Whether it’s to work out what size condoms to buy or just a case of plain old curiosity, most guys find themselves measuring their penis at some point. And while there are plenty of myths out there about shoe size, hand size, or tip of index finger to tip of thumb, there actually is a right way to go about it. In this article, we have all the information you need for how to measure penis length, girth, and width correctly.
Does penis size matter?
It’s key to learn how to measure yourself correctly. And no, not because women care (in fact, studies indicate that around 77% of women don’t care about your size). However, your results will have an impact on the condoms you should be buying.
If you’re wearing the wrong condom size, you can run into some unwanted scenarios. If it’s too tight, you might have a difficult time putting the condom on, and it will likely feel uncomfortable. But if the condom is too loose, you’re at risk of it tearing or falling off. Both these scenarios increase your likelihood of having unprotected sex, which could lead to STIs or unplanned pregnancy.
How to measure penile length correctly
First, you need to gather some equipment. It’s best to use a flexible measuring tape, like the kind you find in sewing kits. A ruler could work too, although may not give quite the same level of accuracy, particularly if your penis is curved. A retractable builder’s measuring tape is definitely not recommended - they can snap in quickly, which could lead to an uncomfortable injury.
Once you’ve got your supplies, we can get to the measuring! Depending on why you’re doing this, you can assess your penis size either flaccid or erect. If you’re measuring for condom size, make sure you’re fully erect.
Length is probably the most straightforward measurement to take. All you need to do is measure the distance between the very base of your penis to the tip of the head. It’s standard to measure the top side, rather than at the bottom or from the side.
Place the end of your measuring tape at the tip of the penis, and measure along the length of the penis right into the pubic bone. If you have a layer of fat covering the top of your pubic bone, you can gently press this down with your hand for a more accurate measurement.
How to measure girth
Once you’ve got your length measurement, you may also want to work out your girth (the length around an object). This means you will need to measure the circumference of your penis.
To do this, simply wrap your flexible measuring tape around the widest part of the penis. Depending on your body, this could be the middle of the shaft or the head. Then, simply note the measurement where the tape meets.
How to measure penile width
Occasionally, condom brands size their products by the width (diameter) of your penis. This is rare, but luckily it’s easy to calculate. Once you have the girth, all you need to do is divide it by pi - which is 3.14. For instance, if your girth is 11 centimetres, your width is 3.5 cm.
So what’s normal?
Like all body parts, penises come in many different shapes and sizes. Even so, it’s natural to want to know how you stack up against the other guys.
2014 research from the Kings College of London collated 17 studies, accounting for a total of 15,521 males who were measured by health professionals. The study excluded men with a penis abnormality, previous surgery, or who had previously complained of small size.
The researchers found that the mean erect penis length is 13.12 centimetres (5.16 inches). The average erect girth was 11.66 centimetres (4.59 inches).
If you’re interested in learning more about average penis sizes and lengths, you can read our guide here.
Using your measurements to buy condoms
Four Seasons is a popular Australian condom brand. They offer the following size guide:
- Closer/small/snug/slim; if your girth is between 8.5 and 10.5 centimetres, it’s recommended that you look for a condom advertised as closer, small, slim or snug.
- Classic/regular/standard; if your girth is between 10.5 and 12.5 centimetres, standard condoms are likely right for you.
- Larger/Large/XL; if your girth is between 12.5 and 14.5 centimetres, look for condoms labelled as larger, large or XL.
While this brand uses the circumference as a size guide, other brands may use length, width, or a combination of measurements. Before buying condoms, you can read the packaging, which should offer an indication of the size it’s suitable for.
Online Doctors with Rosemary Health
At Rosemary, we can connect you with a licensed Australian doctor online to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your contraceptive options and sexual health. For an easy online conversation (no face-to-face), start your online visit today.
- European Urology (November 2002) - What importance do women attribute to the size of the penis?
- CDC (June 2021) - Condom fact sheet in brief
- NHS (April 2018) - Penis size
- BJU International (December 2014) - Am I normal? A systematic review and construction of nomograms for flaccid and erect penis length and circumference in up to 15 521 men
- Four Seasons (2021) - Condom size guide