January 23, 2008

Q&A: I’m Worried My Penis Is Too Small

Dr. Debby Herbenick answers a question from a reader whose ex-girlfriend left him because of his penis size, he's afraid he won't be able to satisfy a woman

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Question: I am 21 years old. My penis size when flaccid is about 1.5 inches and goes up to 5 inches when erect. My ex-girlfriend left me because she said that my penis size is small when cold. I am really worried and I think that I would never be able to satisfy a women.

Thank you for your question. I am sorry that your girlfriend told you that she left you for the size of your penis. Whether or not that is really why she left you is impossible to say, as partners sometimes say mean or untrue things to one another when they are breaking up.

Occasionally, the reason that a person gives for breaking up is not the “true” reason for the break-up. Women and men can feel afraid or uncertain how to say that the relationship just isn’t working for them anymore, that they are not in love, or that they have met someone else.

Penis Size – Nothing To Do With Sexual Ability

Your penis size when flaccid would have absolutely nothing to do with your sexual abilities or your ability to be in a relationship with a woman, but given your experience with your ex-girlfriend, I can understand your anxiety about being left again.

If you would like the support or guidance of a counselor as you work through those feelings or concerns, you can find a sex counselor or therapist by going to aasect.org.

Many men are concerned about the length or circumference of their penis, either when flaccid (soft) or erect (hard). It does not help matters that television, movies and magazines tend to joke about penis size as do many of our friends.

Average Penis Size

Men vary tremendously when it comes to the size of their penis. On average, men tend to have an erect penis length of about 5 to 6 inches. That said, erect penises can range in length from less than an inch to 12, 14 or more inches.

As for starting lengths when flaccid, that also varies considerably. Even if you take the average erect length of 5 to 6 inches long, when flaccid that man may be an inch long or he may be four inches long.

Men who find that their penis grows a good deal when erect sometimes call their penises “growers”. On the flip side, men whose penises grow only a little bit – no matter how long or how short they start out at – may refer to their penises as “showers” in the sense that what you see (i.e., what is shown) is pretty much what you get.

Fortunately, it seems that penis size has only a bit to do with sexual satisfaction for most people – and it’s not always what you might guess. Although some men worry that they are too small, other men complain that they feel too large and that being quite long or quite thick can make it difficult to find a partner willing to have sex or who can have sex comfortably with them.

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Since pills, herbs, and surgery are not deemed safe or effective means to change one’s penis size, men can learn to work with what they’ve got by reading books like The New Male Sexuality or The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex.

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