Student Life Archives (2001-2008)

What is the average size of a penis?

Bernell Dorrough

What is the average size of a penis? I mean, what’s normal?

Smile! The average length of an erect penis is shorter than you probably think. You are certainly not the first person to ask this question, much less wonder about it. Am I normal? Is my penis long enough? Wide enough? Too small? Too thin? At some point in their lives, most guys will ponder these age-old questions. So you’re in good company!

Many men feel that the size of their penis somehow reflects on their masculinity-or their ability to satisfy another person sexually. Because of this, the size of a guy’s penis can have a significant impact on his self-esteem and self-confidence. Guys who feel inadequate about their size may even experience anxiety and fear about intimacy.

Because so many men wanted to know if they were “normal” or “above average,” studies were done to determine, once and for all, “what is the average size of a penis.”

Study #1

The Kinsey Institute of Sex Research conducted the biggest and most famous penis size study ever attempted. It was done in 1948 and involved 3,500 college males. Their findings indicated that the average erect length was 6.21 inches and the average erect girth was 4.85 inches. Flaccid length was found to be 3.89 inches and flaccid girth 3.75 inches on average.

Measurements of the length of the penis were taken when the penises were erect from a point at the base of the penis where the top of the penile shaft meets the pubic area (the peno-pubic junction) to the tip of the glans (“head”). For uncircumcised men the foreskin was retracted. Girth was measured at mid-shaft around the circumference of the penis when the penis was erect.

It is critical to note that the information used in the survey was based on men who measured themselves. Volunteers in the study held a postcard against their penis and marked their length on the card, which was later measured. These methods are in no way scientific, which is why there has been much debate over the accuracy of these results. Additionally, only white, male college students were included in the survey, so it didn’t represent a wide diversity of races or ages.

Study #2

Since condom manufacturers want to design and provide better fitting products, a few condom manufacturers did some studies of penis size. In the 1990’s, Durex Condoms conducted the largest of these surveys.

2,936 men from 27 different countries participated in the Durex internet-based survey. Men were asked to measure themselves and then report their results online. The majority of respondents were white and from the United States (39 percent). As a result, the study was also not a very good representation of different races and ethnic backgrounds.

Their study found that the average erect length is 6.4 inches and average erect girth is 5.2 inches (measured from the thickest point of the penis).

Study #3

In the spring of 2001, Lifestyle Condoms, another manufacturer, ran their own study. In Cancun, Mexico, Lifestyles assembled a total of 301 volunteers who were over 18 years old. More men were recruited, but approximately 25 percent weren’t “up” to the task. They were mainly U.S. college students, so again, not a great way to evaluate racial and ethnic variations. The guys got to go into a private tent outside a nightclub, where they found magazines and other items to put them in the mood. It is important to note that two nurses individually measured each penis.

Simon Joseph, a spokesman for Lifestyles, said, “Our results show that about three-quarters of men fall under the average quoted by Kinsey.” The results of the Lifestyles survey found that average erect penis length is 5.877 inches and erect girth is 4.97 inches. Buck Wolf, of ABC news, said that, “For those of you who don’t like to deal in raw numbers, at 5.877 inches, the average penis is about the size of a Nestle Butterfinger candy bar (unwrapped) or a grande (medium) cup of coffee at Starbucks (with the sip lid).” The survey also found that 54 percent of subjects measured between 5.5 inches and 6.3 inches in erect length with 53.3 percent measuring between 4.72 inches and 5.11 inches in girth. Seventeen (17 percent) of the men surveyed had less than 4.5 inches-but keep in mind that less than 1.7 percent of men actually have a penis larger than 8 inches.

Do the surveys on penis size actually really reflect the average person?

Surveys on penis size probably don’t do total justice to the average guy. Since the respondents in the first two surveys were asked to measure their own penis, it is quite likely that they may have added a little bit of length. The other big difference is between men of different ages and races. Younger men are able to have harder and more erect penises, while as we get older, the rigidity of the penis decreases and there is slight shrinkage. And lastly, there is likely to be variation in how the measurements were made.

So what’s the verdict?

Considering all of the information above, it would seem that the average erect penis measures between 5.5 and 6.5 inches in length and between 4.5 and 5.5 inches in circumference. Most men vary in size between a Twix bar and a Peter Paul Mounds (with the wrapper extended). And it seems that over 50 percent of men fall within these ranges. Hopefully you’re not hung up on the size of your penis; remember, it’s your “whole package” that your partner is interested in, not the size of your penis.


Jill Ringold is the health educator in the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness. And she’s here to help answer those questions that you really want to ask. If you want to submit a question, please send it to [email protected] or via our anonymous portal on the Student Life Web site (

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