What Is Jelqing? All About The Exercise You've Never Heard Of

A man's penis size can be a topic of interest (at least privately) when growing up. For some men, comparing their girth and length with what they see on porn videos can even breed insecurity. This is probably why penis stretching exercises came to be in the first place.

One particular exercise known as jelqing has actually been in existence for centuries, "dating back to ancient Middle Eastern regions," according to family nurse practitioner Clarissa Guerrero (via OurDoctor Clinic). The exercise, which is also known as milking, pulling, and squeezing, involves pulling on the skin of your penis when it's almost but not completely erect, over time, with your fingers, in an attempt to influence its size and width. You start by creating an "okay" sign with your fingers on both hands and placing them around the base of your penis. Next, you move the fingers from the base to the tip of your penis while applying light yet consistent pressure. You loosen the grip at the tip and repeat the exercise once for 20 minutes every day.

The idea is that consistently applying pressure and stretching your penis skin and tissues will create micro-tears that will heal up and create the appearance of a bigger and longer phallus. It's kind of similar to what lifting weights does to your body. Does jelqing really work, though?

There is no scientific proof that jelqing works

Most urologists may tell you that jelqing falls under the category of unsafe exercises you should stop doing. There is little to no science that actually speaks for the benefits of this penis stretching exercise.

A very small 2018 study, done by penis enlargement product supplier PhalloGauge Medical, followed eight male subjects who performed the jelqing exercise for three months and found no substantial benefits by way of girth or length. However, according to urologist and pelvic surgeon Dr. Rena Malik on YouTube, this is not a true scientific study to begin with. Despite the fact that one British physician quoted some positive results in a 1970s study on jelqing, there hasn't been much medical literature on the topic thereafter. In fact, if you were to google the term "jelqing," you'd find a few studies that look at how this penis stretching exercise can actually do more harm than good for your sex life. There is also some research with mixed results on how traction devices can influence penile length and girth. 

As explained by urologist Dr. Eric Tygenhof (via YouTube), thinking that your penis girth and length will increase from micro-tears that eventually heal up, the same way it happens with muscle tears from a workout, is not entirely accurate. "Unfortunately, the muscle in the penis is smooth muscle, not skeletal muscle like the muscles in your arms, and it doesn't respond in the same way," shared the doctor. That being said, how can jelqing harm your penis?

Drawbacks of the penis stretching exercise

Whether you've tried jelqing or not, it is important to be aware of its potential dangers. On the mild side of things, you're looking at pain, soreness, bruising, and skin irritation from exerting pressure on your penis skin. As for more serious effects of this exercise, urologists warn of Peyronie's disease, where scar tissue builds up under the skin of the penis, eventually leading to a bend or curve in the penis during erection. Peyronie's disease can make erections and sex painful. 

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be another result of jelqing. "Doing these sort of exercises can create permanent damage to your penis ... you can create penile numbness from damaging the nerves to the penis and because of the stretching of the penis, you can create injury to the arteries and the veins," shared Dr. Rena Malik, per YouTube. According to a 2014 study published in BJU International, jelqing can cause veno-occlusive erectile dysfunction, a condition where the veins in your phallus aren't able to fill with enough blood to sustain an erection. 

If you still want to try jelqing, you can take precautions by lubing up and making sure you're not fully erect when you start massaging your penis. However, the question still remains about whether or not you'll be hampering your sex life by trying to enhance it with a penis stretching exercise that hasn't been studied extensively. 

Also on the topic of men and sex, did you know that there's one type of exercise men should avoid before sex