Whether you’re bragging in the locker room or hyping yourself up to a prospective hook-up on a dating app, you’ve probably lied about your penis size at least once. Research suggests you’re not alone.
Men are really bad at estimating their own penis size, according to a new study by the University of Agder in Norway and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (1). One guy even told the researchers that he sports a whopping 9,000 cm (about 295 feet) long member—which is disturbing, since this is 50 times larger than an average adult elephant penis. Dude, get a grip.
The average erect penis is around 5.1 to 5.5 inches, according to a 2021 study in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy (2). Guys in the new study said they measured significantly bigger: between 6.7 inches and 7.3 inches while erect.
Researchers say the overreporting is probably due to the social pressure to have a large penis which can lead to “penile dysmorphia,” a body image disorder that can make you anxious about the prospect of having a small penis (3).
Another possibility? Men just don’t know how to measure correctly. We can’t help with the former, but we tapped a urologist to help with the latter.
How to Measure Your Penis
In a demo on the urology information Youtube channel UroChannel, board-certified urologist Stefan Buntrock, M.D., breaks down how to accurately measure your penis length and girth at home.
How to Measure Penis Length
Stretch your penis
Buntrock says you don’t have to be erect to get a decent read on the length of your boner. He recommends standing with your flaccid penis parallel to the floor and stretching it out from your body at a 90 degree angle.
This method isn’t perfect and might be uncomfortable for some guys.
“It’s necessary to apply a certain force,” he says in the video. “It actually hurts a little and the greatest discrepancy between results are observed when stretched penile length is reported.”
Measure from the top
As much as you’d like to include the extra inches from your balls to your grand gonad total, you’ll need to measure from the top—or dorsal side—of your penis to get an accurate measurement.
Buntrock recommends grabbing a soft measuring tape so that you can place it along the curve of your penis. A hard ruler won’t get accurate results.“It might appear shorter with a rigid measurement device,” he says.
Start at your pubic bone
Differences in body fat composition can also throw off your results.
“The more body fat, the smaller the penis appears because it gets buried in the fat,” Buntrock explains. “Therefore, I prefer to measure from the pubic bone.”
You can reach your pubic bone by pushing the end of the measuring tape into the “fat pad” above your penis until you hit the bone. Then, read the result at the tip of your penis.
How to Measure Penis Girth
While measuring girth seems as simple as wrapping a measuring tape around your penis, getting the correct number is a little bit more involved than that.
Buntrock says to avoid measuring the head of your penis or right below it. Instead, wrap a measuring tape around the center of your shaft. You’ll also need to be hard, since there’s no reliable way to measure your girth when you’re flaccid.
- Christensen, et al (2023). Smaller prize, bigger size? Exploring the impact of money on men’s self-reported markers of masculinity.
- King (2020). Average-Size Erect Penis: Fiction, Fact, and the Need for Counseling.
- Yianne and Veale (2022). Penile Dysmorphic Disorder (PDD).