"It is not much of an exaggeration to say that the penises in fantasyland come in only three sizes - large, gigantic, and so big you can barely get them through the doorway". (Zilbergeld, 1978, p. 23)
In 1927, Robert L. Dickinson asked the librarian of the New York Academy of Medicine to search the literature for measurements of the penis. After a vain hunt the librarian wrote Dickinson: "The average writer is apt to repeat the statement that the organ varies greatly in size and without respect to the size of the individual. This seems to justify him in refraining from giving any figures" (Dickinson, 1933/1971, p. 74). The librarian found, among more than 30 prominent textbooks, only seven authors who gave figures at all. In his Atlas of Human Sex Anatomy, Dickinson presents the averages made up from the statements of these authors (see Table 1).
|Author||Year||Circumference (mm)||Diameter (mm)|
|White & Martin||1911||75||-||-||-|
|Range (mm)||75 - 105||83 - 120||25 - 30||40 - 45|
* Circumference usually measured about the middle of the penis shaft.
In the nine years between 1939 and 1948, Kinsey, Pomeroy, and Martin collected self measurements of penile circumference in 2505 American men (Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin, 1948; Gebhard & Johnson, 1979). For these men, who were mainly white college students, the median (see note in box) circumference of the flaccid penis was about 102 mm, and the median circumference of the erect penis was about 121 mm.
While our knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the penis has increased considerably during the last forty-five years, there is clearly a paucity of data concerning variations in penile circumference in contemporary, and especially European, male populations.
In this report we present penile circumference data obtained in a total group of 300 Dutch men. The men participated in experimental studies that were conducted in our Laboratory between 1989 and 1993. All subjects were presented with explicit sexual stimuli (sexual films or slides). For most subjects subjective estimations of degree of erection are available.