Does Size Matter?


Q: Does size matter?

A:  It kills me to even type those words – I feel like some cheese ball writer for Glamour or Maxim or something.  However, as a male physician in college health, I have a front row view of the health concerns (and to be quite frank, packages) of literally thousands of men, which makes me a somewhat reluctant expert on what is unfortunately a serious concern for a lot of men.  So guys, I hope to put your mind at ease once and for all.    

First, the facts:

  • The average adult penis ranges from 4 to 6 inches when erect.  
  • A penis smaller than 3 inches while erect can be an indication of a rare medical condition called ‘microphallus’ and should be evaluated by a health care provider.
  • The most sensitive areas of a woman’s anatomy are in the outer third of the vagina, so any normal sized penis is sufficient for physical stimulation.
  • Penis size has no relationship to fertility

But here’s the most important thing to remember – the size of a flaccid penis really has nothing to do with the size of an erect penis.  Some remain at or near full length when flaccid while others expand a lot during erection – some guys are “showers” and some guys are “growers” – and most major differences usually disappear when it really counts.  So don’t get freaked out if you happen to steal a glance at the guy next to you in the RPAC locker room; unless he’s really excited about his work out, you’re comparing apples and oranges (or maybe apples and bananas).   

Besides, worrying about the size of Big Jim and the Twins is as futile as being a Browns fan because the fact is, there’s nothing you can do about it.  All the penile calisthenics in the world – stretching, pulling, hanging weights on it (yes, I’m serious) – do nothing except expose your body to harm.  All those pills, creams and lotions you see on late night infomercials?  Garbage.  Penile enhancement surgery?  You do not want to go anywhere near that horror show. 

If you’re overweight, shedding a few pounds wouldn’t hurt; there’s a fat pad overlying the pubic bone that may reveal an extra inch or so if you can lose it.  And I suppose some creative manscaping might enhance your silhouette.  But please take it easy – there are guys walking around campus with more meticulous pruning in their pants than the average topiary garden and that kind of self attention is a little frightening. 

What you should really worry about is why you’re worried about this in the first place.  Some of it is cultural; unrealistic body image ideals promulgated by pornography and erotic images in the media, the aforementioned glossy rag magazines that rehash the topic over and over (after all, if people keep asking the question, there must be something to it, right?).  But it may be more serious and personal, such as a traumatic experience with a previous sexual partner.  Whatever it is, it’s usually more about anxiety than anatomy and if these concerns are having an adverse effect on your life, you should talk to someone at Student Health or CCS about it.

But don’t take it from me.  Take it from my high school Health Ed teacher, Coach “Crotch”:

Remember boys, your most important sexual organ is the one between your ears!

John Vaughn, MD (Ohio State Student Health Services)