It's no surprise guys are drawn to devices promising to make their junk bigger, but if you're trusting your genitals to something you bought on the internet it's important to read the fine print. When it comes to one such product, penis extenders, doctors and users say it may not be worth the questionably added length.
Penis extenders are plastic devices that are worn along the penis. They usually have a plastic ring that sits at the base of a flaccid penis, and another ring at the head, with a traction device that runs along the sides of the shaft. The wearer adjusts springs which pull the penile shaft, with the intention of literally stretching the flaccid penis to become bigger in size. Some data suggest there could be truth to their claims, but professionals and men who have tried them are skeptical. And that’s not getting into how penis extenders cause pain and even possible bodily damage. Curious to learn more about the controversial contraptions? Here are seven things you need to know.
They claim to increase penis size, but doctors are wary.Penis extenders such as the Andropenis are marketed as a medical “male enhancement traction” device that can increase penis length and girth. Their website claims to increase length by 1.6 inches, and girth by 0.4 inches. According to one study published in the British Journal of Urology, Andropenis’s claims contain some truths. Live Science reports the study had 15 men use the extender for six months, increasing the traction force (the weighted force that is stretching the penis shaft) during this period from 1.3 pounds to 2.6 pounds. The men in the study reportedly saw results of 0.9 inches in flaccid length. However, some doctors say more research is needed. “There is a small amount of evidence that may cause for a small increase in length and girth, but it’s not going to get a person who is four inches to seven inches,” explains urologist Leslie Deane, M.D.
Penis extenders are painful to wear.Many penis extenders are made with a plastic base ring, two metal shafts with internal springs, and an upper plastic support with a silicone band. It’s meant to be worn on the penis throughout the day, for four to nine hours a day, in a flaccid state. If the contraption looks painful to you, you’re correct in such an assessment. “They can be uncomfortable, and it requires wearing it for several hours a day in a stretched position, we’re talking four to six hours. That’s a long time,” Dr. Deane says. Ian, 21, is a popular brand owner and confirms that it’s uncomfortable to wear. He adds that they only stretched his flaccid penis rather than add to an erection.
They can interfere with daily life.
As Ian suggested, not only can such devices be uncomfortable, but they interfere with daily life. Andropenis and other brands such as X4 Labs and SizeGenetic’s website claims that they can be worn comfortable throughout the day as part of your normal routine. And while it may be true for some, that’s not everyone’s experience. “It's really only bearable for long periods of time while standing up,” Ian says. “If you are going to sit down with it, you must be careful to spread your legs significantly. It is also almost impossible to wear with anything other than loose sweatpants. Getting in and out of cars is probably the worst thing that you can try to do with one of them on, let alone drive.” The devices are usually made of plastic, which don’t bend easily, so they fit some users most comfortably when they are standing and the device is able to remain still. The hard plastic doesn’t always move elegantly with the body, as it’s not flexible like flesh.
Penis extenders could help with certain medical conditions.
Dr. Deane says that there’s a small amount of evidence that extender could be helpful in the management of people who have a condition called Peyronie's Disease. Peyronie's Disease causes a curvature of the penis due to the development of a hard plaque on the erectile tissue. “In terms of stretching that plaque, it can cause release of various factors in the local area, which help to soften that plaque, and may decrease some of the curvature and increase function of the length a bit. But again, there’s only really small studies available. They don’t really show any conclusive evidence,” Dr. Deane says. He adds that other medical reasons one may discuss a penis extender with a doctor is an erection affected by prostate cancer, which can cause nerve damage from surgery or radiation. In this case, a man may seek out a penis extender looking to add length lost from such treatments. However, Dr. Deane adds that there’s not enough research to show that a penis extender can always help such folks.
Healthy men tend to buy penis extenders just to have a bigger dick.
This may seem painfully obvious, but many men who buy penis extenders are not undergoing treatment for prostate cancer or Peyronie's Disease, just want a bigger dick. Dr. Deane says that men looking to noticeably increase their size shouldn’t get their hopes up. “The results are highly variable and not broadly applicable to the guy who has a smaller and average penis and wants to try to gain two inches or three inches. That’s just not going to happen,” Dr. Deane says.
Penis extenders can cause damage when not worn correctly.
While penis extenders can be uncomfortable when worn as directed, they can cause bodily harm when used incorrectly. “There’s potential for risk in terms of skin issues and pain if it’s applied incorrectly,” Dr. Deane says. Aggressive uses of penis extenders can cause damage to skin, blood vessels, and even result in a fractured penis (yes, that can really happen). “I think that you can avoid injury altogether provided that you listen to your body and its strain very closely and immediately stop everything as soon as something feels wrong,” Ian advises based on his experience.
Penis extenders are not the answer to a more satisfying sex life.Society’s pressure on men to have giant, hard erections is very real. “Such an issue is complex and can easily be traced to underlying issues of low confidence and probably to an unhealthy want to compare myself to others,” Ian admits. It’s easy to criticize products such as penis extenders, as they can cause damage, are uncomfortable, and may not deliver expected results, but it’s important to recognize why the desire for such products exists. If you or your partner is concerned about penis size, the best thing you can do is remember that sex is about much more than big hard penises, and to communicate about and encourage what feels good. Penetrative sex can feel wonderful regardless of penis size, and that’s not even getting into how powerful mouths, hands, and sex toys are. Dr. Deane advises men who may have lost length or firmness due to health conditions to remember that there are other ways to do things, and in the end, a penile centimeter or two isn’t going to make or break a sex life or relationship.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.