Don’t deny it. Ever since you first saw those penis enlargement ads in the back pages of a porn magazine years ago ― the pictures of sinister-looking devices, the big letters screaming “Add Inches to Your Penis!” ― you’ve always wondered: Could I be bigger?
“Guys ask me about it all the time,” says Michael O’Leary, MD, a urologist at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “They say they’ll do anything to have a bigger penis.” So is there anything they can do?
Not really. “It’s pretty much bunk,” O’Leary says wearily. After all, if simple, effective penis enlargement were possible, every other guy in America would be a foot long.
Yet common sense isn’t enough to stop some of us. And thanks to our culture’s restless drive for self-improvement, information about penis enlargement is everywhere. Liberated from the classifieds of behind-the-counter smut, penis enlargement pills are hawked on TV. Without even requesting it, you might have ads conveniently delivered to your email inbox every day. More than 10,000 men in the U.S. ― probably many more ― have gone on the operating table to get highly controversial penis enlargement surgery.
But don’t open your wallet and unbuckle your pants yet. We’ve explored the sordid world of penis enlargement so you don’t have to.
Should my penis be bigger?
First, even if you think you’re small, odds are that your penis is a normal size. The average erect penis is four to six inches long, with a circumference of four to six inches. There’s more variation in the size of flaccid penises. But that just means that a guy who looks well hung in the locker room isn’t likely to get much bigger when erect; conversely, a guy who looks small will grow a lot.
Second, if you insist that you’re small ― even when the ruler says you’re not, you may earn yourself a psychiatric diagnosis: penile dysmorphic disorder. It’s similar to the perceptual distortion of anorexics who still think they’re fat no matter how stick thin they get. According to one study, the majority of men who get penis enlargement surgery have this condition. They are also the least satisfied with the results.
“Men who have a normal penile length but are convinced they’re small might benefit from seeing a psychiatrist instead of a surgeon,” says Karen Elizabeth Boyle, MD, assistant professor of urology and director of Reproductive Medicine and Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.