One of the reasons that it's so difficult to find accurate global data on average penis size is that measuring penises is a lot more complicated than you might think.

Where do you start, literally? As it turns out everyone seems to measure differently, with different techniques from different staring points, which makes it difficult to compare data across studies. The media also seems to be endlessly fascinated with talking about penis size (I wonder why), and can sometimes take perfectly reasonable research and twist it into something both misleading and misguided.

Take this example:

I came across a Reuters headline on informing me that "condoms a big problem for men in India." In contemplating all the things that are wrong with the headline alone, I had to wonder: Are news editors just a bunch of men who giggle at the word "penis?" Are they so enamored by their juvenile distractions that they forget how to do math and uphold an unbiased view of different races?

The article is about a two-year study, conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research, which set out to determine the average penis size of men in India. It is a gloss of a slightly longer, but still bewildering article published in the Times of India.

It reported that most study participants' penises measured 126 to 156 mm in length; 30% measured between 100 and 125 mm. According to the authors, these sizes are significantly smaller than average condom sizes and, therefore, condoms need to be smaller for Indian men. According to the Times of India piece, the council was to make recommendations regarding new condom sizes a few months later (although I doubted from the start that this was true.)

Now, I could be generous and consider the reason for such an absurd statement to be published in a legitimate news source to be the same old story -- when it comes to any sex content, the editorial gaze fogs over and any old rubbish will be printed.

In this case, I should write a letter to Reuters and the Times of India and explain the following:

  • Condom sizes are universally larger than average penis size. This is true in Europe, North America, and India. Condoms are significantly longer than the average penis length, and are designed to stretch and accommodate average penis width.

  • Measuring penis size is in fact a difficult and somewhat contentious subject. One of the reasons that it's so hard to arrive at accurate averages is that everyone measures differently.

  • That said, the reported penis size averages for the non-representational sample of 1,400 men in this study fall very much within the Western averages.

  • While ill-fitting condoms are indeed one reason for condom failure and failure to use condoms in the first place, making condoms smaller will not necessarily fix this problem.

But let's say, on the other hand, that I'm not feeling generous. I'm feeling cynical and bitter about mainstream media's treatment of sexuality. I think to myself: "This sure sounds familiar. Let me think. Who were the last people to seriously correlate genitalia with race?" In this case, I should write a letter to Reuters and the Times of India and remind them of the following:

  • The last group who carefully documented the relationship between genitalia and race were the colonial "scientists", not exactly the folks any of you want to emulate.

  • In all this reporting, there is confusion between biological origin and citizenship. Suggesting this study applies to all Indian men suggests that every male living in India is the same and has the same background. The generalization being made here is like saying that all American men are white.

  • I shouldn’t have to point this out to a group of educated news people, but penis size simply is not a salient characteristic from which we can extrapolate anything in regard to race. In fact, let’s not forget that the physical parameters of race are, to an extent, arbitrary. And the variety inside any group is just as likely to be robust as the variety between groups.

In the end, I prefer to think of these articles as another example of how -- when it comes to reporting on sex -- journalists and editors consistently phone it in (and not in a legitimate way.) I don’t know why I find it less depressing to consider them infantile instead of racist, but I do.


A major tenet in Tantric beliefs is the importance of ejaculation mastery. Many ancient gurus believed ejaculation was a waste of vital life energy, so men were taught to condition themselves to preserve their seminal fluid and to release it as infrequently as possible. This was because of the great drain on physical energy and vital force when a man ejaculates. It was also believed that men should instead use that energy as fuel for awakening the higher chakra centers and thus to move on to enlightenment.

As a result, traditional Tantric men became experts at controlling (and avoiding) ejaculation. Sometimes this involved considerable effort or complicated processes. One Tantric text describes a specific elaborate pattern of strokes of movements that, if the man followed them exactly, were said to prevent him from reaching a level of excitement that would allow ejaculation to occur. Other techniques were extremely simple, such as pressing the tongue against the roof of the mouth.

Men would also delay orgasm in order to prolong the sexual union until they were certain they had pleased their goddess (satisfied their female partner). It was also commonly believed that keeping his penis inside the woman for as long as possible without ejaculating enabled the man to absorb some of the woman's vital life juices and powerful energy.

Today, there is some division on the importance of ejaculation (or avoidance of ejaculation). Some still believe it is important to completely avoid ejaculation, while others disagree. Men understand that they are not going to “run out” of seminal fluid. However, it is still considered important to delay the orgasm as long as possible, in order to allow for a long, satisfying sexual encounter.

