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Does Jelqing work?

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Debunking the myth that jelqing increases penis size and male pelvic health.



What is Jelqing?


Jelqing is a manual penis enlargement technique that involves applying rhythmic, repetitive pressure to the shaft of the penis with the intention of increasing its size.


Despite popularity and false testimonials, there is no evidence that jelqing works and the risk of permanent damage or injury significantly outweighs the potential benefit.


Is there any benefit to jelqing?


It is believed that jelqing can increase penis length and girth with erections. This is a dangerous misconception and can lead to damage of the penis structures.
Can jelqing increase penis length?

The intention is often to increase the size and girth of the penis, and it is thought to do that by manual stretching of the soft tissue.


Does jelqing increase the size of the penis in a healthy way? The answer is no. An erection is not a stretch of the penis, but specifically a relaxation of the smooth muscle within the penis as the arteries dilate and fill with blood. This is why jelqing does not mimic the lengthening of an erection and therefore cannot increase the erection size or length.


Nerves do not like to be stretched, as they cannot actually lengthen or stretch. With jelqing, the repetitive pulling on the tissues can create nerve damage within the pelvis or the penis that can result in tissue damage and erectile dysfunction.


Long story short, there is no benefit to jelqing.


An injured penis from jelqing.
Penises do not want to be forcefully stretched.

What are the disadvantages of jelqing?


As discussed above, the potential benefits of jelqing are negligible. The risks of the activity, however, range in severity.

  • Bruising or soreness

  • Nerve damage

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Peyronie's disease

    • Peyronie's disease, also known as penile fibrosis, is the development of fibrous scar tissue, or plaques, within the penis. These plaques typically form on the tunica albuginea, which is the fibrous tissue that surrounds the corpora cavernosa, the structures responsible for penile erection.

Whether or not you can heal from jelqing is based on the extent of the injury. It is best to get evaluated by a urologist or sexual medicine specialist to determine prognosis and treatment.


What are the safe alternatives to jelqing?


The safe alternatives to jelqing depend on what you wanted to get out of it in the first place. If you are looking to improve the hardness of an erection, you'd evaluate your lifestyle. Erections are largely dependent upon heart health and blood flow. Eating well, working out, and quitting smoking are all safely linked towards improving erectile dysfunction and satisfaction with erections.

How to improve erections
A healthy lifestyle goes a lot further towards improving your sex life and erection health than jelqing does.

The ability to become erect also has a psychological component. Improving stress management, work-life balance, sleep, and healthy boundaries all play into having a consistent and satisfactory erection and sex life.


It is also important to communicate with your partner, if you have one, on expectations within the bedroom. The majority of individuals, especially women, do not find pleasure in larger penises. The female anatomy is not able to lengthen much longer than the average penis size, so longer is not always better and can often create pain for your partner.


We often find men turn to jelqing due to body image issues, so it is important first to talk to medical professionals or a mental health counselor first before performing this activity.


Your value and worth as a human being, and a romantic partner, have nothing to do with penis size or length.


Your worth as a person and your value as a romantic partner have nothing to do with your penis size.


TLDR:

  • Jelqing is the act of manually stretching the penis with repetitive pulling on the shaft.

  • There is no evidence behind jelqing to improve blood flow or lengthen the penis.

  • The risks of jelqing greatly outweigh the potential benefits, as you can create permanent tissue and nerve damage, as well as long term erectile dyfunction.

  • The safe alternative to jelqing is implementing a healthy lifestyle of the right nutrition, hydration, exercise, and stress management. If you smoke, quitting smoking will improve the blood flow to your extremities and penis.


 

Doctor of physical therapy, author of blog

Caroline Gamwell, DPT is a Doctor of Physical Therapy specializing in Pelvic Health and Orthopedics. Dr. Gamwell earned her doctorate at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL with a focus on chronic pain rehabilitation. Dr. Gamwell owns Worth It PT, LLC, a boutique physical therapy practice based in Denver, CO focusing on all things pelvic health. She holds post-graduate certifications in Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy, as well as in treating pregnant and postpartum athletes. Her strongest passions lie with helping others conquer their chronic pain and achieve their intimacy goals.

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