Small penis: it's all in the mind
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Small penis: it’s all in the mind

Penis too small? A problem with penis size is more likely to be in your head than between your legs, says Egyptian sexology professor Hussein Ghanem. Most men with penis paranoia turn out to have average-sized organs, he says.

These men have body dysmorphic disorder: a skewed view of their body compared to what’s normal.


It’s a common problem, especially in the Middle East, says Dr Ghanem. The men with penis worries who come to his clinic at Cairo University have usually been stressing about it since puberty, he told Love Matters at the World Congress for Sexual Health.

Most of them are young and unmarried, and dread the prospect of first-time sex. They’re terrified to show their partner what they believe is a tiny penis.

Sex life

Older married men sometimes have similar concerns, says Dr Ghanem.

‘They say they’ve had this small penis problem all their life. When we ask if it affects their sex life, they say no. Then we ask what their wife thinks about it. They say, ‘She doesn’t know my penis is small!”‘

Average penis size

Dr Ghanem saw 250 men at the clinic in two years, all convinced they had unusually small penises. Yet 98 per cent of them were wrong.

So what’s actually normal? Dr Ghanem says his own findings tally with international figures.

‘The normal range is from 7 to 17 centimetres erect. The average is around 12 centimetres. With most of the patients we see complaining about a small-sized penis, it turns out to be average sized or slightly larger!’

Hard to convince

True two-centimetre ‘micropenises’ are very rare. The same goes for conditions like ‘hidden penis’ caused by over-circumcision, which can be helped by surgery.

Surely Dr Ghanem’s patients are thrilled when he tells them they’re perfectly normal after all? ‘They’re actually very hard to convince,’ he says. ‘That’s why it’s termed body dysmorphic disorder.’


‘It’s really a mental problem. They just seek advice from one doctor after another until they fall victim to an ad on the internet promising something that won’t be delivered, or they go to someone who promises penile enlargement surgery.

‘So far we don’t have evidence that it can enlarge the penis by more than one or two centimetres. These guys expect five or ten centimetres!’


So how did they get such a mixed-up idea of what’s normal? ‘It’s a cultural thing,’ the professor says. Men are always joking about penis size and they get the impression it’s incredibly important.

‘When you ask them what they think the normal penis size is, they say 20 centimetres or something absurd like that. Most of them they say they’ve noticed in the changing rooms that their friends have larger penises. So their perception is wrong.

‘Sometimes it’s because they assume what they see in pornography is normal. We try to explain that probably professional porn actors are chosen because they’re outside of the average scale!’

Basic knowledge

Fortunately Dr Ghanem has been able to convince almost all his body dysmorphic patients that they’re normal. The key is to make sure they know you’re taking their feelings very seriously, he says.

First he does a professional measuring job so there can be no mistake about how their penis really matches up to the normal range. Then it’s mostly a matter of filling in their basic knowledge about sex, he says.

Love matters

The patients need to know that it’s not the size of the penis that matters, but how stiff it is. And that to give their partner pleasure, it’s the clitoris they need to bear in mind – some don’t actually realise it’s on the outside, but think it’s somewhere deep inside the vagina, the professor says.

‘And finally, we explain that pleasure is really related to love matters and emotional things rather than an excessively huge penis!’

Do you have an opinion on size? Or the power of the mind? Leave a comment or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

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Recent Comments (38)

  1. Thats absolutely true doctor
    Thats absolutely true doctor

    1. Hi Joel,

      Hi Joel,
      no, masturbation is not bad!
      There are many myths about masturbation. But trust us- you will not become blind, skinny, weak or mad from masturbating! No stomach aches and fevers, either. It will have no effect on your fertility.
      It’s good for your physical and sexual health. It’s a safe way to satisfy your sexual needs, even if you don’t have a partner. And if you are in a relationship, you can still masturbate to release some sexual tension or even other tension. In general, you’ll realize that masturbating will help you to relax, become more concentrated and feel happier!
      You can read more on masturbation in the ‘making love’ section of our website.

  2. Is there any pill or medicine
    Is there any pill or medicine one can use for the penis to increase in size?

    1. Hi James,

      Hi James,
      most of the pills and creams on the market, and that you see advertised in the paper and magazines, will do absolutely nothing to increase your penis size!

  3. if the penis can erect 7
    if the penis can erect 7-17cm,what is the depth of the vagina?

    1. Hi Peter, this is a great
      Hi Peter, this is a great question! The average vagina is somewhere between 7 to 15 cm long when not aroused. But just like the penis, the vagina changes with arousal- it become longer. The cervix and uterus move upwards, allowing even a large penis to enter. If the penis hits the cervix during sex, it can either mean that the woman isn’t sufficiently aroused, or that the thrusting is a little too intense.

  4. is it bad to do sex on early
    is it bad to do sex on early age?

    1. Hi Bonie,

      Hi Bonie,
      that’s a very interesting question.
      The legal age of consent in Kenya is 16, so legally, you shouldn’t be having sex before that time.
      However, that doesn’t stop many young people from having sex earlier. If you do that or not is a question you can only answer for yourself. What’s really important is that someone feels ready for sex, is not pressured, can make good choices about birth control and knows about the risks involved, like sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. It can be better to wait a bit, until you are mature enough to make informed decisions on these topics.

  5. is it bad to have at age of,
    is it bad to have at age of, 15?

