A Penis Expert Answers The Questions He’s Always Asked

A Penis Expert Answers The Questions He’s Always Asked


Did you know you shouldn’t pee standing up? Or that size doesn’t matter when it comes to sexual satisfaction? Your penis doesn’t come with a user’s manual, so SLMan caught up with leading urologist Dr Piet Hoebeke to find out the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions…

When it comes to penis size, what’s considered normal?
Measuring penises is not easy. Take 1,000 men, undress them and give them an erection – you can use whichever method you want, it doesn’t make any difference. Then measure all these erections and select 100 penises that measure exactly 13 centimetres. Stand these 100 men in a row and let their erection subside. Straight away, you will see vast differences in their penis lengths. Unbeknownst to most, in medicine we use the ‘stretched penile length’ (SPL) to measure the length (where we hold the flaccid penis and extend it firmly). We then measure from the base (where it attaches to the abdomen) to the tip. The largest study on penis length, published in 2014 and based on data from 15,521 men from all over the world, showed the average SPL is 13.2cm; the average penis is 9.16cm, the average erect penis 13.12cm. Anything up to 1.5cm above or below these figures is normal. Men outside this range have unusual lengths but their penis is not abnormal.

In general, bigger men with darker skin have a much higher chance of having a bigger penis than small men with white skin. The taller the man, the greater the chance of him having a long penis — although this is not a hard-and-fast rule. And although there are many old wives’ tales, there is no relation between the size of a man’s feet, nose or ears and his penis.”

Are there different shapes of penis?
“Every penis differs a bit but in general you have a shaft and a glans. The glans is always a bit wider than the shaft and is also the most sensitive area. You can have small shafts with large glans (more mushroom), thick shafts with small glans, short shafts and long shafts. Anything is possible and no particular shape is more common than others.”

Does size matter when it comes to sex?
“Although commonly thought that it does, size doesn’t really have a role in sexual satisfaction. Length in particular has very little impact on sexual satisfaction for your partner, although width does play some role. A woman has more genital sensitivity at the outer edge of the vagina than deep within (as a lot of men incorrectly believe). A wide penis stimulates the sensitive areas better, making it easier for a woman to orgasm than with a long thin penis.”

Does it matter if you’re circumcised?
“Different studies give different outcomes on this. In 2013, our team in Ghent published a large study showing the sensitivity of the foreskin plays an important role during sexual contact. Is sex with the foreskin better than without? Circumcision removes some of the more sensitive tissue of the glans penis, and, although the study didn’t say whether sex is better uncircumcised, it did show that being circumcised tends to prolong the time to ejaculation. Although circumcised men no longer experience the same level of sensitivity of the foreskin, it doesn’t mean circumcised men can’t have good sex.”

"A whole range of issues lead to erectile dysfunction including blood supply issues, nerve damage, age, and sometimes the brain."

Is there a right way to pee?
“The shape and length of the penis make urinating while standing so easy we don’t have to think about it. The only problem is we weren’t actually built for that. You only realise this when you look at the internal plumbing of the male. Urinating while standing is an invention of modern man, in an environment where he doesn’t feel threatened. Prehistoric humans would be bemused to see a man standing up, urinating against a tree. Your penis might be protected from view, but you aren’t protected from enemies or predators. In a squatting position, with your back to the tree and closer to the ground, you are better hidden. Our relatives, the chimpanzee and bonobo, still squat when they urinate and that is the natural position for us. In terms of the bodily function, when you squat, your urethra hangs down in one straight line, meaning all the urine is emptied. Standing to urinate creates a sort of siphon — urine can stay inside the urethra, then flow out after you have finished, for example when you are in a seated position. All males are better off sitting down to urinate."

What tends to cause erectile problems?
“The vast majority of erectile problems share the same symptom: the penis no longer gets erect and isn’t hard enough to enable penetration. A whole range of issues lead to erectile dysfunction including blood supply issues, nerve damage, age, and sometimes the brain. The majority of erectile dysfunctions are caused by a problem with blood supply. However, ageing is detrimental to the erection on various levels. The reduced production of hormones decreases your libido, so in turn your penis needs more encouragement to get erect. The erection is one of the first casualties when age-related ailments make an appearance. The older you are, the greater the chance that you suffer from obesity, diabetes and atherosclerosis – all factors that can affect your erection.”

"A vegetarian diet is best for your penis, so try to base your plate around fruit and veg."

How much semen is it normal to ejaculate?
“Semen comes out the penis with some force, albeit in limited volume. The average semen ejaculation has a volume of 5ml, equivalent to one coffee spoon. The vast majority of men (around 95%) ejaculate 2-8ml of semen. Anything between these values is completely normal. Porn actors always appear to ejaculate a lot more than 8ml – but please don’t view the volumes in porn films as standard, because they are fake. It’s all the result of cunning montage.”

Is there a proper way to clean your penis?
“You don’t need special soap for washing your penis. So long as it’s skin friendly and pH neutral, that’s fine. Even more important than washing your penis is rinsing it well, to make sure no soap residue is left behind. People sometimes wonder what product to use for their pubic hair and whether they should use anything at all. Well, you wash the hair on your head with shampoo, so why wouldn’t you do the same with your pubic hair? There’s no difference, so use shampoo with confidence.”

Is it true you can fracture your penis?

“Yes, it is true. Humans don’t have any bones in their penis that can break, but the tube of solid tissue around the erectile tissue can tear. Such a tear doesn’t go unnoticed. You’ll hear a crunching noise, feel a sharp pain and your erection will disappear; it’ll swell quickly and turn a purplish-blue colour. The missionary position is safest to avoid fracturing your penis – avoid positions that exert a lot of sideways pressure, like the Amazon position with the woman on top.”

If you had to give one piece of advice to men for optimal penis health, what would it be?
“People don’t tend to think of their penis as a reason to eat a more balanced diet, but moving away from the classic Western fare of red meat, saturated fat and sugar does wonders for penis health. In fact, a vegetarian diet is best for your penis, so try to base your plate around fruit and veg. Physical exercise and regular relaxation is also key, as it can help to reduce stress, meaning the urological machinery – of which your penis is part – will work better. Yoga and meditation are a treat for your penis too, particularly if you focus specifically on your lower abdomen. Plus, mental tranquillity keeps anxiety – the biggest enemy of the erection – at bay.”


Prof Dr Piet Hoebeke is the author of Members Club: A User’s Guide to the Penis (Bloomsbury, £14.99). Buy it here.


DISCLAIMER: *Features published by SLMan are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at [email protected].