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Big Hands. Big Feet. Big Penis? Determining Penis Size

Can you tell the size of a man’s penis by looking at his hands or feet, or by how tall he is? Urban legend asserts that you can, for the most part, assume a man's penis size after seeing his hands and feet.
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It’s not uncommon to hear a woman speculate about a man’s member after sizing up his broad shoulders or scoffing at his dainty hands. Just the other day, I caught myself drifting into wonderland after catching sight of some of the largest, thickest man hands I have ever seen. I wasn’t even attracted to the owner of said hands, but I couldn’t get my mind out of the gutter. Damn, I thought, his penis must be huge.

But what evidence is there for correlating a man’s twigs and berries with the size of his extremities, or his height, or even his race?

When to Measure
The answer is not as clear as you might think. In a 2002 study conducted at the University College London, researchers wanted to know if a man’s shoe size correlated with the length of his unit. Measuring 104 men’s feet was easy; measuring their penises was not. That’s because there is no perfect way to measure a man’s penis. Should length be measured when it’s flaccid, stretched, or erect? Most men would probably want their penises to be measured when they’re erect—putting the best foot forward as it were—but not all erections are created equal. Some are really big and hard, and some are just big and hard.

In this study, and in many others that measure penis length, the researchers stretched the penis with a defined amount of force to determine how long it can get. This gives a pretty good indication of how long the penis would be when fully erect. (You can also inject a hormone into the penis to make it fully erect, but the idea of a needle near a penis makes for very few volunteers.)

The result of this study, to the relief of all size seven shoe-wearing males, was that “there is no scientific support for the relationship” between the size of shoe and length of penis.

Another study, which looked at body height in addition to foot length, had similar results. Researchers at University of Alberta measured the height, shoe size, and stretched penile length of 63 healthy men. They found that body height and foot length were only weakly correlated with the size of their penis and that “height and foot size would not serve as practical estimators of penis length.” Big feet mean that, ho-hum, he’ll wear big shoes. However, the issue of height is not so clearly resolved.

Beyond the Study
Although the above study did not find a correlation between height and penis size, my own anecdotal evidence in this category has proven otherwise. The biggest penis I’ve ever seen was attached to the biggest and tallest man I’ve ever slept with. The smallest penis? You guessed it, a petite man only a few inches taller than my 5'4". But a handful of men does not make a truth. So, digging deeper, I found a 2001 Italian study, conducted among 3,300 young men which found that penis dimensions (length and girth) were significantly correlated with weight and height. Another large study, published in the International Journal of Impotence Research in 2007, found a correlation between height and penis dimensions in 1,500 men. Although I’ve definitely seen some statistical outliers—tall men with small penises, short guys with big ones—the averages seem to show that males, parts to a whole, are proportionately scaled. But what about hands? 

That’s where things get a little more interesting. In 2002, a group of Greek researchers measured the body compositions, including height, weight, waist/hip ratio, finger length and penis length of 52 men, aged 19-38. They found that age and body characteristics were not associated with size of penis except for the “index finger length, which correlated significantly with the dimensions of the flaccid, maximally stretched penis.” Another study—this one with 1500 men—found that length of index finger was significantly correlated with penis dimensions.

Men with small hands have always unnerved me, and now I have a reason why. As with correlating height to penis size, we could probably use a few more studies on this subject, but there is evidence that finger length may have something to do with hormones, which have something to do with growth of a penis. Researchers have speculated that the ratio of index finger to ring finger can provide clues to how much testosterone a fetus is exposed to in the uterus. Longer index fingers may be a proxy to higher amounts of testosterone in the womb, and therefore, larger penises.

As for difference in penis size between races, there is no apparent science behind this myth. A review of the literature published in the British Journal of Urology International (BJUI) in 2006 found no differences among races, despite the popular notion that “once you go black, you never go back.”

So What's Normal?
But what’s the point of all this penis study, anyway? It’s not necessarily to debunk notions of shoe and penis size; it’s to get an accurate assessment of what’s “normal.” Many men worry about the size of their penis. According to the BJUI review, almost 12 percent of men are concerned that their penis is too small, but anxiety over a small penis is somewhat unfounded. Micropenises—meaning a flaccid penis that measures less than two inches—are uncommon; only about 0.6 percent of the male population has them. That means that out of 1,000 men, only six would have a micropenis—probably the ones driving sports cars.

Most men fall within a normal range of penis size, which, according to the Kinsey Institute, a center that studies sex, gender, and reproduction, is between five to seven inches when erect. As we’ve all seen, men have a built-in system for turning a small, flaccid penis into a larger one; it’s called an erection. And, while men stress over the length of their units, most women are actually concerned with girth. Back to the BJUI review, which found that 90 percent of women prefer a wide penis. An informal survey of my friends found that girth overwhelmingly trumped length. After all, our vaginas are only about four inches in length. We would rather feel it going in than have it, as my friend likes to say, “slamming against my uterus.”

Men, apparently, have anxiety over their penises largely due to the same reasons that women have anxiety over weight. We see pictures in magazines of skinny women that are nowhere near the norm; men see erotica/porn with men that have penises like Dirk Diggler from Boogie Nights. Dirk and his fellow porn stars are a statistical anomaly.

Though women may like to speculate on the size of things, and none of this may be based on solid research, a man's penis size isn’t everything. It has nothing to do with his virility. Most women are satisfied with their partner’s penis. Although bigger sometimes feels better, there is one urban legend that all men can take to heart: it’s not the size of the ship, it’s the motion of the ocean.

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