The Guys on a Mission to Fact-Check the Size of Every Porn Star’s Penis

Using a combination of physics, film theory and the science of optical illusions, these dick detectives seek the hard truth

Guy No. 1 is 26 years old and 6-foot-2, with a 7.5-inch penis that has a sideways curve. Guy No. 2 is 30 years old, also 6-foot-2, with a slightly curved cock, only his is about half an inch shorter. 

The smaller guy is Sean Lawless, a porn star who lives in Miami. Along with having fucked countless beautiful women, Lawless also supplied the penis in the scene that put popular, now-retired starlet Mia Khalifa on the map.

The larger gent is Jose. A forklift driver from Chicago, Jose frequently visits the subreddit r/MeasuredPornstars to find out how well his own cock stacks up against guys like Lawless. In this curious corner of the internet, redditors investigate how big adult film stars’ bulges actually are, bolstering their claims with evidence that draws on physics, film theory and the art and science of dick photography to test whether their advertised size is fact or fiction. 

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Lawless is all over the sub. In one post bearing his name, there’s a picture of his erect cock tabled next to a portable speaker. In the comments section, one user with dubious authority writes that the speaker is 7.1 inches long. Though Lawless’ head peaks past one end of the device, its other is slightly buried into his pelvis, so it appears he’s registering roughly seven inches. This, the commenters agree, makes him “small” for a porn star. 

Other r/MeasuredPornstars posts contain still shots of agape female scene partners holding tape measures to the oversized dicks they’re about to navigate. Some cut and paste everyday items found elsewhere in a pornstar’s nude next to their dicks for relative measurements. A related topic of debate is the appropriate spot to place a measuring stick when collecting data (above the rod or along the side), with users calling out advantageously angled rulers. Girth is also a hotly debated topic.

Jose’s 7.5-inch dong isn’t only longer than Lawless’, but nearly 50 percent lengthier than the average penis, which clocks in at about 5.16 inches. It’s also more than an inch longer than the average woman’s 6.3-inch preferred rod. Nevertheless, Jose, who didn’t want to share his last name out of privacy concerns, still combs through r/MeasuredPornstars and many other penis size-centered subreddits to compare himself to pornstars and learn how he can gain an even greater edge on everyone else.

“I want to buy a nice, expensive pump, and also want to do some stretching and all these other routines that I’ve been reading about online,” he tells me, explaining that one day, he hopes to add another half inch to his already sizable penis. 

In pursuit of his goal, he also visits subreddits that cover genital pumping techniques and machinery — r/Pumping, mostly — and compares his cock to those of other users on r/PenisMeasured. He also consults PEGym, which has a slew of tutorials for men looking to lengthen their dicks, boost girth, last longer during sex and other related topics. “I’m doing stretches in the shower,” he says. Under hot water, he tugs at himself “side-to-side,” “downward” and “upward.” 

“It’s pretty much like working out, but instead of working out your muscles, I’m working out my dick,” Jose says. “I already played with my dick for most of my life, it’s just doing it a little bit different now.”

Jose blames two former girlfriends for his penile preoccupation. Some years ago, while dating a woman who chose him as her first sexual partner, Jose somehow wound up discussing his size with her. He says she teasingly told him, “I’ve seen bigger,” and when he asked how that could have been since she was a virgin prior to their relationship, she told him that she’d once witnessed a guy measure his penis that turned out to be 10 inches. “I was, like, ‘What? No fuckin’ way,’” Jose says. 

Then, last July, his girlfriend at the time admitted to cheating on him with an ex of hers. Jose couldn’t help but ask if her ex’s dick was bigger than his. She said it was, slightly. “It made me kind of insecure,” Jose says.

But another part of him didn’t believe her claim either, because he’d seen a picture of her ex and he was only about 5-foot-4 and skinny. Proportionally, that didn’t add up in his mind, so he took to r/MeasuredPornstars to find out what the famously big guys are packing. And though he found his penis to be longer than some pornstars like Lawless — or only an inch or so shorter than many others — he still isn’t satisfied with what he jams into his shorts. “I’m so close to my goal, which is eight inches, and if I’m able to get to that, I’ll be pretty happy,” Jose says. 

Perhaps Jose’s admitted insecurities, though, are missing the, um, bigger picture. “I often see men post their penis on various subreddits or other sites seeking validation that their penis is ‘big’ or ‘good enough,’” bicuriousguy12, who frequently comments in r/MassiveCock, as well as the size-centric r/CockCompare and r/ThickDick, writes via email. “This is problematic because the men that fixate on this tend to think that their sexual/love life would be better if they had a bigger penis. So they’re stuck in this state of self-loathing thinking they’re not good enough.” 

Which calls into question the mental-health factor of such forums. Might some of these men — who are actually quite generously endowed — be suffering from a cousin of body dysmorphia known as Penile Dysmorphic Disorder, or PDD? 

