Science: Women Prefer Larger Penises

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"I like small penises," said no women interviewed for an actual scientific study released Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or PNAS. Yes, PNAS is a funny sounding acronym, and, yes, PNAS has found that size does matter — and that women prefer "showers" to "growers."

"As past studies have shown, women prefer tall men with broad shoulders and narrow hips, like an Olympic swimmer. But when [Dr. Brian] Mautz controlled for those variables, it turned out that penis size (overall length and girth) was about as important as stature," reports the team over at NBC News.

Mautz and his team at the University of Ottawa showed pictures of "life-sized male figures" to 105 Australian women, who seemed to prefer spending more time gazing at the diagrams with larger flaccid male members — and rated them higher, too:

“As you increase penis size, the amount of attractiveness scores gets bigger” in a linear fashion, he explained, until 7.6 centimeters, or 3 inches. After three inches, attractiveness still increased, but in smaller increments.

Not only were the ratings higher, but the women also spent more time gazing at the generously endowed figures, a sign they preferred looking at them as opposed to figures with smaller penises.

So basically a three-inch unexcited penis is the point of diminishing returns, according to the best currently available scientific research. NBC News and Mautz don't say if there was any variance on growers — men who claim to be, um, more "manly" than they first appear when in at an excited state. But here's the baseline finding from the study's abstract:

Penis size had a stronger effect on attractiveness in taller men than in shorter men. There was a similar increase in the positive effect of penis size on attractiveness with a more masculine body shape (i.e., greater shoulder-to-hip ratio). Surprisingly, larger penis size and greater height had almost equivalent positive effects on male attractiveness.

PNAS, to be clear, isn't The Onion or Cosmopolitan (not that there's anything wrong with either). It's actually a scientific journal that's been around since 1914, and according to Science Watch, they were the second-most cited journal between the years of 1999-2009. Yes, 105 women isn't the world's, uh, biggest sample size, but PNAS is far from one of the junk-science journals detailed on the front page of Monday's New York Times.

Before you start crying foul about the penis study, just remember that there's plenty of evidence out there that men also prefer to have bigger penises. How else would you explain the penis-growing industry: penis size pills, enlargement surgeries, penis enlargement patches?

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.