Jelqing: Stretching Exercises For Increased Penis Length  

So you're considering Jelqing? We've compiled this comprehensive guide to help you decide if it's right for you.

Dr. Laurence Levine
Expert in male sexual health, leading Urologist in USA
by Dr. Laurence Levine Last updated 09/05/2023
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Man holding tape measure to measure the success of jelqing

Being self-conscious about your penis size is somewhat of a universal feeling among most guys, even if it's a misguided one.

Though surgeries and implants claim to increase length, they can cause complications, and most are ineffective.

When it comes to increasing the size of your penis, do you have any options?

For some men, one option is jelqing - the practice of pulling on the penis to increase the size over time.

It's often called "size training," and many people swear by it.

Though the science is scarce, there's no conclusive evidence that jelqing doesn't work, and again, many people claim that it does.

Let's look at jelqing, the evidence for it, and if it can benefit you.

Quick FAQs

Well, unfortunately the science isn't exactly 'in' on this one yet. The jelqing community, which swears by the practice, seems to hang there collective hat on the fact that it hasn't been disproven.

Jelqing can be done manually with just your hands, or you can use a traction device. These devices are considered the 'safer' alternative, but they must be worn for several hours a day and over the course of several months

That's difficult to answer because there is so much evidence in both cases that it both is and isn't. If you're going to try it, the 'safer' option is a traction device. There are risks involved that you should be aware before getting started. At the end of the day it's your penis and your choice. Choose wisely!

What is Jelqing?

Jelqing is a method for lengthening the penis by stretching and massaging it over time.

This is done when the penis is flaccid, and the goal is similar to lifting weights - to create micro-tears in the penile tissue that will grow back larger.

The words "micro-tear" and "penis" are not supposed to be near each other, but jelqers swear by the process.

The process is typically done by hand, but there are traction devices - known as "milkers" - that create the necessary tension as well.

Why do people do it?

People jelq - that's a verb now, it seems - to lengthen their penis.

The idea is that as the micro-tears heal, the penis gets longer and thicker.

People who practice jelqing also state that it improves erections and even orgasm.

The root of why people do it is simple - even well-endowed men think their penises are smaller than they wish.

Beyond size, the idea that simply pulling and massaging your penis could improve erections and orgasms seems like a good deal.

With that said, try not to get to hung up on the length of your penis.

Most men worry about their size, even though studies have shown most partners are perfectly satisfied with it.

Penis dysmorphia is a real thing, and you could be blowing your situation way out of proportion.

Penis dysmorphia is real. Most men have nothing to worry about with their penis size

Does jelqing work?

Pardon the pun, but here's the rub - there's little scientific evidence to show that jelqing either works or doesn't.

The jelqing community hangs its collective hat on the idea that science doesn't disprove the practice.

The worst-case scenario seems to be that trying to lengthen your penis by tugging on it is a waste of time.

There is a study that seems to indicate that a jelqing or traction device can lengthen the penis if worn for 9 hours a day over a few months.

The study showed about an inch of growth throughout the treatment.

Illustration showing what to potentially expect from jelqing

Another review suggested that one of these devices was just as good as penile lengthening surgery.

It was suggested that if one is considering surgery that they use a traction machine first.

As we said before, penile lengthening surgery isn't a great fit for everyone and produces mixed results.

Future studies seem to indicate little-to-no benefit from jelqing or related devices.

Again, it's up to the practitioner, but anecdotal evidence seems to mount in favor of jelqing.

Jelqing results before and after

The only substantial studies performed indicate 1 inch of growth over three months of using a device the majority of the day.

Research from NCBI suggested an increase of 2.7 cm of the erect penis and 1.7 cm of the flaccid. This is pretty significant.

One of the biggest for-sure benefits of jelqing appears to be on the curvature of the penis.

Men with bent penises reported a 10-40 degree change in penis curve.

This is a big deal if you have a disease like Peyronie's, which curves the penis and causes pain.

Possible jelqing gains

How to Jelq: Getting started

Jelqing is extremely easy to do and not entirely unpleasant to experience.

You won't need anything either, other than lube and what Mother Nature gave you.

  1. Put your index finger and thumb in a ring like you're doing the "okay" sign.
  2. Lube up your flaccid penis, and your okay sign
  3. Pulldown from the base of your penis to the tip, like you're gently squeezing toothpaste out of a tube.

Remember - GENTLY.

Illustrated jelqing instructions on how to do it

That's pretty much it - you want to maintain a partial erection, but being fully erect will not work.

If you start to get too excited, think about baseball or micro-tears in your penis; that should keep you at half-mast.

Most practicing jelqers do it for about 10-20 minutes a day.

It's best to do only one session each day, and the process from base to tip should take about 4 seconds.

If you're using a traction device, make sure you follow the instructions diligently.

Jelqing intentionally is causing damage to your tissue; overdoing it will not make things work faster or better; you’ll just run the risk of hurting yourself.

Remember that any injury to the penis could activate a scarring process like Peyronie’s Disease.

This is why we do not recommend Jelqing but rather daily traction.

Jelqing exercises

Jelqing exercises are incredibly straightforward. In addition to the method detailed above, some different grips and techniques can enhance the practice.

