Worldwide Temporal Trends in Penile Length: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

World J Mens Health. 2023 Oct;41(4):848-860. doi: 10.5534/wjmh.220203. Epub 2023 Feb 15.


Purpose: Normative male genital measurements are clinically useful and temporal changes would have important implications. The aim of the present study is to characterize the trend of worldwide penile length over time.

Materials and methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis using papers from PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library from inception to April 2022 was performed. PRISMA guidelines were used for abstracting data and assessing data quality and validity. Pooled means and standard deviations for flaccid, stretched, and erect length were obtained. Subgroup analyses were performed by looking at differences in the region of origin, population type, and the decade of publication. Metaregression analyses were to adjusted for potential confounders.

Results: Seventy-five studies published between 1942 and 2021 were evaluated including data from 55,761 men. The pooled mean length estimates were flaccid length: 8.70 cm (95% CI, 8.16-9.23), stretched length: 12.93 cm (95% CI, 12.48-13.39), and erect length: 13.93 cm (95% CI, 13.20-14.65). All measurements showed variation by geographic region. Erect length increased significantly over time (QM=4.49, df=2, p=0.04) in several regions of the world and across all age groups, while no trends were identified in other penile size measurements. After adjusting for geographic region, subject age, and subject population; erect penile length increased 24% over the past 29 years.

Conclusions: The average erect penis length has increased over the past three decades across the world. Given the significant implications, attention to potential causes should be investigated.

Keywords: Anatomy; Hormones; Meta-analysis; Penis.