The average erect penis is 5.2 inches long, and 90% of penis-owners fall within the range of 4-6.3 inches. A 7-inch penis is a rarity, and as for those with 9-inches you’re gushing over, those big guys are rare.
Still, the heart wants what it wants, right? According to a 2015 YouGov Survey, penis enlargement surgery (penoplasty) is still one of the most desired cosmetic procedures among American men, second only to fat reduction.
In 2021, there are plenty of ways besides penoplasty to make your penis thicker and longer. These include dermal fillers, fat injections, platelet-rich plasma injections, and penis extenders. Since many of those options are ineffective, cost-prohibitive, and dangerous, some people decide to go down the free and non-invasive path of penis exercises.
The term ‘penis exercise’ typically has two types, both with different goals: penis stretching exercises to increase length and jelqing to increase girth. Jelqing is one of the penis enlargement techniques currently making waves on the internet, and some say it’s been around for centuries.
What is Jelqing?
Jelqing is a physical therapy technique intended to achieve “natural penis enlargement” by increasing the blood pressure and circulation of the penis. It is performed by repeatedly stroking the penis in a squeezing motion from the base of the shaft to the corona of the glans. The whole point of jelqing is to make your penis larger.
When jelqing, a man would pull or massage his penis with his fingers or a device like a penis pump modified for purposes like this. This is called ‘milking.’ The logic is that as you stretch the penile tissue, you’ll create small tears in the area, which will thicken and expand as the tissue repairs itself. This seems logical until you remember that the penis isn’t a muscle and cannot be manipulated like muscles.
Anatomically speaking, the human penis is made up of:
The corpora cavernosa: Two columns of erectile tissue containing tiny vessels that fill with blood during an erection, making the penis harder and longer
The corpus spongiosum: A smaller column of spongy tissue surrounding the urethra that keeps the urethra open during erections
The tunica albuginea: A sheath of connective tissue that encases the three columns.
The only muscle involved in penis function is the external sphincter muscle at the root of the penis, which aids ejaculation and can be voluntarily used to control the flow of urine.
How to jelq?
Most guides suggest waiting until you’re almost erect. Once there, you apply the lube, grab the base of the penis using just the thumb and index finger. Apply pressure, and slide your hand down the shaft as if you are “milking the organ.” Release, and repeat. Most jelqing guides recommend tapping out after around 20 minutes of exercise.
In more detail:
Step 1: LUBRICATE. Before you start jelqing, lubricate your hand with any lubricant of your choice. Vaseline, lotion, any is good enough.
Step 2: OK-GRIP. Use your thumb and main pointer finger to form an OK-grip, kind of like the emoji.
Step 3: START AT BASE. Place the grip around the base of your penis, as close to your pubic bone as you can.
Step 4: MOVE UP. With light pressure on the grip, slowly move it up your penis. The ideal jelqing pressure does not hurt but effectively pushes blood up the penis.
Step 5: STOP BEFORE GLANS. Stop the grip directly before it reaches your glans. You have just completed one jelq! Each jelq should take approximately 2 to 3 seconds.
Now repeat: once you’re done with one jelq, take your other hand and repeat the jelqing process.
Devices like the Penomet can be used in addition to the hand. Here’s how.
Does jelqing work?
The answer to this question will depend on what exactly you mean by ‘work.’ Because your penis isn’t made of muscle, as we’ve seen above, no amount of exercise can increase its length or girth. However, there are other benefits to jelqing that can mimic the feeling of a larger penis, especially with the use of contraptions like the Penomet and traction devices.
A 2011 study found that using traction devices and penis pumps could increase penis length up to an inch if worn at least 9 hours a day for three months (1).
A 2011 review of penile lengthening literature found that traction devices produced comparable results to surgery, recommending traction devices as a first-line treatment (2).
A 2013 review of studies done on traction devices only found that traction devices were effective in treating penis deformities, not making the penis longer or thicker (3).
A 2016 report found no significant effects of traction devices on penis length or girth, noting that larger studies are needed (4).
Jelqing improves blood flow and circulation and is a great entry-level penis enlargement exercise that can be done in the comfort of your own home. When performed correctly, Jelqing exercises are a completely safe and natural way to a fuller, longer-lasting erection.
Jelqing is a great way to boost sexual performance in men and is something you can start doing straight away, even with no experience at all.
Risks and Side Effects of Jelqing
Major risks are brought on by the way nature designed the penis. The penis is filled with spongy tissue called the corpus cavernosum and the corpus spongiosum. During arousal, these areas fill with blood and expand, producing an erection. That blood flows through two arteries, one on another side of the penis, called the cavernosal arteries.
During an erection, those arteries dilate, maximizing blood flow into the penis while compressing blood vessels on the outside to prevent blood from draining out. The shaft and the glans of the penis contain thousands of tiny nerves that produce feelings of sexual pleasure.
