Assessing Rushton and Bogaert (1987)

Rushton and Bogaert (1987) asserted:

“We averaged the ethnographic data on erect penis and found the means to approximate: Orientals, 4 to 5.5 in. in length and 1.25 in. in diameter; Caucasians, 5.5 to 6 in. in length and 1.5 in. in diameter; blacks, 6.25 to 8 in. in length and 2 in. in diameter.”

Let’s examine with new average self-reported data from Herbenick et al. (2014).


Given that Herbenick’s study is more recent and rigorous, Rushton and Bogaert’s average values inflate African penile dimensions (erect length and girth) by over 23% while deflating East Asian penile dimensions by over 14% (assuming Herbenick is accurate) [1].

Contra European stereotypes, Herbenick et al. found ‘Asian’ penile length comparable to European (diff. = 0.04cm) and ‘Hispanic’ (diff. = 0.01 cm) lengths. For this and other reasons, there seems to be a lack of race realist commentary on this study.

There has been the usual racist assertion [2] that Herbenick’s average U.S. penile length value of 5.6″ (14.15 cm) is due to East Asian oversampling. A similar claim was made for Wessells, Lue & McAninch (1996), another U.S. study. Given that ‘Asians’ are a U.S. minority and not a priority sample in peer-reviewed studies, claims as these are unsustainable.

The small African sample size (n = 38) may have been due to the study controls which minimized self-reported penile measurement inflation.

This race/history/evolution notes post looks into more of Rushton’s claims.

[1.] Granted Rushton is making a claim about ‘Orientals’ and the ‘Asian’ data from Herbenick may contain South Asians. Rushton does however, conveniently classify African Americans (Afro-Europeans) as ‘black’.

[2.] For example, a commenter claimed: ” …. I bet asians drag down the average overall. Take asians out of the equation and I bet the average is 7 inches.”


Herbenick, D., Reece, M., Schick, V., and S. Sanders. 2014. Erect Penile Length and Circumference Dimensions of 1,661 Sexually Active Men in the United States. The Journal of Sexual Medicine 11(1): 93–101.

Rushton, J., and A. Bogaert. 1987. Race differences in sexual behavior: Testing an evolutionary hypothesis. Journal of Research in Personality 21(4): 529-551.

Wessells, H. Lue T., and J. McAninch. 1996. Penile length in the flaccid and erect states: guidelines for penile augmentation. The Journal of Urology 156(3): 995-997.


Penile Anthropometry by Country

small_penisPenile length and girth variation by country, no analysis or guarantee (go to primary sources for yourself), HERE [updates pending]

More Chinese studies (in Chinese) HERE

Update 2013-07-13: A new self-reported study on US men has been published and the comments seem to indicate that some US men are not too happy about being judged by the size of their ‘jewels.’

Repost: Do ‘penis size’ studies measure up?

There are many ways men like to be described, but when it comes to describing their penis size, most men would rather keep that a private issue – unless they can claim one of the precarious labels above. Nevertheless, penis size is very important to some people – more often than not, men, in their eternal quest to know if they “measure up.”

But first things first. What is the average length of an erect penis? 5.3 inches? 6 inches? 10 inches? Well, every one of those answers has come up in statistical surveys and self-perception questionnaires. And based on the evidence, the answer is closer to the first two than the latter (which, by the way, is how most men described how big their penis was in a campus survey!). Everyone from esteemed sex researcher Alfred Kinsey to amateur webmasters looking to survey the surfing male public has entered the fray to find out the average length of the erect penis. And, well, there is no one definitive answer. But for argument’s sake (and the overwhelming consensus among scientific and less scientific studies), let’s say it’s in the vicinity of 6 inches, or about 15 centimetres.

Now, when it comes to studies about penis size, figuring out the actual length of the member is a piece of cake. Other studies have strayed into sometimes less straightforward, politically incorrect waters, like what role race plays into the equation. There have long been stereotypes around concerning which races are better endowed or less endowed than others. In fact, even some physicians have added their two cents worth. “My conclusions, I guess, can be based on my observations clinically,” says Dr. Robert Stubbs, a Canadian penis-enhancement surgeon. “I think there is definitely a racial difference, and at this point – and I’m quite prepared to be proven wrong – there are three sizes: black, white and yellow (Asian), in descending order.”

