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 with the rest of the body.
The average stretched penile length at birth is about 4 cm (1.6 in), and 90% of newborn boys will be between 2.4 and 5.5 cm (0.9 and 2.2 in). Limited growth of the penis occurs between birth and 5 years of age, but very little occurs between 5 years and the onset of puberty. The average size at the beginning of puberty is 6 cm (2.4 in) with adult size reached about 5 years later. W.A. Schonfeld published a penis growth curve in 1943.
The following staff-measured studies are each composed of different subgroups of the human population (i.e. specific age range and/or race; selection of those with sexual medical concerns or self selection) which may meet the definition of possible sample bias.
Similar results exist regarding studies of the circumference of the adult fully erect penis, with the measurement taken mid-shaft. As with length, studies that relied on self-measurement consistently reported a higher average than those with staff measuring.
The penis and scrotum can contract involuntarily in reaction to cold temperatures or nervousness, referred to by the slang term "shrinkage", due to action by the cremaster muscle. The same issue affects cyclist and exercise bike users, with prolonged pressure on the perineum from the saddle, and the straining of the exercise causing the penis and scrotum to contract involuntarily which is sometimes referred as "gym balls" or "saddle balls". An incorrect saddle may ultimately cause erectile dysfunction. Please see crotch pressure for more information.
There are two basic ways of enlarging the penis:
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 pornographic Greek art work 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, half-animal critters such as 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".
A 2005 study found only 55 percent of men were satisfied with their penis size, whereas 85 percent of women said they were "very satisfied" with the size of their partner's penis, and only six percent of women rated their partner as smaller than average. In the same data set, 70 percent of women expressed dissatisfaction with their breasts, whereas the majority of men (56 percent) were satisfied with their partner's breasts and only 20 percent of men wished their partner had larger breasts.
A study published in BMC Women's Health, surveyed women's preferences concerning penis size and concluded that width rather than length is a more important factor of sexual stimulation.
Similar results were found in a cover story published in Psychology Today, which surveyed 1,500 readers (about 2/3 women) about male body image. Many of the women were not particularly concerned with penis size and over 71 percent thought men overemphasized the importance of penis size and shape. Details were examined among the women with a size preference. Generally women cared more about width than men thought, and less about length. "...the number one reason women preferred a thicker penis was that it was more satisfying during intercourse." It's suggested this is because a wider penis provides more friction to the clitoral area while a longer penis reaches an area less stimulable. The same article comments that there is a strong correlation whereby “Women who rated themselves as more attractive were particularly concerned with larger size. Of women describing themselves as "much more attractive than average," 64 percent cared strongly or moderately about penis width and 54 percent cared about penis length. Women who rated their own looks as average were about 20 percentage points lower."
Another study, conducted at Groningen University Hospital, asked 375 sexually active women (who had recently given birth) the importance of penis size and concluded: "Although clearly in the minority, a nevertheless considerable percentage of the women respondents attached substantial importance to the size of the male sexual organ".
A study undertaken at Utrecht University found that the majority of homosexual men in the study regarded a large penis as ideal, and having one was linked to self esteem.
The term size queen is slang terminology for a person of either sex who prefers a larger-than-average penis on their sexual partner(s).
The media has equated a man's penis size with both power and masculinity. Furthermore the perception of having a large penis is linked to higher self esteem.
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.
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.
A news post on New Scientist dated December 6, 2004 reads "A new surgical procedure has allowed men with abnormally short penises to enjoy a full sex life and urinate standing up, some for the first time. Tiny "micro-penises" have been enlarged to normal size without losing any erogenous sensation, say UK doctors.
Family Health International states "The World Health Organization bases its specifications for condom width on consumer preference and penis size, citing three studies. The studies used varying methods of measurements between sources, such as maximum circumference (US measurements) instead of base circumference (Thai measurements)." The Kinsey reports were based on subjective, self-reported results from African and Caucasian Americans. Taken together, the studies show the most significant variations in penis size are within the population groups themselves, and in general. However, the difference between Caucasian and African American penis size found in these subjective tests was insignificant. The Kinsey reports also found that homosexual men reported larger penises than heterosexual men, which the reports claimed underscores the questionability of these studies and self-reported survey methods; however according to studies in prenatal hormones and sexual orientation, there have been studies linking particular hormones in the womb that predispose unborn male fetuses to both homosexuality and at the same time larger penis size. The WHO document referred to only specifies whole-population data for the US, Australia and Thailand, and not races in general.
According to FHI, "Among the African sites, breakage rates were slightly higher and slippage was slightly lower for the smaller of the two condoms being compared. The data from the Asian sites was inconsistent. FHI concluded that "almost none of the differences in breakage and slippage rates from either the Indian or African sites were statistically significant. Thus, results from these studies pertaining to penis size and condom failure were inconclusive. 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.
In an article concerning penis size, Dr. David Delvin, GP and family planning specialist, states that there is no correlation between penile size and race.
The BBC reported an Indian Council of Medical Research study finding that "about 60% of Indian men have penises which are between three and five centimetres shorter than international standards used in condom manufacture. However, the study also stated that "data collected in Mumbai till 2001 showed that 60% of the participants measured 126 to 156 mm [5 to 6.1 inches] in length and 30% between 100 and 125 mm [4 to 5 inches]. The international size standard for condom length is 150 to 180 mm (6 to 7 inches), larger than the average human penis size; thus, the average human penis falls short of international condom size standards.
Although the most common type of condom, those made of latex, have great ability to stretch, they are vulnerable to dry friction (ie, the dry rubbing motion of sexual activity when there is tight pressure or a lack of smooth lubricated movement) as well as other mistakes of usage. For example, in a separate study of people practicing anal sex, condom breakage was linked more to excessive friction (in this case due to low usage of a sexual lubricant) than to penis size per se.
The rate of condom breakage for correctly used condoms was 1.34% and of slippage 2.05%, with a total failure rate of 3.39%. Penis size did not influence slippage, but penis circumference and broken condoms were strongly correlated, with larger sizes increasing the rate of breakage.
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