Researchers have finally made what might be the most important discovery of all: the ideal penis size.
Well, sort of. A study published this week in the journal PLOS One found that women have different preferences in penis size depending on what type of sexual encounter they're having. They did reach a consensus about what women desire in one-night stands and long-term relationships — but it's not fantastic news for dudes who might be on the smaller side.
The study: Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of New Mexico took a novel approach to evaluating women's penile preferences. While women are typically asked to list an ideal measurement or evaluate 2-D models of flaccid penises, this time researchers showed women actual 3D-printed phalluses.
"We wanted to understand whether some of the variability in the penis size preferences reported in previous studies might be due to not providing a clear context," UCLA sexual psychophysiologist Nicole Prause, the study's lead researcher, told Mic.
Prause and her team created a matrix of 100 possible penis sizes, with 10 different lengths and 10 different circumferences. The researchers then printed 33 dome-topped blue cylinders meant to model erect penises, which resembled high-end vibrators more than they did actual dicks. (According to the study, women tend to find nude males less attractive than heterosexual men find nude females, so "making the penis model more realistic might have provoked negative responses.")
We want different dicks at different times. Prause asked women to evaluate the phalluses not just for a single size that was generally ideal, but also for what they desired in different types of sexual relationships. "In the case of relationship length, the goal of those relationships are very different, so [size] preferences should vary if context matters," Prause said.
What she found isn't particularly surprising. Whether considering the ideal size for a one-night stand or a long-term relationship, women preferred penises that were slightly above average. Participants were partial to slightly larger penises (6.4 inches long and 5 inches around) for flings and slightly smaller 6.3 inches long and 4.8 inches around) for the long haul. Both preferences, however, are a little bigger than the average schlong, which is estimated to be about 5 inches long and 4.6 inches around.
Size matters, but it's not everything. We already know that penis size is somewhat important when it comes to female pleasure. But there's a critical obstacle to determining once and for all what women consider the "ideal" size: There isn't one.
It's impossible to reach a consensus on what women want in a penis, because literally every woman who has sex with men is bound to have her own opinion. Plus, size is far from the only thing that matters when it comes to determining sexual pleasure or women's contentedness with their sex lives. We also have to consider personality, compatibility and a man's other sexual skills, as well as other cosmetic penile features: Last month, a Journal of Sexual Medicine study determined that women tend to rank "penile skin" and even pubic hair over penis size when considering the ideal penis.
Prause's study, which polled just 75 women, can't tell us definitively what length or circumference is best. But in considering various sexual circumstances, it offers more realistic insights for men and women about what size might be most desirable in different types of relationships. Regardless of context, women do seem to gravitate toward penises of average size, which should give most men some peace of mind.
"The most important point is that there is no generally optimal penis size," Prause said. "The 'best' size depends on the situation and, when our next paper about the women comes out, individual characteristics of the women!"
h/t Daily Beast