Despite the fact that sex is a basic instinct and a near-universal experience, we know remarkably little about it. And so, this week, we’re teaming up with our friends at Futurism, oracles of all things science, technology and medicine, to look at the past, present and future of pleasure from a completely scientific perspective.
Only math can tell us.
To calculate the hardness (or density) of an ordinary boner, let’s assume it’s a perfect cylinder for complicated, mathematical reasons. Then, we can determine its volume with this handy equation:
Volume = π x Radius2 x Height
The average erection has a circumference of 4.59 inches, which indicates a radius of 0.73 inches. It also has a length (or height) of 5.16 inches. Now, let’s plug those numbers into our equation:
Volume = π x 0.732 x 5.16
This tells us that the volume of a normal hard-on is 8.64 cubic inches, which equals 141.58 milliliters. Cardiovascular science also tells us that the average erection holds about 130 milliliters of blood, or 130 grams if we assume that blood is approximately as dense as water (which science agrees with). Therefore, we’ll use 130 grams as the mass of an ordinary boner.
Next, we need to plug those numbers into our density equation:
Density = Mass (130 grams) / Volume (141.58 milliliters)
In conclusion, a standard stiffy has a density of 0.033 pounds per cubic inch. This means its density is somewhere between ice and cooking oil. It also means that the average erection would float in fresh water, as anyone who’s been erect in a pool would know.
As for how much denser an average pecker can get, there are a few things to consider. One, research shows that, if necessary, your skin can become extremely stretchy, so you probably don’t need to worry about your willy blowing up if a lot more blood were to enter it, making it denser. Instead, the bigger concern should be that a person’s body shuts down when they lose more than 40 percent of their blood. Therefore, if that amount left your greater cardiovascular system and entered your johnson, you’d perish. On average, that 40 percent equals about two liters, or 0.53 gallons (or 2,000 grams).
Now, let’s plug 2,000 grams into our previous density equation:
Density = 2,000 grams / 141.58 milliliters
This shows us that, if 40 percent of your blood flooded into your penis and it didn’t expand like a balloon, it would have a density of 0.51 pounds per cubic inch. That means its density is somewhere between mercury and uranium, and that it would sink like a concrete block to the bottom of a freshwater pond.
Needless to say, if your penis was that hard — and filled with that much blood — you’d be on the verge of death. You’d be confused, disoriented and you’d have trouble breathing. Your heart would also be fucked.
Therefore, don’t worry if your erection isn’t as hard as a heavy metal. After all, as Gigi Engle, sex and intimacy expert for SKYN condoms, tells me, “Erections vary in hardness, and what’s ‘rock-hard’ for you will depend on your body. An erection is considered ‘hard enough’ when it provides a satisfactory sexual experience, whether that be with a partner (during intercourse) or on your own. There’s no need to add an extra layer of pressure to yourself by setting exceptionally high standards for levels of hardness. Enjoy your erections if they can be maintained.”
Likewise, studies show that every boner contains a different amount of blood thanks to factors like the owner’s current blood pressure, horniness level and the overall size of their dick. Thus, boners are like erectile snowflakes.
Well, hope that answered your questions. If you need me, I’ll be seeing how close I can get to uranium without passing out.