  6. What is the cause and remedy
    What is the cause and remedy for pre-mature ejaculation?

    1. Hi Bennah,

      Hi Bennah,
      premature ejaculation can have many causes. Inexperience, stress, nerves or an underlying medical condition.
      Most of the time, it’s inexperience. Foreplay can be very exciting already, especially if it takes a long time; this can be very good for the ladies, but not so good if you are very excitable. Are you able to go longer the second time? In general, talk to your lady about it. You can tell her it’s even good for her, because while having intercourse, you can only focus on her- you’ve already had your fun once. And you can practice together. If you fell like you are about to come, stop everything, take a quiet minute, and then start again. The other thing is- do you masturbate? With masturbation, you can practice taking more time until you come. The second issue seems to be the pain. It’s hard to tell from a distance whether this is the normal sensitive that a man experiences around his penis head after ejaculation or if it is something different. Do you have any other symptoms around your penis, like pain with peeing or unusual discharge? If it persists, I would advise you to see a doctor. Hope this helps!

  7. According to how i know thea
    According to how i know thea are two ways by which boys are circumcised.1st one the foreskin is completely removed n the 2nd,foreskin is designed n its believed that during intercourse the 2nd option[where the foreskin is designed] makes the woman enjoy that the damn truth dr?

    1. Hi Alekoz,

      Hi Alekoz,
      I’m not sure I have ever heard of this before.
      Circumcision usually means the entire foreskin is removed. I have not heard of a designed foreskin.
      And generally, whether women prefer men circumcised or uncircumcised, depends totally on the woman.

  8. Just need information about
    Just need information about orgasm in girls

    1. Hi Juli,

      Hi Juli,
      you can read more about orgasm in the Top Five Facts on orgasm, and in the making love section.
      Please ask if you have any more questions

  9. how can i have an orgaism
    how can i have an orgaism pliz

    1. Hi Ann,

      Hi Ann,
      the clitoris is the way to the female orgasm. When you are alone, try to rub it using some lube or spit. And when you are with your partner, they can rub or lick it. Most women can’t have an orgasm through the in-and-out movement of intercourse alone, which is why it’s so important to pay lots of attention to the clitoris. For more information and details, check the ‘making love’ and ‘her body’ sections on the website. Good luck!


    1. Hi Opoku,

      Hi Opoku,
      It sounds like you are coming earlier than you would like, this often happens to young men who don’t have a lot of sexual experience because they get very aroused very easily. With more sexually experienced men, it might be due to psychological problems, like fear, stress or depression.
      Generally though go slow, enjoy the buildup of touching and caressing each other. Make time for oral sex during your physical interactions. Take time focusing on your partner as well as yourself. Communicate together about what feels nice, what doesn’t and what you would like to try together. Experiment, explore and try new things!
      Make sure to use lots of lube and switch up the fun. Even if you do orgasm you can take some time to have oral sex with your partner until your body is ready to go again. Change positions and mix it up.
      Some people say condoms help them last longer, while others may use cock rings (just make sure it is the right size and not too tight!).
      Generally just remember that sex is more than just penetration and there are lots of ways to enjoy each other.
      If you are finding that you really cannot maintain an erection then it might be time to see a doctor. There are some medical conditions that can affect your performance but would need to be looked by a professional.
      You can also keep masturbating, however challenge yourself to last longer. Go slow, feel the way your body changes when you are getting closer to climax. Tease yourself, find tricks that help you delay the finish.
      Also check out:

  11. am cut clito help me i don,t
    am cut clito help me i don,t enjoy ten years marriade

    1. Hi Dot,

      Hi Dot,
      what do you mean by cut clito? Have you undergone female genital cutting?

  12. There r sme men they do not
    There r sme men they do not know hw 2 use condom wen there r in sexual u show us on hw 2 use condom?

  13. My penis does not erect…
    My penis does not erect after ajaculation is there a problem?

    1. Hi, This is completely…

      Hi, This is completely normal for men to have what is called a refractory period, where it cannot get hard after ejaculation. Honestly, your body is just telling you that it needs some time. There is no real way to change it or make it happen less, so just try to work with your body. If you are really hoping to have more sex, then take the time to recharge and focus on your partner. This is a good time to focus on them and give them pleasure. You will become hard again in no time and continue. 

  14. Can masturbating many times…
    Can masturbating many times make your erection to become weak?

  15. I think it is how you use it…
    I think it is how you use it and not what size you have.

    1. That’s true Mike. Keep…

      That’s true Mike. Keep reading.

  16. My problem is not a small…
    My problem is not a small penis but I ejaculate soon after we start sometimes even before we start. How can I stop this?

    1. Hello Derrick, what you are…

      Hello Derrick, what you are experiencing is know as Premature Ejaculation, which is caused by a number of reasons including fear, anxiety or even stress. Anxiety that you will not perform can make you ejaculate much earlier or stress from home or work. In other cases, particularly in young men it could be the result of sexual inexperience, and so as the young man gets older he also gains more experience in controlling ejaculation. There are a few things you one can do to improve control and last longer. In the short term, you can take short breaks during intercourse, you can also apply firm pressure underneath the penis during intercourse to push blood out of the penis hence decreasing sexual tension, distract yourself to think about other non sexual things or use penis desensitizers. Penis desensitizers come in the form of sprays and creams that can be applied on the penis minutes before intercourse and they help to delay ejaculation. Sometimes a condom can help reduce the sensitivity on the penis. In the long term one can ensure they eat healthy and avoid lots of processed foods, begin to exercise which improves blood flow in the body, reduce or eliminate the use of alcohol including smoking and more importantly reduce stress during intercourse. Foreplay will also play a critical role in preparing your partner and getting them closer to an orgasm. The following articles provide more information;-; 

  17. Hello! This is my 1st…
    Hello! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly
    enjoy reading through your posts.

    1. Keep reading our articles…

      Keep reading our articles for more information.

  18. Is it true that you tell the…
    Is it true that you tell the size of a guy’s penis by looking at his height or shoe size?

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