Shower vs grower: What is the difference and does it matter?

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.

What determines whether you’re a shower or grower

The erectile tissue of the penis comprises:

  • elastic fibers
  • collagen
  • 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:

  • race
  • smoking history
  • comorbidities
  • 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.

Is one more common?

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.

Which group are you?

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.

Can this change over time?

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.

Does it impact overall erection size?

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.

Does it affect your sex life?

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.

Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid using tertiary references. We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

There Are 20 Different Penis Types — and They’re All Normal!

There Are 20 Different Penis Types — and They’re All Normal!

Medically reviewed by Jennifer Litner, LMFT, CST on January 29, 2020 — Written by Adrienne Santos-Longhurst

This article is a repost which originally appeared on HealthLine

Penises are as unique as the people they hang from, and they’re all good. More than good, really.

There’s no such thing as a bad shape or size — just bad information on how to use it.

Here’s how to feel great about what you’ve got and what to do with it.

What’s the typical shape?

If there’s anything typical about penis shape, it’s that most tend to be cylinder-ish, often with a wider — or at least a more pronounced — head.

Curved upward

Like a banana, this penis curves slightly upward, at least when it’s erect.

The upward curve means an advantage when it comes to stimulating all the right spots for toe-curling, full-body orgasms: the G-spot, A-spot, and prostate.

Pro tip: You can keep it simple with any variation of the missionary position and still rock their world thanks to that curve. That goes for P-in-V and anal sex.

Curved downward

Flip that banana around and you’ve got this shape, which is basically a penis with a slight downward curve. Again, the curve is noticeable only during an erection.

Pro tip: Turn that frown upside down with rear-entry positions that make A-, G-, and P-spot stimulation a breeze. Riding into the sunset is a must-try!


This type of penis has a noticeable curve to the right. If you or your partner is rockin’ a major curve, a willingness to experiment with different angles is a must.

Positions that allow you to work the curve toward the front wall of the vagina or rectum give you the same hot-spot advantage as those with banana shapes.

Pro tip: Try the T-bone. This delectable position begins with the penetrating partner on their side with their curve pointed toward the sky. The receiving partner lies on their back in a T angle and drapes their legs over their partner’s hip, ready for P-in-V or anal.


The straight penis maintains pretty much the same shape from shaft to head.

With no angles to accommodate, you can eenie-meenie-miney-mo your way through every sex position you both consent to with little-to-no tweaking required.

Pro tip: Give and get the most with any position that makes it easy to reach each other’s erogenous zones for simultaneous manual or sex toy play.

Bigger base with narrow head

This penis is thicker at the base and narrows as you get closer to the head, giving it a cone-esque shape.

Like other shapes, this one’s got some solid perks. The narrower head makes for easier entry, and a wider base provides more stimulation the deeper you go.

Pro tip: If you’re both open to anal, the cone is basically built for butt play because the gradual increase in girth is perfect for stretching the anus. Use a lot of lube and tease with just the tip before going deeper.

Narrow base with larger head

The hammer penis, which is long and thin with a much larger head, has all the makings for a good nailing. Wink.

The extra girth at the tip stimulates the vaginal or rectal walls, which will feel good for both of you.

Pro tip: Choose positions that allow the receiver to open wide and stimulate their clit or penis at the same time for easier entry. Classics like missionary and cow are totally hammer-friendly.

Where do length and girth come in?

Penises don’t just come in different shapes, but lengths and thicknesses, too.

Regardless of the combo you’re working with, the right moves can make them all O-inducing.

Smaller-than-average length and girth

The “gherkin” falls on the shorter and narrower side of average, but don’t let its smaller stature fool you. It doesn’t need to be big to be ahh-mazing.

Pro tip: If you wanna go deep, some positions are better than others. Doggy style is one of the best for any type of sex with a smaller-than-average penis. If you’re flexible, the pile driver is fan-freaking-tastic.

Shorter-than-average length and thick girth

The “kielbasa” is shorter, stout, and able to stimulate the vaginal or rectal walls like nobody’s business.

There are oodles of sensitive nerve-endings packed in and around either entry point, so the shorter length makes for some pretty toe-curling penetration for both parties.

Pro tip: Use lots of lube, take it slow, and master the dog positions, like traditional doggy or downward-facing dog (yes, like the yoga pose), if you want to go deep and hit the G-, A-, or P-spot.

Average length and girth

Congrats, Goldicocks! The “cucumber” isn’t too big or too small, but just right for any position you want to try.

Pro tip: Experiment to find your most mind-blowing positions! Try variations on all the classics and throw some standing sex positions into the mix.

Larger-than-average length and girth

The “salami” is the type of appendage you’re most likely to see in porn: long and thick.

While it may leave some jumping for joy, it can also be a little daunting to take in — literally.

The key to making the most of it is lots of lube and positions that let the receiver have more control.

Pro tip: Lube up and try positions that allow the partner on the receiving end to keep their legs tight to control the depth. You can do this with missionary, spooning, and even rear-entry positions.

Larger-than-average length and thin girth

To be clear, the “pencil” type isn’t actually pencil-thin, but it’s notably longer and narrower than average.

To make the best use of a thin penis, stick to tight-legged positions. The tighter space is pleasurable for both and still lets the receiver control how much of the length they take in.

