First things first, the length is not the main indicator of an attractive penis. That said, yes, penises, and more accurately erections, get smaller and and less firm over time, urologists confirm. Although there are not many things men can do to stop the effects of advanced aging, there’s a hell of a lot they can do to make it worse.
“The penis can lose about a centimeter of length from your rock solid thirties to when you’re in your about to retire sixties,” Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, a Florida-based urologist, told Fatherly. “The difference, honestly, is minute, and many men may not even notice the difference.”
Penises are made up of three tubes, two of which are vascular and depend on blood flow to function and become erect. (The third is for funneling out urine). Over time, the penis loses collagen and elasticity as a result of more cells aging and dying off, like any other part of the body. All this affects blood flow throughout the body including to the penis, making erections smaller than they use to be. Since men’s bodies also produce less testosterone with age, testicles produce less sperm, making them appear smaller as well.
However, this does not mean penises are shrinking exactly, Dr. David Shusterman, urologist and founder of NY Urology. “Over the years, the balloon can lose air, but the actual size and coating of the balloon itself does not change,” Shusterman told Fatherly. “The same is with the penis. They get less full because the veins that are meant to make it bigger are aging.”
In certain cases, where there is a hormonal imbalance as a result diseases such as prostate cancer, penises can “inflate” with the help of hormonal therapy. Shock therapy to unclog veins and open up blood vessels is another treatment scientists are exploring to treat erectile dysfunction as well as age-related shrinkage, but is not FDA approved. Still, the most effective way men can limit penis shrinkage over time is by making healthy lifestyle choices when it comes to diet, exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, and not smoking, both experts agree.
“The reason many men have a larger loss of size over time is usually due to an enlarging belly. The more fat you have in your belly, the less visible your penis,” Brahmbhatt adds. “Best tip to give men to avoid loss of a ton of visible penis is to stay in shape and avoid the belly fat.”
Still, the best thing men can do is remember that a growing body of research shows that size does not matter to women as much as men think, especially when it comes to long-term partner selection. And if size didn’t matter in your thirties it’s probably not going to become an issue when you’re old and retired. As long as you’re healthy, your penis will probably be fine.
“The first step being to allow yourself a kinder and more understanding approach,” Shusterman recommends. “It has nothing to do with your manhood, your size, or your drive.”
“You are still the same balloon you were born as.”