The easiest and most common way to avoid ejaculation is simply the start-and-stop technique. Just like it sounds, with this technique the man participates in sex as usual, until he gets to the point where he feels he is about to ejaculate. He then stops completely, and perhaps even squeezes or puts pressure on his penis to help the urge to ejaculate subside a bit. Once the urge to ejaculate has receded somewhat, the man can then proceed with the lovemaking process. He can continue with this start/stop pattern until he is ready to ejaculate (or if it becomes uncomfortable), at which point he should allow himself the release.

Other techniques that are said to sometimes help in delaying a man's orgasm include pressing on the perineum (spot between scrotum and anus) or pulling gently on the testicle right before orgasm is about to occur. Both of these techniques should be performed carefully and gently, to avoid pain or injury.


Whether we are in a brand new relationship or have been married for forty years, when it comes to talking with our partners about sex, panic can often set in.

When we imagine the potential for rejection and drama, taking a risk like that with someone we love can often feel too great. This is probably the reason so few of us do try to share the really difficult stuff of our sexual lives. Here are ideas on raising those hard-to-raise issues.

Difficulty: Hard

Time Required: Allow as much time as possible.

Here's How:

  1. Clarify the Issue for Yourself
    Sex is complicated, your feelings may have as much to do with your own baggage and history as with your partner. If something is on your mind, sit with it for a while and clarify what doesn’t feel right. Some people find that writing a helpful way to do this; others will talk with close friends. The point of this is not to start complaining to others or placing blame. The exercise is all about you and how you feel.

  2. Try to Write it Down
    Don’t worry about floral language or grammar. Writing down what you want to talk about is a great step to clarify your issues for yourself and practice the way you might communicate it to your partner. Some people actually write their partner a letter, and end up giving it to them at a later point. Letter writing can be a powerful way to communicate your thoughts and feelings, and if done along with talking it can increase intimacy in a relationship in surprising ways.

  3. Practice the Talk
    This doesn't work for everyone, but if you’re nervous about talking it can help to do some practice talking. If you have a good friend you can do this with, great. If not, going through it on your own can help. Before every major “talk” I’ve ever had to do, I sit down in front of my computer screen and practice. If my monitor could talk, it would probably tell me to get a life, but it’s a great tool for me (and I’m pretty sure my monitor is too old a model to be talking).

  4. Consider Your Timing
    One of the most important considerations is when to talk. This will depend a lot on what you are talking about. If you want to raise the idea of trying something new in bed, then raising it just before you’re about to be intimate with your partner is probably not a good time. Ditto for raising your dissatisfaction with the frequency of your sex life minutes before your kids are due home (or your in-laws are coming over).

  5. Choose Your Location
    As with timing, location can make a difference. Bringing up sexual dissatisfactions in bed can be a bad move as it may create an association of negativity in your bed. Both you and your partner may also feel more vulnerable in bed than you would having the conversation fully clothed, out for a late-night walk.

  6. Allow Time for Processing
    Remember that your partner may be surprised by what you are saying. Give both of you the time and space to respond honestly without having to feel rushed or pressured. You may not be able to completely resolve the issue, or even talk about all the aspects of the issue in one sitting. Think about sexual communication as an ongoing process, not a one-shot deal.

  7. Be Generous
    No matter how hard it is for you to bring up your sexual concerns, if you are the only one raising them, consider that it may be even harder for your partner. If you can, try to be generous with your partner and try not to place the blame too heavily on either of you. There are two of you in the relationship, and ultimately both of you need to take responsibility for what is happening.

  8. Check In Afterwards
    Sometimes we can make ourselves so anxious about bringing something up with a partner, and then it goes not quite as bad as we thought, and we’re relieved, so we want to just move on. Give yourself permission to bring the topic up again. Don’t do it in a nagging way, but make it clear that your partner that you care about how they feel and you want to check in with them about how the conversation went.


  1. Keep in mind that every situation is different. These are general tips and your situation may call for many additional considerations.

  2. Remember that your imagination can be your worst enemy when it comes to taking risks like this. The reality is that the response is almost never as bad as you think it will be, and talking openly about your sexual feelings, desires, likes and dislikes, can not only improve your sex life with your partner, it can improve other aspects of the relationship.


What is Peyronie's Disease?

Peyronie's disease is a condition where the penis bends. The bend is most apparent during an erection. This condition can be painful and can be difficult to treat. Peyronie's disease is thought to occur in about one per cent of the male population and although it is most common between the ages of 45 to 60 it can happen in the young and the elderly. Because men, in general, tend not to seek medical attention unless the condition is severe, it is a condition that is probably under reported.

