Sometimes I feel sorry for guys: They can’t open their email inbox or turn on the television without being bombarded with some sexual enhancement product for men.
As a psychiatrist and contributor to Good in Bed, I want you to know that while ads for penis enlargement promise the world, no product has been scientifically proven to safely and permanently increase penis size, whether via an herbal remedy, topical gel or exercises. Surgical procedures to increase the length or girth of the penis are extremely risky and associated with the development of scar tissue, which can lead to painful erections, shorter erections, or erectile dysfunction.
Some men turn to penis pumps and penis rings to temporarily increase the size of an erection by drawing more blood into the penis. Although these products may help some men to temporarily feel like they have a fuller erection, a pump can only fill the space that already exists, but doesn’t make that space any larger. If a man uses the pump too long, trying to increase the size of his erection, he many create too much pressure, which can cause lasting tissue and vascular damage. Likewise, a penis ring will help maintain an erection, but won’t make it larger.
There are also several different mechanical enlargers out there, all based on the same basic design. These actually strap onto the penis just below the glans and rest against the body and the pubic bone. Then the enlarger is lengthened so that it stretches the penis between it. Although some men have experienced some lengthening of their penis using this method, there is no appreciable difference (and sometimes a decrease) in width.
These extenders take a very long time to have any effect, sometimes from six months to more than a year, and have to be worn every day for most of the time. They have to be used very slowly because any faster stretching can cause internal tears that result in scar tissue formation. In fact, scar tissue is one of the worrisome side effects that a man can experience from using these. When weighing the risks and benefits, there is usually very little justification for using these.
If a guy is feeling on the small side, he may want to consider some “natural” approaches to making his member look larger:
• Because excess abdominal fat can obscure the penis, losing weight may actually make it appear bigger (and is important for sexual health in general).
• And sometimes trimming the hedges makes the house look bigger. Likewise, carefully trimming the pubic hair can make his member stand out further.
Also, remember a few simple facts about female anatomy:
• For many women, the clitoris plays a primary role in orgasm ability, as does the area around and just inside the vaginal opening, which is full of nerve endings. As a result, grinding during intercourse and other types of external stimulation that involve friction (such as hand or oral stimulation of the genitals) are generally equally, if not more, satisfying than deep penetration.
• Women who enjoy G-spot stimulation also benefit from more shallow stimulation.
• Focus on foreplay. As a woman gets more and more aroused, all the erectile tissue that surrounds the vagina becomes more and more filled with blood. This results in more tightness around the opening of the vagina and increases a woman’s pleasure. By getting this aroused prior to penetration, a shorter or thinner erection becomes less of an issue.
• Let her hop on top. Positions that allow her to grind against his pelvis — rather than relying on deep penetration — like “woman on top” are good choices for men with smaller penises and their partners. She can flip around into “reverse cowgirl” (she’s on top, but facing his feet) to add G-spot stimulation. For more positions that lead to orgasm satisfaction, check out the Good in Bed Guide to Female Orgasms.
Finally, know that a research review published in the journal BJU International suggests that penis size matters more to men than to women: When the researchers looked at more than 50 studies spanning the course of 60 years, they found that 85 percent of women were satisfied with their partner’s penis size — yet only 55 percent of men felt good about their penises.
But take it from a doctor (and a woman): The old adage is true — it’s not the size of the boat, but the motion of the ocean.
Dr. Madeleine Castellanos is committed to helping others learn about their own sexuality and how to achieve physical and emotional balance in their sex lives. In addition to being an assistant professor of psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, she is a member of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, and the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. She is based in New York City.