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Every Old Wives’ Tale About Dick Size, Examined

Big feet = big shoes, and that’s about all

We all know the common tropes: The bigger feet, the longer the dick; the stretchier the earlobes, the more elastic the ball sack (what, your mom never told you that?); etc. The list goes on, and no matter how much you frantically read forums and Yahoo! answers debunking the claims, you just can’t shake the feeling that maybe tiny hands really do translate to a tiny little needledick.

Well, rest your tiny fingers, brother, because I tested the patience of Darius Paduch, Herbert Fisk Johnson Associate Professor of Reproductive Medicine and Urology at Cornell University, and Mark Leavey, an internist in Baltimore, to debunk every old wives’ tales about dick size I could think of. And I could think of a lot.

First, though, the prevailing science: Our obsession to find a correlation between appendage size and dick size has gained enough momentum that actual money has been spent on actual research into the subject. While most data on this subject is flawed due to a reliance on self-reporting, a 2014 study published in BJU International found that after “gently pulling” and measuring the flaccid penises of 15,521 men from varying countries, there are at best “weak or inconsistent” correlations between foot size, height, testicular volume, BMI, digit ratio, age and penile girth or length.

But still, consider me the climate-change denier of dick size, because I needed to hear it from the horse’s mouth.

Physical Traits

Big Feet, Big Dick: Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, big feet equals beast. This myth is so old, it’s surprising there isn’t a verse in the Bible where Job compares his size 12 sandals to a 9-inch hog. While Paduch says this is “unfounded,” he does admit that foot size during puberty could be an indication of growth potential. “Often adolescents with longer feet started puberty later and take them longer to finish,” he says. “We see that men who had a long puberty, or started puberty later, often have longer penises.” So if you recall having an extended “awkward stage” or didn’t hit puberty until you were driving, there’s a chance you have a slightly longer dick than others. So… worth it?

Big Hands, Huge Hog: I have fat little hands and often complain to the owner of my co-ed softball league that if men such as myself have small, womanly hands, we should be able to wear gloves just like the girls do (in Chicago, we’re big swinging dicks who play our softball—which is 16-inches in size if you must know—without gloves). My complaints fall on deaf ears, but at least I can rest easy knowing I (probably) have a very average, perfectly normal-sized peen.

“Most young men learn about penis size nowadays from porn, where camera angles and use of medications to prolong erections is the name of the game,” says Paduch, putting me and my tiny hands at ease. “The clitoris is a very short distance from skin, so even guys with a three-inch erect penis are able to give their partners fantastic orgasms.”

Ratio of Index Finger to Ring Finger: So big hands have nothing to do with your hog—but that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods yet. A study run by a team of physicians in Korea found a correlation between the ratio of the index finger to ring finger and length of penis. “The second to fourth digit ratio has been proposed as a putative biomarker for prenatal testosterone,” the study says. Since prenatal testosterone plays a central role in penile growth, there must surely be a connection.

If potential partners were to measure your index finger, then divide it by the length of your ring finger, they might be able to predict your wang size. Here’s how: If your index finger is shorter than your ring finger, your ratio will be less than 1, which is an indicator of high exposure to testosterone in the womb. If your index finger is longer than your ring finger, there’s a chance you’re not quite packin’ heat. The ratio, deemed the “Digit Ratio,” may also be an indicator of other things, such as behavior and health.

Large Schnoz, Swangin’ Schlong: Beyond “ethnic differences,” Paduch says there’s no possible correlation, and it would be difficult to quantify even if they were taken into consideration. On the topic of ethnicities, the aforementioned study of 15,521 men admitted that “most of the participants were caucasian or Middle Eastern,” and thus, given their data, it wasn’t possible to “draw any conclusions about any differences in penile size across different cultures.”

Size of Adam’s Apple: There’s no scientific correlation here—no amount of testosterone affecting either, or anything like that. However, Paduch does offer that this could be an “approximation of fat,” meaning, guys with large visible Adam’s apples are typically skinny and lean, and the most common reason for short penis isn’t a short penis, but obesity. And a lean body will mean the penis isn’t hidden behind pubic fat, and thus be longer.”

