Three important takeaways from the "ladies like big penises" study


137 Responses to “Three important takeaways from the "ladies like big penises" study”

  1. Stooge says:

    The most significant problem with this study is that even if this conclusion is true, it may be utterly meaningless because it’s not a choice the vast majority of women get to make: I would argue that seeing a guy’s junk is something that for most women happens after they’ve decided to have sex with them, and it’s probably not going to be flaccid on first viewing.

    • Leah Raeder says:

      Theoretically, this may have happened in The Distant Past, when we were hunter-gatherers running around half-naked, and penii were on display to potential mates.

    • Stooge, that is (probably) only the case in very recent evolutionary history – as our ancestors did not wear clothes.

      • Stooge says:

        Our ancestors didn’t take part in the study :)

        • To the extent that we have behaviours evolved by our ancestors, yes they did.

          • wysinwyg says:

             Almost no human behaviors are autonomic.  Genes do not encode for tying your shoes or wiping snot out of your nose.  Unless you sort of stretch the term “behavior” to include reflex actions then no, we really don’t have many behaviors evolved by our ancestors.

            Note that very few of us hunt and very few of our ancestors checked their email using their iPhones.

          • SamSam says:

             no, we really don’t have many behaviors evolved by our ancestors.

            What does this even mean? Where do you think we get our mating behavior, our eating behavior, our walking behavior?

            We evolved to be bipedal. Our bipedal behaviors are evolutionary. Similarly, we look for food and feed ourselves when hungry. No, we didn’t evolve the specific motor actions of “opening the fridge” or “using a can opener,” but the behavior of “feeding” is obviously evolved. Same with mating — you exist because your ancestors had an evolved behavior to put their penises into your other ancestors.

            No one thinks that a specific motor action like tying your shoes is evolved, but the internal causes that create the majority of your behaviors certainly are.

          • wysinwyg says:

            What does this even mean?

            Exactly what it says.  Behaviors are not primarily determined by genes.  They are primarily determined by the brain, which is in turn shapes as much by life experience/culture as by genetics.  Genes provide the substrate but particular behaviors are motivated by culture.

            Where do you think we get our mating behavior, our eating behavior, our walking behavior?

            Culture, culture, culture.  Mating behavior differs from culture to culture.  In case you haven’t noticed many cultures have been polygamous; ours is not.  Did we “evolve” to be polygamous or monogamous?  Neither.  We evolved to have the capacity to both.  What decides which we are is culture.  What do we eat?  We seem to have evolved to develop food taboos but the specifics of those taboos greatly differ from culture to culture.  The US/UK taboo on eating horse or dog is a pretty good example.  We didn’t evolve not to eat dog; that’s culture.

            As far as locomotion goes, yes, that’s cultural as well.  It’s pretty well-documented that people living in bigger cities actually walk faster than people living in smaller cities.  Do you think this difference in behavior is encoded in genes?  Seems implausible to me.  Again, genes provide the substrate for bipedal locomotion but the specifics are provided by culture.

          • Stooge says:

            What I was rather pithily alluding to was that although clothes would usually be considered a very recent phenomenon in evolutionary terms, the heterogeneity and rate of change of what people find to be sexually attractive physical characteristics are such that what people liked before clothing came about is not likely to have a huge bearing on present day tastes.

          • Gilbert Wham says:

             Sez you. I haz biological urges. Pants are immaterial (well, actually, they’re material, but…).

          • wysinwyg says:

            Only if you assume that tastes are largely determined by genetics rather than culture.  Unfortunately there’s an absurd amount of evidence that tastes are largely determined by culture rather than genetics.

            The mere existence of the term “acquired taste” suggests that genetics don’t determine tastes.

            Need more evidence? Let me know whether you find this beautiful.

          • Stooge says:

            @wysinwyg: That makes absolutely no sense at all.

            I deliberately avoided specifying an evolutionary modality because it makes no difference to my argument whether the mechanism is cultural or genetic.

