Is It a Stretch to Think You Can Add Length to Your Penis?
It's no wonder people sometimes feel disappointed when they look in the mirror.
Anyone who spends enough time engaged with any form of media—social, digital, print, television, movies—is presented with images of perfect bodies, perfect teeth and perfect faces. People's obsession with unachievable, unrealistic physical perfection even extends to areas that remain covered.
Take penis size.
With all the hullabaloo the media makes regarding women and girls pursuing unrealistic physical standards—standards those same media highlight—the king of wanting to change your body may still be men wishing they had a bigger member.
If you're really worried about size, there might be some room for improvement: Penis stretching is actually a thing. But does it work? If you want to give it a shot, you should consider how to safely stretch your penis without injury, what kind of results you can expect and, most importantly, whether it's really necessary.
You're probably fine
First, it's important to make one thing clear: You're probably okay the way you are.
The perception that your penis is too small is a common one. For many years, studies that said the average erect length was 6.2 inches were widely believed to be the gold standard. Most of these studies, however, suffered from one fatal flaw: men. That is, the studies were usually based on self-reported numbers. If there's one truth we can assume about men and penis size, it's that they're going to exaggerate.
According to a 2021 review that looked at 10 studies in which men were measured by a researcher, the average erect length is more like 5.1 to 5.5 inches.
So, unless you're among the 0.6 percent of men who have a micropenis, it's likely your penis size is perfectly adequate.
"I think a lot of times what it comes down to is a relatively common condition called body dysmorphia, which means that a man perceives that there is an abnormality with his appearance, whether or not there may actually be anything out of the ordinary," said Petar Bajic, M.D., a urologist whose practice is affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic. "Many of the men that come and see me with concerns about the size of their penis actually have an average size penis or even larger than average."
But if good enough isn't good enough…
Having established that you probably don't need to get bigger, what you should know about penis stretching is that it's a medical procedure, or at least a kind of therapy urologists sometimes advise for men.
For guys who have undergone a prostatectomy and are facing a probable year or two without a natural erection, retaining the penis' length, girth and pliability is something they may have to, er, take into their own hands.
Penis stretching can also be beneficial for men who develop curvature to their penis, known as Peyronie's disease. Stretching can help reduce the impact of the scar tissue or plaque inside the penis that creates the curve.
"When it comes to penile stretching and massage, I actually recommend this to many of my patients who present with penile curvature and/or to maintain length following prostate cancer surgery," said Amy Pearlman, M.D., the director of men's health at the Carver College of Medicine at University of Iowa Health Care.
Some men's health experts see stretching as a useful tool for a variety of other issues, including erectile dysfunction (ED), largely to help the penis retain its elasticity.
"Stretching is indeed helpful," said William Brant, M.D., chief of urology at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center. "In many conditions—diabetes, smoking, injury, Peyronie's disease, even longstanding ED—the penile tissue, mainly the lining that holds in blood for erections, becomes less elastic, which is a common cause of penile shortening. Stretching cannot completely reverse this but can certainly help."
Stretch it safely
If you're determined to try penis stretching, click here for a detailed description of how it's done manually. Just keep in mind the three cardinal rules:
- Stretch your penis only when it's flaccid.
- Stop immediately if your penis hurts.
- Don't stretch your penis more than a couple of times per day, a few minutes a day.
"Like everything, moderation is the key," Brant said. "Overdoing it can cause harm, and I have even seen profound ED caused by overaggressive stretching. A good way to think about it is by visualizing other tissues in your body. If I try to touch my toes, I won't get there. But if I stretched consistently, over time, I'd improve my range."
Given our societal obsession with penises and their size, it's no surprise that numerous devices purporting to help men gain length have been developed over the years. One recently developed device was created with the help of medical experts, and urologists say many men are pleased with their results.
"The RestoreX is a traction device developed out of the Mayo Clinic that is a quality device and has some great research to support its use," Pearlman said.
Experts don't really speak in terms of men being able to gain length as much as restore length they once had, or at least mitigate further loss. At the end of the day, any gains from penis stretching are likely to be minimal. Even studies by the Mayo Clinic of its own lengthening device show only an average gain of a centimeter or two.
"There is a limit," Brant said. "I could do all the stretching in the world and I'll never be 6 feet tall. So stretching is more about limiting or reversing loss rather than gaining beyond what nature has given you."