Are Men More Likely To Be "Growers" Or "Showers"?


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer


Aren't stock images horrific? GoneWithTheWind/Shutterstock

There's been a disproportionate number of penis-related news stories fluttering about recently, which I’m sure everyone is thrilled about. From curious geoglyphs in Australia to the over-hyped, non-existent notion of “summer penises”, it’s been a pervasive penile phantasmagoria – how appropriate for 2018.

A new paper, published recently in the International Journal of Impotence Research, is doing nothing to end this torrent, but at least it’s a scientific study.


It appears to be interested in erectile dysfunction, and how one could predict how penis length would change from the flaccid to erect state for various individuals. The team of urologists – from the Tulane University School of Medicine, the University of California at Irvine, and Mahidol University in Bangkok – start the paper with quite the explainer.

“In colloquial English, a ‘grower’ is a man whose phallus expands significantly in length from the flaccid to the erect state; a 'shower' is a man whose phallus does not demonstrate such expansion,” they elucidate, before revealing their quest.

“We sought to investigate various factors that might predict a man being either a grower or a shower.

The team reviewed data from 274 patients that had undergone some rather fancy ultrasound scans on their dysfunctional dongles between 2011 and 2013. Penile length was measured both during its flaccid state, and at peak erection, after a compound designed to widen blood vessels in the penis was injected into them.


They note that the average change in length from one state to the other was 4 centimeters (1.57 inches), which they decided to use as a cut-off point. The growers were those whose length changes exceeded that value, with showers matching it or falling somewhat short.

It turns out that 26 percent of the patients were growers, and the remaining 74 percent were showers. Growers were younger on average (47.5 years to the showers’ 55.9-year mean), and tended to have a larger final erection.

The team report no difference between race, smoking history, erectile function, flaccid penile length, the rigidity of the erection, or any other comorbidities – additional diseases or disorders that occur alongside the primary condition being investigated.

Does this apply to the entire world of men, then? Probably not: this was a tiny study, and the team note that “multicultural and multinational studies are needed to confirm these results.”


This certainly isn’t the first time a study looking for correlations between penis length and other things has popped up. There’s been a fair few studies that try to match flaccid and erect penis size with a whole range of variables, with a rather sizeable research endeavor from 2014 finding a strong correlation between flaccid and erect length and the person’s height.

Expect the mysteries of the penis to endure for years to come. What a time to be alive, eh?


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  • change,

  • length,

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