Science

Sex Science Facts 101: Can Science Make The Male Appendage Bigger?

No, there are no scientifically proven methods to make your penis bigger. And while some of you may think this is common knowledge, rest assured that it is not. Men have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on penile enlargement products in the hope that they actually work. However, there are two scientifically tested, non-miracle methods that actually work.

Let’s review some of the more common proposed “miracle” methods:

  • Those pills and herbs that show up in your Inbox? There’s no scientific evidence to suggest they aid in enlarging the penis.
  • Vacuum devices? Fun perhaps, but they don’t deliver any sustainable augmentation.
  • Penile lengthening exercises? Again: no good evidence.
  • Surgery? This is certainly not a “miracle method” and is not widely practised except in less common circumstances of micropenis. Surgery carries risks, including risks of developing scar tissue which can lead to painful erections and/or penile shortening.

So what does work?

Two separate studies have found that daily 6+ hour use of the Andropenis device and daily use of the Golden Erect penile extender can actually induce a small increase in length and possibly even girth depending on how regularly one uses the devices. These are far from “miracle methods”, however, as we’re talking gains of a centimetre or two. Also, these extenders are complex contraptions (I know, because I have an Andropenis in my office) and, once they’re rigged up, one still has to wear them on one’s genitals for hours each day over a period of months to notice any difference.

The Andropenis

So why do so many smart men spend money on devices that are generally known to not work? For one, many companies misrepresent the average penis size. One man who asked me about the efficacy of a certain product referred me to the company’s website, which claimed that the average penis was 7 inches long erect (!) and — even worse — the company claimed at the time that their product was backed up by research at The Kinsey Institute (where I work). Neither of these is true. The average erect penis length, by the way, is closer to 5.1 to 5.8 inches depending on the study.

Finally, what we do know is that penis size tends to be far less important to partners’ sexual satisfaction than intimacy, connection, sexual technique, and overall affection (touching, cuddling, kissing, even when a couple is not having sex). It’s not that penis size is irrelevant — it’s more than most men are close to average (penis size falls along a fairly normal distribution) and so the other aspects of sex matter more than gaining or losing a centimetre or two.

Famous sexologist and Gizmodo friend Dr Debby Herbenick will answer your sex questions this month. Every day, Dr Herbenick will give you a solid, scientific answer to commonly asked questions.


Dr Debby Herbenick, author of Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction, is the Co-Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion in the School of Public Health-Bloomington at Indiana University (IU) where she is a Research Scientist. She is also a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction where she writes (and hosts audio podcasts of) the Kinsey Confidential column and coordinates educational programming. She has a PhD in Health Behavior from IU, a Master’s degree in Public Health Education (also from IU) and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. In addition, she is certified as a Sexuality Educator from the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists.


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