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Do Women Prefer Realistic or Neutral-Looking Sex Toys?

Vibrator is the overall most popular sex toy amongst people of all genders, but people with vulvas are the biggest fans with over 80% owning one. Despite that, dildos are also not far behind – three out of four sex toy owners have a dildo in their collection.

If you look at any sex toy shop’s selection of sex toys, you can find products of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Rarely does a vibrator represent a real-life phallus, but when it comes to dildos, the trends are a little bit different. 

You can find dildos of all sizes, from very small to very large; girthy and slim; very realistic looking with veins and other skin-like details, or fantasy-inspired and shaped like a tentacle. If you desire, you might even create a dildo shaped like your partner’s penis with Clone-A-Willy

With so many different options available for dildos, you might be wondering – what are people buying? And if you’re also one of the people concerned about the size of the penis, seeing dildos larger than the average penis on retailer’s websites can make you question whether a 14-inch is the only length acceptable. 

Let’s take a look at the data and see what type of dildos and sex toys people prefer, and whether the size truly matters. 

Does the size matter: sex toy appearance preference review 

What’s on the market 

A 2015 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine looked into the sizes of sex toys that are sold by various retailers to see the average measurements for vibrators and dildos sold for vaginal or anal insertion. 

Researchers selected eight online sex toy marketplaces and inspected their toy selection in the summer of 2013, and then again in the winter of 2014. 

What they found was that on six out of the eight websites, the average length of vibrators was less than 6 inches, and the average circumference (or girth) was less than 4.5 inches. 

Some data tells a different story, though. Another sex toy brand examined the size 1,500 dildos sold, and the average length was 7.52 inches (19.1 cm). 

Researchers also examined what sort of dildos were available for shoppers. They found that 86.8% of dildos were made from realistic, skin-like materials, and 43.8% had a natural skin color. 

Another interesting thing is that many of the available dildos had realistic features – 72.5% had veins, 36.2% had a scrotum, and 81.9% had a clearly defined glans and coronal ridge. 

What shoppers want

Despite the majority of available dildos having realistic features of the penis, researchers found that they had little to do with the popularity of the toy. They speculate that it might be due to the stigma surrounding sex toys, and people still being intimidating by using real-looking toys with their partner. 

When it comes to the size of the dildos that shoppers prefer, the results might be surprising for some. The owner of the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee’s East Side, Laura Anne Stuart, says that despite the monster-cock size dildos they offer in their store, their best-selling dildo is 6 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. That is just a little bit longer than the average length of the penis.

When it comes to what’s important, it seems that the girth is much more important than length. 43% of shoppers care about the girth of the dildo, compared with 39% that care about the length.

How does a penis compare to a dildo?

The size of the average penis is 5.16 inches (13.1 cm) when erect. There is some evidence that the size of the male penis length and girth has an influence on whether or not males are perceived as attractive. 

A study published in 2013 found that there is a connection between the increase in size of the penis and its attractiveness. However, the attractiveness did start to decline with the greater size of the penis. Apparently, there can be too much of a good thing. 

Generally, though, the size of the penis doesn’t matter that much when it comes to choosing a partner. 55% of women report that the length of the penis doesn’t matter and the girth of the penis is slightly more important. 


So, if you wanted to know whether the size of the penis matters, the answer is: kind of, but not in the way you think. The length matters much less than the girth, and that goes for the penises and dildos. 

The size of the average penis is 5.16 inches (13.1 cm) when erect and that seems to be in line with the shopper preferences for dildo and vibrator length sizes. 

Knowing that the majority of women need clitoral stimulation to climax, these findings about size preference make sense. A larger dildo or penis won’t increase the satisfaction and pleasure, and might even cause pain and discomfort for some people. 

When it comes to whether shoppers prefer real-life-looking dildos or not, the findings might be surprising. It appears that people don’t shop for realistic dildos as much as you’d expect, and prefer neutral-looking sex toys.