Signs and Symptoms of Peyronie's Disease

The onset of signs of the Peyronie's disease can be sudden or slow and can vary in severity.

Curvature of the penis is often associated with accompanying pain as the penis becomes increasingly distorted. A bend in the penis, usually at the top of the shaft causes an upward bend. Curvatures can also appear at the bottom of the penis shaft causing a downward bend. Most angulations are up or down.

In rare cases hardening of tissue can occur on the top and the bottom and if this happens the penis may shorten. The hardening of the tissue is in an area called the tunica albuinea, the sheath surrounding the erectile tissue. Unfortunately in some men this condition can cause impotence or an incomplete erection.

Causes of Peyronie's Disease

The cause of Peyronie's disease is unknown but there are a number of factors that are important.

  • Injury. Peyronie's disease can develop following trauma or injury to the penis. Injury may happen during very vigorous sexual intercourse, forceful bending of the penis can cause tissue tearing and scarring. The injury may be as a result of a medical procedure, e.g. catheterization in which a tube (the catheter) is passed into the bladder to pass urine, or cystoscopy, when the surgeon looks into the bladder following a prostatectomy (removal of the prostate gland).

  • Inherited abnormality. It is thought that there is a genetic component to this condition. Peyronie's disease is more common in men with family members who also have the condition or who have a disease called systemic lupus erythematosus (a connective tissue disorder). Thirty per cent of men with Peyronie's disease also develop a condition called Dupuytren's contracture where hardened tissue develops in the hands.

  • Vitamin E deficiency has been associated with the Peyronie's disease.

  • Peyronie's disease is a rare side effect of an antihypertensive drug called Inderal (propanolol).

  • Diabetes. Diabetes-related damage to the blood vessels in the penis has been associated with Peyronie's disease.

  • Infection. Inflammation in cases of severe vasculitis further suggests a vascular (blood vessels) cause for Peyronie's disease.


Many men think their penis is small, often too small. Research confirms that heterosexual men worry about penis size more than women do, and are more dissatisfied with the size of their own penis than women are with their partners’ penis size. Changing your feelings about penis size won't happen over night. But a good place to start is understanding why it is that you think your penis is so small. Here are some of the common reasons.

Early Penis Sightings

For some men the first time they see penises as adolescents will be seeing a male parent or caregiver naked. The difference in genital size between adults and children, plus the angle that most kids will see an adult penis from seeing something from below can make it look bigger) can influence and skew our first understandings of penis size.

Locker Room Syndrome

Most heterosexual boys and men don’t see too many penises outside of the change room or locker room, and possibly home if there are male siblings or parents in the house. Checking out other men’s penises in a locker room situation carries many pitfalls. For one, you rarely get a chance to take a really good look. As well, the size of a flaccid penis may vary greatly from man to man, but the size of an erect penis doesn’t vary as much (a phenomenon referred to as showers vs. growers). In locker rooms (well most of them) the penises you see are usually flaccid.

In a study of men who sought medical help for concerns about having a small penis, 62% of men said their concerns began in childhood as a result of comparing penis size to that of their friends.

Porn Comparisons

A lot of men will get sex information from watching pornography, which is a terrible way to learn anything about sex (except perhaps that sex is fun). Male porn stars have larger penises and there are lighting and pubic hair styling tricks that make them look even bigger. Remember, the camera puts on ten pounds. In the same study cited above, just over 37% of men say their concern about penis size began after seeing porn.

Visual Orientation

When you look at your own penis you are probably most often looking at it from above. This is an angle that makes your penis look smaller. If you stand naked in front of a full length mirror both facing the mirror and in profile, you’ll get a better idea of what your penis looks like to others (if this is your concern). Just as looking from below can impact our earliest ideas of penis size, always looking from above can make you think your penis is smaller than it is.

What’s Average?

Finally, men who think their penis is too small are probably unaware of what average penis size is thought to be in the first place. According to some reviews, average erect penis length is between 5.1 and 5.7 inches.(other reviews put it slightly higher at 5.5 to 6.3). In either case somewhere around five and a half inches is an average penis length. It’s not that there aren’t men who live with very small penises (known as a micropenis) but statistically speaking, most men will be somewhere in the middle.


Mondaini N, Gontero P. “Idiopathic Short Penis: Myth or Reality?” BJU International Volume 95 (2005): 8-9.