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Dr Phil: Penis Part 3 - Size, shape and firmness

In part 3 of his penis trilogy, Dr Phil Hammond discusses penis size, shape and function, and what you can do about erectile dysfunction ...

Hello there. I’m Dr Phil Hammond. Welcome to for our whirlwind tour of the penis. This is ‘The Penis: Part 3’.The  Penis: Part 1 and The Penis: Part 2 are available on this site, so you can download those and have a look at them now. In Part 1, we talked about problems around the head of the penis: tight foreskin, circumcision and the importance of good foreskin hygiene. In Part 2, we talked about lumps and bumps and sores, and sexually transmitted infections, the importance of a) using a condom to prevent infections, and b) seeking help – going down to a sexually transmitted infection clinic if you have any difficulty passing urine, or if you have noticed any lumps or bumps or pus or discharge that isn’t normally there.

In The Penis: Part 3 we are going to be looking at size, shape and firmness. I’m actually going to talk about shape before I move on to the tricky problem of size.

Penis shape. A lot of men have a bit of a kink in their penis when it’s erect. If it’s just a slight kink, it isn’t causing you too many problems, it’s not hurting and you can have sex without any difficulty then that’s fine. But if it gets to the shape where it’s bending so much that you can’t insert it easily or it’s causing you pain when you have an erection – the bend can be up or down or sideways – then it’s worth going to see a doctor who will probably refer you to a urologist. This condition is called Peyronie’s disease, and it can be fixed with an operation. It is due to a fibrous plaque on the shaft of the penis, which scars and makes the penis bend. You need to remove that plaque. It’s quite a complicated operation, but it can be done reasonably successfully.

Peehole in the wrong place.The other thing you may notice is that most men have a hole at the end of their penis (at the end of the glans). Some men have a hole on the underside, so they pee on their shoes when they stand up to pee. Often they find it much easier to sit down. That’s known as hypospadias. Sometimes the glans of the penis can look a bit abnormal. Men get very embarrassed and shy about this. I’ve seen men in their adulthood who have hypospadias that hasn’t been treated because they’ve been too embarrassed to go and show anyone, and they’ve spent most of their adult lives sitting down to pee. So, if you notice anything isn’t quite right there – the hole is on the underside or it seems to be more open than it should be, go and see your GP. Again, it’s quite a complicated surgical procedure, but in the right hands it can be fixed. You want to go and see someone who does lots of these procedures, generally a plastic surgeon. It’s a two-stage procedure to return the penis to its normal anatomy. Make sure you ask around, and make sure you are seeing a specialist.

Penis size. Does size matter?Well, the honest answer is that it probably does to some people. Some women and some men prefer a big one, but most people prefer a clean one and a sense of humour! Actually, the unerect penis (the soft penis) is often quite deceptive. Most penises end up from about 5 inches onwards, sometimes 7 or 7½ inches, or 8 inches if you’re lucky. But actually, the important, most sensitive parts of a woman, are on the outside, within the first three-quarters of an inch, if you know where to find them. So provided your penis is that long ... or your tongue is ... or your imagination is ... then often you shouldn’t have much problem.

Penis enlargement. If you are absolutely sure you want to have a bigger penis, there isn’t a simple way of going about it. It is fraught with potential hazards. The most common non-surgical means is a penis expander – a vacuum pump – which is similar to the vacuum pumps that people use when they can’t get an erection. It’s a bit like training a muscle. You use it for half an hour a night, you build up. But you mustn’t have it on for too long. If you have one of these pumps on for too long, you pump up the erection and you fall asleep with it, then you can end up with a gangrenous penis, which isn’t a good look! So, be slightly wary of that. There are also surgical operations. Normally, the erect the penis comes out like this [holds up prop]. About a third of it is anchored to your body, bound by ligaments. So there’s a lengthening procedure, where they pull down the bit that used to be inside, and they anchor it lower down. The danger of that is that you lose a bit of anchorage, so you can end up with a slightly longer penis that is a bit like a windscreen wiper [waves prop from side to side], which doesn’t work as effectively – the angle of the erection isn’t quite so good.

Penis thickening.To get some thickening, they suck up some fat from somewhere else in your body and squirt it in under the penis. The trouble is, it’s hard to get the fat to stay where it should do, so once you start having sex you get a bit of a snow drift effect. You end up with a penis that looks a bit like a turnip with a big cherry on top, then thin in the middle, and all the fat drifts to one end, and you have to massage it out again to make it uniform. So, not always a huge success! Far better to develop a sense of humour, and a sense of imagination, to talk to your partner and find out what she likes, and accept that it probably won’t be a penis the size of a baby’s arm holding an apple.

Erections. Now let’s talk about the erection itself. A lot of animals are quite lucky as they have a bone in their penis and they don’t have to worry too much about getting an erection because it just happens. For some reason, humans haven’t evolved a bone in their penis, probably because that is all we’d do all day. If men could get an erection just like that [snaps fingers], if it was there all the time, that’s all we’d do and we wouldn’t achieve anything. We’d never find cures for cancer, we’d never go on summer holidays. We’d just spend all our time having sex, and we’d probably get a bit sick of it. So instead, we’ve evolved this incredibly complicated process of hormone mechanisms in the brain and pathways and chemicals down below to give us an erection.

Erection problems are not that uncommon. Maybe 1 in 10 men (slightly more common as you get older) have problems having an erection regularly. We all, at some time, will have a problem getting an erection – if you’ve had too much to drink, if you’re a bit stressed or a bit tired, or if you’ve already had sex a couple of times that day, then it just isn’t going to happen. But about 1 in 10 men get erectile dysfunction on a regular basis.

