Have you considered clinical trials for Erectile dysfunction?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Erectile dysfunction, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

What is a soft penis?

Most of the time, your penis is flaccid. It’s soft and hangs loosely on your scrotum.

When you’re aroused, your penis will change and become hard or erect. This will allow you to engage in sex. 

What is the average penis size?

It’s not uncommon for men to worry about penis shape and size. Feelings of inadequacy linked to penis size can cause significant emotional stress for men. 

In some cultures, penis size represents masculinity. Therefore, perceiving your penis as small can make you feel like less of a man.

Penis size is typically overestimated by the public. In their review of ten prominent studies on the topic, one team of researchers¹ found that men believe the average length of an erect penis is longer than 6 inches. In fact, the measured average is 5.36 inches.

This tendency to overestimate average size leads many men to believe that their penis is abnormally small. One study² found that only 55% of participants were happy with their penis size. This insecurity affects not only how a man sees himself but also how he interacts romantically with others.

If you’re not confident about your penis size, you might worry that you won’t be able to satisfy your partner, but multiple studies have found that partners generally don’t care about the length of your penis.

In a paper published in Psychology of Men & Masculinity, researchers asked over 26,000 women about their partner’s penis size in an internet survey. They found that 84% of women² were happy with their partner’s penis size. Another team of researchers reported that 77% of the sexually active women³ they surveyed rated penis length as “unimportant” or “totally unimportant.”

Further, of the interviewed homosexual men in a 2007 study,⁴ only 7% ranked the penis as the most important physical feature of their partner.”

Is a soft penis reflective of its erect size?

No. The length of the flaccid penis does not predict its erect length. In fact, there’s evidence⁵ that a shorter penis may lengthen more at erection than a longer penis. 

How to measure your penis

It is easy to measure your penis; all you need is a ruler.

You typically measure the length of the penis from above, i.e., by looking down at your penis. Place the start of the ruler next to your penis on your groin as close as you can and extend the ruler along it. This will give you a basic measurement. 

If your penis is curved, a flexible ruler might be more suitable than a rigid one.

What is the average length of a soft penis?

Studies investigating the average length of a penis generally produce comparable results. 

One recent review published in the Journal of Sex & Martial Therapy combined data from 21 studies to find that the average length of a stretched flaccid penis was 5.11 inches.

There are limitations to studies of the reported penis length. For example, participants volunteering to participate may tend to be more confident in their size than others.

What is the average length of an erect penis?

In the above-mentioned study, researchers found that the average length of an erect penis is 5.36 inches. In a separate large review⁶ of over 15,000 men, researchers found the average erect penis was smaller, at 5.17 inches. If your penis is around this range, your penis size is considered normal. 

This research should help you recognize the normal ranges for penis length. You most likely fall into these ranges, and even if you don’t, there is no need to feel insecure or embarrassed. 

Is your penis going soft during sex?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the inability to get or sustain an erection long enough to engage in sexual activity. Many factors contribute to ED, but three common causes are:

Performance anxiety

This is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by excessive fear surrounding an event in various fields, including sports, stage performance, and sex. This feeling is recognized by the individual and, in the case of sex, might be linked to concerns about satisfying a romantic partner.

The overwhelming anxiety felt by someone with performance anxiety can override emotions, resulting in mixed signals between the brain and penis. 

The good news is that most ED is manageable. Typically, discussing your feelings with your partner or a qualified psychologist can help you get past performance anxiety.


Alcohol is readily available to people over the age of 21. It inhibits certain parts of the brain, allowing us to socialize more freely and act more impulsively — including in the sexual context. However, consuming too much alcohol can interfere with your plans.

Drinking a lot of alcohol can lead to alcohol-related sexual dysfunction, commonly called “whisky dick.” Whisky dick can happen when alcohol interferes with signaling between the brain and the penis by depressing the body’s information transit center — the central nervous system.

Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol is common among young adults, so alcohol-related dysfunction may affect this age group more than others. 

The most effective way to prevent whiskey dick is limiting the amount of alcohol you drink.


