Just as people come in all shapes and sizes, so do their genitals. This means that there are many different types of penis shapes and sizes that are within the normal range.
While some men have large penises, the truth is that the difference in penis size isn’t as big as you might think — on average, penises are smaller than people think. However, there are large differences between length and girth and between circumcised and uncircumcised types.
This article explains common features of penises and how and why their appearance can vary.
Learn about penis anatomy
Before making penis comparisons, it can be helpful to understand the anatomy of the penis. The penis, along with the scrotum containing the testes, constitute the male external reproductive organ. Not everyone with a penis considers themselves a man.
When you think about a penis, there are four important parts to consider. they are:
- This urethra: This small tube goes through the center of the penis and ends at the tip. Urine and ejaculate (semen) pass through the urethra.
- Glans: The glans, commonly called the glans penis, is located at the tip. In most men, the opening of the urethra is located on the glans.
- Foreskin: This is the sheath of tissue that covers the glans. During circumcision, it is removed.
- Erectile tissue: Most of the penis is made of erectile tissue. There are two types of erectile tissue: sponge and spongeMost of the time, this tissue has empty pockets, but during arousal, these pockets fill with blood to cause an erection.
It’s also helpful to consider the terms people use when talking about the appearance of a penis. These include:
- Length: The length of the penis is usually measured along the top of the penis from the pubic bone to the tip of the glans. If you have fat around your pubic bone, you may need to push in slightly for a more accurate measurement.
- Girth: Girth is the measurement of the distance, circumference, around the penis when the penis is erect.
- Curve: This refers to the direction in which the penis points when erect.
If you’re concerned about how your penis compares to others, you’re not alone. Research shows that about half of men want their penis to be bigger.
It may be helpful to know what are common penis sizes and how rare large penises are.
A study of more than 15,500 men from around the world found little difference in penis size. Although the researchers used data from around the world, most studies focused on Caucasian men, and the researchers called for more research into possible differences in penis length between races.
The researchers found that the average length of a flaccid (non-erect) penis was 3.61 inches, and the average length of an erect penis was 5.16 inches.
This is convincing because most men believe that the average erect penis is over 6 inches long. This may be because in pornography – which many people use to compare one penis to another – male performers have very large penises.
The truth is, a large or small penis is rare: Only 5% of men have an erection longer than 6.3 inches, and only 5% have an erection shorter than 4 inches.
There are also misconceptions about the girth or thickness of a normal penis. In a study of more than 15,500 men, the average circumference of a flaccid penis was found to be 3.66 inches. The average circumference of an erect penis is 4.59 inches.
The penis plays an important role in men’s health, passing urine out of the body through the urethra and for sexual function.
While penis size rarely affects these activities, men are often concerned with penis length or thickness. In fact, most penises are in a common range, about 5.19 inches long and about 4.59 inches when erect.
Although most people think that an erect penis should be straight or erect, the truth is that it is quite common for an erect penis to be slightly curved. The penis may curve to the right or left, up or down.
However, if your penis suddenly starts to curve, you should contact your doctor. You should also seek medical attention if your curved penis begins to hurt or interfere with sexual function. There are some rare conditions that can cause a curved penis, including:
- Peroni’s Disease: This is caused by small damage and inflammation of the penis over time. It can cause the penis to bend and lose strength and make it difficult to get an erection.
- hypospadias: This is a birth defect that causes the opening of the urethra to be located under the penis instead of the glans. Hypospadias may or may not be accompanied by chordee, a condition that causes the penis to curve downward. Both conditions can usually be repaired with surgery.
Circumcised vs Uncircumcised Penis
One of the main differences in the appearance of a penis is a circumcised and an uncircumcised penis. In circumcision, the foreskin is removed.
- Uncircumcised penis: The foreskin remains in place and covers the glans, except during sexual arousal. Since it is usually covered, it is normal for the glans to have some moisture on an uncircumcised penis.
- Circumcised penis: The foreskin is usually removed shortly after birth, so the glans are always exposed and often have a dry texture and appearance.
In most cases, circumcision is an entirely elective procedure. However, some medical conditions require circumcision, including recurrent infections (balanitis).
Circumcision rates in the U.S. are declining as more people hold back about having surgery that isn’t medically necessary. In the United States, 55 to 65 percent of baby boys are circumcised, and the rest are not.
While most men’s penises are fairly average in size, there are significant differences in the appearance of each penis. A slight curvature of the penis is not uncommon, but any sudden or excessive curvature should be checked by a doctor. Whether or not the penis is circumcised also makes a difference.
The penis consists of several important elements related to urinary and sexual health. Ultimately, size has little to do with these features and shouldn’t be a concern.
Most men’s penises are similar in length and girth. An abnormally large or small penis is very rare. Curvature of the penis is also completely normal, but if the curvature interferes with sex or is painful, talk to your doctor.
The appearance of your penis is a very private and personal thing. It’s perfectly normal to wonder how your penis compares to others. However, comparing yourself to unrealistic descriptions, such as those in pornography, can lead to unnecessary anxiety.
If you have concerns about your penis type or the appearance of your penis, talk to a doctor you trust. Remember, just like the rest of your body, changes in penis size and appearance are normal and it’s best not to compare yourself to others.