Drugs for erectile dysfunctionWe all know that there are tablets that can help. Viagra is probably the most common one, but other tablets are available, and it’s horses for courses. Some people find some –Viagra, Cialis, Levitra – help them more than others, but they are all much of a muchness, they all seem to work pretty similarly. No-one has done head-to-head comparisons (if you’ll excuse the pun) on these three drugs, so the drug companies make big claims about which is better in which circumstance. Actually, it’s a case of trying them out. In the English NHS you can only get them if you have certain medical conditions, which seems a little bit unfair, and even if you do get them on prescription we tend to ration you to once a week maximum. So a lot of people find themselves buying them. If you do buy them, buy them from a reputable dealer. The trouble with getting them online from anyone is that you end up with a bit of horse hair or rat poison – your little blue diamond could be anything. So try to go to a proper chemist if you are buying it online.

Other ways of getting an erection.There’s the vacuum pump, similar to the pump that you use to train your penis to get bigger. You pump, pump, pump, pump, pump ... Your partner can choose small, medium or large, which is quite fun, but rather unusually the penis ends up being stone cold, which is a bit of an acquired taste. You think, ooh, I’m not used to that. And then you put a cock ring (or a pubis ring) on the end [holds up example] to sustain the erection. It’s very important if you are using one of these that you choose one with handles. If you just choose the ring you may not be able to get it off, and that’s like a wedding ring on a septic finger – it’s a very embarrassing visit to casualty. So always choose a cock ring, or a pubis ring, with handles on it.

What’s important?Ultimately, the important thing to remember is that making love is all about communication, it’s all about the mind rather than the body. It’s all about looking at each other and breathing in unison, and talking to each other about what you like. If you do that then generally size doesn’t matter at all. Companionship and love and time together is what matters.

If you want to find out more about embarrassing problems, go to If you want to find out more about me, is the website.

Thanks for watching.

Written by: Dr Phil Hammond
Edited by: Dr Phil Hammond
Last updated: Friday, October 20th 2017

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Comments on this article

Posted by ben on 05/02/2016 at 02:17

I had unprotected sex with my girl friend about two to three weeks ago, since last week I have being seeing fliud discharge at the tips of my penis constantly that always stained my boxer, I urinate with ease normally, feel no itching or any swollen on my penis, what kind of infection is it & what is the best medication to cure it totally?

Posted by Jim on 21/12/2015 at 05:16

Your website is Great thank you so much for your help.

Posted by uditya on 01/10/2015 at 06:02

sir is it any way which try to penis upper part more thicker and wider

Posted by Tid on 23/09/2015 at 11:43

I have a testicle which is bigger thann the other .....the smaller one is painful. when I touch it ...

Posted by Optional on 28/07/2015 at 06:13

hello dear doc im imran from pakistan and im 21 year old and also im marride i have very strest about my small penis my penis is just 3 inch its very small please plase show me the right way to how i big nd grow my penis. many thanx

Posted by Optional on 19/07/2015 at 06:21

I am 20 years old my penis is. Quite small how to grow it

Posted by Arjun on 07/04/2015 at 12:02

hi penis is 7.2 inches in length and when its erect I was able to see a small pit like thing in my something wrong on it....

Posted by Optional on 12/03/2015 at 01:32

whenever i press my right breast,some liquied comes out. is it any problem

Posted by KABO on 01/02/2015 at 11:09

My penis has a round shape where the foreskin was. I had cercamceised in 2013. I dont know what to do.

Posted by george on 29/01/2015 at 12:48

My penis got sore and is swollen glands its itch

Posted by 123456 on 29/01/2015 at 09:45

i am having a small penis.. Its only 2 inhce

Posted by kankam on 19/01/2015 at 05:06

my penis is so small as any thing ales which always makes me unhappy. so I need help.

Posted by lebo on 29/12/2014 at 12:48

after sleeping with my husband without using condom l had a water discharge in my virgina that makes me fell bad coz we can't go for 2 round

Posted by Optional on 08/12/2014 at 07:55

my pennis do rise often and often, what causes this?

Posted by Optional on 22/05/2014 at 07:59

sir I'm a 21 years guy.I'm worried about my penis because it's size 4.5 inch's when erect & 2/3 inch when limp.But all of my friends are 6/7 inch(erect).I've the same size penis I had at age 15.It's killing me.I'm worried about my next life.I want to increase my penis.Have any medicine,excercise or surgery to devolop my penis size?Plz Plz & Plz tell me & save me.

Posted by honey on 18/03/2014 at 05:42

hello i am unmarried guy going to marry in two years..i have weak and thin penis problem i want to get my whole sexual life back..could u help me for it..

Posted by Optional on 24/01/2013 at 10:31

good i loved it .direct and to the point.

Posted by Optional on 09/11/2012 at 07:43

my penis is too small, and it's not fat. I'm married person. I love my wife very much but she is not happy for my problem. Ican't lose her.I want solution urgently.plz help me doctor,help me

Posted by Optional on 18/09/2011 at 09:08

when ever i want to have sex with a girl,my semem comes out automatically before inserting my penis in her vagina..its because i get excited,,,,i did sex 4 times tilll now...give me some suggestions

Posted by Optional on 17/09/2011 at 08:08

HI i have minimal varicocele.wt should i do to remove it.pls help me. wt tab. should i take. im getting aching also.pls help me.

Posted by Optional on 16/09/2011 at 03:58

My penis is small and weak. What can i do?

Posted by Optional on 15/09/2011 at 03:43

hi docter how are you . i have a problem with my testical .my testical balls is moving automatically . please give me the solution how to resolve it and why they are moving.

Posted by Optional on 15/09/2011 at 03:12

I found out mY girlfriend is pregnant and since I found out I have trouble staying hard, I can not get her off all the time but sometimes I can and sometimes i do stay hard how come?