Hard Science

What Makes A Pretty Penis? Science Suggests Proportions Matter

Size matters, but not as much as men think, multiple studies show.

Originally Published: 

Is a large penis more attractive than a mid-size model? What about a small penis? When getting down and dirty, is there any consensus about what size penis women tend to prefer? Penises might be more practical than pretty, but to straight men, it can be confounding what size penis women prefer and what accounts for a pretty penis — or even a perfect penis. Grooming? Upkeep? Shape? Smoothness? Vascularity? How large it is? The “X” factor? Some sort of je ne sais quoi?

The long and the short of it is that when it comes to what makes a pretty penis beautiful, dimensions matter. And though there’s no clear “Golden Penis Ratio,” research suggests penis girth may be more important than people realize when it comes to what makes a perfect penis. And a really large penis may not be the best penis.

Whether you’ve been born with a large 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.

For example, one study found that 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.) 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.

“The information may help prevent the development of shame or impaired genital perceptions about penile appearance,” study author Dr. Norma Ruppen-Greeff said in a statement.

What Penis Size Do Women Prefer?

As far as experts can surmise, women are most interested in penis proportionality. Upkeep is 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 that women prefer when it comes to the perfect penis size.

“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,” says Nicole Prause, Ph.D., a neuroscientist who has studied what penis size women prefer. “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. Vaginas are not very sensitive to heat or vibration, but they have many mechanoreceptors that detect stretching and distinguish a large, girthy penis from a narrower one. Still, most women prefer girth to be combined with a nice length.

Most experiments on women’s penis predilections have 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. When it came to one-time hookups, women preferred big penises with the greatest length and circumference. However, for long-term partners, women preferred penises that weren’t humongous — about 6.3 inches long and a circumference of 4.8 inches. This should reassure any man in a committed relationship.

The attraction to a large penis in one-off partners also makes sense. A large penis might be attractive for an evening. But the post-sex pain associated with partners packing a big penis makes a long-term commitment to a massive member slightly less appealing.

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 guarantee 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,” Prause says.

Lest we finish this with overemphasis on what’s downstairs, it’s important to note that women ranked characteristics such as trustworthiness and overall attractiveness as more important than penis size. What’s more, most women’s penis preferences had to do more with functionality rather than aesthetics. It’s the motion in the ocean that matters most.

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.

Signs of a Pretty 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 pretty.
  • For short-term hookups, bigger is better. For long-term commitments, average size is more manageable.
  • It’s attached to a partner who is trustworthy.

This article was originally published on