Do 'penis size' studies measure up?
by: Steven Hunt
January 3, 2001
There are many ways men like to be described, but when it comes to describing their penis size, most men would rather keep that a private issue - unless they can claim one of the precarious labels above. Nevertheless, penis size is very important to some people - more often than not, men, in their eternal quest to know if they "measure up."
But first things first. What is the average length of an erect penis? 5.3 inches? 6 inches? 10 inches? Well, every one of those answers has come up in statistical surveys and self-perception questionnaires. And based on the evidence, the answer is closer to the first two than the latter (which, by the way, is how most men described how big their penis was in a campus survey!). Everyone from esteemed sex researcher Alfred Kinsey to amateur webmasters looking to survey the surfing male public has entered the fray to find out the average length of the erect penis. And, well, there is no one definitive answer. But for argument's sake (and the overwhelming consensus among scientific and less scientific studies), let's say it's in the vicinity of 6 inches, or about 15 centimetres.
Now, when it comes to studies about penis size, figuring out the actual length of the member is a piece of cake. Other studies have strayed into sometimes less straightforward, politically incorrect waters, like what role race plays into the equation. There have long been stereotypes around concerning which races are better endowed or less endowed than others. In fact, even some physicians have added their two cents worth. "My conclusions, I guess, can be based on my observations clinically," says Dr. Robert Stubbs, a Canadian penis-enhancement surgeon. "I think there is definitely a racial difference, and at this point - and I'm quite prepared to be proven wrong - there are three sizes: black, white and yellow (Asian), in descending order."
But does this opinion stand up in the court of scientific accuracy? Again, the issue is a murky one. "Anthropological studies from the past 100 years have really documented that, on average, penis size of east Asian males are smaller than western European and North American males," states Dr. Robert Francoeur, editor of the The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. "And African males, on average, have a larger penis size." But Francoeur is also first to admit there are always many exceptions to the rule. So what's the answer?
Toronto-based physician, Dr. Jerald Bain, who treats men with reproductive disorders, thinks there isn't yet an answer he's satisfied with. "But I can tell you from my own personal experience in seeing hundreds and hundreds of men - and I have the added advantage of working in Toronto, a very international city - that there is no difference from one ethnic origin to another," he says. And, he adds, if his observations are not the real answer, the race card can also be a double-edged sword.
Confused? Bain says that if penis size is related to race - which he says he's not aware has been scientifically proven anywhere - it might actually make sense. After all, he points out, if Asian men have smaller penises than Caucasians, that may have something to do with the fact that their body build and height have a bearing on the matter. And when it comes to this side of the equation, Bain knows his stuff. Bain has looked at whether the length of a man's penis can be determined (or guessed) simply by looking at some other less private body parts - like feet.
"We measured their height and found that penis size was related to shoe size - but only insofar as it related to the general size of the man," explains Bain. Although the statistical relationship was weak, it was there, and taller men tend to have larger appendages of all sorts, including the penis.
But perhaps the biggest question that should be asked is, does penis size matter in the first place? As Stubbs even admits, "penis size studies are meaningless in terms of procreation because if indeed Oriental men are smaller, they've populated the world to the greatest extent." And when it comes right down to it, sex educator Sue Johansen, who doesn't mince her words, puts it rather plainly: "it really doesn't matter. Bigger is not better." So we've raised the questions and you still don't think you've heard a satisfactory answer. Well, as with other controversial topics, this is one of those with no simple answers - at least not yet - which makes it one of the most enduring sexual myths.
Just in case there is any confusion, though, here's what isknown, in plain black and white: the average length of the erect penis is roughly 5.5 to 6 inches. There are no scientific studies to show that penis size and race are related in any meaningful way - and yes, penis size and foot size do have a loose correlation.
So, if you're a man reading this, where do you fit in? When you find out, keep it quietly to yourself and maybe some of the enduring myths about penis size will fade away. Then again, who am I kidding?