Published: DECEMBER 27, 2023
Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire
on December 18, 2023

Jelqing is a penile massaging and stretching technique intended to enlarge the genitals. Many believe the technique dates back to ancient Arabian civilizations. It’s said that fathers encouraged their young sons to jelq to prepare them for adulthood. However, people more cynical about the technique say jelqing is a much newer technique designed to help the people who promote it online make money.

Why People Practice Jelqing

People practice jelqing because they believe the claims others make about this massage technique. It reportedly lengthens the penis and increases its girth because it causes microtears in the penis, which swell the area as they heal. Some say that after jelqing, people can also maintain an erection for longer. People concerned about the appearance of their genitals or sexual performance may try jelqing in the hope of satisfying their partners better and improving their self-esteem. However, it is important to note that penis size has not been shown to be correlated with a partner's sexual enjoyment.

Does Jelqing Work?

It’s difficult to say whether jelqing works, as there are no scientific studies on this massage technique and its effectiveness. The only evidence supporting it is anecdotal, and it’s difficult to judge the reliability of these sources.

"Managing expectations is crucial when it comes to any method claiming to enhance sexual performance. While anecdotal reports suggest some may experience temporary improvements, the long-term efficacy and safety of jelqing remain uncertain," said Dr. Joseph Ambani, a medical doctor and university lecturer based in London. "It’s essential to underscore that individual responses can vary widely, and relying on a single method for sexual enhancement may not address the complex factors influencing sexual health. Instead, I often advise a holistic approach, encompassing overall well-being, communication, and, when necessary, consultation with qualified healthcare professionals."

How to Practice Jelqing

As jelqing is not scientifically proven to get results, there is no standardized technique. However, websites that discuss the topic typically suggest people follow these steps:

  • Lubricate a semi-erect penis.
  • Touch the index finger and thumb together, to create the OK symbol around the base of the penis.
  • Make the O shape small enough to put mild pressure on the shaft of the penis.
  • Move the fingers slowly towards the head of the penis with light, consistent pressure in a downward motion, making sure to loosen the grip at the tip. Each stroke should take three to five seconds.
  • Repeat these downward strokes, changing hands occasionally, for five to 20 minutes to stretch the penis, or until the penis becomes fully erect or there’s any pain.

Why are people fascinated with jelqing?

With the term jelqing trending upwards on Google, there is growing interest in this practice. This may be because the message that penis size is linked to self worth as a person and sexual partner is pervasive in modern society. This widely believed myth may lead people with penises to seek out new ways to change their appearance so others see them as more appealing. Because jelqing is a natural solution, some people may prefer trying it to taking drugs with unknown side effects.

Dr. Justin Dubin, a urologist specializing in sexual medicine and male infertility at South Florida's Memorial Healthcare System and the cohost of the podcast "Man Up: A Doctor's Guide to Men's Health", believes the current fascination with jelqing may stem from a reluctance to discuss men's health.

"There continues to be a huge stigma when it comes to men's health, so most guys don't want to talk about issues like erectile dysfunction, penis size, or fertility with their doctor. This stigma drives men to find quick and easy solutions for their problems on the internet that they can do themselves," he says. "The problem is that unless you look at the appropriate places, the internet, especially social media, can be a bad resource for men's health information. That's because most of the information provided on social media is inaccurate and not provided by healthcare providers. I think the lesson here is that if you are interested in improving your sexual health, it is OK to go online to do research, but before you do anything please talk with your local healthcare provider."

Dr. Ambani added that online platforms provide space for more diverse conversations about sexual health. He believes new trends like jelqing gain traction as people continue looking for different ways to enhance their sexual performance.

He says, "It’s essential to approach these trends with a critical mindset, recognizing that not all methods are supported by scientific evidence. I encourage individuals to engage in open dialogue, seek reliable information, and consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice tailored to their unique needs and concerns."

More About Jelqing

Types of Jelqing

These are some of the different types of jelqing, which are variations on the typical technique:

  • Squash jelq: Sometimes called a slow squash jelq, this exercise sees the practitioner assume the standard jelqing position, then use the OK grip to hold their penis under the head with their other hand. They then move the head of their penis up, squash it towards the base, and move it down, then repeat the motion.
  • Dry jelqing: Jelqing without lubricant.
  • Lateral or side jelqing: Moving the penis out to the side, rather than down. It is believed that moving a curved penis against its curve with this technique may reduce the bend.
  • V-Jelqing: Jelqing using a modified grip, with the penis held between the index and middle finger.
  • One-handed jelqing: Jelqing without changing hands.
  • Reverse jelq: Hold under the head of the penis with the OK grip with both hands, then move the bottom hand down towards the base of the penis. Can use a top or bottom hold.

Jelqing Side Effects: Is jelqing safe?

Jelqing may lead to various short-term side effects, including:

  • Pain or discomfort
  • Bruising or discoloration
  • Skin irritations or itchiness
  • Red spots on the penis’ shaft
  • Tingling or numb sensations

All these issues should resolve quickly once someone stops jelqing and gives their body time to heal. There is also a small risk of rupturing veins, although these will also heal on their own in a week or so.

However, Dr. Dubin says jelqing also carries a risk of long-term issues.

"I have seen patients bruise their penis, and have heard of people fracturing their penis, which can result in erectile dysfunction or potentially Peyronie's disease [a condition caused by penile scar tissue, which causes painful curved erections]," he noted. "For these reasons, I do not recommend that anyone practice jelqing; it can result in more harm than good."

Anyone concerned about any side effects they’ve noticed after jelqing should seek medical advice.

Jelqing Porn

As interest in jelqing has grown, jelqing videos have begun appearing on popular pornographic websites. Jelqing porn may feature someone jelqing alone or with the help of a partner. Jelqing porn may focus on people stroking their penises without arousal or show people who jelq until they orgasm. Some jelqing porn shows people interrupting their jelqing partners and distracting them with oral or penetrative sex. Jelqing porn may satisfy people’s curiosity in this massage technique.


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