Though they might not be for everyone, the tried-and-true method of pulling down from base to tip is both accessible and effective.

Switch your grip

Consider grabbing your penis from the upper and undersides, like you're trying to pick up a coin.

Put your index finger on the top of your shaft and your thumb on the underside and pull towards the tip of your penis.

You can do this method on alternate days to the traditional grip.

You would do this because it affects the tissue differently and stresses different parts of the penis.

Though the "okay" grip does pull evenly, this helps relax the connections at the base of the penis (in theory). There is no research to prove this, though.


Consider pulling with both hands in a continuous motion.

This idea is pulling down with your thumb and index finger on one hand and then immediately following with the other hand.

In theory, this gives the tissues of your penis less time to spring back, making the practice more effective.

You'll need to be cautious if you try this, though, especially with lube - it can make it difficult not to have a full erection.

Pro Tip: If you do want to use some lube, then check Promescent premium lubricants.

Consider not using lube

Like we said above, lube is great to prevent injury, but it can make you more sensitive and erect than you'd want for jelqing.

Additionally, you might not be able to get the traction needed to do the complete exercise if you're too lubed up.

Start using lube as you learn jelqing, and then evaluate if you can do it without lubrication. 

Jelqing Tools

Traction devices are the most common "tools" to aid in jelqing.

These machines hold the base of your flaccid penis and the tip and gently keep your penis stretched for long periods of time.

You can take it off to use the bathroom, and it goes right back on quite easily.

The traction device does have more scientific backing behind it than hand-jelqing.

Intended to be worn for at least 3 hours a day, the studies on penis lengthening suggest that 9 hours was the benchmark for noticeable lengthening over three months.

Illustration showing jelqing traction device, both with and without penis inserted into device

With that said, they're not uncomfortable (or rather, they're not supposed to be) and can be worn inconspicuously.

If you're serious about considering jelqing to lengthen your penis, a traction device is probably the most reliable route to go.


Most jelq sessions are done for 10-20 minutes a time, once per day, but that's not set in stone.

You can vary your method and time to create a system that works for you.

For instance, consider jelqing for 5 minutes a few times a day.

The idea is that spreading out your sessions gives the penis less time to heal between exercises and produces better results.

Another thought is to vary your days, some with jelqing and others with a traction device.

The idea is the same - this prevents the penis from adapting to the exercises and allows the micro-tears to heal back stronger and larger.

Remember, no matter what, your penis isn't a muscle.

When you lift to work out your muscles, adding more weight and doing more sets feels excellent and makes you stronger.

This is not the same thing with the penis, no matter what jelqers think.

When you jelq, you're causing tissue damage and lengthening the penis through progressive damage.

Overdoing it can be hugely detrimental and won't get you better or faster results.

This is a process that takes time and patience, so if you're going to jelq, do your daily quest and leave it at that.

Is jelqing safe?

Is jelqing safe?

When done correctly, jelqing is generally safe.

However, If you're stretching your penis too hard, too fast, or too often, you can cause damage.

Some types of minor side effects of jelqing include:

  • Irritation - this can be like rug burn, or it might be itchiness or soreness in general. Use more lube and slow down to avoid this, and stop jelqing for a few days to let your skin heal.
  • Bruising - occurs when you're gripping your penis too tightly or unevenly at specific parts of the jelqing process.
  • Scarring - you should never be jelqing so much that you cause yourself pain. This may indicate that you have injured your penis, which could activate abnormal scarring like Peyronie’s disease, resulting in significant deformity, including curvature, shortening, or indentation of the shaft. Remember, use lube, go slowly and consistently, and be gentle. This is NOT a situation where you can rush things along.

Some more severe possible complications from jelqing are:

  • Damage to the ligaments of the penis where it meets the body. If this happens, you will be in quite a bit of pain. While these ligaments can heal, your penis will be out of commission for sex for a while. Additionally, it can affect your penis curvature and your ability to get erections.
  • If you are too aggressive and dramatically damage your penis, you could have lasting difficulty with getting hard. ED or Peyronie’s disease can result from aggressive jelqing or jelqing too often, such that the ligaments are very damaged.

Conclusion About Jelqing

Man happy that jelqing worked for him.

Jelqing is a safe practice when performed properly that at worst does nothing, but at best, can add some length to your penis; typically, a half-inch would be a good result.

Anecdotal evidence also suggests that larger gains in length are possible, as well as stronger erections.

It might even make orgasms feel better.

Additionally, there is evidence that this practice can help correct unwanted penis curvature.

The stretching activates mechanotransduction, which is the cell tissue’s way of responding to the stretching force, causing scar and cell growth remolding.

You can perform jelqing with your hands and some lube, or you can consider a traction device.

While there is not much scientific evidence that jelqing is an effective method of lengthening your penis, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence for it.

Many men swear by the practice, stating that it did make them longer when done daily.

Ultimately, jelqing may or may not work, but there is some evidence that it can.

With so many people who practice jelqing and state it helped them, it may be worth the effort. 

Dr. Laurence Levine

Dr. Laurence Levine

​Dr Laurence Levine is a Professor of Urology and practices at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He is focused specifically on Male Sexual Health and is past President of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA). Dr. Levine graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine where he received his MD and completed his training in Urology at the Harvard Program in Boston.​


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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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