But does this opinion stand up in the court of scientific accuracy? Again, the issue is a murky one. “Anthropological studies from the past 100 years have really documented that, on average, penis size of east Asian males are smaller than western European and North American males,” states Dr. Robert Francoeur, editor of the The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. “And African males, on average, have a larger penis size.” But Francoeur is also first to admit there are always many exceptions to the rule. So what’s the answer?

Toronto-based physician, Dr. Jerald Bain, who treats men with reproductive disorders, thinks there isn’t yet an answer he’s satisfied with. “But I can tell you from my own personal experience in seeing hundreds and hundreds of men – and I have the added advantage of working in Toronto, a very international city – that there is no difference from one ethnic origin to another,” he says. And, he adds, if his observations are not the real answer, the race card can also be a double-edged sword.

Confused? Bain says that if penis size is related to race – which he says he’s not aware has been scientifically proven anywhere – it might actually make sense. After all, he points out, if Asian men have smaller penises than Caucasians, that may have something to do with the fact that their body build and height have a bearing on the matter. And when it comes to this side of the equation, Bain knows his stuff. Bain has looked at whether the length of a man’s penis can be determined (or guessed) simply by looking at some other less private body parts – like feet.

“We measured their height and found that penis size was related to shoe size – but only insofar as it related to the general size of the man,” explains Bain. Although the statistical relationship was weak, it was there, and taller men tend to have larger appendages of all sorts, including the penis.

But perhaps the biggest question that should be asked is, does penis size matter in the first place? As Stubbs even admits, “penis size studies are meaningless in terms of procreation because if indeed Oriental men are smaller, they’ve populated the world to the greatest extent.” And when it comes right down to it, sex educator Sue Johansen, who doesn’t mince her words, puts it rather plainly: “it really doesn’t matter. Bigger is not better.” So we’ve raised the questions and you still don’t think you’ve heard a satisfactory answer. Well, as with other controversial topics, this is one of those with no simple answers – at least not yet – which makes it one of the most enduring sexual myths.

Just in case there is any confusion, though, here’s what isknown, in plain black and white: the average length of the erect penis is roughly 5.5 to 6 inches. There are no scientific studies to show that penis size and race are related in any meaningful way – and yes, penis size and foot size do have a loose correlation.

So, if you’re a man reading this, where do you fit in? When you find out, keep it quietly to yourself and maybe some of the enduring myths about penis size will fade away. Then again, who am I kidding?

Source: Hunt, Stephen. 2001. Do ‘penis size’ studies measure up? [accessed: 2013-04-25].

I am confused as to why an enhancement surgeon (Dr. Stubbs) would think that those who come to him for help would represent the average of the normal ethnic groups. An email sent to him for clarification is sadly yet unanswered. Quite unfortunately, Dr. Robert Francoeur is dead but if my track record is any indicator, he would not have replied to my emails anyway. His co-author (Dr. Noonan) was kind enough to reply but does not know of the studies to which Francoeur referred. Alas, I believe he meant the same occult French source as used by Rushton (also dead) and Bogaert (refuses to reply to multiple emails).

Repost: Of Pinheads And Penis Sizes

The article being referenced is Cheng, P., and J. Chanoine. 2001. Should the definition of micropenis vary according to ethnicity? Hormone Research 55(6): 278–281.

See if you can spot the pinheads: Two researchers at British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital, Canada, are engaged in cutting-edge work. Not the kind to let the shortage of high tech medical equipment in the province get in the way of science, the two potential Nobel Prize laureates intend to take a measuring tape to the penises of their newborn charges to see whether there is a relationship between size and race. Team member Dr. Pik Shun Cheng, vaporized about “the diagnosis of small penis carrying important implications for babies and parents.” More like a case of outsized ambition wrapped in pseudo-scientific bafflegab.

Says this medical maven from Honk Kong who is serving a clinical fellowship at the children’s hospital: “Penis size by race has largely gone unstudied”. And what a loss that is. Think of the wealth of information to be gleaned from a bell-curve graph neatly plotted with penile size and race, the mind boggles. The man in charge of the diaper invasion is a Dr. Jean-Pierre Chanoinen, a brain influx from Brussels. He told Global TV that in his country, this endeavor would not have inked the back page of a local newspaper. Of course, Global’s reporter took the good doctor’s word that, notwithstanding the study’s controversial nature, it had medical merit. Does it?

Observe the desperate attempts by the under-siege faux researchers to put forth a cogent scientific argument in the press; an attempt gobbled up wholesale by the media phalanx. “In particular, we do encounter some cases of very short penile length, and then we need to decide whether they should be raised as a girl or a boywhether they need to have a sexual reversal,” said Cheng.

