What Is Jelqing? Science-Based Insights

People who are concerned about their penis size may be tempted to try jelqing. It is a massage exercise that helps stretch the penis out. It is believed to increase penis size, but we don’t have enough evidence to support this claim. Read our article to learn what jelqing is in more detail and the safety concerns that medical professionals talk about.

What is jelqing?

Jelqing is a form of penile stretching exercise in which you massage your penis from the base to the tip to increase its blood flow so that it appears bigger and fuller. The idea of stretching the penis goes back to the Egyptian pharaoh era, when people may have possibly used penile weights with the aim of lengthening their penis.


Today, penile enlargement techniques are still in use, especially by people who may be unsatisfied with their sexual health or penile size. Jelqing involves stroking your penis multiple times and stopping before you get an erection.

If you’re looking for a natural enlargement solution, it may be best to seek medical advice. Jelqing may not be safe, as there is no science-based data that can confirm its efficacy on penis girth and size. Stretching the penis manually, or using other enlargement methods, can be concerning as injuries can occur.

Jelqing — how it's performed

Since jelqing can be risky and there aren't a lot of studies about its effect on penis size, it's not recommended.

However, online sources describe the steps involved in jelqing and the technique of massaging the penis to make it supposedly appear bigger:

  1. Make sure the penis is semi-erect.
  2. Lubricate the area. Stores offer different types of lubricants — it is always a good idea to check the ingredient label before making a purchase, as some ingredients might not be safe.
  3. Place the thumb and index finger around the bottom of the penis. The fingers should be in an OK-like symbol.
  4. Move this hand from the bottom of the penis to the tip in a stretching motion. This should be done so with consistent pressure.
  5. Repeat the steps. This penis stretching exercise can be performed for up to 20 minutes, but personal discretion should be used. It is advised to stop if the penis is erect or if there is pain.

Does jelqing work?

There isn't enough evidence that suggests that jelqing can enhance penis size. However, according to a 2019 study published in Sexual Medicine Reviews, similar stretching techniques, such as traction devices that stretch the penis out, may effectively treat Peyronie’s disease.


This is a condition where scar tissue forms beneath the penile skin. It can cause the penis to curve when the individual is having an erection, which can be painful or make it difficult to have sex. Researchers of the same study believe that traction devices may help stretch the penis and address the curvature issue. However, they state that more research needs to be done to confirm this.

In the 1970s, a British physician performed a study on 30 people who had to engage in a jelqing routine exercise for three months. The study found that the hand massaging exercises increased the penile length by around one inch in nearly 90% of the participants. The girth also had a one-inch increase. However, this study is outdated, and newer studies have proven against these results.

A 2019 review found that there isn't a lot of evidence that supports penis enlargement treatment in individuals with a small penis. Some enlargement methods stretched the penis by less than two centimeters, and others caused complications or did not work. Most of the participants realized that they didn't have to worry about their penis size and did not opt for other treatments.

Jelqing exercise side effects

Here, we discuss the safety of jelqing. This technique can cause long-term issues, such as skin redness, bruises, and erectile dysfunction.

  • Injuries. Squeezing or massaging your penis aggressively can cause damage or injury. It may also increase the risks of developing deformities or penile curvature.
  • Bruises. Bruising can also result from forceful or aggressive jelqing, which can feel painful, sore, and tender to the touch.
  • Skin irritation. Since jelqing involves massaging your penis, too much friction can make your penis become dry, especially if you don’t use lubrication. Without proper care, you may develop skin cracks that allow bacteria to enter the wound and make you more prone to developing an infection.

Alternatives to consider

Jelqing is not proven to increase penile size and girth. There are other things to consider if you have concerns about libido, penis size, and erectile dysfunction. It is always best to discuss these concerns with your doctor for personalized advice.


If you’re concerned about your penis size or have problems with sexual performance, you may consider seeing a therapist.


A therapist can help individuals understand that there are variations in penile sizes. They may also perform tests to show that there is nothing wrong with the size of the penis. This has proven to be effective up to 86%.


Different types of procedures can help lengthen your penis or make it appear fuller. Companies may promote before photos that show how a person would look before and after surgery. However, these procedures should be approached with caution, as they are not generally recommended purely for cosmetic purposes.

Procedures include the following:

  • Pneuma device implantation. Pneuma is an implant that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved as a penile enlargement method. It has soft silicone, and surgeons place it beneath your skin to make your penis appear bigger.
  • Removal of the suprapubic fat. The surgeon removes the fat that may be surrounding a 'buried penis.' A buried penis is a term used to refer to a penis that is hidden and covered by the skin of the abdomen, thighs, or scrotum. The surgery does not increase penis size, but it can make the penis appear more visible as the individual can see its true size.
  • Autologous fat injections. The surgeon uses your own fat tissue and injects it into the penis to make its circumference appear bigger.
  • Ligamentolysis. The surgeon cuts the suspensory ligament, which helps keep the penis and pubic bone connected. Afterward, a non-erect penis may appear longer.

However, these surgical procedures are not usually recommended for healthy individuals. Risks, such as swelling and infection, can occur. It is best to seek professional advice and discuss your options with your doctor.


Pills are not approved to enlarge your penis. Some, though, can cause an increase in penile blood flow, helping you achieve an erection. A doctor may prescribe them to people with erectile dysfunction.

If you’re interested in penile enhancement pills, consult with a healthcare provider first.

A lot of companies claim that their products increase penile size, but we don't know for sure if these work. The FDA warns about the hidden active ingredients in these enhancement pills. They may have sildenafil or tadalafil without listing them on their ingredient label, and they may not be safe for someone with a medical condition, as the medications can cause interactions.



Doctors may inject fillers with hyaluronic acid into your penile area to help increase its girth. According to a 2022 study, fillers do not cause serious side effects. The injection site may become inflamed but should improve with treatment.

A lot of people believe that jelqing exercises can help increase their penile length. We don’t have enough evidence to support their efficacy. However, it is important to understand that everyone has unique characteristics, which is what makes us beautiful.

If you’re concerned about your body image or sexual health, it may be time to seek professional help. A therapist may ask you questions to know more about what you are going through and help you live a happier life.


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