Guys, it appears that you can increase the length of your penis — if you want to stick it in a special penis-stretcher for about 700 hours, that is.
In a project sure to become the envy of dirty-minded thirteen-year-olds everywhere, Italian researchers conducted a review of penis-lengthening literature. According to the AFP, they found that surgical dick enlargement methods have an "unacceptably high rate of complications." The Good Men Project helpfully details some of the more upsetting of these, like an erection that points down instead of up. However, some nonsurgical procedures are also available, and some of them work — kind of. "Penile extenders that stretch the phallus through traction" apparently increased penis length by a little under an inch, on average, and did so without decreasing girth. The downside: men had to use the penis extenders for six hours a day for four months in one study, and four hours a day for six months in another, to get the full benefit.
This sounds pretty time-consuming, but at least one penis-stretch manufacturer seems to imply that you can wear the product while doing other stuff — says one testimonial on the website of x4 Labs, "I wore the extender while I was off duty in Afghanistan, it was comfortable and fit right under my clothes." Interestingly, penis enlargement during trips abroad appears popular — says another satisfied customer,
My husband was serving overseas and I decided to order the X4 Labs extender for him, particularly to treat his penile curvature.
When he came back from his service, I noticed drastic changes and his sexual drive was greater than before.
Somehow a penis extender doesn't seem like the nicest thing to get your spouse right before he ships off, but this lady was one of two I counted who reported purchasing dick-stretchers as gifts for servicemembers. Maybe penile traction is a popular military pastime, or maybe x4 just especially likes to show off its men in uniform. Whatever the case, you can see a variety of dicks out of uniform on the site's Testimonials page, complete with before and after pics, if you're into that kind of thing.
Less effective than traction devices are "penis pumps," which use "a manual or motorised pump to create a vacuum inside a hard cylinder sheath, stretching the phallus." The study authors say these pumps were "not found to be effective for penile elongation, although [they] provided some sort of psychological satisfaction for some men." Any psychological satisfaction might be erased, however, by a quick trip to Wikipedia, where you'll read this:
Pumping must be done very carefully to avoid serious injury: over-enthusiastic pumping can burst blood vessels and form blisters. In some cases the testicles can be unexpectedly pulled into the cylinder, causing discomfort, pain, and possibly injury. It is also believed that the rim of the cylinder can cut into the skin and over time cause damage to the ligaments surrounding the penis. Impatiently pumping without reading explanatory material can produce too much suction (any pressure lower than 10 torr/1,333 Pa) and cause permanent and irreparable injury. Attempts at using vacuum cleaner units for this purpose have resulted in extremely severe injuries because the suction is far too powerful.
Of course, sloppy Wikipedians have failed to cite any of this stuff, but a quick search for (God help me) "penis vacuum cleaner injury" turned up a variety of scientific papers indicating that this is a real phenomenon. However, many cases of PVCI appear to result not from enlargement efforts, but from misguided attempts at masturbation. Somewhat hilariously, many men involved in these sorts of injuries report that their penises "slipped" or fell into the vacuum cleaner, with one man saying his Hoover Dustette "'turned itself on' and caught his penis." His dick suffered some scarring, but otherwise recovered.
The take-home message from all this, though, (other than "don't vacuum naked") is that while men may be able to increase their penis length a little, most of them shouldn't bother. Study authors found that most men who "seek urological advice for the so-called 'short penis'" actually have totally normal dicks, and have just "overestimate[d] normal phallic dimension." Usually when we talk about unrealistic standards, we're discussing women's bodies — but in this case, men may be trying to live up to dicks they see in porn, or to the general cultural ideal that a bigger penis is always better. However, as WebMD points out, "eighty-five percent of women are pleased with their partner's penis proportions." No word on what male partners think, but the point stands — the vast majority of penises are just fine without any "traction" beyond, um, the usual.
Yes, Men Really Can Make It Longer: Study [AFP, via France 24]
Hacking Your Penis Apart, Stitching It Back Together: Not A Good Idea [Good Men Project]
Image via voylodyon/Shutterstock.com