      • chgoliz says:

         Homo Erectus? That’s an extinct line.

        And Homo Flaccidus is a VERY extinct line.  Didn’t have much luck with the ladies for some reason.

      • RedShirt77 says:

         The human species can die of exposure in like 50, degree weather if naked.  So unless we lost our fur and body fat real suddenly lots of our ancestors did indeed wear clothes.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          One theory for the development of huge honking johnsons in humans is that Africa is hot, and penises, being highly vascular, are an excellent tool for dumping excess heat.

          • Donald Petersen says:

            Really?  Penis as radiator.  I grew up hearing that was a possible explanation for the sail on the back of Dimetrodon.

            Now someone will claim that’s why, as Mlle. von Schtupp claims, “it’s TWUE” what they say.

            I say we line up opposing teams of, say, Norwegian and Ugandan men on a hot sunny day, aim pyrometers at their junk, and take a reading!

          • welcomeabored says:

            So a big johnson flapping in the breeze is like an elephant’s ears?

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Yes! In either case, I think, “Man, it would be fun to go for a ride on that!”

          • RedShirt77 says:

             Haven’t you heard that song that goes, “Do your ears hang low, do the wobble to and fro?”   its not realy about ears…   Its about balls.  which are more like elephant ears.

          • RedShirt77 says:

             Well, that certainly explains why absorbent underpants are such a big seller.  But I am not sure how a gender specific trait with a unisex use would really have a strong evolutionary push unless women had some sort of equivalent system or behavior kept the women out of the noon day sun.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            I am not sure how a gender specific trait with a unisex use would really have a strong evolutionary push

            You’re going to have a hard time explaining sexual dimorphism in about a billion species, then.

    • Girard says:

      There isn’t really actionable information here for anyone (not that pragmatic application is the only basis for the worthwhileness of a study, of course). Women typically don’t get to window shop and pick the prick that suits their fancy, and men can’t really do anything to change what they have on offer anyway.

  2. Studies are studies.   Maybe you can discover something about the real world by showing women pictures of computer generated Grey alien/shop-front manikins….maybe not.  I’d like to see some studies.

  3. silkox says:

    Hooray for women who found anything at all attractive about those pictures!

  4. lknope says:

    When I look at that picture, I’m choosing the least of three evils rather than the one I find most attractive.  A hairless white dummy with a giant forehead is not exactly attractive to me.

  5. angusm says:

    “Surprisingly, larger penis size and greater height had almost equivalent positive effects on male attractiveness.”

    Once the spammers get to hear of this, we’ll start being bombarded with “one weird trick to grow taller” spams (which I have actually seen, but which are a rarity compared to the ubiquitous penis-enlargement spams).

  6. Bradley Robinson says:

    Not interested in ladies (plural).  The lady (singular) I share my life with seems quite content with our escapades and whatever equipment we employ in the process, including my own.

    My own personal conclusion: if you’re a dick, you need a big one.  Otherwise, any reasonable size will do.  

  7. llamaspit says:

    A study of nose sizes might be more useful. At least women get to see that part before the action starts.

  8. vonbobo says:

    Now add in the size of their bank accounts… 

  9. Luther Blissett says:

    Just had a glimpse. A simple multiple regression, with, if I get it correctly, R² around 0.8 for shoulder-to-hip-ratio ~ “relative attractiveness”, and we would be able to predict additional 0.061 with height, or 0.051 with penis length? (Which is, in fact, not advised to do, due to collinearity, not addressing the issue of multiple testing, etc.) I am slightly underwhelmed. Five percent, however the p-value, will be 5% at the end of the day.

    Also, “Female participants were recruited at Monash University and the Australian National University (students, staff, and nonuniversity).”

