Size did not matter: An evolutionary account of the variation in penis size and size anxiety

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The human penis exhibits considerable variation in size, while a substantial proportion of the adult male population experiences size anxiety. This paper employs an evolutionary framework in order to understand this variation, as well as the concern men exhibit about the adequacy of the size of their penis. It is argued that female choice has been one important sexual selection force, responsible for shaping the size of the penis. However, this force has been relatively weak, because women do not consider the size of their partners’ penis to be the most important determinant of their sexual satisfaction. Also, in ancestral human societies, sexual satisfaction was a secondary concern, while women had limited space to exercise mate choice. The mismatch between ancestral and modern conditions, with female choice being stronger in the present than in the past, causes anxiety in men about their ability to satisfy their partners, which is also manifested in their concerns about size.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1147933
JournalCogent Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2016


  • evolution of penis’ size
  • female choice
  • parental choice
  • sexual selection
  • size anxiety


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