5 Things You Didn't Know About Your Penis (cont.)

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Let's talk penis size

Perhaps one of the more comprehensive studies of multiple sources of data on penile size is summarized in an article (reference 2) published by the Department of Urology at Weill Cornell Medical College as follows:

  • Average length of flaccid penis is between 3.4 inches and 3.7 inches (8.6 cm and 9.3 cm)
  • Average length of erect penis is between 5.1 inches and 5.7 inches (12.9 cm and 14.5 cm)
  • Average circumference of an erect penis is between 3.5 inches and 3.9 inches (8.8 cm and 10.0 cm)

Other studies provide additional information. For example, several studies show that some men have a flaccid penis that is about the length of an erect penis but when erect, gains little or no length while other men have a short flaccid penis but gain about twice its length when erect. Slang descriptions for a penis are numerous so for a longer flaccid penis, slang describe it as a "show-er" while one that is short but increases length markedly when erect is termed a "grow-er" but many are a combination of both. Consequently, the "show-er" may make the "grow-er" feel inadequate (especially in a High school locker room), but both types usually will produce a somewhat similar sized erection and so "grow-ers" should not feel inadequate. However, in some men, increased body fat, hormonal problems, certain surgeries and disease may decrease penis size.

Is the penis always straight during an erection?

The answer is that during an erection, the penis is more boomerang-shaped than straight, according to many MRI images taken during sex. The base of the penis is fixed by a ligament to the pubic bone (termed the suspensory ligament) and provides support for its upward angle and reduces movement at the base of the penis. This base area of the penis is inside the body; cutting the ligament can add a bit of length to a penis but the upward angle is lost as is the stability at the base.

Can you fracture or "break" the penis?

Slang for an erection is a "bone" or "boner" but the penis has no bony structures. Nonetheless, a person can still fracture or break a penis. This relatively rare break or fracture occurs (usually in younger men) when a man thrusts the penis to hard or fast into the partner's pelvic bone, or against hard resistance, the rigid penis can be stressed and fracture. What occurs when a penis is fractured is that the erectile portions of the penis lining, called the tunica albuginea, is torn (fractured or broken) by the stresses. When the tunica albuginea is torn, often there is an audible pop sound, the penis becomes flaccid and turns black and blue (due to blood leaking out of the erectile bodies into the surrounding tissue). This fracture is very painful and, because of potential complications, this fracture is considered a medical emergency.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/13/2016

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