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What is Jelqing? Does it Work

Jelqing, an exercise touted as a means to increase both the length and girth of the penis through pulling and massaging, has a long history, dating back to ancient times in the Middle East.

However, the question remains: does jelqing actually work? Despite its age-old practice, the scientific community remains skeptical about its efficacy.

How is Jelqing done?

The practice of jelqing involves a series of steps that enthusiasts claim can contribute to the enlargement of the penis. While the scientific community remains skeptical about its effectiveness, those interested in attempting this exercise often follow a set of guidelines. Here is an elaboration on the steps involved in jelqing:

1.      Apply Lubrication: Before commencing the jelqing exercise, it is recommended to apply a generous amount of lubrication to the penis. This serves the dual purpose of facilitating smoother movements during the exercise and reducing the risk of chafing, a potential side effect associated with repetitive stretching.

2.      Make a Circle with Your Index Finger and Thumb: The physical aspect of jelqing involves creating a specific hand configuration, akin to making the well-known “OK” sign. This is achieved by forming a circle with the index finger and thumb, leaving the remaining fingers extended or loosely closed.

3.      Position Your Fingers at the Base of Your Penis: With the lubricated hand in the “OK” sign configuration, the next step is to position the fingers at the base of the penis. This initial placement sets the stage for the subsequent stretching and massaging motions.

4.      Stretch the Penis and Pull Down from Base to Head: The primary action in jelqing involves using the fingers to gently stretch the penis and pull down from its base towards the head. This pulling motion is intended to create tension within the penile tissues, purportedly contributing to the formation of micro-tears, which proponents claim can lead to subsequent tissue thickening and expansion.

5.      Repeat for a Few Minutes Once or Twice a Day: Consistency is often emphasized in jelqing routines. Enthusiasts typically recommend performing the stretching and massaging motions for a few minutes, either once or twice a day. The regularity of the exercise is believed to be crucial for potential gains, although the lack of scientific evidence to support these claims remains a point of contention.

While manual jelqing is the most commonly described technique, various devices have emerged in the market designed to assist individuals in their quest for penis enlargement. One such device is “the Penilizer,” which is available online. This contraption claims to enhance the jelqing process by providing a more controlled grip on the penis between traction rollers or plastic arms. Users may find these devices appealing due to their promise of added convenience and potential effectiveness in comparison to manual techniques.

It is crucial to approach the practice of jelqing with caution, considering the potential risks and the lack of scientific validation. The use of devices like “the Penilizer” should be undertaken with careful consideration of their safety and effectiveness, as unregulated or improper use may result in unintended consequences.

What happens during jelqing

This process is executed through a deliberate stretching technique, with the anticipation that these micro-tears will heal, resulting in an augmentation of thickness and expansion. However, the glaring absence of robust scientific evidence to substantiate this purported mechanism casts a shadow of doubt on the efficacy of jelqing. Furthermore, concerns have been raised regarding the potential risks associated with this technique, including the specter of real and permanent damage to the delicate anatomy of the penis.

Jelqing itself involves a manual manipulation of the penis, where individuals employ either their fingers or a specifically designed jelqing device to perform the exercise. The underlying principle is often likened to muscle building, drawing an analogy between the penile tissue and muscles. According to this rationale, the micro-tears induced during the stretching process are believed to trigger a healing response that leads to the thickening and expansion of the tissue. However, the crux of the matter lies in the lack of empirical support for this theoretical foundation, leaving a critical void in the understanding of the credibility of the claims surrounding jelqing.

As men endeavor to explore methods for penis enhancement, the allure of jelqing has persisted, fueled by anecdotal accounts and a historical backdrop that traces its roots to ancient times in the Middle East. The exercise itself entails a series of specific steps, typically initiated by applying lubrication to the penis to mitigate the risk of chafing during the manipulation. The individual then forms a circle with their index finger and thumb, creating an “OK” sign, and positions these fingers at the base of the penis. The subsequent action involves stretching the penis and pulling down from the base to the head, with the recommended duration being a few minutes once or twice a day. In addition to manual techniques, various devices designed for jelqing, such as “the Penilizer,” have emerged and are available online, promising to assist in the process.

Does jelqing work?

The purported benefits of jelqing, as propagated by enthusiasts on platforms like YouTube and Reddit, include claims of firmer erections and improvements in erectile dysfunction. These affirmations often find expression in various forms, ranging from personal testimonials to explicit videos advocating the effectiveness of jelqing. Notably, a 2016 video titled “Proof You Can Get a Longer Penis” has garnered significant attention with over 33 million views. The content of this video asserts a remarkable gain of three inches in erect girth after two years of daily jelqing. However, the scientific community remains steadfast in its skepticism, emphasizing the absence of empirical evidence to substantiate these bold declarations.

