Penises: The Bigger the Better?

Female preference may have driven the evolution of human males’ relatively large genitalia.

By | April 9, 2013

Researchers asked women to judge computer-generated images of men.MAUTZ ET AL., FIG. 1Women rate images of men more highly the larger their penises are, according to a study published yesterday (April 8) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Penis size had about the same influence as height in determining how females rated the attractiveness of males. Body shape was also influential in determining hotness—men with broad shoulders and narrow hips faired best.

Researchers had 105 heterosexual female Australian women rate life-size computer-generated images of men of various heights, builds, and penis sizes. They found that, at rather short lengths, adding inches to penis size was hugely helpful, but the benefit per added inch began to diminish when penises reached around 3 inches long when flaccid. The researchers, from three Australian universities, predicted that there would be a size at which penises became too big but said that they had not studied big enough penises to reach that point. The longest penises they tested were around 5 inches long. Also, having a big penis boosted tall men’s ratings more than it boosted short men’s ratings.

The scientists said that women’s apparent interest in penis size could explain why human males have penises that are larger in proportion to body size than the penises of other animals. Since penises would have been readily visible for much of human evolution, ancestral women could have selected for large penises through sizing up partners before copulating.

The preference could have several explanations, the authors speculated. A previous study showed that larger penises were associated with more orgasms in female sex partners. A predilection for large penises could also be a social or cultural phenomenon. Alan Dixson, a primatologist at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, told Nature that in order to understand the cultural component, the researchers should study how women from various areas and cultures value penis size.

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Avatar of: Chao_Revisited


Posts: 3

April 9, 2013

While the conclusion may be valid...

Were those 3 above the images on which this is all based, or is this a magazine construct?

The build of the fellow on the left having his torso jammed down into his pelvis, vs the extended athletic torso depicted on the viewer right has of course no bearing on net conclusions either!

When it drags the ground, its time to re-evalute! (lol)

Avatar of: Dukie74


Posts: 5

April 9, 2013

The conclusions do not seem to be justified on the data collected.  One could reasonably claim that females that prefer large penises are more interested in sex than those that choose a mate based on other criteria.  This would result in more offspring (before birth control) for large penis preferrers and, eventually, larger penises in the population as a whole.

Avatar of: Ken Pimple

Ken Pimple

Posts: 43

April 9, 2013

Alan Dixson is right; women from different cultures have to be sampled before this study suggests anything about evolution. As it is, the key influence on their preferences might well be pornography (directly and indirectly).

April 9, 2013

Interesting hypothesis.  Contrast it to anthropological research that has shown that amongst primates in which the largest muscle massed dominant male (the alpha) mates with many females, penis size is relatively small, while (if I remember right) in primate cultures where the males have multiple sexual relationships, the genetilia are much larger.  

Avatar of: Mandolin


Posts: 1

April 9, 2013

I do hope some of the shorter men had less dumpy shapes. My own husband is about 5" shorter than myself. He is most certainly not shaped like a human toad. I see the article implies there were other images, I wish I could see them. As for penis size, it only matters in a very shallow way. I'm sure women care (I know we do), and I believe it would be fairly correct to assume so evolutionary party of us prefers it for logistics ( longer penis, more direct seman delivery neat uterus). However, I am also fairly certain that most women find this very secondary in concern. Bigger issues would be general attraction, ability to provide something to the family dynamic, intelligence equivalence, etc. ( please excuse any autowrong moments, hard to see everything I typed in this lady connection)
Avatar of: ybalagian


Posts: 1

April 9, 2013

I like the guy on the right. Is he single?

Avatar of: noelieTREX


Posts: 1

April 9, 2013

I for one vote we go back to the sizing them up BEFORE copulating system! It's always difficult to get out of sex AFTER they've whipped it out... But a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!

Avatar of: Haha


Posts: 1

April 9, 2013

Only proves how superficial those women are. Pole 105 gold diggers those same men with the shortest dumpiest one swimming on a mountain of $$ & have the tallest most handsome man holding a sign begging for money I bet you anything no matter unattractive he really is compared to pretty boy hobo Joe, most women would chose dumpy with dollars!
Avatar of: Brianna


Posts: 1

April 9, 2013

This is a no-brainer IMO....some guys are growers and some are show-ers. The way to tell what will happen until there is a full erection....the show-ers....well that is what this article is talking about...and yeah they do not grow all that much...but they have more than a rosebud to start with. And guess what? They end up about the same size. The ONLY correlation I have seen is that men are generally in proportion...not always....but most of the time...height matters...which may make the depiction look more freakish and cause adversion that way. They also only go on to show a represention of up to 5 I have to hope that is not a show-er....LOL. There is a difference...there is a too big and a too small but the penis is a small part of the whole person...Sex does not have to involve intercorse to be fun and pleasurable. AND I would MUCH prefer a too small to a too big....ouch...

Avatar of: extraneu


Posts: 1

April 10, 2013

Next is a study on why people read a study which researches why humans have (proportionally) big penises and take it personally!

Avatar of: StephQuinn


Posts: 1

April 14, 2013

As a young experienced woman where they mention in the article "A previous study showed that larger penises were associated with more orgasms in female sex partners."  I feel that men forget that this is crucial to a womans sexual partner, if she just wanted to procreate then she wouldn't need a partner and she would go to a sperm bank and get pregnant.  Men don't get it, we need oragasms as well, and if you use your mouth then thats a different story.  I don't feel it has anything to do pornographycally, i think it has more to do with pleasure.

Avatar of: kienhoa68


Posts: 37

April 16, 2013

Is it really? Research has shown the more likely reason is as a heat radiator to help protect sperm.  Perhaps unavoidable personal bias having an effect on objective data interpretation.  Maybe it was just for fun.


Avatar of: Dr. Quick

Dr. Quick

Posts: 1

September 28, 2013

As a note, there could be a lurking third variable:


Notice that in the images, the man with the smallest penis is shortest, and also has shoulders narrow compared to his waist.

The middle is, we can assume, average height, shoulders and waist same width, median penis.

The last man is tallest, has shouldders broader than the waist, and a large penis.


Now, we know why height is attractive (once we had to worry about being seen over tall grass, before humans invented lawns) so height could be a factor. also, women like broad shoudlers because they are a sign of sexual maturity. Creepy as it might be, when I (I am female) looked at the image, it seems to me the left is child-like, the middle is adolescent, and the right is adult. So if you asked me who is most atractive, I'd go with the guy on the right because I like adults, like any sane adult does.

So the rating could be baased off shoulder width, height, or penis size, all three, or because the comparison of all three suggest the right one is an adult, the others not.

If they wanted a test with internal efficacy they should have generated three men all same height, same build, and three different penis lengths. Plus, theyshould have drawn them erect. In a poor attempt at observational humor, they apparently didn't account for growers vs showers.

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