5.57 inches (14.14cm) That’s the mean length of an erect penis, according to new research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Now normally I would have attempted to craft some witty intro to build your suspense before revealing the big stat. But let’s be real, you’re here for one reason and one reason only: YOU SEEK ANSWERS!

Here’s what’s going on: A team of researchers led by Debby Herbenick, Ph.D. asked 1,661 American men to accurately measure their penis length (from the underside base to the tip) and girth in the privacy of their own homes. The researchers told the testers to measure themselves at full mast as well as report how they attained their erections (e.g. “I stimulated my penis with my hand,” “my partner used oral sex to help me,” “I fantasised,” etc.).

Now just to address the elephant in the room: Yes, the researchers were aware that allowing men to take their own measurements leaves room for error. Simply put, the guys could have lied about their size if they wanted to.

But according to the paper, letting the men take matters into their own hands may have actually improved accuracy because, you know, it can be difficult to become fully aroused in front of a complete stranger!

Another thing to keep in mind: The measurements used for this study were pulled from a larger study that involved testing two types of condoms. So if these guys misreported their size, they would have ended up with rubbers that were too baggy or too snug.

So why should all of this matter to you? Allow me to break down why this research is awesome:

1. It can (hopefully) put to rest some of the penis anxiety that’s out there. Since taking on this column, I’ve noticed that penis size is a reoccurring topic in the questions I’ve received from readers. So knowing that roughly 56 percent of guys have an erect penis length of 5.5 inches or less may provide reassurance to those who worry that they’re not packing enough power. In fact, the current study showed that men reported erect penis lengths of 1.57 to 10.23 inches long as well as erect penis circumferences of 1.18 to 7.48 inches. So clearly variety is natural, you guys!

2. It may help lead to better, safer sex. The study authors say their findings may be valuable to people who design sexual enhancement devices (vibrators, dildos), clinical devices (vaginal dilators), and condoms. In fact, the authors write, “condom manufacturers, in particular, should keep men (who are on the smaller side of the spectrum) and their partners in mind when designing condoms that may fit their penis comfortably and remain on the penis throughout intercourse.” And I couldn’t agree more. I mean, think of it this way: A woman with petite breasts would never purchase a bra designed for larger breasts, because she simply wouldn’t fill the lingerie out. So why should it be any different when it comes to contraceptives?

3. It reinforces that foreplay is huge. So remember when I said the guys had to report how they got their erections? Well, it turns out that those who received oral sex as a means to get hard reported significantly larger numbers than the men who only fantasised. So does that mean oral sex turns men on more than other sexual behaviours? The data doesn’t actually answer that question. But since women typically require foreplay to reach full arousal, guys might actually benefit from that same agenda!

4. It shows that men aren’t stretching the truth. Let me be clear about something: This certainly isn’t the first time scientists have asked men to measure what’s dangling between their legs. Case in point: According to a 2007 review published in the British Journal of Urology International, researchers found that the average length of a penis is roughly 5.5 to 6.2 inches long. So since the dimensions in the current study are consistent with the ranges presented in previous research, it suggests “that men likely self-report data accurately—or at least reliably—to research teams,” says the study. So hey, it looks like you guys have been telling the truth the whole time!