Does Penis Size Matter? Connection Between Penis Size and Erectile Dysfunction

The question about if penis size matters persists in our collective culture and our minds.

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By: Mark Goldberg, LCMFT, CST

The question about “does penis size matter?” persists in our collective culture and our minds. Anxiety about penis size is common. Men tend to put an unjustified amount of importance on this concern. Concern about penis size and sexual performance can lead to erectile dysfunction.

Sex, sexual satisfaction and sexual function are complex topics. This is especially true when things are not working. Erectile dysfunction tends to have many moving parts, including psychological factors. People like things to be simple and there is nothing simpler than a number or measurement.

It would be great if someone could give you a number and, if you qualify, all of these concerns would go away. This is not reality. The question of size plagues a lot of men and is a source of anxiety.

Before we address the age-old question about “does penis size matter?”, ask yourself the following

  • Who is asking?
  • For what purpose?
  • What do you know about size?
  • What are your beliefs and myths about penis size?

The answers to these questions are important to understanding and addressing your concerns especially if they are, in part, causing erectile dysfunction.

What is the Average Size of an Erect Penis?

According to large population studies, the average length of an erect penis is a little over 5 inches and the girth (circumference) is a little over 4.5 inches.

1. Most men were found to be within an inch of this length. You are likely somewhere in this range.

2. These numbers are not as big as you imagine, and you are probably underestimating what you have.

3. Men portrayed in movies and porn tend to be outliers.

Despite being within the average range of size, many men worry about their penis size. Anxiety about size is far more common than is justified.

Reasons Men Get Concerned About Penis Size

If penis size does not bother you, you are among the lucky minority of men who are secure with themselves. If size matters to you, or if you worry about it, you are not alone. But why does this matter? Here are common reasons men get concerned about penis size:

  • Causes insecurity, low self-esteem or other negative feelings about yourself
  • You are worried about how your sexual partner (or partners) respond to having sex with you
  • You believe that if you were bigger you would be a better sexual partner
  • You worry that your size is the reason that your partner does not orgasm

Solo vs. Partner

Ask yourself whether you worry only when you are in the presence of other people or if you feel uncomfortable when you look at or touch yourself. Size anxiety tends to be in the presence of other people.

Men lose their ability to properly assess their size and fortitude. This can happen even if a man has measured the size and knows the facts.


Anxiety about penis size tends to begin in adolescence. Hearing friends and peers exaggerate their penis size and sexual prowess can be anxiety provoking. It is common to have serious distortions about one’s size relative to peers because of this.

Even when men become aware that most of what they heard back then was bravado and showmanship, the process of worrying can be hard to stop. Anxiety about size can persist far beyond the high school locker room.

Likewise, someone who enters puberty later in life (a “late bloomer”) will most likely catch up to or surpass physical growth of peers. However, the experience of being developmentally behind can leave a lasting mark on the developing brain.

Men in this category are likely to underestimate their physical stature and may be more prone to performance anxiety in the bedroom.

Does Penis Size Matter to your Partner?

It is hard to answer this question with a simple yes or no.

Some women care about size and have a very different experience with a larger penis. This, however, is not common. Most women who experience sexual pleasure through penetrative sex will be able to achieve a satisfying experience with a wide range of penis sizes.

Many women will not experience orgasm through penetration at all. This is not a function of penis size. This is simply how it works for many women. This can be a difficult reality for many men to swallow. But it is true.

This is not to imply that different sizes make absolutely no difference in experiences. Every variation can contribute to a difference in experience. The question is how much of a difference does it make? The answer is rarely significant. How a man treats his partner is a much stronger indicator of how sexual encounters will go than the size of a penis or other physical traits.

Men who feel insecure about their penis size will often ask their partners about past experiences. The questions tend to revolve around sexual pleasure, performance, duration and of course penis size of previous partners. Men rarely ask about, at least at the same frequency, how their partner was treated or about the nature of the relationship.

Men tend to elevate penis size importance to a level that is not justified. It’s that simple.

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What About Being ‘Too Big?’

The answer is yes. It is possible to be too big. Preferred size range depends on each partner but a larger penis can cause pain during penetrative sex and can limit sexual pleasure.

The mythical oversized penis is not all it’s cracked up to be. Media and pornography lead many men to believe that their partners want a much larger penis when that is often not true.

What is the Impact of Worrying About Size?

Any worry a man has can lead to problems with erections and sexual intimacy. When you are worried about general appearance, or the appearance of the erection itself, it can be even more impactful.

Men who are worried about their penis size may try to avoid sexual activity and not allow relationships to progress. This can lead to sexless marriages and broken relationships.

Erectile dysfunction can result in men who do not avoid engaging. The fixation with penis size can cause men to focus on their performance, be oversensitive to their partner’s responses and generally feel uncomfortable with erectile stimulation. Once the anxiety cycle gets triggered, a man can find himself totally preoccupied with size.

Erectile dysfunction can occur regularly in a partnered setting. When worry about penis size and poor communication between partners are combined, a man can easily reach the conclusion that his partner is disappointed with his erection.

This can be a primary cause of erectile dysfunction and can be more impactful than being told that you are not big enough. Addressing your size anxiety can make a big difference in working toward the erections that you want.

Four Quick Pointers to Help You

  1. Remember, if you are like most guys you are going to underestimate the size of your penis.
  2. Think about what the purpose of your erection is. Now ask yourself, does size matter?
  3. If you are in a partnered relationship and you have good communication, consider asking your partner what they think. Remember, if you push them for every detail of every experience they have had, it is likely that something was enjoyable. It generally does not make a significant difference.
  4. Be a gentleman. It will go a lot further than another inch or two.

Ready to Learn More?

To start your in-depth approach to resolving ED, try our online learning course called BEYOND THE LITTLE BLUE PILL, The Thinking Man’s Guide to Understanding and Addressing ED


Ready to talk to an ED expert? Erection IQ founder Mark Goldberg helps men resolve erectile dysfunction. He offers individual, one-on-one services to men throughout the world through a secure, telehealth platform. It’s 100% confidential. You can visit the Center for Intimacy, Connection and Change website to schedule a free consult with Mark.

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Article Updated – February 2021