Of all the topics you have ever thought about when it comes to your penis, the one you likely worry about the most is not how long you last in bed, how many women you sleep with, if you successfully talk your girlfriend into giving anal sex a try or what your porn habits say about you. It’s about how much you’re packing down there, compared to other dudes, and if the women you love (and lust after) care.
Even though, based on several studies, penis size varies greatly by nationality and genetics, the average length in America is 5.6 inches when erect and 4.8 inches in circumference. (Keep in mind, this is how men described and reported themselves, so it’s not exactly scientific or sanctioned by the universe, which goes to show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.)
That being said, if you’re unsatisfied with your size and you seek to improve it, you might have stumbled around the concept of ‘jelqing.’ This practice promises that you will add inches to your penis through a very specific technique that is not doctor-approved and for many men, definitely not safe if you’re not exactly sure what you’re doing. Though jelqing might be one of the better known tricks to make your penis fill larger shoes than it does currently, it’s important to know all of the information before beginning the method. Without proper attention to detail, you could genuinely hurt yourself — and hey, who wants to feel pain, um, down there?
Here, the experts discuss what jelqing is, it’s history and some alternative methods of trying male enhancement:
1. What Is Jelqing?
A warning: This description is not for those who have weak stomachs or can’t imagine any type of disruption in your boxer briefs. One of the main reasons why jelqing is considered controversial is the threat it poses to your actual penis: Even if you want it to be larger, you want it to be healthy first and foremost, right? Sex educator and expert and manager of operations and outreach for Self-Serve Sex Toys, Hunter Riley says the guarantees of jelqing aren’t quite accurate and not worth the risk.
“Jelqing is a method of supposed penis enlargement where the person massages, pulls and stretches the penis to have it engorge with blood, in hopes that it enlarges the penis overall,” Riley explains.
For a clearer analogy, consider the description that sex expert Coleen Singer uses: “Jelqing is a shaft-stroking penis stretching exercise that causes micro tears in the penis tissue. It involves using a firm, stroking motion to force nutrient-rich blood into the penis, while also stretching it, to increase penis size,” she notes. “‘Penis Milking’ is a similar exercise in which the male wraps his penis in a warm wash cloth and with the aid of a lubricant, milks the penis.”
Like Singer says above, the actual hold of the jelqing is what’s key here: the way you stroke is what makes the penis become larger and nope, it’s not the same as the way you masturbate. “Often jelqing is done with a specific grip, and instead of using one hand to go up and down the shaft like typical masturbation, Jelqing uses two hands, and a particular grip, the ‘ok’ hand signal is how it is often described,” Riley explains.
Need more detail? here is a step-by-step guide straight from Singer:
- Take a warm shower.
- Achieve semi erection.
- Wrap your penis in a warm towel for about 15 minutes.
- Apply high quality water-based lube to your penis.
- Make an “okay” sign with a thumb and a forefinger on your right hand.
- Squeeze your shaft at the very base of your penis.
- While keeping the pressure by your hand, you need to slide it up gradually to the corona of your glans. This movement should be gradual and take you between 2 to 3 seconds. Do not force it, do not jelq your glans and stop if you notice any significant discomfort.
- Your left hand should follow and repeat the process from the second step.
- Continue switching your hands for around 50 times. The bonus of doing this with your partner is you can take turns.
- Grab a towel or washcloth and soak it in warm water.
- Wrap it around your penis.
Relax and keep it covered for five to 10 minutes.
2. Why Might You Be Interested In Jelqing?
When it comes to how we perform in any aspect in life — career, the gym, in a relationship or in bed — every man is his own worst critic. While some men may struggle with how technical they are with sexual positions and foreplay moves, others many battle the inner voice that tells them their lover’s ex was more satisfying than he is. And if you’re among the thousands of men who think they could be bigger (or a past girlfriend told you as much), you might find yourself Googling ‘male enhancement’ more often than you’d care to admit. After all, the larger you are, the better you are, right? Wrong.
“Men might be interested in jelqing because our culture has falsely told that men that their penis size is tied to their worth and and value as a man and as a sexual partner,” Riley says. “This idea that a bigger penis means a better man and better lover is false, but many people, including men and women, have been drinking that Kool-Aid, so it is a common myth in our culture.”
Another reason you might lean toward jelqing? It’s one of the drug-free ways out there to make fulfill your shaft dreams. “There are so many ‘penis pills’ on the market today, but most have not undergone long term testing for any damage or permanent side effects,” Singer explains. “It’s actually quite common among men that research penis enlargement solutions that prefer a natural, non-chemical/mechanical method.”
3. What’s The History Of Jelqing?
Like with many sexual behaviors that have stood the test of time and since we can argue that men have been wanting their penis to be larger since Adam looked down and imagined more depth, pinpointing the history of jelqing is difficult.
But Singer says it’s most commonly believed and documented that jelqing derives from the Middle East. Fathers wanted to prepare their son for adulthood — and thus reproduction — by teaching them various techniques and ideas for performing.
