December 15, 2011

Q&A: Penis Size, Problem With Erections

Stress has been known to play a role in men and women’s sexual function, including erections for men.

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Question: I feel low confidence due to the size of my penis and sometimes it does does not get erect while I watch adult movies. I am 27 years old. I feel stressed due to school and my job. What can I do?

You didn’t mention the size of your penis so I cannot give you a sense of where you fall in the range of penis sizes.

Research studies vary in what they find as far as average penis size goes. Average erect length tends to be somewhere around 5 to 5.8 inches long in many of the studies I’m familiar with.

Of course, that’s just an average. Most men find that their penis, when erect, is somewhere between 4 and 7 inches long. Some men have a smaller erect penis and some men have a larger erect penis, but most are closer to the middle point.

There is not much that men can do to change the size of their erect penis.

Surgery Can Be Risky

Some doctors will perform surgeries meant to enlarge the penis.  However, these are not widely considered by all healthcare providers to be safe and effective and they also carry risks. For example, some men develop scar tissue after surgery to increase the size of their penis.

The scar tissue may result in painful erections or even a shortening of their erection, which is the opposite of why they had the surgery in the first place.

Some doctors have also explored injections to increase the girth, or circumference, of the penis but these haven’t had good results over the long-term.

One device, the Andropenis, has some data behind it in terms of it being shown to help stretch a man’s penis.

However, I know of no long term data on this particular device so it’s impossible to know how safe or effective it is over a period of several years. It’s also a device that a man has to be very committed to as it’s recommended to be worn daily under one’s clothes for a matter of months.

More often, it’s helpful for men to find ways to appreciate their penis size and make the most of what they have. I hope this doesn’t sound dismissive; it’s not meant to be.

I’m well aware that many men and women feel self-conscious about how their genitals look. However, that anxiety can interfere with pleasurable sex just as much, if not more than, how a man’s or woman’s genitals look.

Very often, individuals themselves are the only ones who are worried about how their genitals look. Their partners are often accepting of, and turned on by, their genitals.

Pay Attention To Your Stress

Regarding your erections, stress has been known to play a role in men and women’s sexual function, including erections for men.

I wonder what you do when you watch sexually explicit movies. Are you watching them in times of stress or anxiety? Do you find the subject matter or scenes to be arousing, or are you simply watching whatever is available to you?

If you find materials that you feel turned on by, and if you feel comfortable and relaxed watching the videos, then you may find it easier to get and maintain an erection.

If you have concerns about your stress levels, or about your erections, please check in with a healthcare provider such as a doctor or nurse.

Next Question: Refractory Periods: Why An Erection Remains After Ejaculation

My boyfriend and I are both virgins. We have gone as far as oral sex, and after he ejaculates when I go down on him, his erection remains, even long enough to go for two more rounds. Neither of us are concerned. In fact, we both find it quite interesting! We are both just wondering why this occurs.

Read Dr. Debby Herbenick’s response.

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