Pop-culture often equates a larger penis with a more attractive penis.

  • Is there any scientific research examining the relationship between penis size and attractiveness ratings?
  • What are the reasons for any such relationship?

I've heard that symmetry is relevance to beauty, but what is the relevance of size.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Funny question (+1). Maybe I am just picking on semantics, but how could a large penis really be “attractive”? It's not like men are going around exhibiting it, in most societies. All the research Jeromy found is about sexual partners whereas attractiveness research is usually focused on the first impression of complete strangers. $\endgroup$
    – Gala
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 6:43
  • $\begingroup$ Historical evidence suggests that penis size preference (if any) is cultural, not inherited. For example, see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_penis_size#Historical_perceptions $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 18:48

1 Answer 1


If you are interested in scientific research, you may want to read Lever, Frederick, and Peplau (2006). From their abstract

Views about penis size were assessed in an Internet survey of 52,031 heterosexual men and women... Whereas 85% of women were satisfied with their partner’s penis size, only 55% of men were satisfied with their penis size, 45% wanted to be larger, and 0.2% wanted to be smaller. Satisfaction did not vary across age groups from 18 to 65. Men reporting a larger-than-average penis rated their appearance most favorably, suggesting a possible confidence effect of perceived large penis size.

They also summarise research on actual penis size (p.130):

Combining the means and standard deviations reported by these researchers, we calculated that the mean erect penis length was 5.3 in. (13.5 cm), with 68% of men measuring between 4.6 and 6.0 in. (11.7 cm and 15.2 cm), 13.5% between 3.8 and 4.5 in. (9.7 cm and 11.4 cm), and 13.5% between 6.1 and 6.8 in. (15.5 cm and 17.3 cm); only about 2.5% of men possessed a penis over 6.9 in. (17.5 cm) long, and 2.5% were under 3.7 in. (9.4 cm) long.

They then go on to discuss:

Why are so many men dissatisfied with their penis size when the vast majority of women are satisfied with their partner’s penis size? Past research has suggested that one reason men overestimate the importance of a trait to women is that media marketed to men give greater emphasis to the importance of this trait than do media marketed to women (Frederick, Fessler, & Haselton, 2005). For example, media marketed to men (pornography, popular magazines) may emphasize the importance of supersized penises, whereas media marketed to women may not. If individuals use media as a source of information about what physical features are important, than gender-differentiated media may mislead men about women’s actual preferences. Future research should examine in greater detail the degree to which men overestimate the importance of penis size to women and the reasons for this misperception.

Drummon and Filiault (2007) presents qualitative data in relation to penis size in the gay community.

Francken et al (2002) surveyed 170 sexually active women. They found that 20% of women found the length of the penis to be important and 1% very important. 55% and 22% found length to be unimportant or very unimportant. The pattern of results for penis girth were similar but girth was slightly more important. The correlation between importance of girth and width was very large (r=0.71) suggesting that there may be some underlying individual difference in women about the important of penis size in general.


  • Lever, J., Frederick, D. A., & Peplau, L. A. (2006). Does size matter? Men's and women's views on penis size across the lifespan. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 7(3), 129. PDF
  • Drummond, M. J., & Filiault, S. M. (2007). The long and the short of it: Gay men’s perceptions of penis size. Gay and lesbian issues and psychology review, 3(2), 121-129.
  • Francken, A. B., Van de Wiel, H. B. M., Van Driel, M. F., & Weijmar Schultz, W. C. M. (2002). What importance do women attribute to the size of the penis?. European urology, 42(5), 426-431. PDF

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