Also, since again, size is often inaccurately tied to masculinity, jelqing was introduced to make sure his son was rearing — and packing! — to go. “Fathers would prepare their sons for maturity and sexual relationships by teaching them a penile massage technique (jelqing), with intent of increasing the size of the penis,” Singer explains.
Or, it could merely be a form of slang: “Others say the word jelq is a corruption of the term ‘jerk-off.’ Whatever the source of the word, ‘jelqing’ has come to be the most common term for a number of natural penis enlargement exercises,” she adds.
4. Does Jelqing Work?
here is where the verdict is out: many sex experts highly recommend against jelqing and offer alternative solutions (more on that later, promise). Like we noted, unless you truly know what you’re doing, messing with that part of your body — specifically — can lead down a treacherous path, stat.
“There hasn't been any official research in jelqing, so it's hard to say. What we do know is that penises tend to be happy and healthy when they get regular exercise and jelqing is a nice way to do that because it's often different enough from masturbation that the process lasts longer than typical masturbation would, so the person's erectile tissue has more time to practice filling up with blood, and maintaining and erection,” Riley says.
Singer echoes Riley and says, “After several months of doing it on a regular basis, many men report a noticeable increase in penis girth and length if done properly.”
So really, there is no way of knowing 100% if all of the work you put into giving your massage a rub-down that does not actually produce an orgasm is worth the hassle. However, there are many other male enhancement techniques that do have positive outcomes.
5. How Can You Talk To Your Partner About Jelqing?
Before you decide to whip out a how-to video and get to stroking, Riley says it’s essential to take a moment and self-reflect. Why are you interested in jelqing in the first place? What’s motivating you?
“I get men coming into Self Serve asking if we sell pills and creams. We do not because they aren't FDA regulated and they do not really work for the most part, and can potentially contribute to more significant damage to the penis if used for too long (think of it like running your engine too hot for too long),” he explains.
“If someone was interested in jelqing I would recommend they do some online research first, and if they are able to, talk to their doctor. I would also recommend that they try it alone a few times first so they can get the hang of it before bringing a partner into to. Then one they are a bit more comfortable, they can ask if their partner wants to see something cool they have been nerding out on. I recommend setting your goals as simply ‘erectile heath exercises’ and not ‘penis enlargement exercises.’"
RELATED: Tips For Getting And Maintaining A Stronger Erection
Riley also notes that if you want to get started in jelqing, to start slow and consult your doctor before making any big moves or possibly causing damage to your shaft, foreskin and testicles. “Talk to your doctor and get tips from them before you try it. I also recommend starting off really slow and small. do not do jelqing for two hours the first time, start with 20 minutes,” he says.
6. Non-Jelqing Male Enhancement Tips
We hate to deliver bad news but the moral of the jelqing story? As Riley puts it: You simply can’t make your penis bigger. While you can make your erections somewhat larger, you can’t change the fundamental size of your penis. How do you add a little bit to your erection? Here are a few ideas:
a) Get Healthy
“The most effective way to make erections larger, stronger and healthier is to use a combination of exercise, diet, sleep, stress management techniques and more, because erectile health is complex, and often can't be addressed by just a pill,” Riley says.
d) Do Your Research
“The best book I have read on erectile health is The Hardness Factor by Steven Lamm which goes into much more depth, research and tips on erectile health. That book will teach you long-term solutions to erectile health,” Riley suggests.
c) Try Cock Rings Or Penis Pumps Instead
“The other great way to increase erectile is health is by using cock rings and penis pumps. These are medical devices that are more commonly used as in-home sex toys now. Pumps work by bringing blood into the erection and helping the capillaries becomes more engorged with blood to have a fuller, more engorged erection. Cock rings work by using pressure over the top of the penis and behind the scrotum to maintain blood flow so that more blood is flowing into the erection than is flowing out of the erection,” Riley explains.
d) Try Vitamins
“When you practice any penis enlargement exercise routine, there are vitamins, minerals and herbs that should be included in your daily diet that have been found to provide the body with increased energy that enhances sexual ability,” Singer notes. The below are some vitamins and minerals that have a reported positive-effect on sexual performance and health, but as always, consult your doctor before beginning a new regimen.
- 2000 mg of vitamin C twice or three times a day
- 30 mg of Zinc
- 100 mg of vitamin A
- 200 mg of magnesium
- 100 IU of vitamin D
- 50 mg of Thiamine
- 525 mg of calcium
- 200 micrograms of vitamin B12
- 150 mg of vitamin E
- 25 micrograms of potassium
- 400 micrograms of folic acid
d) Focus On Other Things
At the end of the day, size simply isn't as important to being a good lover as what you do with, to and for your partner. A lover with an average or below average penis in terms of length or circumference can blow his partner's mind if he's an attentive, giving and caring lover; a man with a large penis but no skill or generosity when it comes to sex won't do much for most women. If you're worrying about size, consider applying yourself to other aspects of sex instead — finding out what your partner likes and getting very good at that.