A banana wrapped in measuring tape.

Allegedly, jelqing is a technique for penis enlargement that has recently become more popular with the rise of online blogs and how-to videos. However, due to the lack of reputable scientific research on the technique, we cannot recommend the technique or condone the effectiveness of jelqing. Nonetheless, we have provided some information regarding our understanding of jelqing in case someone chooses to practice it anyways.

What is Jelqing?

Jelqing is a colloquial term for a penile massage technique that supposedly enlarges the penis permanently.1 Jelqing is particularly intriguing for a male who wants to increase the size of his penis because it is advertised as one of the only “natural methods” of penis enlargement—it does not involve medications or surgery.2 However, the technique has not been studied nearly enough to prove its effectiveness.

Men from all periods of history have gone to extreme, and sometimes dangerous, extents to increase the length and girth of their penises, as well as the duration of their erections. Jelqing, also termed “milking,” is believed to have originated in the Middle East, where fathers would teach their sons sexual techniques in preparation to become a “desirable” marriage partner.1 Although a person can have an extremely satisfying sex life without altering the size of his penis, males have continuously sacrificed safety and security for a chance to enlarge their penises. Pressures of the mainstream media may cause some people to view their bodies in an unsatisfactory manner, despite the fact that every body type is beautiful and natural in its own way.3 Although penis enlargement may be glamorized in the media, it is almost always unnecessary for true satisfaction.

Does Jelqing Increase Penis Size?

A white measuring tape next to a banana, a green measuring tape next to a cucumber, a blue measuring tape next to a daikon, and a yellow measuring tape next to a cucumber.

While many males have reported through online forums and videos that jelqing is an effective means of increasing penis size, no scientific study has ever concluded that it works.4 Proponents of the technique claim that routinely pulling and stretching the penis will cause the tissue to fill with blood and permanently swell.2 However, the basic anatomy of the penis contradicts this theory. The penis itself is an organ, not a muscle that can be strengthened or altered with exercise.1 The size of an erect penis is genetically predetermined by the corpora cavernosa tubes.3 If the tubes were able to be stretched, erections would not be fully firm. Jelqing supposedly works by forcing blood to swell into the penis, creating pressure that promotes the expansion and growth of penile tissue.1 The process may be able to stimulate an increased blood flow, but most urology experts assert that this technique cannot permanently enlarge the penis.5

There are also tools on the market that claim to provide the same “traction” technique as jelqing. For example, a penis pump is meant to provide a similar pressure gradient within the penis.6 The penis pump is simply a vacuum that draws blood flow to the genitals.4 While the blood flow caused by penis pumps may provide temporary penis enlargement or offer therapy for men with erectile dysfunction, permanent growth has never been recorded.3 However, permanent damage is possible.6

Safety Risks 

No current methods of penis enlargement are considered 100% safe or effective, so it is always recommended you see a doctor before attempting in any new sexual practices.2  

Whether done “correctly” or not, there is a risk of penile damage during jelqing exercises. It is important to weigh any potential benefit from the exercise against the possible risks and side effects. Jelqing often leads to pain, irritation, scar formation, or blood vessel tears.4 The rush of blood to the penis can cause bruising, discoloration, and blood spots that may itch. Even though jelqing is usually an attempt to improve one’s sex life, more often than not it can simply desensitize the penis to pleasure.4

Injury is more prevalent if a male attempts to jelq on a fully erect penis.4 Doctors have recorded patients that have developed Peyronie’s disease due to aggressive stroking during jelqing exercises.7 Peyronie’s disease happens when fibrous tissue and plaque on the penis causes bends and dents in the penis, especially during erections. Not only can the bumps be felt, but they can also be painful.8

Sexual Performance 

Jelqing is not intended to improve a male’s sex drive or general sexual performance. If you are concerned with your libido or sexual performance, it is likely that the size of your penis is not the root of the issue. For an improved sexual performance, you may consider attempting new sex positions or adding novelty into the bedroom. Be sure to talk to your partner to make sure that you are both comfortable and feeling satisfied. There are also many treatments available for erectile and libido issues, such as erectile dysfunction management and medication, that could provide more satisfying results for your sex life.7 If you suspect you may have a medical condition that is affecting your sex life, please consult a doctor to discuss treatment options.


