From" licos health"
Jelqing: Ancient Secret or Hoax?
By Martin Downs
Reviewed By Michael Smith, MD
The pursuit of penis enlargement is as old as the quest for a baldness cure. With surgery and drugs, modern medicine is finally making progress on both fronts, but medical solutions can be expensive, and they often yield less than miraculous results. So men continue to be wooed by “natural” potions and schemes that promise quick growth up top, and down below.
A technique called jelqing has become popular among men seeking greater penis size. Web sites that promote jelqing and online clubs for jelqing enthusiasts abound: A Google search for “jelq” yields nearly 19,000 results.
Those who promote jelqing claim that it’s an “ancient Arab” technique, which lends it an exotic air — summoning images of sultry harems and Salome’s Dance of the Seven Veils. Whether the practice originates in the Middle East, however, no one WebMD contacted could say. Sex historian Vern Bullough says he has never heard of it, and queries to the Kinsey Institute and professors of Middle Eastern studies at several universities shed no more light on the matter.
There are many variations on the technique, but the basic routine involves stroking the penis with a milking motion: Starting from the base, you slide your hand up the shaft, pulling and squeezing. Then you repeat the motion. You don’t slide your hand over the head and back down the shaft as you would if you were masturbating. Instead, you stop when you reach the head, and start again from the base of the penis.
Depending on what jelqing manual you follow, you may be instructed to jelq while your penis is flaccid, in a semi-erect state, or with a full erection. Some advise you to “warm up” with hot-towel wraps. Some recommend jelqing with lubrication, while others don’t include lube. You might jelq with the palm facing up or down. Jelqing schedules and the duration of the routine often differ.
The promised results vary, too. Some hucksters say you’ll gain three to four inches in length. Other advocates are more modest.
Thomas, a 27-year-old student in New Jersey, says he began jelqing nearly a year ago. He stands six-foot-five, but he has an average-sized penis — about six inches long. “As a taller person, I felt that I was short-changed,” he says.
So far, he’s pleased with the results. “I notice a better flaccid hang, first off,” he says. He also claims to have gained three-eighths of an inch in length and five-eighths of an inch in girth, when erect, by jelqing for 45 minutes a day for five days, then taking two days off, for six weeks at a time.
Another jelqer, a 24-year-old man who prefers to remain anonymous, claims to have had more dramatic gains since he began jelqing eight months ago. He says his penis, which measured five inches erect, is now six and one-quarter inches long.
Both men say they have never paid for jelqing information. They follow advice available for free at penis-enlargement discussion groups online. Nevertheless, some Web sites sell access to their jelqing programs for as much as $50.
Jelqers may believe that the technique works, but they are mistaken about how. You may hear that by pushing blood into the erectile tissue of the penis, you can expand the chambers — the corpora cavernosa — so they eventually hold more blood, resulting in bigger erections. You may also hear that jelqing exercises the smooth muscle of the penis, making it bigger and stronger.
“I think that’s all bogus,” says Tom Lue, MD, professor of urology at the University of California, San Francisco. He says that only swelling, caused by bleeding under the skin, could explain the increases in penis size men like Thomas experience. This result would not be permanent, hence the need to follow a rigorous jelqing regimen indefinitely.
The idea that the smooth muscle of the penis can be exercised , like the biceps, is a myth. “Smooth muscle doesn’t respond that way,” Lue says. In fact, stretching it can be harmful. For example, the bladder is smooth muscle. According to Lue, if you hold in urine so that the bladder expands too much, the tissue weakens.
What’s more, Lue says, all the stretching, pulling, and squeezing might cause scar tissue to form in the penis, which could hinder a man’s ability to get an erection. But Thomas maintains that apart from a little soreness, he hasn’t injured his penis by jelqing, and he says his erections last longer than they did before.
“Anatomically and physiologically this is just wishful thinking,” urologist Ira Sharlip, president of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America, writes in an email. “It’s all baloney until a real study with objective before and after measurements, verified by an independent source [since you can’t do a placebo comparison], proves that it works.”
Published Dec. 23, 2002.
SOURCES: Ira Sharlip, MD, president, Sexual Medicine Society of North America; and medical director, Pan Pacific Urology, San Francisco • Tom Lue, MD, professor and vice chairman of urology, University of California, San Francisco • Vern Bullough, visiting professor, University of Southern California; and distinguished professor emeritus, State University of New York.