According to a 2015 study, PDD is “shorthand for men diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder, in whom the size or shape of the penis is their main, if not their exclusive, preoccupation causing significant shame or handicap.” Like in other cases of body dysmorphic disorder, men with PDD are “so preoccupied with perceived defects or flaws in their appearance ― in this case, size ― that it causes them real distress,” reports HuffPo. “Sometimes, it leads to avoidant social behavior.”

In extreme cases of PDD, men like Jose might opt for a surgical procedure to lengthen their dicks or make them girthier, which oftentimes actually makes them feel worse about the state of their schlongs. And as urologist Aaron Spitz told HuffPost, about 40 percent of men who seek penis-enlargement surgery came to believe their genitals were too small from watching porn, even though they’re normal-sized.

The unattainably high standards of physical attraction in society greatly contribute to body dysmorphic disorder, so it’s no surprise that watching porn — most of which upholds these standards with irritating, pervasive stringency — can help spur PDD. After all, in porn “we constantly get messages that bigger is better and that penis size is the measure of manhood,” Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute, told Cosmopolitan in 2019. “All of those things create cultural pressure on men.”

But while r/MeasuredPornstars might appear to play into these same size-based standards, it was created to have the opposite effect on users. As moderator KnowsPenisesWell explains, the whole subreddit — neurotic size comparisons and all — is meant to inform rather than to stoke insecurity. 

When one user indicated surprise over the measurement of a particular pornstar in a post ― a penis that also happened to be seven inches ― KnowsPenisesWell responded in the comments section: “That’s why I created this subreddit. Porn stars always lose a couple of inches once you measure them. At first they look like an actual 10 inches, but then it turns out they’re actually only 7.”

“I try to give a more realistic view on size, because I think that the overinflated numbers are harmful to men and also give wrong expectations to women,” he tells me. “[E]ven in porn 7 inches is big, 8 inches is huge and 9 inches are the absolute biggest in the industry.”

He says other male redditors have told him that r/MeasuredPornstars has helped make their lives better, in part because “now they don’t have to worry that their partner has slept with a footlong cock.”

That said, Daniel, a pseudonymous man who co-moderates the subreddit r/SizeComparison ― a place where men rest their pricks against objects like Pringles cans, iPhones and beer bottles to accurately indicate their measurements ― still believes that some penis-size subreddits like r/SmallDickProblems are “about the most depressing place[s] on the planet.” “You have guys that are well within the range of average that are literally suicidal about the size of their penis,” he continues. He also observes that body dysmorphic disorder is more openly discussed in regards to its impact in the female community than it is on males, despite studies finding it affects more men than women.

“Some guys have told me that they thought they weren’t big enough, until they learned that they’re bigger than some of the porn stars they used to be jealous of, which shows how harmful the societal fixation on penis size is,” says KnowsPenisesWell. “These guys were huge by any metric, probably too big for most women, and yet, they still thought they were too small.”

Maybe that’s why guys like Jose are so obsessed with self-comparison. As Daniel explains, it provides insecure guys with “a representation of reality, whatever that might be.” Meanwhile, it seems, porn producers are seemingly on a mission to do anything but. In fact, it’s widely observed on the internet that porn actresses’ bodies trend tiny and petite in order to help make their male scene partners generally appear larger on screen. Some commenters in r/MeasuredPornstars also testify that ― surprise! ― adult filmmakers use camera techniques and lenses to enhance their actors’ endowment. 

In one r/MeasuredPornstars post, there’s a still of a squatting female sucking a woolly-mammoth-esque cock. Below it, a user sarcastically writes: “His penis is clearly three times the length of her face. It’s at least 15 inches.” “It’s pretty obvious that they’re using perspective distortion by using a very small focal length lens,” another person replies. 

Though he’s never worked in porn, Justin Zverin, a member of the International Cinematographers Guild whose résumé includes over a hundred episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, agrees with that assessment. He explains that a small lens ― such as the fisheye, which is frequently utilized in skateboarding videos and could measure as little as 6 millimeters ― creates a “wide-angle effect” that “captures much more action and much more visual, even from a super-close-up position.”

“I imagine that you could use the same kind of thing in porn,” Zverin continues, “where if you get really tight or up-close to someone’s face or groin — and by removing any of the background space that could be seen, and just focusing on the targeted object itself — you could essentially make that object look much more expanded.”

In the case of the Giganta-dick shot in question, Zverin says it was certainly captured by a relatively small lens, perhaps 24-millimeter, with the camera positioned at about the male talent’s belly button. “If you took this exact frame and used a wider-angle lens and got even closer to the action, it would look even more substantial,” Zverin says. (r/MeasuredPornstars commenters deduced that the penis belongs to Charlie Mac, who, based on other video evidence, scores about 8.5 inches.) 

The good news is, maybe our cock-size obsession is all just a cultural phase. After all, in Ancient Greece, large, erect penises weren’t thought to be desirable, nor a symbol of power and strength. If anything, it was the small phallus that was a sign of intelligence and distinction. “It’s only been in the last 50, 60 years that we’ve really focused on numbers and fetishized this,” Daniel says. “Which, to me, is really sad.”

And so, perhaps we’d all be better off, if, when deciphering acceptably-sized penises across our society, we opted to travel back in time. 

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