Some medications cause erectile function. The Harvard Special Health Report concluded that 25% of all ED⁷ could be attributed to side effects of taking medications. Examples of drugs that can cause ED to include:

  • Antidepressants

  • Antihistamines

  • High blood pressure medications

  • Hormonal medications

  • Pain killers

Anti-hypertensive medications, or high blood pressure medications, are the most common drug linked to ED. Anti-hypertensive drugs can trigger ED by reducing blood flow to the penis.

In one study⁸ of more than 1.9 million men, 38% of participants had both ED and hypertension, so while medication for high blood pressure is linked to ED, it’s essential to note that there’s a connection between the condition itself, high blood pressure, and ED, as well. 

If you are concerned that medications are negatively affecting your sex life, consult your primary healthcare provider. They might be able to adjust the dosage or change the type of medication. 

What can help you stay hard during sex?

There are several treatment options for ED. Treatments such as talk therapy, medications, and modifying your lifestyle factors are the first line of treatment. If these treatments don’t work, surgery may be an option.

Cognitive behavior therapy⁹

ED can have significant psychological implications, and talking to someone about it is essential. 

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is particularly beneficial if ED is caused by psychological factors. A professional can help you understand what’s causing your ED and help you correct it.

It’s normal to feel insecure in bed, especially when you are starting to see someone new, but if performance anxiety is preventing you from enjoying sex, communicating with a therapist can help you overcome this psychological hurdle. 


You’ve likely heard of the little blue pill, Viagra. Since its introduction to the market in the 80s, many men have used it to boost sexual performance. In one study¹⁰ of effectiveness, researchers found that Viagra improved sexual performance for 56 to 84% of men, depending on the dosage. 

Viagra works by inhibiting the action of phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5). This chemical normally acts to constrict the blood vessels towards the end of your erection. It takes approximately 30 minutes to work and typically wears off within six hours.

Viagra is generally well-tolerated, with only 0.1% of users¹¹ experiencing serious side effects. More common side effects include:

  • Headaches 

  • Nausea or indigestion

  • Flushing (hot flashes)

  • Blocked nose

  • Dizziness


Cialis (the trade name of tadalafil) is another ED medication. It acts similar to Viagra by inhibiting the PDE5 enzyme to extend the duration of an erection. The major advantage of Cialis is that its effects can last up to 36 hours, helping a person have more sex within that period. 

Should you see a doctor about a soft penis?

Consult a doctor anytime something atypical affects your life.  

If you’re struggling with erectile dysfunction, discuss your concerns with your doctor. Being able to identify the cause of ED is essential to determine how to treat it. In some cases, ED can be a sign of something more serious, so don’t hesitate to seek professional advice.

The lowdown

It’s normal for your penis to be soft when you’re not aroused, but if you struggle with getting an erection or staying hard, you may have erectile dysfunction.

Many factors contribute to ED, and sometimes, it’s just a consequence of overthinking. If feelings of inadequacy related to penis size are affecting your performance, don’t stress. Your penis is most likely average-sized, and most women don’t consider penis size important, while most homosexual men place more importance on other physical features.

  1. Average-size erect penis: Fiction, fact, and the need for counseling (2020)

  2. Does size matter? Men’s and women’s views on penis size across the lifespan (2006)

  3. What importance do women attribute to the size of the penis? (2002)

  4. The long and the short of it: Gay men's perceptions of penis size (2007)

  5. Penis size FAQ and bibliography | Kinsey Institute

  6. Am I normal? A systematic review and construction of nomograms for flaccid and erect penis length and circumference in up to 15 521 men (2015)

  7. Some drugs may cause your erectile dysfunction | Harvard Health Publishing

  8. Some drugs may cause your erectile dysfunction (2021)

  9. A randomized controlled trial of guided internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy for erectile dysfunction (2011)

  10. Oral sildenafil in the treatment of erectile dysfunction (1998)

  11. Side effects of sildenafil | NHS

Other sources:

Have you considered clinical trials for Erectile dysfunction?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Erectile dysfunction, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Discover which clinical trials you are eligible for

Do you want to know if there are any Erectile dysfunction clinical trials you might be eligible for?
Have you taken medication for Erectile dysfunction?
Have you been diagnosed with Erectile dysfunction?