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World’s largest penises? No, this country list is old and misleading

IN SHORT: A list of the countries with the “largest penises” went viral in June 2023. But Africa Check traced the list to a 2022 blog post, which ripped off a 2020 list based on questionable sources. There’s no real way to measure penis size, and it can’t be ranked by country.

“Countries with the worlds largest penises,” reads the headline of a graphic circulating on social media in African countries and elsewhere in the world since mid-June 2023.

It lists 20 countries by supposed penis length, given in inches

The top 10 in the list are:

  1. Ecuador in South America 
  2. Cameroon in western Africa 
  3. Bolivia in South America 
  4. Sudan in northeast Africa 
  5. Haiti in the West Indies 
  6. Senegal in western Africa 
  7. Gambia in western Africa
  8. Cuba in the Caribbean 
  9. The Netherlands in northwestern Europe
  10. Zambia in southern Africa

The ranking of the United States (60th) and United Kingdom (68th) is added at the end of the graphic, under a jagged line.   

The graphic has been posted on Facebook in Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria and Zambia. Other instances can be seen here, here, here and here

It’s also appeared on Instagram and in a 15 June article in the New York Post, a US-based tabloid newspaper.

But the graphic is misleading clickbait. Not only is the ranking three years old, but it leaves out important context about the drawbacks of any study attempting to rank penis size.

It’s also an example of the risks of oversimplified lists posted on social media and generally online. These easily spread misinformation.

WorldsLargest_Misleading

‘The member measure’

We did a bit more digging, and found that the list is based on a blog post by From Mars, an online US pharmacy that specialises in selling erectile dysfunction drugs

The blog is titled The member measure – penis sizes around the world revealed. It’s undated, but reactions to it suggest it was published in late 2022. 

The blog lists what it claims are the “countries with the biggest penises” and the “countries with the smallest penises”. It also lists the “average global penis size”. 

A final section is titled “methodology”. This is where the trouble starts. The blog presents itself as a scientific study and has been reported to be one. But its list is ripped directly from a list published by the World Population Review in 2020.

And the only source given for that list is yet another list, on the site WorldData.info, published in April 2020. A global map of penis size on the WorldData site is strikingly similar to the one on the From Mars blog.

WorldData, in turn, gives the sources of its list as:

  • Am I normal? (BJU International)
  • Various studies (PubMed)
  • World Penis Average Size Studies Database (everyoneweb.com, 9/2016)
  • Penis des Menschen (Wikipedia)
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Journal of Urology 2011, 2013
  • University Agostinho Neto 2001
  • Journal of Se*ology 2006
  • Urologie Health Care Service Armenia
  • Analysis of various studies on penissizes.org

None of these is convincing.

‘Why nearly every list of average penis sizes in the world is likely incorrect’

In 2023, the World Population Review published an updated list of what it said was the “top 10 countries with the longest average penis size”. The list is slightly different to that on the From Mars blog, with Sudan and then the Democratic Republic of the Congo taking the top two spots.

But it adds a disclaimer about the “unreliability of the data set”, under the header Why nearly every list of average penis sizes in the world is likely incorrect.

“Most studies of erect penis length rely upon self-reported data, which is notoriously unreliable and easily distorted, rather than more stringent and precise laboratory measurements,” it reads. 

And “even if researchers perform the measurements and report them precisely, the possibility of volunteer bias still exists – for instance, given the importance many societies attach to penis size, it is entirely likely that men with larger penises would be more likely to volunteer for a penis size study, which could skewing [sic] the sample set unnaturally toward larger penises”.

Small “regional trends can be seen when comparing one country’s data to another”, the review says. But “the differences are generally considered mild overall”.

Anxiety about penis size can cause harm to boys and men. But there’s no convincing study that demonstrates there’s any significant difference in average penis size, across the world.

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