The majority of American men are pretty happy with their penis. This is according to a 2016 study that surveyed a representative sample of over four thousand men, 86 percent of whom were satisfied with their genitals.
The survey asked men to cite their satisfaction with 14 different aspects of their genitals and found the highest satisfaction involved the shape of the head of their penises (64 percent were satisfied), while the lowest satisfaction level was with the length of their flaccid penis size (27 percent). The most neutral feelings men had about their genitals was with regard to smell: 44 percent reported feeling neither satisfied nor unsatisfied.
Thomas Gaither, a graduate student at the University of California San Francisco and lead researcher on the study, tells Broadly that he was surprised to find that genital satisfaction seemed so widespread, regardless of age or socioeconomic status.
"We really thought there would be some age groups, like younger people, who would be more worried about their genitals and that they would come to accept them as they got older, or that there would be differences in satisfaction among racial or socioeconomic groups," says Gaither. "It's something to think about."
The study also found that men with low levels of genital satisfaction reported having less sex, including both penetrative sex and oral sex.
"We don't know what causes it—whether feeling dissatisfied leads to a man having less sex or that having less sex affects men's satisfaction—but it has implications for sex therapy and people who are unhappy with their sex lives."
Of all the parts of their genitalia, men in the study reported lowest satisfaction with their flaccid penis, which Gaither points out, is odd because the flaccid penis isn't typically used in sexual encounters. But Gaither suspects it may have to do with men comparing penis size. "If men are going to see other penises, it's often going to be in a shower room, where they can see and compare size of a flaccid penis to their own."
Regardless, Gaither says the findings are a good start in understanding how men perceive their own genitalia and how that perception relates to overall sexual satisfaction. Additionally, the study suggests the results of the survey will "provide clinicians and health educators a baseline of genital satisfaction to provide education and reassurance."
"We need to have more honest conversations and help men see themselves in better light so they can have have more satisfaction with their sex lives," says Gaither.