Is this for real? Is one of the aims of this study to help Cheng decide if and when to lop off a penis should it be smaller than she would like? And how does this quest relate to race? I imagine she might spare a baby his appendage if she knew that, despite his shortcomings, the child conformed to his race’s aggregate endowment or lack thereof. Goes to show that not all correlations are worthy of study.

There have been a couple of devastating experiments in medical history in which doctors have removed a child’s penis because it had been damaged, and proceeded to fashion in its place female genitalia. Pumped with female hormones and taught to play with Barbie, these children were viewed as textbook successes. But whittling down what it means to be male to the presence or absence of a male organ proved arrogant. The reassigned children were often doomed to a life of desperation brought on because a hard-wired gender identity had been tampered with. At heart, the physician-created girls were still boys. “We do not recommend such imposed sex reassignment regardless of penile condition,” wrote Milton Diamond Ph.D. and Keith Sigmundson MD in a 1997 paper for “Archives, Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.”

In the wake of the rising controversy, Dr. Chanoinen stuck steadfast to his claim that by measuring their penises he was merely looking out for the health of the infants, so he threw into the medical voodoo his concern for the worst case scenario. What if he missed hypoglycemia and seizures brought on by hormonal deficiencies? Let’s follow the Chanoinen algorithm: When baby isn’t thriving what do you do? Why, you reach for the Penile-Race Chart, of course. “Ah, baby is Asian hmmm… and its penis is still smaller than the mean average suggested in my chart, then let me check for hypoglycemia”. Why not just throw some bones on the table and see what the ancestral spirits say?

The National Post missed the whole issue completely, insinuating that the good doctor was the casualty of a political correctness, which disallows research involving racial characteristics. Making the case for the shoddy inquiry, the Post extrapolated the connection between race and penis size to the fit of condoms and the prevention of AIDS. So now we have moved from the violation of the dignity of babies in B.C., to the politics of the World Health Organization. Without going into details, I suspect condom manufacturers have pretty much got a grip on the size thing and do not need to take into consideration B.C.’s demographics.

Here’s a more useful avenue of inquiry for our medical boneheads: What about testing the connection between small penises and a dictatorial personality? This, you would agree, is a matter for the B.C. Human Rights Kangaroo Commission. While the Commission would not wish to extend special protection to the minimally endowed, it would nonetheless be eager to know if there are any little chauvinists being hothoused in our backyards; the type of male who, fueled by inferiority, is capable of human rights violations.

Why not preempt such a scenario and make it mandatory for an infant, singled out for his small penis, to sign up for an education initiative intended to weed out any defiance caused by the frustrations of a diminished manhood. Something akin to the post World War II denazification programs. Herein lies the true social value of Drs. Chanoinene and Cheng’s proposal. It is certainly no more a reductio ad absurdum than measuring the penis size of a child alongside his race.

Source: Mercer, Ilana. 1999. Of Pinheads And Penis Sizes. [accessed: 2013-04-25].

It earned a mention on Discover Magazine’s NCBI ROFL which lists stupid/questionable research. They even have an expansive list of penis related studies, well worth the laugh.

Condoms and Ethnicity II

[This is a continuation of Condoms & Ethnicity I]

UPDATE: 2013-10-27: A latter portion of the post has been invalidated, my apologies.

UPDATE: 2013-08-31: The claim at this link is incorrect. The WHO report was written by an Australian condom manufacturer who arbitrarily used these three studies to propose that different sizes may be preferred by persons in different countries. These studies do NOT indicate that penile width differs by ethnic group as none of the studies were performed by medical professionals nor were they replicated.

The Family Health International (FHI) & JP Rushton

In a FHI monograph by Spruyt (1996), we read:

The World Health Organization bases its specifications for condom width on consumer preference and penis size, citing three studies. Taken together, the studies show significant variations in penis size within all population groups, but also indicate that men of African descent on average have a slightly wider and longer penis size, Caucasian men have a medium size, and Asian men a slightly narrower and shorter size (WHO).

