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Does Masturbation Increase Penis Size? Debunking the Myth

Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Reviewed by Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Written by Geoffrey C. Whittaker

Published 05/03/2024

From banner ads to medical research, the girth, length and overall size of the penis isn’t just a topic of interest — confidence and comfort with penis size is actually a well-established element of sexual health. Does masturbation increase penis size? You’re not the first guy to wonder this.

Unfortunately, excessive masturbation isn’t a fast lane to a larger penis — there’s little scientific evidence suggesting that penis length has anything to do with self-pleasure. However, the topic gets a little more complicated when we talk about sexual desire.

Frequent masturbation may not be an alternative to penis enlargement surgery. Still, education on the realities of penis size may very well give your confidence (and perspective on your own size) a boost. Read on to understand why.

For most men, penis size is determined much earlier than masturbation starts. Genes and hormone exposure make many of the determinations before you’re even born.

Factors that affect the size of someone’s penis include:

  • Genetics

  • Androgen (male hormone) exposure

  • Traumatic injury or malformation

Genetics is the most common and dominant factor. Research shows that certain biological markers can be predictors of penis size — but the important takeaway is that genetics determine the approximate size of your penis before you take your first breath of air.

As for testosterone? It’s a factor. While androgens and adolescent testosterone encourage penile growth during puberty, some research shows that prenatal testosterone (your mom’s testosterone levels when she was pregnant with you) accounts for some of the pre-destination.

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Does masturbation increase your penis size or decrease it? You might be surprised to hear that the answer is neither.

Some modest studies suggest that “stretching” could be an effective way to make your penis longer (more on that later). But there’s basically zero evidence that masturbation can increase or decrease penile length.

Length, girth and most other measurements of your genitalia have little to do with how often you masturbate — or how often you ejaculate, sex with a partner included.

That said, there are some potential risks to masturbating too aggressively, squeezing too hard or injuring the penis. A serious injury could damage erectile tissues, which could make your erections curved, painful or both.

Sexual discovery can be an anxious time of increasing self-awareness. But we’re happy to report that no self-exploration during, before or after puberty caused any negative effects on your penis size.

Masturbation isn’t directly or indirectly a factor of penis size. It’s also not a factor in many of the myths and misconceptions you might have heard as a kid — or read while browsing the internet as an adult.

A few penile misconceptions and masturbation myths you may have heard:

  • Myth: Masturbating can reduce testosterone levels. It’s a common misconception that masturbation weakens testosterone levels. While orgasm is associated with a temporary drop in testosterone, it’s something your body quickly recovers from — and it’s not a problem that gets worse with excessive masturbation.

  • Myth: Masturbating will make your palms hairy. The only known cause of hairy palms is an extremely rare disorder with no connection to masturbation habits.

  • Myth: Masturbating is always bad for you. Though there is such a thing as too much masturbation, most guys fit within the normal range of healthy solo sexual activity and won’t experience side effects.

  • Myth: Most people are unsatisfied with the average man’s penis. A majority of men (65 percent, according to one study) think they’re inadequate for their partners, but 85 percent of women say they are satisfied by their partner’s size.

  • Myth: The average penis is six inches. A 2013 study of 1,661 sexually active men measured erect length and size. The numbers suggested an average length of 5.6 inches and an average circumference of 4.8 inches.

Choose your chew

The reality of “growing” from a small penis size can be complicated, expensive and risky for your health. And it may not work at all.

A 2020 systematic review looked at dozens of techniques, medications and surgeries for growing the size of your penis. It found very little high-quality evidence to suggest that any methods offered a safe, reliable and effective means of significantly altering penis size.

But you can increase the “visible size” of your penis in a few ways. This includes:

  • Trimming your pubic hair. We could make landscaping jokes here, but the truth is, trimming back hair can expose and highlight your penis (and its size). It’s also the safest option involving blades we’d ever recommend unconditionally.

  • Losing excess weight. Excess weight around the gut and public area can bury some of the length of a man’s penis. Losing weight could make your penis look bigger and more prominent.

  • Using pumps and rings. Penis pumps, constrictive rings and other devices that can be worn during sex can do more than help you maintain an erection. They can also optimize the full erectile potential of your penis with minimal risks when worn safely.

If you want to increase your penis size, there are a limited number of potentially effective ways to do so. Still, we urge you to proceed with caution on that quest.

Surgeries, stretching techniques — like jelqing and Penuma surgery — and other “extreme” means of adding an inch or two carry substantial risks.

