Measuring penis length correctly without being a huge – or maybe not so huge – liar.
If there’s one topic that will predictably generate interest, curiosity, fascination – and a little insecurity – it’s the subject of penis size.
Without a doubt, guys have been bragging about – and lying about – the size of their dongs since human language was still mostly grunts and gestures.
But given that we’re all fascinated with the subject of dick size, it’s surprising how rarely you hear about how to measure your penis size correctly – and accurately. First, a little history.
Penis measurement: The ancient power of the prick
The penis in general and penis size are subjects that have long carried a ton of cultural baggage.
For good or for ill, the importance of what the penis represents in an emotional, cultural, and societal sense may even go beyond the importance of its actual use.
The way the penis is perceived to confer power, social status and a physical demonstration of the dominance of its owner, and how it fits into one’s self-conception as a man would be hard (sorry) to overstate.
For instance, as much as we admire the Ancient Romans for their buildings, roads, gladiators, high art and Colosseum, you can also find penis graffiti scrawled across the length and girth (sorry) of the ancient world they conquered, almost all of it comically exaggerated and oversize.
The ancient Romans could measure out an aqueduct for hundreds of miles, but how to measure a penis correctly seems to have been beyond them.
The measure of a man: The history of measuring penis length
As you might imagine, given how far back our ancient fascination with the penis goes and just how deeply it penetrates our collective psyche (okay that’s the last one, I swear) measuring penis length is tricky.
For starters, when it comes to how to measure your dick, the one thing you can always count on is that guys are going to give themselves the benefit of an extra inch or two – as researchers were slow to learn.
The first widespread and well-documented effort to gain a broader understanding of penis size by surveying penis measurement across a broad swath of men was in the famous Kinsey Report in the years shortly after World War II.
The report was the brainchild of Dr. Alfred Kinsey, a biologist and later sexologist who founded the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University in 1947.
The Kinsey Report was a smash hit that titillated and scandalized the U.S. and the world with its frank talk of subjects that were Simply Not Spoken Of in that era.
Kinsey and his researchers were groundbreaking in the development of incredibly forward-thinking theories for the time, including his scale of sexual orientation, suggesting that being heterosexual or homosexual is more on a spectrum rather than a simple binary.
Kinsey also developed theories showing our sexual response is a constant battle between our inhibition and excitation, and, infamously, ran a widespread study measuring penis length and girth.
The Kinsey Report: How to measure penis size (and how not to)
The Kinsey Report’s famous penis findings claimed that the average length of the erect penis is 6.21 inches (15.77 cm) while the erect girth on average came out to 4.85 inches (12.32 cm).
These figures, because of the fame and groundbreaking nature of the report, along with its cachet as being medically vetted and scientific, came to be accepted as simple fact for nearly 70 years.
However, problems abound when you look into Kinsey’s methodology, especially when it comes to exactly how to measure penis size and get an accurate picture.
First of all, for a study that claimed to show what the average man’s penis size is, Kinsey’s researchers chose a shockingly small and non-diverse population to test.
They used data from just 3,500 college students, all of whom were white, so right off the bat you’re not going to get a representative sample of the human population in all its diversity in terms of racial background, age and other factors.
Secondly – and work with me here to see if you can spot the problem – Kinsey’s researchers had the students measure themselves, on their own, not in a clinical setting, and report their findings.
The student/subjects were asked to measure their hard dicks and report their own results from measuring penis length and measuring penis girth without any kind of oversight or double-checking.
So…you asked a bunch of college dudes to measure their cocks and you just believed what they told you?
How to measure dick size: The condom wars
Despite other researchers pointing out the obvious flaws, the results of Kinsey’s work – while invaluable in many other regards – in the area of measuring penis size was simply accepted as gospel for decades.
Even worse, other studies followed in Kinsey’s Magnum-sized, error-filled footsteps. When condom companies like Durex created a publicity campaign based on measuring penis size in the 1990s, they too simply trusted a non-diverse, non-representative sample of mostly white college guys to be honest when reporting their dick size from home.
According to the Durex results, over the course of a couple decades men had plumped up to an average of 6.4 inches (16.25 cm) when measuring penis length, and 5.2 inches (13.208 cm) when measuring penis girth.
Durex wasn’t the only condom company eager to wrap its hands around the thick and meaty topic of measuring penis size and milking it for all it was worth. (Oh damn it…)
How to measure penis size and get wasted at the same time
Lifestyle condom brand also wanted in on the rock-hard cock-measuring action, and in 2001 they decided to up the ante and have nurses take charge of the penis measurement activities.
While their idea of having outside, medically-trained parties do the honors of measuring a bunch of dude’s dicks, Lifestyle also went limp when the moment of truth came along.
Their “study” was put on at spring break hotspot Cancun in a tent set up outside of a popular nightclub.
Despite offering the lads plenty of reading material to help them get their sausages sizzling, fully 25 percent of the boys were reported to have been unable to get adequately hard for accurately measuring penis length.
(Just FYI: pounding tequila shooters 24/7 for a week straight and roasting in the sun might not be the best way to get yourself a solid boner…)
The Modern Kinsey Institute and measuring penis length
However, in 2013 a modern-day Kinsey Institute clinician called Debby Herbenick came up with a solution for how to measure penis size more accurately.
While her study also had men measuring dick size at home – where presumably they had a better chance of getting fully hard than in a clinic or in a tent next to an alcohol-soaked beach party – she offered the subjects a motivation to be more accurate.
The study cleverly offered participants free condoms that would be tailored to match their particular penis size – thus discouraging wild exaggerations lest you wind up with a box of baggy condoms.
Her study’s results showed an average length of 5.7 inches (14.48 cm) and an average girth of 4.81 inches (12.22 cm).
Yet other similarly controlled studies have shown an even smaller average size, with a 2015 study bringing in the numbers at 5.17 inches (13.13 cm) in average penis length along with a girth of 4.59 inches (11.65 cm).
How to measure your penis (for real, though)
Despite the missteps along the way, what Herbenick and other modern researchers have done is they’ve come up with a reasonably accurate standard method for how to measure dick size.
For measuring penis length, the preferred method is called the Bone Pressed Erect Length (BPEL) method. It’s pretty much what it sounds like.
So, here’s how to measure your penis:
—Take a ruler and place it on top of your erect penis. —Press it against the pubic bone as far as you comfortably can. —Measure to the end of the tip.
The pressing part is vital because the fat pad above your dongle reduces the apparent size of your dick.
Yet another reason why losing weight is a really good idea: nobody likes an “innie” rather than an “outie” when it comes to cock.
Researchers have also used what they call the Bone Pressed Flaccid Length (BPFL) measuring method.
And while they found this useful in clinical settings where some of us might be hard-pressed (honestly now, stop it) to get a full erection, the fact of the matter is the erect version is considered a better way of measuring penis for accuracy.
Finally, how to measure penis girth:
—Get your penis nice and hard. —Wrap a piece of string around the shaft at its widest point. —Then simply measure the string and you’re good to go.
And remember not to count the head, you cheaters, just the shaft!
So now you know how to measure your penis – accurately.
Hey, if you’re going to get into a literal dick-measuring contest, might as well do it right!