Based on the consideration that anatomical differences exist among regions, a series of FHI studies were conducted in three Asian countries to compare small and standard width condoms (49 mm and 52 mm), and in three African countries to compare larger and standard width condoms (55 mm and 52 mm). Among the African sites, breakage rates were slightly higher and slippage was slightly lower for the smaller of the two condoms being compared. (Joanis) However, results from the Asian sites were inconsistent. (Neupane; Andrada) Moreover, almost none of the differences in breakage and slippage rates from either the Asian or African sites were statistically significant. Thus, results from these studies pertaining to penis size and condom failure were inconclusive.

So the FHI found it necessary to launch three studies based on one page of a WHO condom report. The report itself (WHO 1998) is most interesting and highlights the need for not accepting data at face value.


The table below is the one page WHO listing of three studies which purport to show ethnic variations in both penile length and girth.

Unsurprisingly, infamous race realist Rushton (2000) poses questions and answers using the same WHO data in his book Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective. Two questions are of importance to penis variations and source analysis.

Q: Doesn’t the evidence on race and penis size come from 19th Century stories by racist Europeans in colonial Africa?

A: The earliest findings come from the Arabic explorers in Africa and one study by a French army surgeon originally published in 1898. More up-to-date information comes from the World Health Organization. Their studies show the same three-way race pattern as do all the other studies.

Q: Isn’t the material on race and sex a kind of pornography? Isn’t race controversial enough without bringing sex and AIDS into the picture?

A: One World Health Organization study I mentioned in the previous answer examined penis size in order to provide the right size condoms to slow the spread of AIDS. Finding out which groups are most at risk for sexually transmitted diseases can help slow their spread and save lives.

ANALYSIS: The WHO did not study penis sizes. It relied on three separate studies, two of which were not peer-reviewed and the data was included as “Appendix III” (which should have alerted Rushton that this was not an original study). The first study references Africans in the US (not Africa!) and Europeans in the US (not Europe!), the second Europeans in Australia (not Europe!) and the third, Thais.

The first study is Alfred Kinsey’s flawed self-reported study on incarcerated males (a highly truthful bunch no doubt). The sampling, methodology and measurements are biased.

The reference for Asians is stated as an unpublished study by Bangkok Medical University (Muangman 1978) and nothing is known about the sample size or methodology (besides that prostitutes measured with paper tapes). Thus this is another biased study and does not represent the average Thai male.

The Aussie study was peer-reviewed but submitted a method for self-measurement. For a sample of 156, they found an average erect length of 15.99 cm or 6.3” (Richters, Gerofi & Donovan 1995 as mentioned in Mondaini et al. 2002) which is larger than Rushton’s upper European limit of 6″. While this value of 15.99 cm is the largest value from 8 different studies (Promodu et al. 2007), it does seem accurate given another study.

Estimated applicability of Rushton’s values to the WHO data

Rushton proposes to have found the following: East Asians: 4 to 5.5″ (10.2 to 14.0 cm) in length and 1.25″ (3.2 cm) in diameter, Europeans: 5.5 to 6″ (14 to 5.2 cm) in length and 1.5″ (3.8 cm) in diameter and Africans: 6.25 to 8″  (15.9 to 20.3 cm) in length and 2″ (5.1 cm) in diameter. In other words, the average European is 21% longer and 50% thicker than the average East Asian, while an average African is 50% longer and 60% thicker.

Kinsey - US EuropeansIf this link is accurate (see pic above), Rushton’s US European length claim only correlates some 43% with that of Kinsey’s data. The Thai study found 51% with 5 to 5.9” penises which correlates more than that for Europeans and yet is larger than his 4 to 5.5″ assertion.

The WHO girth data gives 29% of Euro-Americans, 68% of Euro-Australians, 34% of Afro-Americans and 17% of Thais having circumferences above 5”. Why so large a value for Aussie-Europeans compared to US Europeans? A portion of the WHO states:

Condoms are made in various widths. Based on studies in Australia, Thailand and the USA, and the experience of major agencies, the wider condoms (flat width 52-55 mm) will be preferred in Australia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America, and the narrower condoms (47-51 mm) will be preferred in several Asian countries (see Appendix III). Other widths are also made for small specialized markets.

[This portion has been invalidated, see comments below] While wondering which Asian countries are being referenced and if any are not, one would be inclined to treat the ‘experience of major [unnamed] agencies’ as authoritative. The Asian preferred circumference range is 147.7 to 160.2 mm. Similarly, the non-Asian preference circumference is 163.4 to 172.8 mm. From the data, 95% of Euro-Americans, 91% of Afro-Americans, 86% of Euro-Australians and 100% of Thais have penile girths less than or equal to 150 mm. Why then would there be a preference among Africans and Europeans for condoms some 13.4 to 32.8 mm larger?