Before considering surgical interventions, it’s best to get medical advice from a healthcare provider.

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Does masturbation increase penis size? Sorry, but no.

Does masturbation cause ED (erectile dysfunction)? Fortunately, this is also a no.

Masturbation is a healthy sexual behavior that — when done in moderation — can offer a number of benefits to your physical and mental health. However, increasing the size of your penis isn’t on that list.

Here’s what to keep in mind about penis size and masturbating:

  • Masturbation doesn’t have an effect on penis size at any age. If you hear this from friends or read it online, you now know it’s a myth.

  • Making your penis bigger is complicated and difficult — and most modern procedures haven’t been proven to offer significant increases for most men.

  • What women prefer and what you feel like you need to impress them may be two entirely different sizes.

  • You can’t manage your size, but you can manage your confidence. Feeling good about yourself means knowing where you actually fall in terms of size and that how big you are is rarely a major concern for prospective partners.

One aspect of men’s health you can manage effectively is sexual dysfunction — specifically ED. Erectile dysfunction medications like sildenafil (generic for Viagra®) and tadalafil (generic Cialis®) work to increase blood flow to the penis. This helps you get and maintain erections when aroused.

Learn more about erectile dysfunction treatment and management, or explore ED medications from Hims.

5 Sources

  1. Marra G, Drury A, Tran L, Veale D, Muir GH. Systematic Review of Surgical and Nonsurgical Interventions in Normal Men Complaining of Small Penis Size. Sex Med Rev. 2020 Jan;8(1):158-180. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31027932/.
  2. Choi, I. H., Kim, K. H., Jung, H., Yoon, S. J., Kim, S. W., & Kim, T. B. (2011). Second to fourth digit ratio: a predictor of adult penile length. Asian journal of andrology, 13(5), 710–714. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3739592/.
  3. Herbenick D, Reece M, Schick V, Sanders SA. Erect penile length and circumference dimensions of 1,661 sexually active men in the United States. J Sex Med. 2014 Jan;11(1):93-101. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/553598c1e4b0a7f854584291/t/55ee4a2ae4b00f678f4258b4/1441679914019/Erect+Penile+Length+and+Circumference+Dimensions+Study+-+Herbenick+et+al+2014+TJSM.pdf.
  4. King BM. Average-Size Erect Penis: Fiction, Fact, and the Need for Counseling. J Sex Marital Ther. 2021;47(1):80-89. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/0092623X.2020.1787279.
  5. Lever, J., Frederick, D. A., & Peplau, L. A. (2006). Does size matter? Men's and women's views on penis size across the lifespan. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 7(3), 129–143. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2006-09081-001.
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kelly Brown MD, MBA
Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Dr. Kelly Brown is a board certified Urologist and fellowship trained in Andrology. She is an accomplished men’s health expert with a robust background in healthcare innovation, clinical medicine, and academic research. Dr. Brown is a founding member of Posterity Health where she is Medical Director and leads strategy and design of their Digital Health Platform, an innovative education and telehealth model for delivering expert male fertility care.

She completed her undergraduate studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (go Heels!) with a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science and a Minor in Chemistry. She took a position at University of California Los Angeles as a radiologic technologist in the department of Interventional Cardiology, further solidifying her passion for medicine. She also pursued the unique opportunity to lead departmental design and operational development at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, sparking her passion for the business of healthcare.

Dr. Brown then went on to obtain her doctorate in medicine from the prestigious Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine and Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management, with a concentration in Healthcare Management. During her surgical residency in Urology at University of California San Francisco, she utilized her research year to focus on innovations in telemedicine and then served as chief resident with significant contributions to clinical quality improvement. Dr. Brown then completed her Andrology Fellowship at Medical College of Wisconsin, furthering her expertise in male fertility, microsurgery, and sexual function.

Her dedication to caring for patients with compassion, understanding, as well as a unique ability to make guys instantly comfortable discussing anything from sex to sperm makes her a renowned clinician. In addition, her passion for innovation in healthcare combined with her business acumen makes her a formidable leader in the field of men’s health.

Dr. Brown is an avid adventurer; summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (twice!) and hiking the incredible Torres del Paine Trek in Patagonia, Chile. She deeply appreciates new challenges and diverse cultures on her travels. She lives in Denver with her husband, two children, and beloved Bernese Mountain Dog. You can find Dr. Brown on LinkedIn for more information.

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