What is the difference between a ‘shower’ and a ‘grower’ and does it really matter?
Medically reviewed by Joseph Brito III, MD — Written by Beth Sissons on February 9, 2021
This article is a repost which originally appeared on MEDICALNEWSTODAY
Edited for content
How much a penis extends in length while erect varies from person to person. It may also change over time and with age. However, there is no evidence to suggest this affects an individual’s health or sex life.
A “shower” or “grower” refers to how much a penis expands in length when erect compared with its flaccid state.
This article explores the science behind the terms, how common they are, and whether being a shower or a grower has any significant impact on health and sex life.
Distinction between the two
According to the popular colloquialism, a shower is a person with a penis that does not expand relatively significantly in length when it becomes erect.
In contrast, a grower is a person with a penis that grows relatively significantly longer when erect.
The erectile tissue of the penis comprises:
- elastic fibers
- smooth muscles
- arteries and veins
All of these allow the penis to become erect.
However, with age, the penis can lose tissue elasticity, which may affect how it stretches.
People may also experience inflammation and less blood flow to the penis as they age, which can affect erection.
A 2018 study involving 274 males found that age played a role in whether participants were a grower or a shower.
The researchers defined a grower as having a flaccid to erect penile length increase of 4 centimeters (cm) or more, while an increase of less than 4 cm indicated that a person was a shower.
All of the participants had previously undergone penile duplex ultrasound (PDDU) for erectile dysfunction.
Researchers measured flaccid penile length and gave participants a vasodilation drug before measuring erect penile length.
Growers had an average length change of 5.3 cm, while showers had an average length change of 3.1 cm. The mean age of the growers was 47.5 years, compared with an average of 55.9 years in the showers.
The research also reported that 37% of males who fell into the grower category were single, compared with 23% in the showers category, although this may also relate to age.
Growers also had a lower dose of the vasodilation drug.
There were no differences in the showers or growers regarding:
- smoking history
- erectile function
- flaccid penile length
- penis firmness after vasodilation injection
- PDDU results
The study notes that confirming these findings requires more research, including larger scale, multicultural, and multinational studies.
The research did find an age difference between growers and showers. According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, the way the penis changes as people age may account for this age differentiation.
The 2018 study found that out of 274 participants, 73 males (26%) were growers, while 205 males (74%) were showers, according to the researchers’ criteria on flaccid to erect penis length.
This suggests that showers may be more common, but there is not enough evidence to reflect the whole population.
Further studies are needed to confirm the findings.
People may be able to tell if they are a shower or grower without any tests.
If people have a penis that does not significantly change size between a flaccid and erect state, they may be a shower.
In contrast, if an individual’s penis size changes drastically between a flaccid and erect state, they may be a grower.
People can measure their penis when flaccid, from the base to the tip. They can then take the same measurement when their penis is erect.
If the difference between the two measurements is greater than 4 cm, people meet the definition of a grower.
However, if the difference is less than 4 cm, people meet the definition of a shower.
The 2018 study found that age was the main factor in whether people were a grower or a shower, which suggests that people may change between a grower and a shower as they age.
When people age, collagen and elastic fibers in the penis decrease, which may affect whether they are a shower or grower.
Other penis changes can also happen as people age. Testosterone levels start to decline after a person reaches 40 years of age, which can cause the penis to shrink slowly.
Health conditions that impair blood flow can also affect penis color and erection.
According to the Kinsey Institute, flaccid penis size is not a reliable indicator for its erect size.
Generally, shorter flaccid penile lengths enlarge by a greater percentage than longer flaccid penile lengths.
The 2018 study found that growers had a larger erect penis size, measuring 15.5 cm compared with 13.1 cm in the showers group.
There is no research to suggest whether being a shower or a grower impacts a person’s sex life.
However, concerns about penis appearance may affect sexual activity.
A 2016 survey looked at genital dissatisfaction in 4,198 males aged 18–65 years and living in the United States.
Participants reported the lowest satisfaction with flaccid penile length, with 27% reporting dissatisfaction. Different demographics had no bearing on survey answers.
Those who reported dissatisfaction with their genitals reported less sexual activity, including less vaginal sex and less receptive oral sex.
If a person has concerns that their penis appearance is affecting their self-esteem, confidence, or sex life, people may find it helpful to talk with their partner or healthcare professional.
Being a shower or a grower refers to the change in penis length from a flaccid to erect state.
If people have a penis that increases significantly in length from a flaccid to erect state, they may be a grower. If there is no significant change, they may be a shower.
Some research suggests being a shower or a grower relates to age. Therefore a person’s category may change over time.
However, there is no evidence to suggest that being a shower or grower affects their health or sex life.
- Does a man’s penis change as he gets older? (n.d.).
- Gaither, T. W., et al. (2016). Characterization of genital dissatisfaction in a national sample of U.S. men [Abstract].
- Gallo, C. B. M., et al. (2014). Modifications of erectile tissue components in the penis during the fetal period.
- Lee, S.-H., et al. (2018). Ligamentous structures in human glans penis.
- Morris, B. J., et al. (2017). Penile inflammatory skin disorders and the preventive role of circumcision.
- Penis size FAQ and bibliography. (n.d.).
- What do the terms “shower” and “grower” mean in terms of penis length? (n.d.).
- Yafi, F. A. (2018). Grower or shower? Predictors of change in penile length from the flaccid to erect state [Abstract].