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Is the ‘Irish Curse’ — Having a Small Penis, But Huge Balls — a Real Thing?

The legend goes that men from the Emerald Isle are predisposed to a disproportionate dick-to-nuts ratio. But how much of this is the (un)luck of the Irish, and how much is rooted in fact?

On St. Patrick’s Day, Americans love to pretend to be Irish, whether or not this “pretending” has anything to do with real Irish people. Usually, that manifests as an obsession with corned beef and cabbage, the color green, redheads and plenty of binge drinking. That said, there’s one, less-than-brag-worthy “Irish” trait that perhaps we ought to consider celebrating as well: the Irish Curse.

The Irish Curse has a few variations, but its most basic incarnation is a small penis paired with comparatively large balls. In some cases, the dick is only small relative to the size of the balls, but it still counts — at its core, the Curse is about disproportion and a higher potato-to-meat ratio. 

As the “curse” portion of the name suggests, this is supposedly a bad thing. It’s unclear exactly where the term came from, though Urban Dictionary published its first listing for it back in 2003. “A complete definition of the Irish Curse would be the combination of very small penis/very LARGE testicles,” a contributor wrote. 

Perhaps because of the subjectivity of what counts as “small” and “large” in this context, some may struggle to know whether or not they’re cursed. To help, cam site CamSoda recently announced the launch of an “Irish Curse Recognition Tool.” All participants need to do is email a photo of their dick to, and a team of camgirls will judge whether it fits the bill. Per a representative from CamSoda, an erect penis must “fall under the threshold of five inches long and four inches wide, and [be] less than equal to the size of their balls.” 

Should it meet such a criterion, participants will receive a free token to use on CamSoda as a consolation. If their dick is too big (or if their balls aren’t bigger than their dick), they will receive a certificate stating, “Congratulations! Saint Patrick didn’t tame your snake at birth!” 

Depending on your interests, being labeled as having the “Irish Curse” might either be an arousingly humiliating badge of honor or a cold slap in the face. Regardless, as CamSoda’s “tool” suggests, there’s some interest among men, Irish or not, in knowing whether they’re curse-qualified. How, though, do actual Irish people feel about the Irish curse? 

“I think it’s mostly funny,” says Sean, a 36-year-old Irish-Canadian. “I’m a straight, white cis man who’s not prone to be offended by these types of things. But I will say I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with dick size. I’m average-ish or slightly below average. I don’t really blame that on my ethnicity to be honest, but I’ve always wondered.” 

The bigger ball portion of the curse is apparently true for Sean, too. He estimates his dick is around the 45th percentile in size, while his balls are in the 80th. Sounds like the Curse to me.  

Dan, also 36, was raised in California but has fully Irish parents. He says he’d never heard of the Irish Curse before, but recalls his cousins joking about it. “I didn’t know our reputation was out here getting tarnished in the streets,” he tells me. “I’d always joke that handsome Irish men are our greatest export behind whiskey, but hearing this is kind of making me rethink some conversations with my cousins.” More specifically, they’d joke about how their American relatives were taller than them, theorizing that maybe it was all the hormones in the milk here. Somehow, that segued into theorizing that they had bigger dicks, too. 

Interestingly, there’s a bit of evidence to support that Irish people do have smaller dicks than much of the world. It’s by a pretty slim margin, though — a  2012 study from researchers in Belfast found that the average penis size for men in Ireland is five inches, while the average for American men is 5.1. British people rank higher, at 5.5 inches. 

But it’s probably not milk causing this discrepancy, nor is milk considered the usual suspect. Instead, aligning with another Irish stereotype, some definitions of the “Irish Curse” suggest alcohol is responsible. There’s not a ton of evidence to support that alcohol consumption is directly associated with decreased penis size (or increased ball size), but one could definitely attribute drinking to an inability to get a boner — which, in turn, can make it look like you have a smaller dick.

Still, with the exception of alcohol causing erectile difficulties, there’s really nothing wrong (or likely, inherently Irish) to the “Irish Curse.” As always, it’s more about what you do with what you’ve got than the size of it. Regardless, if we’re going to lean into Irish stereotypes this St. Patrick’s Day, we might as well embrace this one, too. 

Small dick, big ball havers — this is your day!