The importance of penis size also seems tied to the idea that bigger must be better, the author writes. File image.
The importance of penis size also seems tied to the idea that bigger must be better, the author writes. File image.

#SexColumn: Is it the size of the boat or the motion of the ocean that matters most between the sheets?

By Time of article published Oct 7, 2021

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By Sharon Gordon

Johannesburg - The question on every man’s mind and yet most women don’t give it a second thought. There is no medical reason for penis size to matter but ask any number of men and women and the answer will be different.

The importance of penis size also seems tied to the idea that bigger must be better. Now while this is true for bank accounts it is not so for body parts!

One of the problems with this line of thinking is that we forget that bigger is comparative, and men are very bad at making accurate comparisons about penis size, in fact few men have an accurate idea of what is average penis size. And for that matter, medical researchers aren't all that sure about average penis size either.

Determining the average penis size for a group of males, let alone for men around the world, is more complicated than you might imagine. Unfortunately, most information about average penis size comes from popular culture and not science. Let's start by considering some figures from science.

The results from three studies of penis size where the measurements were taken in a laboratory setting give the following ranges:

Average penis length (flaccid/not erect): from 8.6 cm to 9.3 cm

Average penis length (erect): from 12.9 cm to 14.5 cm

Average penis girth (circumference when erect): from 8.8 cm to 10 cm

These numbers are obviously very different from the sizes we hear (and see) in adult movies, and even the kinds of numbers you read online. Why such a difference?

Many, possibly most, statistics you read are not from legitimate research, but from marketing companies who want you to feel bad about your penis size. Women are constantly subjected to body image shaming. The most recent one I’ve seen is dark underarm pits being unattractive. Really, dark armpits?

Important facts about reports of average penis size

There is much greater variation in size of flaccid (non-erect) penises than of penises when they are erect. A soft penis that looks large may be roughly the same size when erect as a soft penis that looks smaller.

Because most men see other penises when they are not erect it can appear as if there is a big difference, and men may be likely to assume their erect penis is much smaller when compared to others.

Male porn stars are often chosen specifically because they have larger than average penises. Also, there are a variety of techniques used to make penises look bigger on camera. Lighting, camera angle, and even shaving of pubic hair can all make things look bigger on camera and the use of penis pumps.

Problems with research on average penis size

Determining what the average penis size is seems like it shouldn’t be that complicated.

It’s a physical body part, you measure it, and repeat hundreds of thousands of times around the world, then take an average. Unfortunately, arriving at an accurate idea of what is an average penis size, is more complicated. Some of the problems with figuring out average penis size include:

Is penis size considered to be the length, the girth, or both?

When measuring penis length, where do you start?

Is penis girth measured at the base of the penis, at the glans (head), or around the shaft?

Are the people measured in these study representatives of the general population?

Do all studies include measurements taken by others, or self-reported measurements (which are historically bigger than measurements reported by others)? It’s a bit like when men exaggerate how many women they’ve slept with and women under report.

Different studies answer these questions differently, which makes arriving at a single average penis size almost impossible. Many researchers believe that those who are willing to participate in a study about penis size may have larger than average penises, which would also skew the results. It would be wonderful if we could just pull random people off the street and complete a survey.

In all of this we still haven’t answered the question does penis size matter?

Rather than rely on old sayings, fashion magazines, and the hundreds of emails in your inbox every day, let’s look at what research tells us about whether penis size matters?

A pair of sex toys hang over power lines above a residential street in Portland, Oregon. Picture by REUTERS/Courtney Sherwood

Does penis size matter to women?

A survey of 556 women between the ages of 19-49 asked participants whether penis length and girth matter. The findings included:

18% said penis length was very important, 22% said penis girth was very important.

57% said penis length was somewhat important, 53% said penis girth was somewhat important.

25% said penis length was unimportant, 25% said penis girth was unimportant.

A major flaw of this study was that it did not specify an optimal size. Women who felt penis girth mattered may have different ideas of what the ideal penis girth is. The assumption might be bigger is better, but this isn’t confirmed by this study.

While there have been other surveys that have asked women about the importance of penis length and girth, and most report that where this is a preference, girth is reported as more important than length. This is good news because there are many adult toys that can increase girth without much trouble.

To see what I have to say on the matter watch our YouTube video - Does size count?

Please don’t forget to subscribe to the channel and while you’re there give us a like!

There doesn’t seem to be any academic research that actually addresses what size is preferable. If there were such research we could expect, of course, there to be great variability in size preferences.

What complicates matters even more is all the jokes about a woman’s vagina being too big or small for a particular penis. Women blame themselves and feel a great deal of shame. I’m always baffled by this.

Does penis size matter to men?

There is no question that men have a preoccupation with penis size.

Most men seem to think penis size matters, and many worry about the size of their penis at some point in their lives. There have been several studies that have confirmed that men’s perception of penis size is skewed:

An Internet-based survey of 52 031 heterosexual men and women found that while 85% of women were satisfied with their partners’ penis size, only 55% of the men were satisfied with their penis size.

Several studies that have asked men to evaluate the size of their penis, compare it to “normal” and then have actually measured their penis size, have shown that most men underestimate the size of their penis, and overestimate what is average penis size.

Studies have also shown that men tend to compare penises in a way that is likely to end up with negative evaluation (e.g. they compare flaccid penis to an erect penis).

One study of men who were seeking penile enlargement surgery found that most of the men had penises that were in the average size range, despite their belief that they had unusually small penises.

It seems from what research we have, that men think penis size matters more than women. Which begs the question, why do guys worry and talk about penis size so much?

One answer is that we’re still stuck in this penis-centered idea of sex, where great sex comes solely from a man doing unbelievable things with his penis.

Many people are having great sex with no penis involved at all! And beyond that, most women don’t orgasm from penetration at all, so most orgasms are not being produced from a penis of any size. It’s the motion of the ocean that matters to the clitoris – not how hard you push!

I think we still focus on penis size, because we still think that a dick is the measure of a man. And this is the worst misconception of all because at the end of the day it makes him exactly that – a dick!

The Saturday Star

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