Penis size is something many a man has worried about. And these worries – not the actual size of their penis – can have a major impact on their sex lives. Guys who are not happy about the looks of their penis have more sexual health problems, research has shown.
It’s not so much the size of their penis in itself that most guys brood about, but rather what women think of it. So it’s not too surprising that what women want in a penis has been the subject of many a research study. But until recently, researchers haven’t looked at women’s penis preferences in the most accurate of ways. For example, they’ve asked women whether they prefer small, medium, or large penises, as if they only come in three sizes. Or they’ve shown them 2D sketches and asked which they like best. Plus the penises in studies are often flaccid, which isn’t necessarily an indication of how big they are when they’re hard.
See, touch and choose
A group of US researchers were on a mission to change this. They decided it was time to get accurate information on what women want in a penis to allay men’s fears that they fall short. The researchers knew that people are best at judging the size of things – like penises – when they can see them and touch them at the same time. So they brought out 3D models of, you guessed it, erect penises, and asked 75 heterosexual women which size they liked best. The women could choose one penis (or no penises) for a long-term partner and another for a short-term fling.
Penises just a little larger than average are what women want, according to the study’s findings. But that does depend on what you call average. And that’s a tricky one, because penises come in all shapes and sizes. Vaginas are made to work very nicely with any type of penis, and erect penises are generally anywhere between 7 and 17 cm long. With so much variety, different studies come up with different numbers, but generally they put it the average at around 12 or 13 cm. However, researchers in this study put the average US erect penis at about 15.2 cm long and 12.7 cm in circumference. And it does matter that these were US penises, because average penis size does vary around the world. A Mumbai study on Indian penis size came up with an average erection of between 11.5 and 12.5 cm.
Size doesn't matter?
The women wanted short-term lovers to have slightly larger penises than long-term mates. The ideal erect penis for casual sex was 16.3cm long and had a circumference of 12.7 cm. For a long-term parnter, the women chose penises that were 16 cm long and had a circumference of 12.2 cm. However, if you’re concerned that your penis doesn’t measure up to women’s dreams, don’t worry. Faced with a tempting range of different model penises, some of the women didn’t express any size preference at all. No fewer than one in five women said size simply didn’t matter! They selected ‘no answer’ for the penis size they preferred in a partner.
Among the many other studies of penises and what women think of them, Swiss research found that it's not so much size that matters, but looks – check out what women like in a penis.
Here’s a short animated video about penis shapes and sizes, checking the facts and busting the myths.