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No penis pump overlord is making sure penis pumps are advertised in sensible ways. So, “does a penis pump work?” becomes a different question than “will this make my schlong the size of my leg?”

For most people, yes, penis pumps (aka vacuum) erectile devices work for their actual purpose. That is, boosting blood flow to get your penis standing erect for sexual intercourse if your peen is a little reluctant in that department.

Some advertising materials in your spam folder may make inflated claims about the power of the pump. But no penis pump will convert your penis to a makeshift baseball bat. Your penis is a combination of skin, blood vessels, and smooth muscle tissue, not a balloon animal.

We took a look at what penis pumps do and don’t do, as well as how to use them, whether they’re safe, and who can benefit from our pumpy pals.

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Despite all the miracle claims of gigantic penishood, penis pumps are useful for one reason only: Helping people with erectile dysfunction (ED) achieve an erection.

So, they kind of make your penis bigger, but only for a little bit when it helps you get an erection. Your member will soon return to the flaccid state from which it came. So no, it will not lead to a lasting increase in size.

And while we’re at it, let’s bust another myth about changing the size of your penis: Masturbation has nothing to do with affecting penis size!

What’s up with ED?

People who experience ED will see the biggest benefits from penis pumps. ED can happen for a whole host of reasons:

  • mental health conditions
  • genital or pelvic surgery
  • medications
  • underlying health conditions
  • or a combination of all the above

It’s important to chat with a doc before using a penis pump to make sure you’re treating the root cause of your ED.

Pumps can provide several benefits for people who struggle to achieve an erection, including:

  • It helps you get that erection. As we mentioned, the basic premise of a penis pump is to boost blood flow to help you get an erection.
  • It has less side effects than meds. If you use a penis pump, there’s a lower risk of side effects compared to taking an ED medication.
  • It can be used with ED meds for some oomph. If it’s difficult for you to get hard, penis pumps can also team up with ED medication, such as Viagra.
  • It’s cheaper. In the long run, they’ll cost you less money than surgery or medication, and you can use it over and over.
  • It’s noninvasive. Unlike getting penis implants, there’s no cutting required. And who likes surgery, anyway, if you have another option?

It may also help you recover after surgery

A 2013 research review supported the use of penis pumps in men who’d undergone radical prostatectomies (i.e., surgeries to remove their prostates) and lived with ED after the procedures. They called pumps “safe, tolerable, and effective.”

The study also suggested that using penis pumps regularly after this type of surgery can support penile rehabilitation. Meaning, using a penis pump post-op regularly can actually help improve erectile function in the long run.

If you’ve got the mental image of a person pumping air into a bike tire, get it out of your head. That’s not how they work at all.

A penis pump actually creates negative air pressure within a chamber. This draws blood into the penis, causing engorgement, aka a hard-on.

As with lifelong commitments of monogamy or epic quests to Mordor, many penis pump devices come with a ring. Cock rings fit snugly around the base of the penis and help you maintain the erection after using a penis pump.

The ring should give your downstairs neighbor enough rigidity to get the job done, be it foreplay or full-on, penetrative sex. ✅

When sex concludes, the ring comes off, and the blood will flow away from your penis. Again, returning it to its flaccid form.

It’s for this reason that claims of permanent penis enlargement are nonsense.

So, how long does it last?

It’s not clear how long the effects of the pump last without a little help from a cock ring.

But most companies who make these products suggest that you avoid using a ring longer than 30 minutes. Wearing the ring longer than this can cause circulation issues in the penis, and may lead to damage.

So, to answer this question, you can generally keep an erection for 30 minutes — more than enough time for many people to have sex or enjoy some foreplay.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), penis pumps are safe to help achieve an erection, and cock rings equally so for maintaining rigidity.

But no medical device is without its risks. The labeling of any device you buy through legitimate avenues will give you the specifics. But generally, penis pumps do have the following risks or side effects:

  • Tissue injury. The pressure can actually cause bruising (oof).
  • Infection. If you don’t clean and store the device hygienically, you could be in trouble. It goes over your penis, so take good care of it!
  • Aggravating certain health conditions. You’re essentially applying suction pressure to areas that can already experience various health concerns. This can aggravate pre-existing medical issues within the genitals, such as priapism, urethral strictures, and Peyronie’s disease.
  • Petechiae. This is a fancy word for burst blood vessels under the skin that show up as little purple, red, or brown dots.
  • Numbness and tingling. This is a pretty sure sign that you need a bigger cock ring. When sizing, think along the lines of when you wrap an elastic band too tight around your finger.
  • “Unnatural” erections. The experience of an artificially induced boner may feel pretty strange at first. And, the act of inducing that boner in the first place can be awkward to get around during a sexual encounter. But there’s no shame! It just may take some getting used to!

Don’t drink and pump!

You should NEVER use a penis pump when you’re absolutely smashed on booze or drugs. Your judgment calls will likely not be the best. You could overuse it and cause some pretty painful damage.

Forgetting to remove the ring can also can long-term damage, sometimes even requiring surgery.

