a blue tape measure wraps around in the shape of a penis

How to Measure Your Penis (the Right Way)

Someone's lying, and we don't think it's the experts

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. 

Average Penis Size

The average erect penis is around 5.1 to 5.5 inches in length, 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

Average girth, which wasn’t reported in the new study, was 4.8 inches (3)

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 (4). 

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.

Does Penis Size Matter?

For almost everything in life, no. Though men place a high priority on their size respective to averages and other men, the only time it truly matters is when purchasing condoms (which is the absolute worst time to pretend you’re bigger than you are, by the way).  

If you’re worried about length in regards to what women think, and you really shouldn’t be, the answer is roughly 6.3 inches (5). If that makes you uneasy, remember that this is a study done in a lab setting in which women were simply asked to rate their preferences by questionnaire then later by image. It’s safe to say that, in the real world, penis size desirability is more dynamic than that.   

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

1. 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.”

2. 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. 

3. 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.

A side by side chart that describes how to measure penis length and girth.

How to Measure Penis Girth (Width)

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.

1. Get hard

There’s no delicate way to say this, but you need to be stiff to accurately assess penis girth. Do whatever you need to get to that point as a first step. 

2. Don’t measure near the top

Buntrock says to avoid measuring the head of your penis or right below it. Though penises come in all shapes, sizes, and proportions, most are girthiest around the center of the shaft, which is where everyone should begin measuring.

3. Measuring tape

Wrap a measuring tape around the center of your shaft and do your best to get the correct number. For best results, measure it three times to be sure you weren’t measuring in the wrong place or the tape wasn’t taught around the penis.