Q&A: Do Penis Enlargement Surgeries, Pills, or Pumps Really Work?

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QUESTION: I’ve read about different pills, pumps, herbs, exercises, and surgeries that claim to increase penis size. Do they really work?

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Not as far as science goes. We get many of the same emails that you probably get – emails that promise bigger penis sizes or a guaranteed gain of two or three inches.

Safe and Effective?

However, as far as scientists can tell, there is no method of penis enlargement that has been scientifically tested and considered to be “safe and effective”.

Though companies sometimes advertise pills, herbs, or exercise systems to enlarge the penis, we do not have any evidence to suggest that these actually work.

Penis Pumps and Surgeries

Penis pumps may feel pleasurable or be used as part of masturbation, but they will not create a larger penis.  Because the penis is composed largely of spongy erectile tissue and not of muscle, it cannot be strengthened or “built up.” It isn’t like going to gym.

Even penile augmentation surgeries to enlarge the penis either in length or circumference are not considered “safe and effective” by major American medical organizations. In fact, surgery may cause scar tissue to grow that can cause a painful or even a shortened erection.

What Can You Do?

Well, first, we recommend learning more about penis size. Many companies that are trying to sell men penile enlargement products are offering incorrect information about penis size.

We have seen some companies suggest that the average erect penis length is 7 or more inches and that is just not true. Research generally finds that the average erect penis is about 5 to 6 inches long. Most men are within this range.

Sometimes reassurance is not enough and men may want to feel or look bigger. As a result, some men trim their pubic hair in an effort to make their penis appear longer. Others find that weight loss, especially in the abdomen, results in more of the penis being visible, thus looking longer.

Don’t Worry About Penis Size

All that said, it is important to remember that having a larger size is not always what it’s cracked up to be. Men with very long or thick penises often complain that they have difficulty finding a partner who can comfortably have vaginal, anal or oral intercourse with them.

Rather than worrying too much about your size, what is most important is the sexual intimacy and connection that you and your partner are able to create together, sharing what feels good, and communicating with each other about your likes and dislikes.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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