Jelqing is pretty safe as long as you don’t squeeze your penis too hard, too often, or too rough otherwise, it can jack up the entire delicate system. Being too rough can tear the spongy tissues or cause damage to the ligaments that connect your penis to your pelvis.
Seth Cohen, MD, a urologist with NYU Langone Health in New York City says, “I’ve had plenty of patients come to see me, post-jelqing, with neurological tears. So now they have a numb penis or tearing and overstretching of the arteries and veins, so they have permanent ED.
“If you tear the microvasculature or micro-neurological input to the penis, no one can correct that. You can’t open up the skin, find what’s torn, and sew it together—it’s not like suturing Lebron James’ ligament after he pulls a biceps tendon. These guys have done permanent damage, and some of them don’t recover very well.”
Side effects can include bruising on the penis, pain, and soreness along the shaft, skin irritation, scar tissue, swelling, numbness, and permanent damage, including erectile dysfunction.
Precautions to take while jelqing
Take these few precautions to help reduce the likelihood of pain, discomfort, or damage to your penis:
Lube up your Penis
It’s not just for ease; it’s a safety measure as well. Use something to make your penis wet and slippery so that you don’t create too much friction or chafing between your hand and penis. Regular Vaseline will do, but you can also use a gentle, unscented lotion, baby oil, or any number of food oils, such as olive oil or coconut oil if you’re out of your regulars.
Don’t get completely hard
Instead of getting fully, get about two-thirds of the way there. The key to jelqing is to massage and move blood throughout your tissues gently. If you’re fully erect, blood is already pumping through the spongy penile tissue at full blast, and the tissue’s filled with blood. So there’s no point to the jelqing.
Precautions while using the Penomet
Nothing kills the mood or a boner like sporting an unruly bush. Removing hair from the base of your penis before use will prevent hairs from getting caught in the ring. It may also help you get a better seal against the skin.
Use as directed.
Even if it looks pretty self-explanatory, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s directions to ensure safety and effectiveness.
Don’t leave the ring on for more than 30 minutes.
Cutting off blood flow to your penis for too long could cause damage. Constriction rings shouldn’t be left on longer than 30 minutes.
Have lube on hand.
Apply a bit of lube to your shaft and the base of your penis, as well as around the end of the cylinder, to create an airtight seal. Lube will also make it easier to slide the tension ring on and off. Plus, if you’re going to get handy before getting your pump on, lube can make masturbation even more pleasurable.
Some other tips for jelqing and any other stretching exercises you try include:
a) Stop if doing the exercise is painful or uncomfortable.
b) Sit down or lean against a table or wall while doing them.
c) Don’t do these exercises more than two times a day, at most, so that you don’t injure yourself.
d) Talk to your doctor if you plan to do these exercises for longer periods each day, do them more frequently, or do them over the long term.
Jelqing exercises you can try
Before you do any manual stretching:
a) Only do these exercises while you’re flaccid.
b) Stop if the exercise causes pain or discomfort.
c) Sit or stand against a wall or table while you’re doing them.
d) Only do these exercises once or twice a day to avoid injury.
e) Talk to your doctor if you want to hold these exercises longer or do them more frequently.
To manually stretch your penis:
a) Grip the head of your penis.
b) Pull your penis upward, stretching it out for about 10 seconds.
c) Pull your penis to the left for another 10 seconds, then to the right.
d) Repeat these steps once or twice a day for about 5 minutes.
Try this as well:
a) Grip the head of your penis.
b) Pull your penis upward.
c) Press on the area around the base of your penis at the same time.
d) Hold this position for about 10 seconds.
e) Repeat these steps with your penis pulled to the left, applying pressure to the base of your penis on the right side.
f) Repeat these steps with your penis pulled to the right, applying pressure to the base of your penis on the left side.
Repeat this exercise once a day for up to 2 minutes.
NOTE, after using the Penomet, don’t let the blood stay in your penis for more than 30 minutes. Having an erection for more than a few hours can permanently damage your penis.
Stretching exercises or devices may cause:
(ii) minor bruising or discoloration
(iii) red spots along the penile shaft
(v) vein rupture
You should see your doctor if your symptoms last for more than a couple of days or are severe. Your doctor can assess your symptoms and advise you on any next steps.
The results you’ll see will depend on your approach and how consistent you are with use. Traction devices, for example, must be used daily — often for months at a time — to achieve any noticeable effects.
Anecdotal reports suggest that using a penis pump can produce much faster results, but there isn’t any research to support this. It’s also unclear how much time will pass before you see results from manual stretching exercises.
If you have questions or concerns about your penis size, talk to your doctor. Chances are you’re one of the big guys. They can discuss your options for lengthening and explain how to do so safely.
Learning how your penis responds to stretching and other forms of stimulation may help you feel more comfortable with your body. You may also notice changes in appearance or performance over time. Whatever you decide to do with your body, do so for yourself and nobody else.