Medically reviewed by Vicky Davis, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 4/19/2021
Ah, yes, one of the most popular topics for internet searches, ads, spam emails, and sex colmns: is my dick big enough?
Men obsess over penis size in unhealthy ways. It’s nothing new. One can imagine that the first metric of measurement could just as easily have been created for scientific purposes as for penis measuring.
We’re going to assume you’re reading this because, like almost every man, you’re worried about whether you’re big enough. And we’re certain that if you’re not wondering, you’re still here because, for almost everyone, it could always be bigger, right?
This probably isn’t the first article you’ve seen share this information, but here it is again: penis size doesn’t matter nearly as much as you’ve been led to believe it does. And furthermore, your size is likely not as low on the spectrum of sizes as you might imagine it to be.
Nevertheless, year after year, an industry that we can only assume rakes in collective billions of dollars offer “solutions” to the mostly fake problem of needing male enhancement or enlargement.
Treatment options are many and varied, from pills and home remedies to traction devices and surgeries. But as you’re about to find out, most of these treatments lack much in the “proof and evidence” department, and have some concerning dangers, to boot.
Before we launch into the wacky world of penis enhancing supplements, surgeries and gimmicks, we should probably address the elephant in the room: penis size.
It’s important because, as a Harvard Medical School article addressed, penis size is the preoccupation of men and boys alike, from adolescence on.
In the article, a father wrote about his son’s concerns about penis size, magnified by his allegedly small feet and concerns of inadequacy as he grows.That correlation, by the way, has been refuted, but the stigma stands.
It’s unfortunate, because all someone really has to do is a bit of googling to find out that the average size isn’t as big as most would imagine.
A review in the International Journal of Impotence Research found a lot of studies had attempted to measure penis length over the years, with insufficient attention paid to creating a common measurement system, or a comprehensive ethnic framework. But generally, the results always offered a range between four and six inches, with some wiggle room in either direction. In other words, you can be less than four inches as still within some measures of “average.”
But even this study, which looked at data from decades and decades of studies, pointed to the fact that a lot of us know already: no two guys agree on where the measuring should start, or the parameters for deciding length.
There are a variety of treatments for penile enhancement.
Non-surgical treatments include pills and lotions, which typically contain vitamins, minerals, herbs or hormones that claim to enlarge the penis, but as per an FDA warning, you should be extremely careful when considering these types of enhancement drugs.
They’re often times completely unregulated and generally lack support from the scientific community.
Other non-surgical options include vacuum devices, also known as penis pumps. These have some short term value in treating impotence, but there’s little evidence they can offer long-term size gain.
And what’s more, there’s some data to suggest that overusing penis pumps can actually damage the tissue in the penis, which may eventually lead to weaker erections.
Similar to pumps are extenders, which stretch the flaccid penis. They can cause similar damage to pumps, though marginally better results have been reported.
Within the surgical realm of penis enlargement, options are varied — with varying success.
You can have fat injected into your penis from another site on your body to increase girth, or cut a particular ligament that attaches the penis to the pubic bone to increase length.
Liposuction can also be used to remove fat from around the abdomen, giving the appearance of more penis (and in some cases treating a condition called buried penis).
So is any of this stuff worth it? Probably not.
In 2020, the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews published a systematic review of both surgical and nonsurgical treatments for penile enhancement, and it’s generous to say that the review was damning The article stated in no uncertain terms that evidence on these treatments is “lacking” and that there are many “non-evidence-based” solutions available.
Of the 21 types of “intervention” they assessed, and the over 1,100 men screened, they found very little evidence of success for these treatments.” The quality of these studies was poor in terms of methodology for patient selection and outcomes assessment,” they explained, and “the vast majority of series reported normal penile size.”
It gets worse when you see the details.
According to the review, “Among nonsurgical treatments, extenders increased flaccid length (but by less than 2cm), injectables increased girth but were associated with a high complication rate, and vacuum devices did not increase size. Surgical interventions included suspensory ligament incision, tissue grafting, and penile disassembly. Some men reported a significant size increase; however, complications were not infrequent, and none of the techniques was externally validated.”
But in our opinion, here’s the best/worst part: “When provided, counseling was effective, with the majority of men coming to understand that their penis was normal and unwilling to undergo any further treatment.”
In other words, this review highlights that simple counseling brought most men to the (accurate) conclusion that treatment was essentially unnecessary for their happiness.
The study concluded, therefore, that “structured counseling should be always performed, with extenders eventually used by those still seeking enhancement. Injectables and surgery should remain a last option, considered unethical outside of clinical trials.”
We’ve written about this before, but penis enlargement is, by and large, an overwhelmingly unnecessary and (in many cases) dangerous undertaking, often for reasons that aren’t even important.
Realistically, the best way to get the most out of your penis isn’t by trying to take the easy way out. Making sure you eat a proper diet, maintain a healthy body weight, get enough rest, exercise and, if you’re a smoker, quitting can make all the difference.
What’s more important, it’s clear, is that any guy suffering from feelings of inadequacy and self doubt, particularly with regards to their bedroom performance, should speak to a healthcare professional or counselor about their concerns.
What’s more, feelings of inadequacy can lead to performance anxiety, which can actually be a trigger for an issue that does require medical attention: erectile dysfunction.
If you’re struggling with ED issues, and you think it may be based on performance anxiety, consult a healthcare professional, and ask for a referral for a therapist.
These issues, once present, typically don’t just resolve themselves. You need counseling to help resolve the cognitive hurdles performance anxiety may have caused in the bedroom, and the walls that may have been built between you and your partner, with regards to communication.