2013-02-22, update: The answer to the last question can be found here, here and here.


Andrada A, Ravelo N, Spruyt A, et al. 1993. Acceptability and Functionality of Standard and Smaller Latex Condoms during Human Use: Philippines. Durham, USA: Family Health International.

Joanis, C., Brookshire, T., Piedrahita, C., Steiner, M., Diakite, M., and J. Esibi. 1990. Evaluation of Two Condom Designs: A Comparison of Standard and Larger Condoms in Ghana, Kenya, and Mali. Durham, USA: Family Health International.

Mondaini, N., Ponchietti, R., Gontero, P., et al. 2002. Penile length is normal in most men seeking penile lengthening procedures. International Journal of Impotence Research 14: 283-286.

Muangman, D. 1978. Report on measurement of Thai male genital sizes and recommendation for appropriate condom usage [unpublished paper]. Bangkok Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University.

Neupane, S., Abeywickrema, D., Martinez, K., et al. 1992. Acceptability and Actual Use Breakage and Slippage Rates of Standard and Smaller Latex Condoms: Nepal and Sri Lanka. Durham, USA: Family Health International.

Promodu, K., Shanmughadas, K., Bhat, S., and K. Nair. 2007. Penile length and circumference: an Indian study. International Journal of Impotence Research 19: 558-563.

Richters J., Gerofi J., and B. Donovan. 1995. Are condoms the right size(s): a method for self measurements of erect penis. Venerology 8: 77-81.

Rushton, J.P. 2000. Race, Evolution, and Behavior: A Life History Perspective. Port Huron, USA: Charles Darwin Research Institute.

Spruyt, Alan. 1996. User Behavior and Characteristics related to Condom Failure in McNeill, E., et al. (eds.) The Latex Condom: Recent Advances, Future Directions. Durham, USA: Family Health International. [accessed: 2012-01-15].

WHO. 1998. The Male Latex Condom: Specification & Guidelines for Condom Procurement. WHO & Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS. [accessed: 2012-01-23].

Penis size: Taiwan

Penile length and appearance of young male – in Taiwan

Chuang, F-P., Wu, S-T., Lee, S-S., Yu, D-S., Chen, H-I., Chang, S-Y., and G-H. Sun.

Methods: The penile length (from pubo-penile skin junction to penile corona) in flaccid and erected states and the penile circumference were measured in random group of 300 young men aged 20-25 years and free from endocrine disorders and from congenital or acquired abnormalities of the penis.

Result: The median values of penile dimensions recorded in the present study are flaccid length 6.05 cm, flaccid circumference, at the middle of the shaft, 8.54 cm, and erected length 13.05 cm.

Source: Chuang, F-P., Wu, S-T., Lee, S-S., Yu, D-S., Chen, H-I., Chang, S-Y., and G-H. Sun. 2003. Penile length and appearance of young male – in Taiwan. Annual meeting & 25th General Scientific Meeting of the Taiwan Urological Association, p. 157.

Note: These are non-bone pressed and median values.

Penis size: Australia

Associations between andrological measures, hormones and semen quality in
fertile Australian men: inverse relationship between obesity and sperm output

Stewart, T., Liu, D., Garrett, C., Jørgensen, N., Brown, E., and H. Baker

Participation and characteristics of subjects

However, of the 225 men (all were Caucasian) …

Physical examination

The same experienced clinical andrologist examined each man …. genitalia (with the man both lying and standing) … Stretched penile length was measured with a ruler, the end of which was pressed against the pubis and the length to the tip of the glans read off to the nearest 1 mm while traction was exerted on the distal third of the shaft to achieve the maximum length of the penis.

aussieNote: This is bone pressed. Rushton & Bogaert (1987) tells us that European range is between 13.97 and 15.24 cm. Apparently, not for all Aussie Europeans. Some are clearly larger and others smaller.


Rushton, Jean Philippe., and Anthony Bogaert. 1987. Race Differences in Sexual Behavior: Testing an Evolutionary Hypothesis. Journal of Research in Personality 21(4): 529-551.

Stewart, T., Liu, D., Garrett, C., Jørgensen, N., Brown, E., and H. Baker. 2009. Associations between andrological measures, hormones and semen quality in
fertile Australian men: inverse relationship between obesity and sperm output. Human Reproduction 24(7): 1561–1568.