What does it mean to be a “grower” vs. “shower?”

Raagini Yedidi, MD - Contributor Avatar

Reviewed by Raagini Yedidi, MD, 

Written by Steven Craig Rowe 

Raagini Yedidi, MD - Contributor Avatar

Reviewed by Raagini Yedidi, MD, 

Written by Steven Craig Rowe 

last updated: Jun 27, 2024

5 min read

Key takeaways

  • Whether you’re a grower vs. shower refers to the amount a penis grows from flaccid to erect.  

  • While it isn’t possible to significantly increase your penis size, some factors, such as genetics, age, and lifestyle, could influence changes in length overtime.

  • While there is no exact definition of what exactly it means to be  a “grower,” vs “shower,” there is a good colloquial understanding of these terms. On average, it seems that a majority of people fall in between the two types.

For many people with penises (for the sake of this article, men), discussions about being a grower vs. shower can date back as far as high school or even earlier. But given the sensitive—and frankly, personal—nature of the topic, accurate information about what’s considered too small or too big, or even data about what size most men are walking around with, can be pretty sparse. 

So to help clear up any of the lingering questions, we took a closer look to see just what classifies someone as a grower vs. shower. Ahead, what research says about the topic (and the average penis size), how you can find out if you’re a grower or a shower, and more. 

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What is the difference between a grower vs shower? 

Determining if someone is a grower or a shower isn’t about how big or small their penis appears when flaccid. Rather, it refers to the amount of penis growth that occurs when having an erection. 

People who are considered “growers” see a significant increase in penis size from its flaccid state to a full erection—by literally “growing” in relative size. For someone who is considered a “shower,” the size of their flaccid penis is somewhat similar to that of their erect penis. 

While there aren’t enough studies available about erectile growth to give a definitive measurement range, a 2018 review of 274 patients found the median growth length to be 4 cm (~1.6 in). Using this mid-point, researchers categorized total growth above or equal to 4 cm as growers and total growth below 4 cm as showers. 

What affects being a grower vs. shower?  

Just like with most physical attributes, genetics can play a role in penis size. In fact, certain physical traits may even be indicators of penis size. A 2021 study gathered data about the flaccid length and erection length of 4,685 men, along with other personal details, such as their age, height, and weight. This study found an association between someone’s height proportional to penis length—both when flaccid and erect. 

It’s also possible that tissue elasticity in the penis—i.e. the ability for erectile tissue to stretch—can influence whether you’re a grower vs. shower. When erectile tissue is very elastic, a penis tends to be able to grow longer when erect. When elasticity is low or in cases where there is a loss in elasticity, a penis may not grow as long or grow to a reduced length. 

As you age, erectile tissue becomes less elastic due, in part, to reduced production of collagen (a protein that comprises approximately half of the tissue in your penis). So, it makes sense that current data suggests older men are less likely to be growers. Loss of elasticity can also be the result of a condition, such as erectile dysfunction (ED). Thus, overall erectile health and function  may also contribute to whether you’re a grower vs. shower.

How do you know if you’re a grower vs. shower? 

While these terms may seem dependent on someone’s own perception of their penis length, urologists recently tried to define growers and showers through data, which they presented at the 2023 European Association of Urology (EAU) Congress

The study included 225 men who received ultrasound scans of their penises in both a flaccid and erect state. From these measurements, researchers defined growers as an increase in length of over 56% when erect compared to when flaccid and showers as an increase of less than 31%. 

You likely don’t have an ultrasound machine at home and calculating percentages can just be, well, confusing. So, let’s call upon the aforementioned 2018 study, which characterizes growers as a change in length from flaccid to erect as 4 cm or more and showers as 4 cm. 

Using these figures, you can conduct your own test to see whether you’re a grower vs. shower:  

Step 1: Flaccid Measurement -. When your penis is in its flaccid state, place a ruler or tape measure at the base of the shaft and measure up to the end of your penis. Remember this number or write it down. 

Step 2:  Erect Measurement - For the most accurate measurement, you will want to be fully erect. Once hard, measure from the base of your shaft up to the very tip of your penis. Remember this second number or write it down. 

Step 3: Calculating the Difference - Subtract the flaccid measurement from the erect measurement, and violá, you now have an idea of how much growth you experience. This number should indicate whether you’re a grower or shower.   

Can being a grower vs. shower change overtime?

Flaccid length can certainly change overtime, especially as someone ages or as their lifestyle and physical characteristics change, per the aforementioned 2018 review. While this review was small in scope, those classified as growers were more likely to be younger. This result may be due to the reduction in penile elasticity that can come with aging. Meaning, a reduction in erection length can lower someone’s percentage of growth, potentially moving people toward the shower classification over time. 

Research has also pointed out other factors that could cause someone to change their categories over time. Looking back at the 2021 study, weight gain was shown to be a contributing factor to a reduced flaccid length as well as being a smoker. 

Is it more common to be a grower vs. shower (or vice versa)?

This can be a difficult question to answer because it is only within the last few years that researchers have started using these terms in studies. While there has been significant research comparing penis size, it was typically studied in correlation to men’s health issues, such as testosterone levels and infertility and didn’t record erectile growth. 

As we mentioned before, the 2018 review found that 26% of participants were growers with over 4 cm of growth and 74% were showers with under 4 cm of growth. 

Meanwhile, the 2023 study found the majority of participants to land in the middle percentage range. By their classifications, only 25% were showers and 24% were growers, leaving around 51% of participants between the two types. So is it more common to be a grower vs. shower? It may depend on how you’re defining those categories. As it stands, there is no one commonly accepted definition for these two categories, and studies vary in terms of who falls where. That being said, as there is growing interest in this topic, more data will become available over time so you can figure out where you lie on the spectrum if you are interested.

Does it matter if you’re a grower vs shower?

While showers may have more to, err, show off when they are flaccid, being a grower vs. shower probably doesn’t have an impact on your health or sex life. What does matter, however, is how you feel about yourself and your member. The more confident and comfortable you are in your body, the more likely you are to experience a satisfying sex life. 

Also far more important than whether you’re a grower vs. shower? Communication. If your penis length is affecting your self-esteem, confidence, or sex life, being able to talk to your partner (or a healthcare provider) can have much more of an impact on your relationship, sex life, and overall well being. 

Bottom line

It is understandable that growers, showers, and those in between may feel some apprehension about how their penis measures up to others. But even from the limited research available, we can begin to see that despite how widely penises vary in shape, length and girth, a majority of people still fall somewhere in the middle. So no matter where you land on the scale, being a grower vs. shower should not significantly impact your health or sex life.


If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

June 27, 2024

Written by

Steven Craig Rowe

Fact checked by

Raagini Yedidi, MD

About the medical reviewer

Raagini Yedidi, MD, is an internal medicine resident and medical reviewer for Ro.