Zachary, V. (Sept. 1999) Make it big.  Men's Health, 14 (7), Database:  Academic Search Elite

Size matters, but not in the way you think. Here's how to make the most of what you've got down below

Having sex is no great achievement. Insert Tab A into Slot B, and there you have it. Good sex, however, is a little more complicated and a hell of a lot more fun. To achieve that, you first have to take a look at what you're bringing to the party. Really, take a look at it. Is it long? Short? Wide? False modesty or, worse, comparing yourself to the lumber at Home Depot, isn't helpful. You need to be objective, which means you'll need to measure.

Before you balk at the idea of locking yourself in the bathroom with a ruler, consider this: Spend just 5 minutes calculating the length, girth, and erection angle of your penis, and you can spend the rest of your life having better sex. Once you know your dimensions, we'll show you ways to use what you have more effectively.

Sizing Yourself Up

Most men go through life without a clear idea of how big they actually are. In fact, researchers have found that the average man thinks he's below average.

"Men were good at appraising their overall physique, but when it came to relative penis size, as a group they tended to underestimate," says Peter A. Lee, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh. Twenty-six percent of respondents to Dr. Lee's study gauged their own penis size as "below average," but a mere S percent checked the "above average" box.

"It's difficult to accurately assess penis size," Dr. Lee says. The damn thing is al* ways growing bigger and smaller, and your point of view can be misleading. "If you're in a locker room with other men, theirs may look bigger because you're seeing them in profile. You look down at your own."

The best way to tell how big you are is to measure yourself as a urologist would. We asked Hunter Wessells, M.D., who has studied penis size at the University of Arizona, to tell us how. You can compare your answers with the averages below, compiled from recent studies in the United States and Australia.

Make the Most of What You Have

Now that you know what you're working with, it's time to learn how to use it to your best advantage.

Erect Length

An average-size man can better target this sensitive outer third by entering from on top while the woman lies with her legs flat on the bed. This reduces the depth of penetration by preventing your pelvises from coming all the way together. (This is also a good position for oversize guys.) In addition, when her legs are extended, it puts more tension on her vaginal lips, which improves the stimulation for both of you.

• Less than 4.5 inches: "Men who are short sometimes feel cheated, but they have options that larger men don't have," says Judy Seifer, Ph.D., a sex therapist.

When a woman first becomes aroused, her vagina expands more than necessary in order to accommodate an object it hasn't yet had a chance to size up. "Then, after a minute or two of thrusting, it collapses back around the penis," says Elliott.

Use this to your advantage by employing the coital alignment technique. "You simply ride high, bringing the base of your penis up against her clitoris," says Seifer. Then, instead of thrusting, rub and grind against her pubic bone. "Since you're not thrusting, it doesn't matter how long or short you are; it's all in the rocking motion."

If you're worried about your appearance with the lights on, try trimming your pubic hair. "A careful trim will make you look an inch and a half longer," says Seller. Snip half an inch or so around the base of your penis. Don't do this after drinking.


• More than 5.14 inches: A guy with a thick penis and a girl with a small vagina can make for an unhappy couple. "I've actually heard of a few cases where there were such dramatic size differences that it was just too painful for the woman to have sex," says Elliott. Although that's rare, men in this category need to exercise caution, especially during the transition from foreplay to intercourse.

Keep in mind that the more aroused your partner becomes during foreplay, the more her vagina will expand. "So simply waiting for her to get wet isn't good enough," cautions Elliott. "You have to wait several minutes more, until she's fully engorged. She'll eventually accommodate you." Then use a little saliva or lube to moisten your penis before entry. Ask her to guide you in, and go easy on the first dozen thrusts.

• 5.14 inches or less: For men with narrow penises, it's all about friction. "Women don't usually have a problem with thin guys, but some men say they can't achieve enough sensation and they feel like they're lost inside the vagina," says Seifer. If this has been your experience, the best lovemaking position is one in which her knees are together and her vagina is stretched from front to back, not side to side. She can either lie flat on the bed or tuck her legs up against her chest. This will pull her vaginal lips together, tightening her grip on your erection and creating extra friction.

A great position for a man with a long, thin penis is to enter from behind while she lies flat on her stomach. This reduces depth and increases tightness.

Erecton Angle:

• 90 degrees or more: The more directly skyward your penis points, the less flexible your erection is and the more careful you have to be when using it. It's possible to fracture your penis, so don't get too acrobatic during sex, and be especially careful when she's gyrating on top. Also, "note which way you point, and consider the angle of your partner's vagina," says Seifer. Take a finger, explore, and try to get a sense of which way she slants. "Deep upward thrusts can put uncomfortable pressure on the back wall of a woman's bladder, which can give her the urge to urinate." If your angle is steep, ask her to sit up against the headboard for better alignment.

If your erection curves slightly toward the ceiling (about 25 percent of erections do), you possess the perfect penis to rub her G-spot. Use the missionary position, but keep your pelvis low and make shallow thrusts. Steep, stubby men are doubly blessed: They can keep the head of the penis within those first sensitive inches of the vagina and stimulate the G-spot at the same time.

• Less than 90 degrees: Don't be upset if you have a low angle of erection. Positions that don't work for others--such as face-to-face sex, where the two of you sit and then lie back connected only at the hips--can give you a creative advantage.

Find positions that give you maximum stimulation. For most men, this means the missionary position. "It helps keep the bloodflow going, which increases sensitivity and endurance, and may help boost erection angle," says Elliott.

• If you point or curve to the left or right, be extra careful during sex: A misaligned penis can be very uncomfortable for your partner, especially during the initial thrusts. "A lot of men with penises that point to 10 or 2 o'clock find that sideways positions such as spooning work best at first," says Seifer.