Different Types of Penises

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Just like people come in all shapes and sizes, so do their genitals. That means that there are many different types of penis shapes and sizes that fall well within the umbrella of normal.

Here’s what you should know about the different types of penises. While some people have a large penis, the truth is there’s not as much size difference among penises as you might think—and on average, penises are smaller than people believe. From length to girth, circumcised to uncircumcised, there’s a lot of variety in penis types. 

man covering genitals

Nenad Cavoski / Getty Images

Understanding Penis Anatomy

Before you can start a penis comparison, it’s helpful to understand the anatomy of the penis. The penis, along with the scrotum, which contains the testicles, makes up the external male reproductive organ. Of course, not everyone who has a penis identifies as a man. 

There are four important parts to consider when you’re thinking about the penis. They are:

  • The urethra: This small tube runs through the center of the penis and ends at the tip. Urine and ejaculate (cum) are transported and released through the urethra. 
  • The glans: The glans, more commonly known as the head of the penis, is at the tip. On an uncircumcised penis, it is covered with foreskin, except during intercourse. In circumcised people, it is always exposed. In most males, the urethral opening is on the glans. 
  • Foreskin: This is a sheath of tissue that covers the glans in an unaltered penis. It’s also what is removed during circumcision
  • Erectile tissue: Most of the penis is made of erectile tissue. There are two types of erectile tissue: corpus cavernosa and corpus spongiosum. Most of the time, this tissue has empty pockets, but when a person becomes aroused, these pockets fill with blood to cause an erection. 

Penis Terminology

It’s also helpful to consider the terms people use when they talk about penis appearance. These include:

  • Length: Penile length is generally measured from the pubic bone to the tip of the glans, along the top side of the penis. If you have fat around your pubic bone, you may need to push in gently to get a more accurate measurement.
  • Girth: Girth is a measurement of the circumference of the penis when it is erect.
  • Curve: This refers to the direction a penis points in when it is erect. 

Penis Size

Lots of people with penises are concerned about how their penis compares with other people's penises. Research shows that roughly half of men wish they had a bigger penis.

If you’re concerned about your penis size, it can be helpful to understand what a common penis size is, and how rare a large penis is. 

Length

A study of more than 15,500 men from around the world found that there’s not much variation in penis size. Although the researchers used data from around the globe, most of the studies focused on Caucasian men, and researchers have called for more work into possible variations in penis length among races.

The researchers found that the average length of a flaccid penis is 3.61 inches, and the average length of an erect penis is 5.16 inches.

This is telling since most men believe that the average erect penis is more than 6 inches long. This is likely because in pornography—which many people use to compare their penis with others—the male performers have very large penises.

The Truth About Average Penis Size

The truth is that having a large penis or a small penis is rare: Only 5% of men have erect penises longer than 6.3 inches and only 5% have an erect penis that is shorter than 4 inches. The same study of more than 15,500 men found that the average girth of a flaccid penis is 3.66 inches. The average girth of an erect penis is 4.59 inches. 

Curved Penis

Although most people think that erect penises should stand straight up or out, the truth is that it's very common for an erect penis to curve slightly. The penis might curve to the right or left, up or down.

If your penis suddenly starts curving, however, you should reach out to your doctor. You should also seek medical attention if your curved penis begins to hurt, or interferes with sexual function. There are rare conditions that can contribute to a curved penis, including:

  • Peyronie's disease: This is caused by small injuries and inflammation in the penis over time. It can cause the penis to curve and lose strength and can make it difficult to get an erection. 
  • Hypospadias: This is a birth defect that causes the opening of the urethra to be farther down the penis, rather than on the glans. Hypospadias can occur with or without chordee, a condition that causes the penis to curve downward. Both conditions can be repaired with surgery. 

Circumcised vs. Uncircumcised Penis

One of the main differences in penis appearance is between circumcised and uncircumcised penises. During circumcision, the foreskin is removed. 

  • People with an uncircumcised penis have a glans that is often covered, except during sexual arousal. Since it’s typically covered, it’s normal for the glans to have some moisture to it on an uncircumcised penis.
  • If a penis is circumcised, the foreskin is removed and the glans typically has a dry texture and appearance. 

In most cases, circumcision is entirely an elective procedure. However, there are some medical conditions that require circumcision, including recurrent infection (balanitis).

Circumcision rates in the United States are falling as more people have reservations about doing a procedure that is not medically necessary. In the United States, 55% to 65% of male babies are circumcised and the rest are not.

A Word From Verywell

The appearance of your penis is a very intimate and personal thing. It’s entirely normal to wonder how your penis compares with other people's penises. It can be especially fraught if you compare yourself against unrealistic depictions, like those in pornography. 

Most men have penises that are of a similar length and girth. It’s very rare to have outliers in penis size. It’s also entirely normal to have a curvature to the penis, although if your penis starts curving suddenly, it’s a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider.

One of the biggest differences in types of penises in the United States is between circumcised and uncircumcised penises. If you notice that you look different from your friends or brothers, this is likely the reason why. Since circumcision rates are dropping, almost half of babies born are uncircumcised. 

If you have concerns about your penis type or penis appearance, talk with a healthcare provider you can trust. Remember that just like the rest of the parts of your body, variation is normal, and it’s best not to compare yourself to others.

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Article Sources
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