Is a big penis more attractive than a mid-size model? What about a small penis? Penises might be more practical than pretty, but to men who aren’t attracted to other men, it can be confounding to figure out what kind of penis women prefer. Grooming? Upkeep? Shape? Slight bend? Smoothness? Vascularity? The “X” factor? The long and the short of it is that when it comes to what makes a penis attractive, dimensions matter. And while there’s no clear “Golden Penis Ratio” or “Rule of Thirds,” research suggests that penis girth may be more important than people realize when it comes to what makes a nice penis.
Whether you’ve been born with a big penis or a small penis; of average girth, slim, or thick; an asymmetrical dick or one that’s straight as an arrow; remember that women seem more forgiving when it comes to what makes a penis attractive than men are.
One study by Dr. Norma Ruppen-Greeff found that women didn’t draw a distinction between men with surgically corrected hypospadias (a condition where the urethra opening is on the underside of the head) and “normal looking,” i.e., conventionally attractive, circumcised penises. In fact, women rated overall genital appearance and manicured pubic hair as the most important factors in determining what makes a pretty penis. (Credit the manscaping movement for being more than just hype and marketing.) “The information may help prevent the development of shame or impaired genital perceptions about penile appearance,” Ruppen-Greeff said in a statement.
As far as experts can surmise, women are most interested in penis proportionality, with upkeep a close second, rather than penis size or girth. This should be heartening to any man who fears he’s in possession of an undersized member — after all, you can always trim the hedges. But if you have to pick one size-related factor, girth remains the most important element when it comes to metrics for measuring what penis size women prefer.
“There is a slightly larger difference in girth preference among women, which could be interpreted to mean that girth is a slightly better predictor of penis preference,” Nicole Prause, a neuroscientist who has studied what penis size women prefer, tells Fatherly. “There is some preference for proportionality in length and girth rather than extremes of either in isolation. We did not do any analyses specific to the diminutively-named ‘pencil dick,’ but preferences tended to fall along linear length and girth.”
To Prause, women’s preference for a nice penis girth makes the most physiological sense because vaginas are not very sensitive to heat or vibration, but they have many mechanoreceptors that detect stretching and distinguish a large penis from a narrower one. Other areas like the cervix, which could be stimulated by longer penises, don’t have these “stretch detectors” and are less sensitive as a result. Still, most women prefer girth to be combined with a nice length.
Signs of an Attractive Penis
- The ratio of girth to length is just right. 6.3 inches long and 4.3 inches around were found to be ideal in one study.
- Circumcised is preferable for most.
- Groomed pubic hair goes a long way toward making a penis look attractive.
- For short-term commitments, bigger is better. For long-term, that attribute is out the window.
- It is attached to a partner who is trustworthy.
Most experiments on women’s penis predilections have historically been limited to two-dimensional pictures of penises and self-reports of past experiences. That’s why Prause had 75 female participants compare 33 3D-printed erect penis models. Overall, women were attracted to big penises with the greatest length and circumference when it came to one-time partners. However, women preferred penises with sizes only slightly above the average length and girth for long-term partners — about 6.3 inches long and a circumference of 4.8 inches. This should reassure any man in a committed relationship.
Interestingly, women generally remembered penises being smaller in size than they actually were when asked about them later. So no matter how big of a penis a man is packing, there are no guarantees as to what his partner is telling her friends.
“It’s worth remembering any time someone tells us about their partner’s size, bragging or denigrating, that such memories may be inaccurate or easily influenced,” notes Prause.
But lest we finish this with overemphasis on what’s downstairs, it’s also important to note that women ranked characteristics like trustworthiness and overall attractiveness as more important than penis size. What’s more, most penis preferences had to do more with functionality rather than aesthetics, a.k.a. the motion in the ocean.
The attraction to a large penis in one-off partners also makes sense. While a large penis might be attractive for an evening, the post-sex pain associated with partners packing a big penis makes a long-term commitment to a massive member slightly less appealing.
In the end, size might make for a pretty penis, but people are more than the sum of their body parts, and good partners have far more important qualities than a hefty girth.