On Reddit, a growing number of men – particularly young, white and frustrated ones – are discussing ‘jelqing’.
The supposedly ‘ancient’ technique involves repeatedly stretching (‘milking’) a semi-erect penis over time in the hopes that it will enlarge the organ.
In theory, each tug gradually rips the penile tissue, allowing space for scar tissue to fill it out, making it look bigger.
As observed in New York Magazine’s cover piece this week, there is a fresh buzz about jelqing online in a sub-Reddit a forum of ‘Incels’, celibate men who strive to be beautiful, irresistible, and well-endowed.
Out of the internet and into the clinic, two urologists tell DailyMail.com they, too, have had more patients asking about it in the last year.
But, they warn, it is not a trend to jump on whimsically.
Jelqing, ‘milking’ the penis to create tears in it, can cause painful curvature
‘Those repeated, traumatic movements can translate into scarring, but that can then translate into Peyronie’s Disease, where you form a plaque, that can be associated with erectile dysfunction and pain as well,’ Dr Jamin Brahmbhatt, a board-certified urologist at Orlando Health, told DailyMail.com.
Specifically, that scarring can start to shape the penis into a curve, causing uncomfortable erections, making penetration difficult and sometimes impossible.
For ‘incels’, vowed to celibacy, the penetration situation may not be a pressing issue.
But the discomfort associated with Peyronie’s, during sex or not, isn’t worth it, says Dr Brahmbhatt, who once had to counsel a patient out of hanging heavy balls on his penis to achieve the same effect.
‘It’s a complete waste of guys’ time,’ he says.
‘It can be very painful, and sometimes the scarring can take three to six months or even a year to build up for you to even notice the change. So you may think you haven’t seen any negative side effects, but it may just take some time.’
Dr Premal Patel, a urology fellow at the University of Miami, agrees.
‘Any men with concerns about this needs to speak to a physician in primary care or sexual health because there is no scientific basis for jelqing,’ Dr Patel said.
‘It may not do anything, and it may not be safe. Penile curvatures can cause a lot of trauma to the penis. It’s dangerous and pointless.’
Both have seen more jelq-curious patients in the past year, usually younger men.
‘It tends to be the younger patients who have not been sexually intimate yet who come in and speak about it, but they don’t ask specifically, it’s more of a side thing they bring up, they want to know my opinion,’ Dr Patel explains.
‘They have fears that when they become intimate they would be ridiculed.
‘Penile size has always been linked to being more masculine and attractive, but that’s not true. Females and males find a lot more attractive aspects to penises other than the size.’
Jelqing is hardly the only ill-advised urology-related fad to reach the limelight.
Scores of unofficial clinics have been popping up across the US offering unapproved penis enlargement injections, which also carry a risk of Peyronie’s, and more and more social media plastic surgeons are touting penile implants to overcome erectile dysfunction.
Dr Brahmbhatt believes it has to do, in part, with the fact that men are more comfortable speaking about their insecurities than they were before, which opens the door for people to prey on those concerns by touting bogus ‘cures’.
And any glimmer of a treatment to do away with our fiercest insecurities is irresistible, for even the most pious of us.
‘We all want an easy way out,’ Dr Brahmbhatt says. ‘We don’t want to go to the gym, we want liposuction. For most men, it’s important to remember: you really are fine just the way you are.’
Do hit the gym, and do eat well, he says.
But do away with any hopes of gaming your own biology.
‘In terms of ways to naturally enlarge the penis, there are none,’ Dr Patel said.
‘If you’re overweight or obese, exercise can help because that fat pad [on the abdomen] can make your penis appear smaller than it is. But it won’t change the size.’
THE PAINFUL ‘CURVED PENIS’ DISEASE CAUSED BY JELQING
Peyronie’s disease signs and symptoms might appear suddenly or develop gradually. The most common signs and symptoms include:
- Scar tissue. The scar tissue (plaques) associated with Peyronie’s disease can be felt under the skin of the penis as flat lumps or a band of hard tissue.
- A significant bend to the penis. Your penis might be curved upward, downward or bent to one side. In some cases, the erect penis might have narrowing, indentations or an hourglass appearance, with a tight, narrow band around the shaft.
- Erection problems. Peyronie’s disease might cause problems getting or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction).
- Shortening of the penis. Your penis might become shorter as a result of Peyronie’s disease.
- Pain. You might have penile pain, with or without an erection.
Source: Mayo Clinic