the penis and provides some basic facts about penis size.

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Question: What is the correct way to measure an adult man’s erect penis — both length and girth?

The standard way to measure your penis is to place a ruler or other measuring device under the erect penis such that the bottom of the ruler is flush against your skin and the penis lays length-wise on the ruler.

In terms of measuring the circumference (girth) of one’s penis, a common method of measurement is to wrap a tape measure around the middle of the erect penis.

However, a penis does not always have the same circumference at different parts of the penis. Sometimes a penis is widest at the base, other times it is widest in the middle or closer to the glans (head) of the penis. Consequently, it can be difficult to make comparisons between difference measurements of circumference.

Penis Size And Masculinity

In a recent study conducted by researchers at Indiana University, men reported their penises to be between approximately 3 and 12 inches in length, though other research studies have included men of smaller and longer lengths as well.

Circumference varies greatly too. Further, men of all penis sizes can have satisfying, pleasurable and exciting sex lives. The size of a man’s penis is not necessarily related to his ability to please his partner nor is it related to his masculinity.

In fact, though many men often wish for a longer or thicker penis, it is not always easy for a man to have a larger than average penis. Such men may find it challenging to find a partner who can comfortably have intercourse or perform oral sex on them, although variations in positioning and technique, as well as the use of personal lubricants, may be helpful.

Support Groups

Some men even connect with each other over the Internet (via large or small penis support/information groups) to share tips on anything from sexual to locker room behaviors (e.g., concerns about having one’s penis be seen in the locker room or at the urinal).

Fortunately, many men – like many women – tend to develop increasing comfort with their bodies over time in terms of the way that they look and function.

Reviewed on May 1, 2017; updated with a link to the research referenced above, which later was published in a scientific manuscript.