    Most importantly, the measure of “relative attractiveness”: “Please rate each figure based on how sexually attractive they are to you (Likert scale: 1–7).”
    PNAS, seriously? Is this state of the art in evolutionary biology? I am a little confused. Gotta recheck with some friends who did psychoacoustics and related stuff if you would get through peer review with a study design and analyses like this. My impression is, you wont.

  10. welcomeabored says:

    The sexiest ‘equipment’ I know of on a male are slow hands and a wicked sense of humor.  Height has nothing to do with it.  One of sexiest men I’ve ever met was 4′ 7″.

  11. PaulDavisTheFirst says:

    Will I ever be able to forget John C. Reilly saying in an interview “I’m a grower, not a shower” ? A handy term, either way.

  12. anon0mouse says:

    Yeah, but were the chicks hot?

    [obligatory deflective response]

  13. I suspect that larger than necessary penis size evolved not through female sexual selection, but through male social selection. Large penis size may have been a way males judge their social standing. Larger penis. Higher social standing. Higher social status, better access to the babes.

    Jarad Diamond covers this theory in his book The Third Chimpanzee.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Except in classical antiquity, for example, big dicks were considered animalistic and undesirable.

      • senorglory says:


      • Cave Johnson says:

        Except that doesn’t mean shit in the context of humanity’s evolution. Big penises fluctuate in and out of favor in a complex modern society full of very strange and sapient humans, but that doesn’t dictate that they did so in humanity’s ancestors with much simpler culture.

      • Girard says:

        I actually agree with your point about the role culture plays in these subjective judgments, but just to play devil’s advocate: How many of those assessments from antiquity were written by women?

    • wysinwyg says:

       I have noticed that men seem to be way more obsessed with penis size than women are.

  14. I still don’t understand if they mean LONG or THICK…big doesn’t really specify.

  15. Brainspore says:

    Meanwhile the mandrills are wondering how those hairless freaks manage to get laid at all with such dull-colored naughty bits.

  16. Ito Kagehisa says:

    Paywalled, and thus not read.

  17. ericmonse says:

    Women like big penises because it means only one thing: big hands and big feet.

  18. Preston Sturges says:

    When a man drops his pants for a lady the first time, either her face lights up like a little kid getting the perfect Christmas gift or…… well, that, or I guess it doesn’t, I suppose. 

  19. greenberger says:

    I realize this is a question a lot of people want answered, but, seriously, who was naive enough to propose / fund / carry out this ridiculous attempt at a study? Not to mention, Maggie’s conclusions don’t match the actual abstract’s- they’re basically saying women do prefer a guy not just with a larger penis but one that’s taller and larger overall. So a midget with a huge dick does very little for women- which everyone already knew. 

    As much as I’d like to believe that women are above such primitive ways of judging a good mate, my own “non-scientific” surveys of women I’ve known in both intimate and non-intimate settings over my many years of existence has made it very clear that size does matter. Lots of other things matter, too, so obviously penis size is not going to make or break the deal for most women, but to pretend like it’s not a factor is just wishful revisionist liberal thinking. Let’s just accept that fact right now, fellers.

    • Brainspore says:

      Sometimes scientific studies of things “people already know” confirm what was already expected, and sometimes they don’t. The former expand our knowledge by making a measurement. The latter expand our knowledge by making a discovery.

    • millie fink says:

      So a midget with a huge dick does very little for women- which everyone already knew.

      Oh I don’t know, Ron Jeremy seems to do all right with the ladies. 

      Or is that all just some kind of . . . fantasy?

    • Donald Petersen says:

      In my experience, size only seems to matter at the extremes.  Or maybe that’s just where it seems to elicit comment.  A friend of my wife’s once had sex with a handsome, well-built fella whose fully-erect unit she later compared to the size of her pinkie.  So that was noticeable, and provoked a certain degree of surprise.  And, later on, out of the poor chap’s presence, mirth.  And I have known women who spoke fondly of entertainingly large members, and some who spoke less-fondly of uncomfortably large members.  I had a friend who demanded a certain limit on curvature, due to a vaginal shape that made sex with a marked upwardly-curved penis quite uncomfortable.

