Is my penis normal?

It’s natural to worry about your penis and compare it to others. We asked Dr Ranj Singh all those squeamish questions about your willy so you don’t have to worry about them. Dr Ranj is a British doctor. He worked as an NHS clinician and in several hospitals as a specialist in Paediatric Emergency Medicine. He is also a television presenter, author and columnist.

The Mix would also like to thank the sexual health experts at Brook for their support with this article.

What penis size is normal?

Put down the ruler. Stop peering down your pants. Want the truth? Your penis size is most likely totally average.

Worrying about the size of your penis is normal. The typical penis size is often exaggerated, meaning many people put pressure on themselves to measure up. However, the average adult size is actually between 13 and 18cm, when erect.

Your penis and testicles start growing during puberty and can keep growing up until the age of 21.

What penis shape is normal?

Penises can be lots of different shapes. Some are wider from base to tip, and others might be wider or narrower at different points.

What colour should my penis be?

Penises can be many different colours and can change colour too, depending on the blood flow. If you do spot a significant change in colour though, it’s worth speaking to your GP, in case this is related to an STI or skin condition.

My penis is bent, what should I do?

It’s common for penises to have a left or right leaning and it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.

“Bendy willies can be normal,” says Dr Ranj. “Especially if it’s always been that way. As long as you’ve always had it, and it doesn’t hurt, then it’s nothing to worry about.”

However, if you’ve randomly developed a bend and it’s painful to get an erection, it may be of concern. Peyronie’s disease is a condition where scar tissue forms on one side of the penis, causing it to bend. If you think this is you, get it checked at the GP. It can be fixed with steroid injections or a simple operation.

What if I lose my erection?

When you’re having sex, you might feel pressured to maintain your erection as long as possible. There can also be a stigma attached to not being able to “get it up”. But the reality is, penises are flaccid most of the time and erections can disappear and come back during sex, no matter how turned on you are. This is normal, and there’s no need to feel embarrassed if you’re not always hard when you’re getting it on.

If you are having regular issues maintaining erections then you might want to speak to a GP or a counsellor. Erectile disfunction can have many causes and can sometimes be linked to your mental health, so it’s important to get support for this.

The main thing to remember is that you have nothing to be ashamed of, and there are lots of ways to have a healthy, pleasure-filled sex life.

Help! I’ve got an involuntary erection

You’re about to jump into the pool or you’re hanging out with mates and, hello, an erection springs out of nowhere. It can happen without warning and also when you’re not turned on. This is normal and it’s a common part of puberty, but we get how embarrassing it can be.

Try to stay calm and breathe slowly and eventually it will go away on its own. It’s unlikely that anyone else will notice.

You could stealthily place your jacket or bag over your crotch to cover it up and think about other things to distract yourself. You could also try some meditation to help you relax.

How long should it take me to have an orgasm?

The average time a penis can be stimulated before reaching an orgasm is between five and 10 minutes, but this can vary and sometimes people won’t have an orgasm at all. It can feel like there is a lot of pressure to “last” a long time during sex before you have an orgasm. This can make you feel frustrated or embarrassed if you come more quickly. The truth is that there are lots of ways to provide intimacy and pleasure and if you take the focus away from achieving an orgasm, you’re likely to enjoy yourself a lot more.

Penises in porn

You might watch porn sometimes, and lots of people use it to get sexual stimulation, and to discover things about sex and their sexuality. The kinds of bodies that you see in porn can be very limited and are not an average representation of what most bodies look like.

Porn can give the impression that penises are all very large and that it’s normal to be able to sustain an erection for long periods of time. For most people, this isn’t how penises work. It’s important to remember this if you find yourself comparing your body and your penis to what you see in porn.

The way people are treated in porn can also be misleading about the kind of sex you and others are “supposed” to have or to want. Sex can sometimes be portrayed as violent, or humiliating and might have nothing to do with how you or your sexual partners want to have sex.

Masturbating

Wanking is a really healthy and fun way to explore your body and find out what you do and don’t like. You should masturbate as little or as often as you like – it’s completely normal.

Read our article on masturbation.

Ouch! My foreskin is too tight

Worried about your foreskin? Here’s a simple test to see if it’s too cosy for comfort. “You should be able to slide your foreskin over the head of your penis without it being uncomfortable,” says Dr Ranj. “If it’s too tight to do that, you can’t pull it back afterwards, and/or you have problems weeing, then you need to get it checked.”

Read our article on foreskin problems.

I’ve snapped my banjo string! What should I do?

Don’t worry, this is a common one. Your frenulum – the bit of skin that attaches your foreskin to your penis – is vulnerable to tearing, usually after an over-zealous shagging session. A ripped frenulum, or ‘banjo string’ can result in a fair amount of blood and discomfort. Don’t panic, but do visit your GP to make sure it’s healing ok. You should probably steer clear of sex until it’s healed.

Circumcision. To snip or not to snip – what’s normal?

“There are only a few specific medical reasons to get circumcised,” says Dr Ranj. “That said, if you are circumcised, it doesn’t increase your risk of any health problems, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

Circumcision is largely a cultural thing, so what’s normal varies. In the UK, for example, it’s not that common. But in America, most men have had the snip. The only slight downside of a snipped penis is that, without the foreskin’s protection, the tip may be a tad less sensitive. But as long as you don’t feel your sex life is lacking, then it’s no problem at all.

My penis smells. Should it?

Penises all have their own distinct odour and they don’t all smell like Lynx Africa. But there’s a difference between a natural scent – which some actually find a turn-on – and a gag-inducing whiff.

To ensure you stay in the natural scent category, make sure you wash. Simple, but true.

“It’s normal for penises to collect secretions and have smegma build-up.” says Dr Ranj. “Clean under the foreskin every time you shower and this should keep things smelling fresh.”

If your penis smells fishy, or just plain upsetting, AND you’re cleaning it regularly, then it’s worth going to the doctors. You may have a sexual, or non-sexual infection.

Do I really have to show the GP my penis?

The thought of whacking your willy out on a GP’s table can be a bit daunting. But, remember for them, it’s just part of their job, and you’ll feel so much better afterwards.

“I really have seen it all,” says Dr Ranj. “Nothing shocks me. Nothing surprises me. You’ll get no judgement. And you’ll probably find you’re worrying unnecessarily.”

Read our article about when you should go to the doctors.

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By Holly Turner

Updated on 04-Aug-2021