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Growers vs Showers: What Science Shows

7 min read
Growers vs Showers: What Science Shows

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Social factors such as adult movie standards and media pressures have created a “bigger equals better” stigma surrounding penis size. Research has shown that men are often dissatisfied with their penis size, despite their partners being satisfied with it.

There’s often a considerable size difference between a person's penis when it's flaccid compared to when it's erect. Naturally, men who aren’t happy with their erect penis size, could be far less satisfied with its flaccid measurements. If you’ve ever heard a person's penis referred to as a “grower” or a “shower” you may have filled in the blanks surrounding what the phrases mean.

The amount a penis increases in size when changing between flaccid and erect states can vary between men.

One individual may find that their penis substantially increases in size, while another may find that their size increase is far more subtle. This has led to the terminology “growers” and “showers” surfacing. This article explores what growers and showers are and why the two different groups exist.

What is the difference between growers and showers?

The difference between growers and showers is the amount they change in size when transitioning between flaccid and erect states. Growers substantially increase in size when becoming erect while the size difference between a flaccid and an erect “shower” is typically less drastic.

Understanding the penis terms

Before we get started we’ve broken down some of the important penile terminology used in this article in the table below:

Flaccid A flaccid penis is often described as being soft and smaller than an erect penis. Being flaccid refers to when a penis is in its resting state and typically occurs when an individual isn’t feeling sexually aroused.
Stretched A stretched penis refers to when an individual has gently stretched their flaccid penis away from its base. A penis is typically stretched for the purpose of measuring it.
Erect An erect penis is when the penis becomes larger and firmer, filling with blood due to an increased flow. This state is when the penis is at its largest and usually occurs when an individual is sexually aroused, although erections can occur randomly and even while sleeping.

How to know if you’re a grower or a shower

If your penis grows a considerable amount between flaccid and erect states it’s a solid indication that you’re a grower, not a shower. However, for those who aren’t sure whether their penis is a grower or a shower, it’s fairly simple to find out.

As a general rule of thumb, if there’s a difference of over 1.5 inches between your flaccid and erect penis size, you’re considered a grower.

You can test this by using the following steps:

  1. Measure the length of your flaccid penis from the base to the tip.
  2. Measure your erect penis using the same measurement technique.
  3. Examine whether the difference between states is larger than 1.5 inches.

    What factors determine it?

    Although there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer as to why a person ends up with a grower or a shower, research does offer some insight. One retrospective study examined 274 men with ED who underwent penile duplex Doppler ultrasound (PDDU). Measurements were taken for the length of their penis while flaccid as well as when fully erect.

    The median size difference between flaccid and erect states was 4 cm, which was considered the cut-off point for defining whether an individual had a grower or a shower.

    26% of men were considered to have growers while 74% were said to have showers.

    Numerous factors including race, smoking history, and flaccid penis size were deemed to have no impact on whether an individual was a grower or a shower. However, one factor was identified for potentially predicting whether a person had growers or showers: their age.

    The mean age of growers (47.5 years old) was significantly younger when compared to showers (55.9 years old). The study concluded that age may be a significant predictor of whether a man is a grower or shower, but acknowledged the need for further research on the subject to verify their findings.

    Some other factors which are commonly thought to affect an individual's penile group often include collagen, elastin, and overall genetics. However, it’s important to acknowledge that there is very little scientific research on the impact of these factors on the chances of being a grower or a shower.

    What happens between flaccid and erect states?

    Although the transition between flaccid and erect penis states is something that occurs with little thought, some major physiological changes occur. According to research on the physiology of penile erections, the change between flaccid and erect states may be interpreted as follows:

    When the penis is flaccid

    Erectile tissue plays a significant part in flaccid and erect states. Such tissues include the cavernous smooth musculature and smooth muscles of the arteriolar and arterial walls. When an individual's penis is flaccid, these tissues are contracted. This limits arterial flow, with the flow that does occur serving nutritional purposes.

    In the flaccid state, the blood's partial pressure of oxygen is approximately 35 mmHg.

    The flaccid penis can be considered moderately contracted with further contraction possible, for example when a penises size decreases as a result of being exposed to cold temperature.

    When the penis becomes erect

    When sexually stimulated, the cavernous nerve terminals release neurotransmitters which lead to the changes experienced between flaccid and erect states. The arterioles and arteries dilated with increased blood flow. The sudden increase in blood flow leads to the expansion of the penis. Expansion in the sinusoids causes the blood to become trapped.

    The penises’ PO2 levels increase to around 90 mmHg and intracavernous pressure increases to approximately 100 mmHg. Further pressure increases and muscle contractions lead to the erect penis taking its rigid form, compared to the softer presentation of a flaccid penis.

    How does each group evolve over time?

    The research mentioned in our factors section identified age as a potential predictor of whether men have growers or showers. It suggested that older men may be more likely to have showers. However, this observation is based on a single study and there is a limited amount of wider research to validate these findings.

    One research paper dedicated to the aging penis acknowledges that as humans live longer, the aging process has a detrimental effect on the smooth muscle tissues throughout the body. A number of conditions may occur as we age including overactive bladders, constipation, and erectile dysfunction. These conditions could share a common factor; suboptimal smooth muscle tissue.

    The research mentioned in our factors section identified age as a potential predictor of whether men have growers or showers. 

    As mentioned in our previous section, smooth muscle plays a significant role in transitioning between flaccid and erect penis states. The research suggesting that smooth muscle could be less optimal with age may be worrying for the erectile function of men over time and especially for older men.

    Is it more common to be a grower or a shower?

    It’s not possible to say for certain as there hasn’t been a study examining the general population. According to the research study we mentioned in the factors section, 26% of individuals were considered to be growers while 74% were deemed showers. Despite this suggesting that the majority of people have showers it should be noted that this is based on a single study and isn’t a fair global representation.

    Growers vs Showers FAQ

    Does it affect sex?

    No, being a grower or a shower should not affect sex. Showers may be more comfortable introducing their flaccid penis into intimacy when compared to growers. However, providing your penis can reach a fully erect state, being a grower or a shower shouldn’t affect your sexual performance.

    Does one of the groups get better erections?

    No, being in one of the groups will not result in an individual getting “better” erections. Being a grower or shower should only affect your erection in terms of how much it increases in size in comparison to its flaccid state.

    Does being in one of the groups affect the full size of my erect penis?

    Being in one of the groups does not seem to affect the overall size of an erect penis in terms of growth capability. Individuals with both growers and showers may experience smaller-than-average, average, and larger penis sizes. Research has found that the flaccid size of a penis is not an accurate predictor of its erect length.

    Does being in either of the groups affect self-esteem?

    Yes, it’s possible that being in the grower or shower groups may affect how an individual perceives their own penis. Research has suggested that flaccid penile length is one of the most common sources of dissatisfaction among men who aren’t satisfied with their genitals, leading them to believe that their penis is small. So, individuals with growers may be less satisfied with their flaccid penis size when compared to showers.


    Being a grower or a shower will have an impact on how much your penis size changes between flaccid and erect states. You should be able to get an intuitive idea of whether your penis is a grower or a shower however, if you’re unsure you can use the measurement technique mentioned earlier to determine your penis type.

    Based on the limited existing research, there may be a link between age and the occurrence of growers or showers.

    Being a grower or a shower shouldn’t have an impact on sexual performance. However, it’s possible that it could have an effect on how satisfied a person is with their penis. Although the information in this article is intended to be informative, it cannot be considered a substitute for professional medical advice.

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