Penises are as unique as the people they hang from, and they’re all good. More than good, really.
There’s no such thing as a bad shape or size — just bad information on how to use it.
Let’s talk about what makes all penises awesome, how to love the one you’ve got, and how to make the most of it if you have sex.
The penis is an organ (no, not a muscle) that’s made primarily of spongey tissue. This spongey tissue fills with blood to cause an erection, so you can have penetrative solo or partnered sex.
It looks pretty straightforward, but a penis is actually quite complex, thankyouverymuch. It consists of the glans (head), corpus (shaft), and prepuce (foreskin). It’s also home to the urethra — the thin tube through which urine and semen exits the body.
If there’s anything typical about penis shape, it’s that most tend to be cylindrical, often with a wider — or at least a more pronounced — head.
Like a banana, this penis curves slightly upward, at least when it’s erect.
Orgasms aren’t the be-all and end-all of partnered sex, but having the upward curve provides an advantage by making it easier to stimulate the G-spot, A-spot, and prostate.
Pro tip: You can keep it simple with any variation of the missionary position and still rock their world thanks to that curve. That goes for penis-in-vagina (P-in-V) and anal sex.
The curved downward penis is just as it sounds: a penis that, when hard, has a slight downward curve. Think: A banana turned upside down.
Like your upward counterpart, your curve also gives you an edge when it comes to reaching the hot spots that run along the front wall of the vagina or rectum.
The key to making the most of the curve is flipping your partner(s) around to get you closer to those pleasure spots.
Pro tip: Turn that frown upside down with rear-entry positions.
This type of penis has a noticeable curve to the right. If you or a partner is rockin’ a curve, a willingness to experiment with different angles will help you find what works for everyone.
Positions that allow you to work the curve toward the front wall of the vagina or rectum give you the same hot-spot advantage as those with banana shapes.
Pro tip: Try the T-bone. This position begins with the penetrating partner on their side with their curve pointed toward the sky. The receiving partner lies on their back in a T angle and drapes their legs over their partner’s hip, ready for P-in-V or anal.
The straight penis maintains pretty much the same shape from shaft to head.
With no angles to accommodate, you can eenie-meenie-miney-mo your way through every sex position you both consent to with little-to-no tweaking required.
Pro tip: Give and get the most with any position that makes it easy to reach each other’s erogenous zones for simultaneous, manual, or sex toy play.
Bigger base with narrow head
This penis is thicker at the base and narrows as you get closer to the head, giving it a cone shape.
Like all shapes, this one’s got some solid perks. The narrower head makes for easier entry, and a wider base provides more stimulation the deeper you go.
Pro tip: If you’re both open to anal, the cone is basically built for butt play (just like butt plugs) because the gradual increase in girth helps stretch the anus. Use a lot of lube and tease with just the tip before going deeper.
Narrow base with larger head
The hammer penis, which is long and thin with a much larger head, has all the makings for a good nailing. Wink.
The extra girth at the tip stimulates the vaginal or rectal walls, creating friction that’ll feel good for both.
Pro tip: Choose positions that allow the receiver to open wide and stimulate their clit or peen at the same time for easier entry. Classics positions, like missionary and cow, are totally hammer-friendly.
Penises don’t just come in different shapes. They come in a variety of lengths and thicknesses, too. Regardless of the combo you’re working with, the right moves can make them all pleasurable.
Smaller-than-average length and girth
The “gherkin” falls on the shorter and narrower side of average. Don’t you dare knock the smaller stature, because porn-sized D’s aren’t necessary for amazing sex.
Pro tip: If you want to go deep, some positions are better than others. Doggy style is one of the best for P-in-V or anal sex if you each like it deep. If you’re flexible, the pile driver is fantastic.
Shorter-than-average length and thick girth
The “kielbasa” is shorter, stout, and able to stimulate the vaginal or rectal walls like nobody’s business.
There are oodles of sensitive nerve-endings packed in and around either entry point, so the shorter length makes for some pretty toe-curling penetration for both parties.
Pro tip: Use lots of lube, take it slow, and master the dog positions, like traditional doggy or downward-facing dog (yes, like the yoga pose), if you want to go deep and hit the G-, A-, or P-spot.
Average length and girth
Congrats, Goldicocks! The “cucumber” isn’t too big or too small, but just right for any position you want to try — no tweaking necessary.
Pro tip: Experiment to find your most mind-blowing positions. Try variations on all the classics, and throw some standing sex positions into the mix.
Larger-than-average length and girth
The “salami” is the type of appendage you’re most likely to see in porn: long and thick. While it may leave some jumping for joy, it can also be a little daunting to take in — literally.
