A totally worthless map of European penis sizes

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You're looking at one of the many maps included in Bulgarian designer Yanko Tsvetkov's ingenious Mapping Stereotypes project, a collection of national stereotype maps designed "from the point of view of regular bigots."

Like the rest of the maps in Tsvetkov's collection, the penis plot is amusing, well-designed, and deserving of skepticism.

Let's be clear about one thing right off the bat: I'm not picking on Tsvetkov. His work really is great (if mildly offensive — but, then again), and you really should check it out.


What I am picking on is this specific map, because unlike the rest of Tsvetkov's collection, this one purports to be based on actual data. It's total crap data — data that Tsvetkov himself admits is largely self-reported — but it's data nonetheless (warning: page contains links to NSFW material); which, if you're one of those poor misguided souls who accepts everything on the internet as gospel the way a dog accepts table scraps, can be more than a little misleading.

So for those of you in the market for some real, peer-reviewed data on international penis measurements, I recommend consulting this report. It's a comprehensive review — written by urologists Kevan Wylie and Ian Eardley, and published in the British Journal of Urology International in 2007 — that combines the data from over 50 international studies on penis size conducted over the last 65 years.

You can click here to read the article in its entirety, but here's the relevant table, and the description that you're all interested in:

"Except for the Korean study [in which men measured, on average, smaller than other reported nationalities], there is little evidence of racial differences [in penis size]."


Soooo no correlation between penis size and race unless you're Korean, in which case you're a little smaller, right? Not necessarily, because the authors include an important caveat, noting that "these studies measured various aspects of penile size, including flaccid length, stretched length, erect length, flaccid girth and erect girth." As a result, "the variability of some of the values recorded inevitably reflects the different populations studied and differing techniques of measurement."

In other words: even the peer-reviewed science of penis size is burdened by a lack of consistent data. There's no uniformity between studies, no codified list of materials and methods.


When measuring circumference, for example, does one measure at the base of the penis, or mid-shaft? When you stretch a penis, is there a designated tension that should be placed on the penis before it is considered "stretched"? Does a researcher stretch the penis, or does the test subject? If the task of stretching is put to the test subject, is he assigned a spotter to ensure he doesn't injure himself while trying to tug every last ego-inflating millimeter that he can from his flaccid member? All these issues and more must be addressed if we as a civilized and logic-driven people are ever to take the subtle science of penis metrics seriously.


Or. Or, we could all stop obsessing over dicks and get on with our lives; these findings, taken from the same review, suggest the male gender would, in all likelihood, be the better for it:

About 85% of women were satisfied with their partners' penile size, although only 55% of men were satisfied, with 45% wanting to be larger (and 0.2% to be smaller).

It is perhaps relevant that while men with a larger penis, in length and circumference, have a better body image, genital image and have a feeling of greater sexual competence, women do not necessarily believe that a larger penis is ‘better' [the study, to its detriment, included no such data on the opinions of gay men]... The issue of attractiveness to women is complex, but most data suggest that penile size is much lower down the list of priorities for women than such issues as a man's personality and external grooming.


You heard it here first, people. Cleanliness is more important than penises.

Top image by Yanko Tsvetkov; table via Wylie and Eardley; spring balance via Ride-Away