Sex

Does Size Really Matter?

"Yes, but only if it's too big.”

how small is too small for a woman?
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By Amanda Chatel and Bustle Editors
Updated: 
Originally Published: 

It’s a topic that has yet to go away and probably never will: does penis size matter? How small is too small for a woman? Studies have found that when it comes to penis size, 84% of women are just fine with what their partner has. In fact, the men seem to be the most concerned with how big their penis is.

Don’t get me wrong. A big penis does matter to some women, but there are fewer of those out there than there are women who think a slightly below average penis is just fine. For many, it’s more about how you use it and where you can excel in other areas because intercourse is just one part of sex; sex encompasses so much more.

A couple important things to note: Women and people with vulvas tend to receive an enormous amount of pressure when it comes to their bodies. But when it comes to penis size, the same often goes for people with penises. It’s important to come from a place of compassion when it comes to penis size, says Rena Martine, women’s intimacy coach and educator, pointing to research that shows that most women think sexual communication skills are more important than size.

To see how millennial women feel about penis size, Bustle asked some to share their thoughts on the size debate. Completely honest, with even a few names changed to keep anonymity intact, here’s what 25 women had to say about penis size.

Girth Matters More

For Colleen, 31, it’s not about length. "I'd like to say it doesn't, but it does to an extent,” she tells Bustle. “However it's less length and more girth?"

Laken, 22, agrees. "That's difficult, because 'size' doesn't necessarily translate to inches; girth counts as well,” she tells Bustle. “If someone is five inches and skinny, that feels a lot different than five inches and thick. For me, size doesn't *really* matter, although I won't lie and say I don't prefer a bigger guy. The best sex I've had was with an average-sized guy, but his proclivity for oral and other means of making me orgasm far surpassed his penis size. I don't really get off from penetration alone, so size isn't super imperative to me, but I do like when a guy is slightly above average (and doesn't have a super skinny penis)."

It’s the same theory for Jenn, 36, "Girth is important. Length, less so,” she tells Bustle. “I've personally never come across one that was too short or too long, but I have met one that was too skinny, and this was when I was 20, so it's obviously not an issue of me being 'old,' 'loose,' or 'stretched out,' as some butthurt dudes might assume. I did hear about a friend of a friend who had to break it off with a guy she really cared about because he was too big, but I assume he was a unicorn."

Beverly, 29, says it’s the size matters debate is a yes and no situation. “I have had the one-night stand where the guy and my pinky were the same size; not much to do there, even with creativity,” she tells Bustle. “I have also heard of friends who felt their goddamn ovaries were sore after because a very hung guy had been a bit too enthusiastic. The normal 5 to 7 inches is... fine? ... What's important though: good girth and being actually hard..."

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Amber, 26, didn’t think size mattered — until she was with someone who had a huge penis. “Having sex became unbearable,” she tells Bustle “Since then I've felt that size really makes a difference."

After a similar experience, Britni, 30, agrees. "Yes, it matters, but only if it's too big,” she tells Bustle. “That shit hurts! Plus, guys with big dicks tend to rest on that and not actually put much effort in to pleasing their partner because it's like, 'I have a big dick, what else do you want?'"

Some Are More Satisfied With Big Penises

For Ruby, 28, size does matter. I've found that I much prefer larger guys, but that's a lot to do with how my own body is shaped,” she tells Bustle. “Not to say that smaller guys can't be good lovers ― they absolutely can ― but I'm more satisfied with big guys. However, too big is an issue too. Then it just hurts."

Emotional Connection Matters, Not Penis Size

Elisabeth, 22, says it’s not a big penis that matters. "No, because good sex is much more a result of healthy emotional connection than body part size," she tells Bustle.

Tongue Size Matters

Wren, 28, says there’s a different size that matters when it comes to sex. "Penis size doesn't really matter that much to me, since penetrative sex feels good, but isn't the end all be all,” she tells Bustle. “In all honesty, larger guys usually hurt a lot more. I'd say it's more about the size of a man's tongue, if you know what I'm sayin'. (Oral sex is KEY.)"

Size Matters, But It Doesn’t Have To Be Big

Avigail, 27, says size matters, but not in the way you might think. “Not too small or not too big ― kind of like a perfect scoop of Haagen Daz ice cream. Too small-still hungry, too big-tummy ache," she tells Bustle.

Ana, 31, is on a similar page. “Sorry to anyone who wants to believe otherwise but, yes, size does matter,” she tells Bustle. “A small penis can't create the same sensation that a larger one can, and it can make certain maneuvers difficult ― it might fall out during doggy style or when switching positions, for example.”