      So it always seemed to me that within the parameters of what will comfortably fit, women have entirely subjective opinions on whatever range of penis sizes and shapes they prefer, which is entirely reasonable, and it’s not really useful to waste much time thinking about What Generic Woman Wants In Penis Size.  Generally, the topic is just a minor one within the spectrum of the various traits that might serve to attract or repel a potential mate.  I’ve always tried to focus on repeat business, as it were, and so I’m more interested in learning how I might “show her a good time” enough that she’s keen to come back for more.  Relying on my looks won’t get me too terribly far, but a reputation as a skilled and sensitive lover would probably serve me better than a reputation as a well-hung dude who can’t be bothered putting in any extra effort to please.

  20. eragle says:

    What if you’re a grow-er and not a show-er?

  21. PinkWithIndignation says:

    The man on the right bears a slight resemblance to Eric from True Blood and his hipbones. Thanks for the visualization!
    Also there is no correlation between hand size and penis size. Trust me on this. If anything, there might be a negative correlation.

  22. smut clyde says:

    Sometimes scientific studies of things “people already know” confirm what was already expected, and sometimes they don’t.

    In this case, however, the researchers have ruled out disconfirming possibilities in advance. They apply A simple multiple regression.
    Having assumed a linear size/attractiveness relationship, they’re not going to find that there was an optimal size (which would need a quadratic relationship).

    This is one of those studies where the press release was already written before collecting the data.

    • smut clyde says:

       My apologies, I should have looked at the paper — they *did* check for quadratic relationship, and there was indeed an optimal size. Bigger was not better.

  23. Tribune says:

    So the TSA uses a tissue 3d printer and prints their scans for “research”.

  24. Jimb1233 says:

    Mine never seems to hang long like these guys it has a way of shrinking back into itself. oh well 

  25. smut clyde says:

    Three important takeaways

    I was expecting pizza.

  26. Cowicide says:

    eHarmony changed their form today…

  27. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Here are some useful guidelines about penis size:
    - No dick is big enough to make up for not having a personality.
    - A big dick on a guy who doesn’t know what to do with it is like a Maserati that’s stuck in first gear.  It only leads to frustration.
    - It only needs to be long enough to not keep falling out and to hit the right spots.  Over eight or nine inches and it’s just going to hurt.
    - There’s no such thing as too thick. Get a can of Crisco, a bottle of poppers and a shoehorn and start practicing.  You’ll thank me in a month.

    • Roose_Bolton says:

      “Get a can of Crisco, a bottle of poppers and a shoehorn…” I can’t wait to use this advice without regard for the context.

      Girlfriend: Can you help me hang out the laundry?
      Me: ….

  28. RedShirt77 says:

    People, the point of the study was to determine what female preferences might have driven the evolution of the penis, not what modern women use to make modern day mating choices.

  29. sirgoofs says:

    And for another surprise…Men like big boobs. Still it never stopped any of us from having a great time with a lovely lady with b cups.

  30. senorglory says:


  31. gibson5string says:

    “…image above is meant to show you an average, actual human guy in the middle…”

    i’m speculating that’s a representation of an average NBA player on the right, and an average WNBA player on the left.

  32. zakk says:

    The Ku Klux Klan  were the first to discover this, cowering behind the cross with their little dongs terrified, humiliated  and frighten. 

  33. Jamtech says:

    The size of the penis does not matter it is the strength that matters learn the types of food to eat for a very strong and stiff penis

  34. rimsha cute says:

    I think size matters for me more than the body shape

  35. Monkey_pants says:

    Doesn’t the average penis length roughly correlate to the depth of the average vagina? Seems like the there may be something significant there. 

    Length certainly isn’t terribly desirable as far as sexual performance goes – who the hell wants someone slamming into their cervix during sex? 

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