I appreciate your comments and agree with much of what you say. However, I haven’t yet gotten to the point of frustration where I’m ready to give up on the science and just follow the received wisdom, although I believe the received wisdom is probably accurate.
Every day that I study PE, I learn something new. For example, I’ve recently learned that different guys naturally have tunicas of widely differing thickness. I never knew that, and it could help to explain why some guys are naturally harder gainers than others.
I’ve learned that the longitudinal fibers of the tunica don’t extend all the way to the pubic rami (making the portion of the crura inside the body a possible site for active length growth, since there’s apparently less resistance to longitudinal stress).
I’ve learned that the ventral side of the tunica has very few longitudinal fibers. Knowing that, I probably won’t be spending a lot of time doing V-stretches.
I’ve learned that collagen fibers tend to “magically” align themselves along the direction of applied force, apparently in a defensive effort to help the body to resist the force. This suggests there may be some benefit to mixing up exercises, to keep the body “guessing” as to the direction of the next force.
This is all good stuff and really helps me to understand what I’m doing. Most people aren’t as lucky as your soft tugging friend. And I’ve also seen posts on this site from guys who pull like hell and jelq with an iron grip on a full erection, and gain tremendously.
That’s the trouble with the current state of PE. It’s all anecdotal rather than scientific, and the effectiveness of techniques varies from individual to individual. It would be great if we could actually understand the underlying mechanisms for growth and resistance to growth. Then we’d be in a much better position to “engineer” specific programs to suit the anatomy and physiology of different people.
It’s unfortunate that PE isn’t scientifically studied. But there’s still a lot of information out there. There’s a great deal of research into ED and Peyronie’s disease. There’s also research into connective tissue stretching (for chiropractors, message therapists, and plastic surgeons). There’s tons of research into skin, and methods of preventing aging.
The connective tissues of the body are simply not that different from one another. I think that careful study of the published works and narrowly drawn inferences can help to illuminate many of the mysteries of PE.
I’m going to keep studying and trying to keep this thread rolling. It’s still a long way to 8x6, and I have lots of motivation to keep learning.