Tall Man, Tall Meatpole: Paduch simply says, “No,” with no further explanation, so at this point his patience might’ve been wearing thin.

Growth Hacks

Next, I asked the doctors for feedback on what possible penile growth hacks exist, because even after all that, I still needed to know if it’s possible to be bigger.

Penis Pumps: Paduch says it’s “for sure not a bad way to make a guy look thicker for a night,” but that the results are transient, i.e., there are no lasting effects. According to Leavey, “it works, but only as long as the elastic band is in place to sequester the blood into the penis. Otherwise there are no lasting effects.”

Vitamin E Oil, Lotions and Gas Station Sex Pills: “Let’s dispense with Vitamin E oil, lotions, and magic pills,” says Leavey. “None of them have any basis in fact.” Paduch agrees, and especially urges people to not use vitamin E, as it “may be detrimental in higher doses.” He continues, “Most of the magic pills have generic Viagra or Cialis in them,” and act by increasing blood flow through the penis. “It helps guys who are nervous—high adrenaline is like putting a penis in cold water, so you get shrinkage,” he explains.

Stretchers: “Penis stretchers and weights don’t do anything but potentially injure the tissue of the penis,” says Leavey. “You could end up tearing or injuring the erectile tissue, and have worse problems than you think you have now.” Paduch agrees, saying they’ll only really “work for guys who have penile curvature,” but because they require repeated use, you risk damaging the nerves and vessels in your penis.

That said, a 2011 study took men who complained of “having a small penis,” and had them wear the Golden Erect®, a penis traction tool (which may be discontinued since it’s strangely nowhere to be found on the internet) that constantly stretches your penis for “4–6 hours per day during the first 2 weeks and then 9 hours per day until the end of the third month.” Their conclusion was that while more research is recommended, their “findings supported the efficacy of the device in increasing penile length… and suggested the possibility of glans penis girth enhancement using penile extender.”

So if you want to wear a penis extender for nine hours a day, every day, you might see an increase of about one centimeter. Huzzah!

Injections: Self-conscious men often turn to injecting collagen (or worse things) into their dick in an attempt to girth up. Bad idea. “Injections of collagen, fat or silicone have been tried, and although there are some proponents and anecdotal testimonials, there are no long-term studies for safety and efficacy. Thus, these aren’t recommended,” says Leavey.

Paduch says he discusses these with some patients, but they’re temporary and “often require multiple injections.”

Jelqing: Despite being said to be an “ancient (or some say modern) technique of growing penile size or circumference, this is ineffective,” says Leavey. He references several studies, including one published in Men’s Health, that debunk this practice. Still, some guys will try it, but “most overdo it, ending up with numbness in the penis,” says Padduch, continuing bluntly, “Avoid doing this!”

Penis-lengthening surgery: “There are various surgical procedures that have been tried, which don't really lengthen the penis as much as allow more penile tissue to be exposed at the base,” says Leavey. But these tend to be “overall disappointing, not to mention expensive, painful and not covered by insurance.” He’s right—the most common penile surgeries are cosmetic, in that they alter tissue surrounding the penis, but none will explicitly lengthen it.

Paduch performs such surgeries, “but typically as reconstruction, like removal of pubic fat, correction of penile webbing and release of concealed penis, when a scar from circumcision restricts penile expansion.”

If you really want to see growth, there’s one thing that definitely works—losing weight. As mentioned earlier: “Fat in the lower belly can obscure the base of the penis, so losing some weight can allow the full shaft to be exposed, giving you more tool to work with,” explains Leavey. “For that matter, some manscaping and removal of pubic hair can provide more penis to see with little effort, and it can be a group activity!”

What it comes down to it, assures Paduch, it’s not penis size, but “intimacy and using your tools the right way.” As he states very matter-of-factly, “I didn’t go to the bar, drop my pants and whip out my penis for my wife to say: ‘OMG Paduch has such an amazing penis, I will marry him.’ Younger guys avoid going out or having sex because they worry about penis size, but they need to get out and stop worrying about it: We all come in different sizes and shapes.”