The key to making the most of it is to use lots of lube and try positions that let the receiver have more control.
Pro tip: Lube up, and try positions that allow the partner on the receiving end to keep their legs tight to control the depth. You can do this with missionary, spooning, and even rear-entry positions.
Larger-than-average length and thin girth
To be clear, the “pencil” type isn’t actually pencil-thin, but it’s notably longer and narrower than average.
To make the best use of a thin penis, stick to tight-legged positions. The tighter space is pleasurable for all and still lets the receiver control how much of the length they take in.
Pro tip: Try spooning. Coming in from behind creates a tight space and requires extra length — which this type’s got — to reach. Spooning also works for anal and can be ramped up by adding a dildo for some DP action. You’re welcome.
Regardless of race, a penis can be considerably different from the rest of the person it’s attached to. The same goes for vulvas and nipples.
This is because of your
Rising testosterone levels throughout life makes skin darker, with a brown or grayish hue down there. Blood flow during erections can make it reddish or even purple.
It’s all totally common and has zero impact on function.
Circumcised penises — which make up
When it comes to pleasure, having or not having foreskin makes no difference.
Pro tip: Lube always makes for a good time, whether you have foreskin or not. But if you’re cut, using it could minimize chafing for you during a long or particularly snuggly session.
An uncircumcised penis has the foreskin intact. Only part of the head is visible unless it’s erect and, even then, it depends on how much skin there is.
Pro tip: Foreskin works like a sleeve o’ pleasure when enjoying solo or partnered hand action. Alternate between sliding it back and forth over the head and gently pulling it back and exposing the head for some targeted attention.
Hair around the base of the penis and balls is pretty much a given, unless it’s removed. You may even notice a few stragglers on the shaft. It’s all good!
Pro tip: If you’re going au naturel, be sure to keep things clean and fresh. If you or a partner prefers a trim or hairless nether region, take care to avoid painful mishaps.
With not a vein or bump in sight, a smooth penis makes for a silky smooth entry.
Pro tip: Want more? Mix things up with textured condoms or a cock ring for a totally different sensation.
Some cocks have uber-accentuated veins, especially when they’re aroused. A veiny penis comes down to genetics and muscle, and it’s totally not a big deal.
Pro tip: Even super veiny peens are unlikely to affect how penetration feels, but if you want to change it up, you can try thicker or differently textured condoms.
Freckles come down to pigmentation that can be more pronounced in some areas than others. It’s purely aesthetic.
Pro tip: Freckles on any skin is typical, but if you or your partner is worried that the spotted appearance may be more than freckles, hit pause and talk with a healthcare professional.
A shower refers to a penis that stays pretty much the same size whether it’s erect or not. Experts don’t know why it happens, but it appears to be relatively common according to the
Pro tip: Proceed as usual!
Most penises are growers, which means they get bigger when they’re hard.
Pro tip: Nothing more to do except get busy!
Think you know it all when it comes to your penis? Here are some things you might not know, but should.
Boners help keep your penis healthy
Boners happen by way of blood flow and that blood carries oxygen to you penis that helps keep it in shape.
If you’re able to get erections, by all means do. Masturbate, have sex with a partner, or do anything else that gets you hard — whether you climax or not. Sex dreams and morning wood count.
Keeping your body and mind healthy matters, too
Your physical and mental health can impact your penis health, so staying on top of both is important if you want to keep your penis functioning at its best.
The same healthy lifestyle habits that reduce your risk of chronic diseases can also help your penis, including:
- eating a balanced diet
- getting regular movement
- getting enough sleep
- keeping your stress levels down
- limiting or avoiding smoking
Be safe, for penis sake!
If you have partnered sex, use a barrier and get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as often as is recommended. Your partner(s) should (ideally) do the same.
If you plan to have sex without a condom, know the risks and have a candid conversation with your partner(s) about status and expectations.
Learning about preventative medications is also a good idea.
Lube is a peen’s BFF
Lube doesn’t just provide the wet and slippery goodness that feels oh so good — it also reduces the risk of STIs.
Lube prevents too much friction, which causes condoms to break and irritates and tears the skin of the penis, vagina, or anus, opening you and your partner(s) up to infections.
Get to know your penis
Getting to know your penis will make it easier to spot any new or unusual changes that could indicate an underlying health condition.
Pay attention to how your dick looks and feels when you masturbate. Take a moment to inspect it in the shower. Don’t forget to check your balls while you’re at it.
See a healthcare professional if you or a partner notices anything out of the ordinary, like lumps or bumps, discoloration, or unusual discharge.
No two penises are alike and no one type is better than another, so try to focus on the pleasure it’s capable of instead of its appearance.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.
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