The FDA recommends that people with reduced strength in their hands should avoid a penis pump, as removing the device and cock ring in good time is important. If you’re unable to do so and leave the device on for too long, it could lead to an increased risk of injury or lasting damage.

Likewise, people with reduced sensation around their groin or genitals should avoid using a pump. If you can’t tell that it’s hurting, damage may be happening without your knowledge.

If you’re taking medications that increase your likelihood of excessive bleeding, like blood thinners, or you have disorders with your blood or the clotting process, it may not be a good idea to use a penis pump.

Know before you pump

ED can also be a associated with:

  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • a drug or alcohol use disorder
  • certain medications

If you have any of these conditions, talking with your doc about your ED can help you avoid dangerous delays in treatment.

First off, it’s important to look at how the product is being marketed. If it’s claiming to leave you hung like a horse, it’s likely not much has gone into making it safe and suitable for its actual purpose.

Here are the general guidelines for choosing a quality pump:

  • It’s FDA-approved. Pick a pump that has FDA approval and says that it’s for helping you gain and maintain an erection. If a pump says that it’s going to make your penis bigger, it’s probably trash.
  • It has a vacuum limiter. This can help you ensure that you don’t apply too much power to suction and… well, we’re pretty confident that you can imagine the rest. But needless to say, penis injury sucks, somewhat ironically.
  • It has size options if needed. Penis size isn’t usually a factor. But especially large or small members may require a special request, and options are available.

The Golden Member Rule:

The best way to make sure you get a quality penis pump is to get a prescription from your doctor.

This limits your options to pumps that will directly address your ED. And, it makes sure your doc clears you to use a penis pump.

If you’re ready to pump it up, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared. These tips will help you get the best experience out of your pump and help you get to Erection City.

  • Trim your pubes. Giving your pubic bush a short-back-and-sides can stop any unwanted snagging of hairs on the cock ring that causes major discomfort. We bet that’s not a sentence you wanted to read today, but it’s not something you’ll want to go through either.
  • Lube up. Rub some lube on your shaft and the base of it, and put a little on the end of the tube for good measure. This can help you get a nice, airtight seal for a proper vacuum, and vacuums are the pump’s MO.
  • Remember the 30-minute rule. The ring comes off after 30 minutes tops. No discussion.
  • Follow the damn instructions. It’s hard for one article to cover every possible variation on a penis pump, except for one hard and fast rule: Read 👏 the 👏 instructions 👏 AND follow them!

So, you’re holding this strange device, wondering where to shove your penis. Don’t worry — we’ll hold your hand (the other hand, we know where that one has been) and walk you through it.

  1. Stick your penis in the tube.
  2. Start pumping. It could be a manual pump that you power with hand motions. Alternatively, you might find that it comes with a little motor.
  3. Once you’re fully erect, you can take the tube away from your penis.
  4. Put the cock ring right at the base of your penis. This keeps your boner erect and ready to use.

Again, be sure to remove that ring after 30 minutes to avoid bruising and damage. For this reason, some people like to wait until after foreplay to use the pump to make the best of a hard time.

You may give a penis pump a go and find that it just isn’t for you. Fear not, you have other avenues you can explore with a doctor’s approval to help treat ED.

  • Medications: Some pills and medications, such as sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis), can help bring your penis to life.
  • Suppositories or injections: Suppositories made of the medication alprostadilare and can be placed into the opening of the penis. This same ingredient is also in most injection therapies, which involve a needle injection into the side of the penis.
  • Therapy: Sometimes, the root of ED may be psychological, due to previous trauma, depression and its medication, or performance anxiety. If your doctor suggests the cause may be deeper than a physical one, it might be helpful to see a psychotherapist or sexual therapist.
  • Penile implants: These are made of inflatable or malleable implants and involve surgery to put in a mechanical device for erections. This is really a last resort for ED treatment as it prevents future spontaneous erection and can be subject to mechanical failure and infection.

So, can you make your penis bigger without a pump?

There’s no bona fide way to increase the size of your penis without risky, unreliable cosmetic implants.

But there are plenty of ways to work around a smaller penis to provide stimulation and pleasure, and exactly zero reasons to shame yourself. There are plenty of positions to help penises of all shapes and sizes make an impact once you get things moving.

You can also create the illusion of a bigger penis. Maybe give your pubic hair a trim to help make your penis look larger.

Or if you have some extra weight around your pubic area, losing some weight can often help the penis appear larger.

The best treatment for a smaller penis? Learn to work with what nature gave you.

Penis pumps can help you get through bouts of ED and may even help stimulate your Johnson to heal its mechanisms after a surgery — all the way to getting natural erections again.

Penis pump devices work using a vacuum that draws blood into the penis’s blood vessels to create an erection. Often a cock ring is included that sits at the base of the penis, keeping everything rock hard until you remove it. But only leave it on for 30 minutes max!

Your penis will engorge only during the erection, and then it’ll go back to its original size. Forget any info about penis pump devices that make your penis huge long term, because they don’t.

The erections they produce may not feel natural, they come with their risks, and they take some getting used to. But penis pumps are legit, and can help you out if you have ED. Just talk with your doctor about getting a prescription for an FDA-approved penis pump.