But she says bigger doesn’t always mean better. “There is DEFINITELY such thing as too big of a penis, and penis size is SO far from the most important determining factor when it comes to good sex,” she says.

Guys Need To Chill About Their Penis Size

Mel, 28, thinks it’s time to end this debate. "I have not run across too small, but have run across too big, so either I’m lucky, or guys are way too f*cking concerned about it,” she tells Bustle. “And considering my sampling size, I’d guess it’s the latter."

Small Penises Are Great

Lindsay, 33, says size just doesn’t matter. “I’ve found that men with even the smallest dicks know how to work them in a way that size doesn’t come into play," she tells Bustle.

It Doesn’t Matter, As Long As This Doesn’t Happen

Jen, 29, says it doesn’t matter — unless this awkward moment happens. "As long as you can feel it and I mean decently feel it, then it doesn't matter that much,” she tells Bustle. “There's nothing sadder than having to ask if it's in when it IS in ― it's just super uncomfortable and embarrassing for both."

It Depends

For a 30-year-old millennial woman who wished to remain anonymous, it all depends on what you’re looking for. “ Looking for fun? GO BIG! Looking for love then COMPROMISE," she tells Bustle.

Physical Compatibility Is More Important

Becky, 29, says it all depends on your size, too. "It definitely does, but not always in the ways one might expect,” she tells Bustle. “Some of us smaller ladies, for instance, are kind of terrified of monster cock. Everyone is built differently and has their own preferences. Some people are just not physically compatible, but you won't know for sure until you try, right? Long story short: it matters somewhat, but how said person is in bed (and how willing they are to be flexible and do what needs to be done for their partner) is WAY more important."

Jen, 35, agrees. “There's a size that really is too small and being small myself there are definitely sizes that are too big,” she tells Bustle. “But really all I ask is for something larger than a baby carrot and its owner to be flexible, hardworking and have a sense of humor about whatever else might need to be done for us to get along well together."

Slightly Larger Than Average Is Preferable

Sabrina, 28, isn’t a fan of penises that are too big or too small. "I had a boyfriend who was very well-endowed and I never had an orgasm from intercourse with him in five years time,” she tells Bustle. “I was kinda shocked because the world would have one believe that a huge one is the only satisfying way, but it just didn't work. It was more uncomfortable than anything. I don't like small, either, but slightly larger than average (average being 5-6 inches in my book) is the most pleasurable."

7 Inches & Up Are Preferable

Anna, 30, says she’d be lying if she said penis size didn’t matter to her.When I'm dating a guy, and my mind wanders to how much he's packing (because, yes, my mind does go there and usually rather early in the game),” she tells Bustle. “I'm generally hoping to see something around 7" or up when I have sex with a guy, but in my experience, the size doesn't correlate to the quality of the sex. Instead, that is determined more by hardness (is there a better descriptor for that?), da moves, and the generosity, and the time spent. Yet, I still hope for a large dick. I am unreasonable like that."

Yes, Penis Size Matters

For Sabrina, 34, it’s important. "Not in like a size queen way, but it just feels nice when you can feel the dick up in yo business and whatnot."

Sarah, 30, wants you to stop lying about it. "Yes, dick size matters,” she tells Bustle. “I always roll my eyes when people say otherwise."

Gia, 32, wants nothing to do with small penises. "Tiny penises are for children. Not promoting adult on child action just child penises on children.

Cate, 24, says size matters, but guys who are packing need to step it up. “People can talk about there only being sensation in the first three inches of the vagina, but that's bullsh*t,” she tells Bustle. “That said, plenty of dudes with big dicks don't bother to really put any effort into sex because they think size alone matters. You gotta find that rare gem: the slightly insecure hung dude."

Michelle, 28, says it matters — but it doesn’t always mean good sex. "It makes a difference but that doesn't mean the sex is always better or that it's an absolute must,” she tells Bustle. “But if we're drafting up a sex wish list here, then yes, please."

Size Matters In Extreme Cases

For Zoe, 28, penis size only matters if they’re too big or too small. If you're slightly smaller than average but good at sex it's probably no big deal, and if you're slightly bigger than average that's great but not life changing,” she tells Bustle. “I dated a guy for a long time with a really small penis and the sex just was not as good, although I convinced myself it was because I liked him a lot. Also, I hooked up with a guy who was 6'7'' for a while and his penis was so big that a lot of positions would get painful, which meant we constantly were losing momentum and having to stop and adjust, which is sort of a mood killer. But those are the only two guys it's ever mattered with. Everyone anywhere in the middle was fine."

Experts

Rena Martine, women’s intimacy coach and educator

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