What Is A Micropenis?

Learn everything you need to know about micropenises right here.

What Is A Micropenis?

What Is A Micropenis?

What Is A Micropenis?

Published
August 6, 2021
— Updated
Medically Reviewed by
5 minutes

Lots of guys are concerned about their penis size. If you think that your dick is small, you might have heard of the term “micropenis” and wondered whether you may have one. So, what exactly is a micropenis? In adults, a micropenis is defined as a penis that’s less than about 3.5 inches when hard.(1)

What’s the difference between a micropenis and a small dick?

“Micropenis” is a medical term for a penis that’s smaller by about 1.5 inches than the average of just over 5 inches.

What counts as a small dick is much more subjective and is determined by someone’s thoughts, feelings, and body image, as well as cultural messages around masculinity and sex.

How common is it to have a micropenis?

In North America, about 1.5 per 10,000 males have a penis that fits the medical definition of a micropenis.(2) Average penis size is just over five inches; half of all people with penises have a dick that’s considered smaller than average, and lots of guys have penises that are much smaller than five inches, even if they don’t technically have a micropenis.(3)

Is having a micropenis a medical problem?

No, having a micropenis is not a medical issue. That said, it can present real psychological and social challenges. Many men worry about the size of their dick because having a large penis is often equated with masculinity and sexual prowess.

Lots of people struggle with body insecurity, and some experience body dysmorphic disorder, a condition in which persistent distress or obsession over an aspect of your appearance interferes with your daily life. Even if you don’t suffer from body dysmorphia, though, insecurity about your penis size can be very painful.

If having a small dick is causing you distress, or if anxiety about penis size is making it difficult to date, hook up, or form relationships, it may be a good idea to seek out a counselor or therapist who has experience working with people who have anxiety or body image issues.

How can I make my penis bigger?

There are many supplements, creams, and devices aimed at men who want to make their small dick bigger. None of these methods, though, have been demonstrated to make a meaningful difference in penis size, and surgeries intended to increase penis size are often unsuccessful, with a high rate of complications.(4)

Even though there’s nothing that’s been proven effective to make a small penis bigger, research has shown that counseling can be effective in combating feelings of worry and distress about penis size.(5) In addition to counseling, learning to think critically about messages from porn, media, and advertisements about the importance of penis size may help you to feel better about your body.(6)

It may also be helpful to find ways to connect with your own body that let you celebrate what your penis does for you, rather than focusing on how it looks or how a potential partner might respond to it. Learning how to give yourself pleasure and enjoy your penis for its own sake may help you to feel more confident and less anxious.

Can someone with a micropenis have sex?

Yes. People with penises of every size and shape can, and do, have sex.

While penis-in-vagina sex may be more challenging for some people with very small penises, trying a variety of positions, as well as expanding your idea of what sex means, can be extremely helpful. Becoming an expert at using your hands to pleasure your partner, refining your oral technique, experimenting with toys, and even using strap-ons designed to fit over your penis are all great options for pleasing your partner.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that people of all genders who have sex with penis-owners have different preferences when it comes to the size and shape of their partners’ dicks. While there’s a popular perception that all women and men who have sex with men prefer large, thick penises, this simply isn’t the case: Depending on their individual anatomy and the sex acts that they enjoy the most, some people prefer smaller penises. For example, if someone really enjoys anal or oral sex, has a smaller/shorter vagina, or experiences pain during sex, a smaller penis might actually be more comfortable. Some people even prefer non-penetrative sex.

It can be frustrating and upsetting to feel that your body doesn’t measure up. But good sex really is more about chemistry, communication, and consent than your specific anatomy. In fact, research has shown that the vast majority of women don’t care about penis size.(3)

The bottom line

Whether or not your dick technically counts as a micropenis, you deserve to feel good about your body. Even if you struggle with insecurity about the size of your penis, you can find ways to increase your confidence, develop greater comfort with your unique anatomy, and connect with partners.

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Emily A. Klein (she/her) is a freelance writer with deep interests in sexuality and health. As a student of cultural anthropology, she researched and wrote about kink, abortion, harm-reduction approaches to substance use in the LGBTQ+ community, and cross-cultural understandings of gender, sexuality, and the body. She has designed and implemented a sexual health curriculum for adolescent girls, worked with foster youth and those experiencing housing insecurity, and volunteered as an emergency first responder. Her writing has appeared in The Establishment, Edible magazine, The Seattle Lesbian, Slog, and elsewhere.

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References

1. Tsang, S. (2010). When size matters: a clinical review of pathological micropenis. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 24(4), 231-240. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedhc.2009.05.001

2. Nelson, C. P., Park, J. M., Wan, J., Bloom, D. A., Dunn, R. L., & Wei, J. T. (2005). The increasing incidence of congenital penile anomalies in the United States. The Journal of urology, 174(4), 1573-1576. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.ju.0000179249.21944.7e 

3. Lever, J., Frederick, D. A., & Peplau, L. A. (2006). Does size matter? Men's and women's views on penis size across the lifespan. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 7(3), 129. https://doi.org/10.1037/1524-9220.7.3.129

4. Marra, G., Drury, A., Tran, L., Veale, D., & Muir, G. H. (2020). Systematic review of surgical and nonsurgical interventions in normal men complaining of small penis size. Sexual medicine reviews, 8(1), 158-180. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sxmr.2019.01.004 

5. Wylie, K. R., & Eardley, I. (2007). Penile size and the ‘small penis syndrome’. BJU Int, 99(6), 1449-55. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.938.471&rep=rep1&type=pdf

6. Richmond, K., & Levant, R. (2003). Clinical application of the gender role strain paradigm: Group treatment for adolescent boys. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 59, 1237–1245. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.10214