Pro tip: You’ve gotta try spooning. Coming in from behind creates a tight space and requires extra length — which this type’s got — to reach. Spooning also works for anal and can be ramped up by adding a dildo for some DP action. You’re welcome.

How does skin tone affect the color?

Regardless of race, a penis can be considerably different from the rest of the person it’s attached to. The same goes for vulvas and nipples.

This is because our sex hormones regulate melanocyte cells. These are skin cells that release melanin, which is responsible for pigmentation.

Rising testosterone levels throughout life leads to darker skin down there. The color can appear brown or grayish.

And during erection, blood flow can make it reddish or even purple.

It’s all totally normal and has zero impact on function.

Hair, foreskin, and more

Adding to their charm and character are other traits like hair, foreskin, and veins.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these attributes and how to handle them.


Circumcised penises — which make up around 70 percent of penises in the United States — have had the foreskin removed. This means the head is on display at all times, and there’s no need to pull back skin to access it.

Pro tip: Foreskin doesn’t make any difference in regard to your partner’s pleasure, but using lube could minimize chafing for you during a long or particularly snuggly sesh.


An uncircumcised penis has the foreskin intact. Only part of the head is visible unless it’s erect and, even then, it depends on how much skin there is.

Pro tip: Foreskin works like a sleeve o’ pleasure when enjoying solo or partnered hand action. Alternate between sliding it back and forth over the head and gently pulling it back and exposing the head for some targeted attention.


Hair around the base of the penis and balls is pretty much a given unless it’s shaved off. You may even notice a few stragglers on the shaft. It’s all good!

Pro tip: If you’re going au naturel, be sure to keep things clean and fresh. If you or your partner prefers a trim or hairless nether region, take care to avoid painful mishaps.


With not a vein or bump in sight, a smooth penis makes for a silky smooth entry.

Pro tip: Want more? Mix things up with textured condoms or a cock ring for a totally different sensation.


Some cocks have uber-accentuated veins, especially when they’re aroused.

A veiny penis comes down to genetics and muscle and is totally not a big deal.

Pro tip: Too much? Look to thicker or differently textured condoms to help prevent overstimulation.


Freckles come down to pigmentation that can be more pronounced in some areas than others. It’s purely aesthetic.

Pro tip: Freckles on any skin is totally normal, but if you or your partner is worried about the spotted appearance, hit pause and talk to a doctor or other healthcare provider before taking things further.


A shower refers to a penis that stays pretty much the same size whether it’s erect or not.

Experts don’t know why it happens, but it appears to be relatively common according to the research available.

Pro tip: Proceed as usual!


Most penises are growers, which mean they get bigger when they’re hard.

Pro tip: Nothing more to do except get busy!

The bottom line

No one type is better than another, so try to focus on the pleasure it’s capable of instead of its appearance.

That said, keeping an eye out for any new or unusual changes in appearance is important.

See a doctor or other healthcare provider if you or your partners notice any new lumps or areas of discoloration. These could be a sign of an STI, injury, or other underlying a condition.

Yes, “Growers Vs. Showers” Is A Real Thing

Yes, “Growers Vs. Showers” Is A Real Thing


* This article is a repost which originally appeared on REFINERY29

Most of us have heard the phrase “he’s a grower, not a shower,” referring to someone whose penis appears much bigger when erect than flaccid. But while this is a common phrase, is being a “grower, not a shower” really a thing? It may surprise you to learn that there have been actual studies devoted to figuring this out.

First, keep in mind that all penises are bigger when erect. So in that sense, everyone with a penis is a “grower.” But when we talk about “growers v. showers,” we’re talking about the difference between the size of someone’s flaccid penis and the size of someone’s erect penis. If there’s a big difference, they’re a grower. If there’s a small difference, they’re a shower.

To find out the reality of growers v. showers, researchers conducted a study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research titled, “Grower or shower? Predictors of change in penile length from the flaccid to erect state.” Researchers measured the flaccid and “peak erection” penises of 274 men who were treated for erectile dysfunction. They found that the median change in penis length from flaccid to erect was 4.0 centimeters, or about 1.6 inches. Men whose penises expanded at least 4.0 centimeters in length during an erection were deemed “growers,” while men whose penises expanded less than 4.0 centimeters were classified as “showers.”

The study found that just over one-quarter (26%) of men fit the “grower” definition, with an average growth of 5.3 centimeters (or about 2.1 inches) from flaccid to erect. 74% were “showers,” with an average growth of 3.1 centimeters (about 1.2 inches). The researchers found that race, smoking history, co-morbidities, and the size of the men’s flaccid penises did not play a factor in determining the growers vs. the showers. However, the growers were a little younger, with an average age of 47.5 years, compared to the showers’ average age of 55.9 years.

Keep in mind that this study only included men who were already being treated for erectile dysfunction. A more general but much less scientific Men’s Health survey found almost exactly the opposite results: 79% of men surveyed were growers, and 21% were showers.

Other research has suggested that the elasticity and proportion of collagen fibers in a person’s penis tissue may determine if they’re a grower or a shower. These differences are partially determined by genetics, and partially determined by health and age. That means someone might go from being a “grower” to being a “shower” as they get older.

While people have argued about the pros and cons of being a grower v. a shower, it’s not the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean that matters. And yes, science supports that saying, too.