Do Women Have More Orgasms if their Sex Partner has a Longer than Average Penis?

Many men are anxious about their penis size, and it is usual for men to desire a longer than average penis. But why should we care so much about the contents of our underpants?

Kim Drasa and Vaso Vasili, a pair of scientists from Tirana in Albania, wondered whether a man’s penis size influences the likelihood that his female sexual partners will achieve orgasm during penile-vaginal intercourse. If women prefer longer penises, or are more orgasmic during sex with men whose penises are longer, this may explain why men are so concerned about the size of their manhood.

Drasa and Vasili surveyed 1275 sexually experienced women. Each woman was asked:

All things being equal, are you more likely to have an orgasm from penis-in-vagina intercourse with a man who has a somewhat larger than average penis length?

The women were told than an average erect penis was about the length of any US dollar bill (155mm) or a British £20 note (149mm).

Watch out, mate. You’ll have someone’s eye out. Enrique Lin/Flickr

As many as 35% of the women reported that they were more likely to experience an orgasm if their partner had a longer than average penis, but 56.5% of women said that they were equally likely to orgasm if a man had an average or above average penis. Only 2% of women said orgasms were more frequent if a man had a penis of average size.

The researchers also found that a preference for a longer penis is associated with more frequent vaginal orgasms, but not more clitoral orgasms or orgasms after masturbation. This argues against an interpretation that women with a larger libido or unrestricted sexuality (interest in short-term sexual encounters) tend to prefer longer penises.

Nevertheless, it seems that penis length does have an effect on women’s orgasm frequency, even if most women report than a longer penis does not necessarily guarantee more satisfying sex.

Something fishy

In another research paper recently published in the journal Nature Communications, a team of biologists has shown that male genital size is even less important among fish.

Isobel Booksmythe of the Australian National University in Canberra led the study in which mosquitofish were selectively bred for gonopodia size. The gonopodium is a modified anal fin, and it’s the organ males use to inseminate females. Gonopodia vary in length much more than human penises, with some individuals boasting a gonopodium 53% as long as their body. Other, less well endowed mosquitofish, only manage a gonopodium 18% of their body size.

Male mosquitofish with long (A) and short (B) gonopodia. PNAS

The researchers found that males with longer gonopodia were no more alluring to females than males with shorter gonopodia. Given a choice, females spent just as much time associating with the well-endowed males as the less well-endowed males. Neither did gonopodium size affect reproductive success or swimming ability. However, previous research has suggested that male mosquitofish taken from predator-rich environments tend to have shorter gonopodia, suggesting that there are evolutionary consequences to sporting an over-sized member. A smaller ‘penis’ is a boon when it comes to survival of the fishes.


Booksmythe, I., Head, M. L., Keogh, J. S., & Jennions, M. D. (in press). Fitness consequences of artificial selection on relative male genital size. Nature Communications, 7, 11597. Read summary

Drasa Jr., K. M., & Vasili, V. (2016). Which female prefer longer penises? International Journal of Science and Research, 5(5), 108–111.

For an audio version of this story, see the 28 June 2016 episode of The Psychology of Attractiveness Podcast.

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