We’ve all heard the phrase “grower vs. shower” before. Or perhaps you’ve even exclaimed it preemptively before a sexual encounter with a new partner: “Don’t worry. I’m a grower!” (Sure ya are, buddy.)
In layman’s terms, here’s what the “grower vs. shower” dichotomy actually is: a “grower” is someone with a small flaccid penis whose erect penis gets considerably larger. A shower, by contrast, is someone with a relatively large flaccid penis who doesn’t actually get that much bigger when erect.
But is this actually a thing? We reached out to Rachel Rubin, M.D., an assistant professor in Urology at Georgetown University and medical advisor to Promescent, along with Seth Cohen, M.D., a urologist and assistant professor of urology and OBGYN at NYU Langone Health, to help shed some light on this hotly debated topic.
“There is definitely truth to the grower vs. shower dynamic,” Rubin says. “Just like height, weight, hair color, and facial features, penises come in all shapes and sizes. Some penises gain significant length and girth during an erection, and some don’t.”
All of it is normal and shouldn’t affect the potential pleasure of the penis owner or their partner, Rubin adds.
It essentially boils down to genetics: either you have a relatively small flaccid penis, which gets bigger when it becomes erect, or you have a relatively large flaccid penis, which also gets bigger when it becomes erect (sometimes by a lot and sometimes by a little).
A small 2018 study published in Nature tried to understand more about growers and showers. They measured size in the flaccid and erect state. The study did not find any association with race, smoking history, co-morbidities, erectile function, or flaccid penile length. “So we can’t predict who is a grower and who is a shower,” Rubin says.
Still, as any person with a penis can tell you, a flaccid penis isn’t the same length all the time. “Various factors can change the penis size in the flaccid state like the temperature of the room, cold water, stress levels, or exercise,” Rubin says. So at times, even a “grower” may have a decently-sized flaccid penis depending on external factors, and a “shower” might have a tinier one.
It’s worth noting that some medical conditions or disorders can affect the elasticity of a penis, which can result in something akin to the “shower” effect. Erectile dysfunction, for instance, can reduce the strength of your erections, thereby making your erection not as large as it might otherwise be, Cohen explains.
There is also the question of elasticity in the penis tissue. Some men have more elasticity in their penises, which affects the stretchiness of their erections. This is largely dependent on how much collagen they have in their skin.
Also, if you’re carrying a few extra pounds around the middle, that might lead to you thinking of yourself as more of a “grower” than a “shower.” “Sometimes men who carry a little extra weight around the belly can have part of their [flaccid] penis hidden, so it may look like a smaller penis, but when they have an erection, the real length and girth is visible,” Cohen says. So that’s as good a reason to go on a diet as any.
No matter what, your penis gets bigger when it becomes erect. For some men, it gets a lot bigger, whereas for other men, not as much. “The penis is just a muscle,” says Cohen. “When blood flows there, it gets larger.” At the end of the day, it’s really just as simple as that.
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