Human penis size  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
A maypole of so enormous a standard

Human penis size refers to the length and width of human male genitalia. Some individuals consider a large penis a sign of masculinity and a small penis a sign of not being able to satisfy a partner's sexual needs. Interest in larger penis sizes have led to an industry devoted to penis enlargement.

Compared to other primates, even larger primates such as the gorilla, the male human genitalia are remarkably large. The human penis is both longer and thicker than that of any other primate both in absolute terms and in relative size compared to the rest of the body.

One of the earliest researchers on the subject, Frantz Fanon, covers this subject in some detail in Black Skin, White Masks (1952), where he tends towards the view that the supposed positive correlation between penis size and African ancestry is erroneous.


Perceptions of penis size

Historical perceptions

penis size in art history

In ancient Greek art, it is common to see smaller male genitalia than one would expect for the size of the man. Renaissance art also followed this aesthetic; note Michelangelo's David. According to Kenneth Dover's landmark study "Greek Homosexuality", Greek art had extreme interest in the genitals, but was not obsessed with size.

The weekly Q&A column "The Straight Dope" deduces, based on Greek art and Dover's aforementioned study, that in ancient Greece an uncircumcised and small penis was culturally seen as desirable in a man, whereas a bigger or circumcised penis was viewed as comical or grotesque (at least in the high-brow view), usually being found on fertility gods, satyrs, ugly old men, and barbarians.

CBC radio has suggested, based on several sources, that ancient Romans had a viewpoint contrary to that of the Greeks. This was also the case in medieval Arabic literature, where a longer penis was preferred, as described in an Arabian Nights tale called "Ali with the Large Member". As a witty satire of this fantasy, the 9th century Afro-Arab author Al-Jahiz wrote: "If the length of the penis were a sign of honor, then the mule would belong to the (honorable tribe of) Quraysh".

Penis size is also alluded to in the Bible:

“In the same way, I became disgusted with Oholibah and rejected her, just as I had rejected her sister, because she flaunted herself before them and gave herself to satisfy their lusts.19 Yet she turned to even greater prostitution, remembering her youth when she was a prostitute in Egypt.20 She lusted after lovers with genitals as large as a donkey’s and emissions like those of a horse. Ezekiel 23:18–20, New Living Translation

Popular culture

Culturally, widespread private concerns related to penis size have led to a number of folklore sayings and popular culture reflections related to penis size. These include beliefs that it is possible to predict the size of someone's penis by observing other bodily features such as the hands, feet, nose or height, and in some cases so-called "penis panic" - a form of mass hysteria involving the believed removal or shrinking of the penis, known as genital retraction syndrome. Penis size, and sexual anxiety generally, have led to products such as penis pumps, pills, and other dubious means of enlargement becoming some of the most marketed products in spam mail.

The media has equated a man's penis size with both power and masculinity.

The suggested link between penis size, foot size and height has been investigated by a relatively small number of groups. Two of these studies have suggested a link between penis size and foot size, while the most recent report dismissed these findings. One of the studies suggesting a link relied on the subjects measuring the size of their own penis, which may well be inaccurate. The second study found statistically significant although "weak" correlation between the size of the stretched penis and foot size and height A potential explanation for these observations is that the development of the penis in an embryo is controlled by some of the same Hox genes (in particular HOXA13 and HOXD13) as those that control the development of the limbs. Mutations of some Hox genes that control the growth of limbs cause malformed genitalia (hand–foot–genital syndrome). However the most recent investigation failed to find any evidence for a link between shoe size and stretched penis size. Given the large number of genes which control the development of the human body shape, and the effects of hormones during childhood and adolescence, it would seem unlikely that an accurate prediction of penis size could be made by measuring a different part of the human body.

Other studies correlating the size of the human penis with other factors have given intriguing results. Notably one study analysing the self-reported Kinsey data set found that homosexual men had statistically larger penises than their heterosexual counterparts. One potential explanation given is a difference in the exposure to androgen hormones in the developing embryo. The study author's opinion is that evidence points towards both orientations being equally likely to exaggerate.

Penis size and female genital response

According to some sex researchers and therapists, several misconceptions have developed surrounding penile-vaginal intercourse. Many men exaggerate the importance of deep vaginal penetration in stimulating a woman to orgasm.

The most sensitive area of the female genitals includes the vulva, clitoris, and the section of vagina closest to the outside of a woman's body, which is roughly 10 centimeters (4 in) in length. Research has found that portions of the clitoris extend into the vulva and vagina. Given that the median penis size is above this length, the majority of penises are of sufficient length to fully satisfy their partners.

While many women find penile stimulation of the cervix to be uncomfortable or painful, others report it to be the key to orgasm. The cervix may be confused with the anterior or posterior fornix, the deepest point of the vagina, above and below the cervix, respectively. The cervix and fornix are close to each other, making it possible for there to be indirect and/or simultaneous stimulation between them.

The fornix is said to be another possible orgasm trigger area. Tests have shown that pressure on this area causes the vagina to lubricate very quickly. The area of sexual response in the anterior fornix has also been called the epicentre, T-Spot, AFE-Zone, AFE or A-Spot; while in the posterior fornix it has been called epicenter (as well) or cul-de-sac (since the cul-de-sac, also known as the rectouterine pouch, may be indirectly stimulated by pressure on the posterior fornix.

During arousal, the vagina lengthens rapidly to an average of about 4 in (8.5 cm), but can continue to lengthen in response to pressure. As the woman becomes fully aroused, the vagina tents (last ²⁄₃ expands in length and width) while the cervix retracts. The walls of the vagina are composed of soft elastic folds of mucous membrane skin which stretch or contract (with support from pelvic muscles) to the size of the penis. This means (with proper arousal) the vagina stretches or contracts to accommodate virtually any size penis, from small to large.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Human penis size" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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