The absence of clinical trials dedicated to evaluating the effectiveness of jelqing adds another layer of complexity to the discourse surrounding this practice. Existing data on jelqing is predominantly anecdotal and often lacks the rigor and reliability associated with scientific inquiry. Despite the proliferation of information available on various online platforms, the credibility of such information is called into question without the backing of systematic research.

In an attempt to bridge the gap in the scientific understanding of jelqing, some researchers have explored related techniques, such as the use of traction devices. These devices, worn to exert tension on a flaccid penis, aim to lengthen and increase the girth. A 2011 study involving 23 participants using traction devices reported an increase in penis length following three months of use for nine hours a day. However, subsequent literature reviews in 2013 and 2016 tempered these findings, suggesting that traction devices were more effective in treating deformities than in augmenting size.

In a bid to examine jelqing specifically, a small-scale study conducted in 2018 by PhalloGauge Medical focused on seven men performing 200 jelqing strokes per day for three months. The results, while providing some data, were far from compelling. The average increase observed was a mere 0.13 inches in length and 0.3 inches in girth. The conclusion drawn from this study was that the changes were minor, and the technique offered little promise for substantial penis enlargement.

Is Jelqin safe to do?

One aspect that cannot be overlooked in the discourse on jelqing is the potential side effects and risks associated with this practice. The anatomy of the penis is a complex interplay of spongy tissues, nerve endings, and blood vessels, all crucial components contributing to sexual function. The penis contains corpus cavernosum and corpus spongiosum, spongy tissues that fill with blood during arousal, creating an erection. Blood flows through cavernosal arteries, crucial for maintaining an erection. Jelqing, with its potential to induce micro-tears and trauma, poses a risk to this intricate system.

The reported side effects of jelqing include bruising, swelling, numbness, and, most alarmingly, the possibility of permanent damage leading to erectile dysfunction. The potential harm to the internal structures of the penis raises serious concerns about the safety of this practice. While proponents of jelqing may argue that these adverse effects are avoidable with proper technique and caution, the absence of scientific validation makes it challenging to establish standardized guidelines for safe practice.

As individuals seeking methods for penis enlargement navigate the complex landscape of available options, it becomes imperative to consider alternative approaches with a more robust evidence base. Penis enlargement surgery emerges as a more permanent solution, offering various procedures such as altering the internal ligament or inserting a permanent implant to increase length or the appearance of length and girth. However, the decision to undergo surgery requires careful consideration of potential risks and outcomes.

Traction devices, or penis extenders, represent another avenue explored in the quest for penis enlargement. Despite limited research, some studies suggest effectiveness in treating conditions like Peyronie’s disease, where the penis becomes bent, causing pain and/or erectile dysfunction. A 2009 study reported an average gain of 0.83 centimeters in length for participants with Peyronie’s disease using penis extender devices for six months. However, it is crucial to note that these devices are primarily designed for medical conditions and may not yield similar results in individuals without such conditions.

Before delving into any method of penis enlargement, it is paramount for individuals to introspect and evaluate their motivations critically. The prevalence of advertisements and media messages perpetuating unrealistic standards has contributed to the development of what psychologists term “small penis anxiety” or “penis dysmorphia syndrome.” These conditions involve an irrational and unshakable belief that one’s anatomy falls short of societal expectations.

Contrary to the often distorted perceptions fueled by media portrayals, the average erect penis length falls within a normal range, typically ranging from 5 to 5.5 inches. It is essential to challenge unrealistic expectations and recognize that emotional intimacy with partners and open communication about desires contribute significantly to a fulfilling sexual experience.


In conclusion, the practice of jelqing, with its historical roots and contemporary popularity, remains shrouded in skepticism due to the lack of empirical evidence supporting its mechanism and effectiveness. The potential risks and side effects associated with jelqing, including the possibility of permanent damage to the penis, further underscore the need for caution. As individuals explore options for penis enlargement, it is crucial to consider alternative methods with a more robust evidence base, such as surgery or traction devices. Moreover, addressing the psychological impact of societal expectations and fostering a realistic understanding of one’s anatomy are essential components of a holistic approach to sexual well-being.


Joan David-Leonhard

Joan David Leonhard is a recent Pharm.D graduate with a strong passion for the pharmaceutical industry and a particular interest in pharmaceutical media and communication. Her brief internship experience includes roles in pharmacy where she built strong patient-pharmacist relationships and a pharmaceutical media internship where she actively contributed to drug information articles, blog posts, social media engagement, and various media projects.
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