TL;DR – Way more normal than you think
Word of warning: this post includes NSFW images. Please be careful if you’re browsing at work.
Checking my emails this morning, I received a message from a reader asking the most common question I hear from men:
My penis is [FEATURE, i.e. thick, thin, fatter on the top than the bottom, curved, bent] and [X] inches long. Is this normal?
So, in the interest of being in service, and saving myself from typing the same email response over and over, I’m going to answer that question here.
First, why do you ask?
I know, I know, duh, right? Except, why actually? What motivates you to answer this question? What has you curious whether your penis is normal or not? Digging a bit deeper, the following are common reasons men have told me for wanting to know if their penis is normal:
- Concern over what their partner will think
- Comparison with other penises they have seen in porn
- A strong desire to be sexually desired
- A strong desire to be able to give pleasure to their partner
- Concern over something they have noticed about their penis
Pause for a moment and reflect. Get in touch with your own specific why.
Some Things Aren’t Normal
Before we go any further, I want to address the last bullet point, concern over noticing something about your pensis. You need to go see your doctor before you do anything else if you have noticed:
- Pain when you urinate
- Pain when you ejaculate
- Painful erections & an increasing curve to your penis over time (this could be Peyronie’s disease)
- Discharge from your penis
- Blood in your semen
- Open sores on your penis
- Warts, lumps, or changes in the skin on your penis
- If your pee hole doesn’t seem to be in the right place (this could be hypospadias)
- If you are unable to retract your foreskin and you notice redness, soreness, or swelling (this could be phimosis)
This list isn’t exhaustive, though it does cover the most common complaints I have heard in my practice that required referral to a medical professional. As a general rule of thumb, if you are in pain or if something just doesn’t feel right, it is always better to rule out a medical issue before proceeding for peace of mind.
Pleasure & Desire
For a lot of guys, concern about their cocks centers around how desireable (or not) they are by virtue of the penis they’re packing, and how much pleasure they will be able to give their partners.
To this, the key thing to understand is that desire and pleasure aren’t correlated with precise cock metrics. There is no ideal size, shape, or appearance.
What matters far more, if your goal is to have a highly pleasureable and awesome experience, is getting curious about what turns your partner on and what feels good to them, and having the communication skills to talk about this together.
True Facts: Curious enthusiasm is really hot.
Is it true some women fetishize penis size (both on the above and below average sides of the spectrum)? Sure. There are people that fetishize most everything. But, by and large, penis size and shape are not key factors in arousal and eroticism for the vast majority of women.
That said, you do have to take care of your health and hygiene. Get regularly tested for STIs. Know how to use condoms and have some available. Take a shower and wash your penis well with warm water. Don’t use scented colognes or deodorants on your genitals.
A penis with smelly smegma is a turn off. Equally, a penis saturated with Axe body spray is just as gag-inducing.
Take good care of yourself, and your penis. Listen to your partner and communicate to find out what activities turn you both on. Approach sex as something you do together with her, rather than something you do to her with your penis. This will help take the pressure off.
Size & Shape
After pleasure and desireability, a lot of men worry about how the size and shape of their member matches up with the other cocks they’ve come across in life.
Often, those other penises belong to porn stars, making them an extremely limited sample for comparison. Keep in mind porn cock is curated for performance ability on screen. It looks the way directors want it to look, and does what directors want it to do.
There has been a tremendous amount of research done on penis size, some of it methodologically flawed. The gold standard is data collected by urologists using bone-pressed erect measurements, rather than self-reported measurements.
That said, in general, average penis length globally is right around 5 inches (12.7 cm), with average ranges from 5-6 inches, depending on the study in question.
Remember – owing to the magic of perspective, the person your penis will always look smallest to is you. You’re looking top down, and you’ve got your torso and public hair blocking your view. For a partner, who will have a more direct, head-on (LOL) view, your dick can’t not look bigger to them than it does to you. Because angles.
When it comes to curves, many penises have them. Provided you aren’t experiencing pain, or noticing that your penis is becoming more curved over time, you’re good.
It can help to expose yourself to a variety of different penises, in order to balance out your perspective on what is normal. Our brains do this thing, where the more we are exposed to something, the more normal it seems.
Think about it – if the only dick you see other than your own is porn dick, then porn dick starts to seem normal.
I love to share the artwork made by UK artist Jamie McCartney with my clients. Below, check out this 4×4 panel of plaster casts of erect penises. They are all very different, and several of them are curved!
There’s also Laura Dodsworth’s fantastic book, Manhood: The Bare Reality, which shows the pictures and tells the story of 100 men and their penises. The variety of body and penis types in this book is vast. I mean, just take a look:
You can also visit the r/AveragePenis (<<< this link is super NSFW) subreddit, where the average men of the Internet post pictures of their penises. There’s all manner of size and shape on display, many of these penises are erect, and some are flaccid.
The point of all these exercises being: the more you get a sense of the vast variety of penises out in the world, the more porn penis starts to look unusual by virtue of being rather homogenous, and the more your penis starts to look normal.