Despite the risks listed above and scientific disclaimers, we understand that some men will attempt to jelq in hopes of an inexpensive and “natural” way to achieve penis enlargement. We provide our understanding of the exercise steps below. We would like to emphasize that these techniques have been provided by proponents of jelqing, and not medical sources. By using these techniques cautiously and with an awareness of the risks, the jelqer should minimize any potential damage and hopefully maximize any desired gains.

A hand holding a banana.
  1. Warm Up
    • Before jelqing, it is recommended to take a hot bath or apply a warm compress to the penis to begin blood flow to the area and open the blood vessels.1
    • Never stimulate the penis to the point of full erection, as it is more likely for injury to occur.4
    • NOTE: Jelqing has been reported to be done both in the shower, and outside of the shower.2
  2. Apply Lubrication
    • Lubrication will allow the jelqer to perform the exercise without the risk of friction burns or other discomfort.
    • Personal lubricant, such as Astroglide, can be bought at a pharmacy. However, many jelqers also report simply using Vaseline, coconut oil, and other skin oils.9
  3. Exercise
    • Begin the exercise with the penis 50-75% erect. If at any point in the exercise the penis reaches a full erection, you should stop the exercise.9
    • The hand grip for jelqing is typically the “OK” sign made with your thumb and pointer finger together.
    • Encircle the grip around the base of the partially-erect penis. The goal is to restrict some blood flow without squeezing too hard.
    • The grip is then slowly pulled from the base to the head (or glans) of the penis while maintaining consistent, light pressure.9
    • Once you reach the head, you can let go of the penis and repeat the steps using the same hand, or by switching hands each stroke. NOTE: do not continue the stroke over the tip of the penis as the glans has more sensitive nerve endings and can be more prone to injury.
    • If you experience pain or a full erection at any time during the exercise, stop immediately.
  4. Rest
    • People who safely jelq typically repeat the strokes for about 5-10 minutes each session.9
    • When first starting, it is recommended to start with shorter sessions, fewer times per week.9

Concluding Remarks

A statue of a person's penis.

If you are interested in trying jelqing, we would like to emphasize that a “large” penis is not necessary for a satisfying sex life. Your body is a beautiful, wonderful thing just how it is. Meaningful partners will care more about YOU than the size of your body parts. Both male and female bodies are constantly put under scrutiny in the media, which tends to give people a lower self-esteem and unrealistic expectations. In fact, the majority of men who try to increase their penis size actually have false perceptions that their penises are below average.3 Almost all men overestimate the size of a normal penis.5 There is no such thing as an inadequately sized penis, and therefore the need and desire for male penile enlargement is oftentimes unnecessary.5 Studies have shown that over 85% of women are completely happy with their partner’s penis size!7 Augmented anxiety about your penis size can actually lead to sexual difficulties in the future, so it is always best to learn acceptance of your body before attempting any drastic method of alteration.3 However, if you do choose to jelq, be sure to understand the potential consequences and take as many safety precautions as possible.


  1. Woods, Stacey Grenrock. “Sex.” Esquire 141.6 (2004): 84. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Jan. 2017.
  2. Strange, Keith. “Arabic Jelqing Exercises.” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 26 May 2015. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.
  3. Scutti, Susan. “Penis Enlargment Is Tricky Business: Here’s What Works.” Medical Daily. N.p., 26 Aug. 2015. Web. 22 Jan. 2017.
  4. Ruiz, Michelle. “What the Jelq Is Jelqing?” Cosmopolitan. N.p., 7 Feb. 2013. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.
  5. Shamloul, Rany. “Treatment of Men Complaining Of Short Penis.” Urology 65.6 (2005): 1183-1185. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Jan. 2017.
  6. Nugteren, Helena M., et al. “Penile Enlargement: From Medication To Surgery.” Journal Of Sex & Marital Therapy 36.2 (2010): 118-123. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.
  7. “Male Enhancement: Is It Worth a Try?” CBS News. N.p., 14 Sept. 2007. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.
  8. “What Is Peyronie’s Disease?” Urology Care Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.
  9. “How to Do Jelqing Exercises Step by Step for Beginners – VKool.” VKoolcom Health Fitness Beauty Lifestyle Magazine RSS. N.p., 20 Aug. 2016. Web. 24 Jan. 2017.

Last Updated: 5 February 2017.