The term “jelqing” refers to a set of penis stretching exercises that some believe can make the penis bigger. Although the practice has gained attention and popularity in blogs and internet forums in recent years, there is no scientific evidence that it is an effective way to permanently increase the size of one’s penis. In fact, in some cases, jelqing may actually cause damage to the penis, so it is a good idea to get all the facts before setting off to try it.
Since jelqing is not a scientifically proven technique at this time, there is no official standardized process for how to do it. However, most sites and internet forums dedicated to the topic generally outline the exercise as follows:
- Start with an almost (but not fully) erect penis
- Lubricate the penis
- Create the “OK” symbol with your fingers, with the index finger and thumb around the base of the penis
- Move the fingers from the base to the head of the penis, applying light and consistent pressure and pulling downward to stretch the penis
- Repeat the motion for 5 to 20 minutes, but stop immediately if the penis becomes erect or a painful sensation occurs
Proponents of jelqing believe that it enlarges the penis by creating microtears in the penile tissue that expand the area as they heal. In theory, this would be the same basic principle behind weightlifting to create bigger muscles, but such thinking is likely flawed because the penis is not structured like a traditional muscle. Rather, it is an organ of smooth muscle (different from skeletal muscles, like biceps) that fills with blood to create an erection. As such, it does not respond in the same way as a different muscle to being physically worked.
Some risks of jelqing include pain, soreness, and bruising on the penis, as well as possible skin irritation from rubbing. The stretches may also increase one’s risk of developing Peyronie’s disease (a condition characterized by curved, painful erections) or erectile dysfunction because one could accidentally injure the penis while jelqing and develop scar tissue or hardened plaques that could bend the penis as a result.
Still, some men may be inclined to try to jelqing if they feel that their penises are too small. The good news is that most men who worry about size actually have perfectly normal-sized penises. (Discover the average penis size here.)
Given the risk of injury and the lack of scientific evidence to support jelqing as an effective penile enlargement strategy, it is not currently recommended or endorsed by most of the medical community.
Fortunately, factors like intimacy between partners and technique often go much further than size when it comes to sexual satisfaction. However, if you are still concerned about the size of your penis, it may be a good idea to speak with a licensed sex therapist or another trusted health care provider about the subject to get the emotional and medical support you need.
Hims Editorial Team. Medically reviewed by Mary Lucas, RN. (2020, November 17). Jelqing: Is Penis Stretching a Winner or a Big Waste? Hims. https://www.forhims.com/blog/jelqing-penis-stretching-exercises
International Society for Sexual Medicine. (n.d.). What is jelqing? Does it work? Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://www.issm.info/sexual-health-qa/what-is-jelqing-does-it-work/
Jewell, T. Medically reviewed by J. Keith Fisher, MD. (2019, June 24). Everything You Need to Know About Jelqing. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/jelqing
Martin, M. Medically reviewed by Mike Bohl, MD, MPH. (2019, October 4). What is jelqing? Will it make my penis bigger? Roman. https://www.getroman.com/health-guide/what-is-jelqing/