By Madeleine Castellanos, M.D.
You'll almost never hear a guy complain that his penis is too big. If you do, it's because his partner is uncomfortable with it, it's so big that he's losing consciousness when he gets an erection, or he's trying to wear outfits that suggest he doesn't have one. But usually men are concerned about whether their penis is large enough. Often, their sense of identity is closely tied to the size of their penis and their ideas about it.
As more and more people are getting their sex ed and ideas about human anatomy from porn, I see an increasing number of men who think that their penis is too small. They may point out that guys in porn films are usually chosen because of their size, their ability to get it up and keep it up, and their comfort in being able to do sex scenes with twenty people standing around and sometimes breaking for lunch.
Although there is a great deal of variation, the average penis when erect is about five and a half to six inches long. Considering that the average vagina is about three inches deep, an average size guy will certainly be able to reach her cervix with his erection. Even when she is aroused and the vagina expands another inch or so, it still isn't as deep as the length of the average guy. And for men that are enjoying anal sex, it only takes about four inches to stimulate the prostate with anal penetration.
But back to the problem of being too big. When you ask women, most would agree that girth is usually more important than length when it comes to enjoying being vaginally penetrated. This is because of all of the erectile tissue that surrounds the opening of the vagina which is stimulated when she is penetrated. The average width of an erect penis is about four and three quarters inches around. Usually it isn't until about over six inches in circumference that some partners will start to feel it becomes a little challenging.
If a guy is too wide, it could be quite uncomfortable for her, especially if it causes too much stretching of the labia. When a woman is premenopausal, she has more elasticity of the tissues, which allows them to stretch gradually to whatever she needs. This becomes more difficult after menopause because of the decrease in both estrogen and testosterone. If her partner is quite wide, she may need to learn some relaxation breathing as well as learn to relax her PC muscles and use plenty of lube. This should be done gently, and at her pace to prevent tearing of the tissues. The same is true for the bottom in anal sex (the one being penetrated) if the top has a wide erection. Girth also becomes an issue if a man's erect penis is too large to fit in one's mouth, which could seriously place limits on the amount of oral sex he can receive.
When it comes to length, a woman's vagina stretches during intercourse. But many times women find it uncomfortable to be knocked about by the head of her partner's penis if he is thrusting too deep at an uncomfortable angle. If she has pain with deep penetration, she may have endometriosis that forms scar tissue which prevents stretching of the tissues. Otherwise, you may be hitting her cervix a little too directly. Changing the angle by changing positions could be helpful. In considering long erections for oral sex, it is important to remember that the tip of the erection and the area just below the head are the most sensitive parts. This means that a man does not have to have his entire erection completely in his partner's mouth in order to get a good blow job. If he does like to have it completely taken into the mouth, he is probably more excited with the visual image and the idea of it getting completely enveloped rather than the actual physical sensation.
Too big usually comes down to the comfort level of the partner. If it seriously interferes with the amount of sexual intercourse a man gets, then he would probably consider himself too large. If you have a very large penis, give your partner time to lube, relax and stretch. Breathing and getting very aroused are extremely important. You almost never find a penis so large that a man would pass out when erect. That would require about a liter of blood to be displaced by his erection alone, and his body would already have accommodated over time by maintaining a larger than average blood volume. But it is interesting to think about.