Popular methods of penis stretching include exercises such as “jelqing” and the use of traction devices or vacuum pumps. However, there is limited evidence to suggest that these methods work to significantly increase the size of the penis.

Research shows many males may be underestimating the average length of the penis. The average size of an erect penis is 5.1-5.5 inches (“). When flaccid, the average length is about 3.61″. Therefore, the majority of males have a penis with dimensions within the typical range.

However, nonsurgical stretching methods tend to be low risk, so people who experience significant distress due to the size of their penis – for example, people experiencing a sexual mismatch with a partner or those with Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) – may still receive some physical or psychological benefits from stretching exercises.

In addition, recent research shows that penis stretching may be an effective treatment for Peyronie’s Disease, which is a condition that causes curved and painful erections.

Another medical condition that may benefit from stretching is micropenis, which is when a stretched penis measures less than 3 inches (“) or 7.5 centimeters (cm).

This article discusses nonsurgical methods of penis stretching, why do them, and what available research says about their effectiveness.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Penis stretching involves using different techniques or devices to increase the size or length of the penis.

Nonsurgical methods that people may use to stretch the penis may include:

  • stretching exercises
  • vacuum pumps
  • penoscrotal rings
  • penile extenders

In addition, there are also surgical options that can lengthen a person’s penis.

Learn more about penis enlargement surgery.

When the purpose of increasing the size of the penis is for aesthetic or sexual reasons, there is not enough evidence to suggest that any intervention other than surgery can achieve significant, long-term results.

However, those wanting to try the following exercises are a good place to start. It is important to do these exercises gently, taking care to avoid bruising.

Penis stretching

  1. Hold the penis head and pull the penis upward. Hold it stretched for 10 seconds.
  2. Pull it to the right and hold for 10 seconds.
  3. Pull it to the left and hold for 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat up to twice daily.

Jelqing massage

According to the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA), a person can perform a Jelqing massage as follows:

  1. Lubricate the penis
  2. Form a circle shape around the base of the penis with the index finger and the thumb.
  3. Slowly tighten the circle until it exerts gentle pressure on the shaft of the penis.
  4. Then, move the circle gradually toward the head of the penis using light, down-pulling pressure.
  5. Repeat daily for up to 20 minutes. A person should stop if they experience any pain or if a person experiences an erection.

Gentle pressure on the base

  1. Hold the penis head and pull the penis upward. Apply gentle but firm pressure to the area around the base of the penis. Hold for 10 seconds.
  2. Pull the penis to the left and apply pressure to the area to the right of the base. Hold for 10 seconds.
  3. Pull the penis to the right and apply pressure to the area to the left of the base. Hold for 10 seconds.
  4. Repeat once daily for up to 2 minutes.

Several penis stretching devices and other methods of enlargement are available on the market. According to the Urology Care Foundation, almost none of them work.

There is very little research, if any, to support the effectiveness of each of these devices for lengthening. However, it has proven to be somewhat effective in treating Peyronie’s Disease.

These devices include:

Vacuum pumps

A vacuum pump comprises a tube that fits over the penis. The user pumps air out of the tube, which causes blood to flow to the penis. Increased blood flow leads to swelling and an erection. People typically use vacuum pumps to treat erectile dysfunction.

Some people state that regular use of a vacuum pump will increase penis size, but research does not support this claim. A 2006 study reports that participants did not experience significant physical effects after 6 months of use. However, some users did gain psychological satisfaction from using the pump.

Penoscrotal rings

Penoscrotal rings fit around the base of the penis. They work by restricting blood flow to the penis to cause a stronger erection or to prolong an erection.

Some research suggests that using one of these rings while taking certain medications for erectile dysfunction — such as sildenafil (Viagra) or tadalafil (Cialis) — may increase penis size in men with anxiety.

However, there are only two well-documented cases within current research showing these effects.

Penile extenders

Penile traction devices (penis extenders) stretch the tissues in the penis to increase its length.

Some research does indicate that these particular devices can increase penile length. In a 2015 study, 193 men wore a penis extender for 4-6 hours daily for a period of 6 months. After that time, the researchers found a mean increase between 0.9 and 2.5 cm (0.3-0.9″) in flaccid penis length.

According to a new 2020 systematic review of studies examining penis lengthening methods, extenders were able to increase flaccid penis length by less than 2 cm (0.7″).

Individuals interested in trying a penile extender should note that the research on extenders is limited and has involved only small sample sizes. Other criticisms include selection bias, which means that the randomization of the study participants may not be sufficient, and researchers may select them to achieve a particular result.

More research is necessary to accurately determine these devices’ safety and effectiveness.

According to the existing research, most penis exercises and stretching devices are relatively low risk. However, complications can occur.

The side effects of exercises or devices can include:

  • broken blood vessels
  • itching, irritation, or redness
  • minor bruising
  • numbness

For exercises, there are steps that a person can take to stay comfortable while trying them:

  • Avoid stretching the penis when erect. The penis should always be flaccid.
  • Apply lubrication, such as petroleum jelly or natural oil, to the penis before trying any exercises.
  • Do not perform these exercises more than once or twice daily.
  • Stop immediately if an exercise causes pain or discomfort.
  • Discuss the use of these exercises with a doctor, especially if performing them regularly or for an extended period.

In addition, a person who wants to try a penis stretching device should speak with a doctor first. When using the device, it is important to follow the instructions carefully.

Improper techniques or overuse may also result in damage to the tissues in the penis. This tissue damage could result in weaker erections.

Any person who tries any penis stretching method and experiences severe or persistent side effects lasting longer than a day or two should see a doctor.

Before trying any method, people who are consistently worried about the size or shape of their penis can also benefit from discussing the issue with a doctor, who can offer advice and reassurance.

If a person has a physical condition like Peyronie’s disease, a doctor can provide a diagnosis and help put together a correct treatment plan.

If the distress is psychological, in some cases treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) might be more effective in helping people feel more comfortable about their bodies.

There are many techniques and devices available that people claim to increase penis size. In most cases, there is not enough evidence to suggest that these exercises or products are effective.

However, with correct use, most methods of penis stretching are low risk. Some, such as exercises, may help people become more comfortable with the appearance of their penis.

A person concerned about whether their penis size or shape falls within the typical ranges should first speak to a doctor to determine whether their concern is rooted in psychological beliefs about the ideal penis size or a medical problem that may be treated.