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What Is a Penis Pump?

A penis pump is a vacuum device that can help your penis get hard and stay hard for penetrative sex. You might use one if you have erectile dysfunction (ED), or trouble getting or keeping an erection. You can also use it for pleasure. You might hear it called a penis enlarger or vacuum pump.

A penis pump is made up of a plastic tube that fits over your penis, a pump attached to the tube, and a ring that fits around the base of the penis once it’s erect to keep the erection.

If you have ED, your doctor can give you a prescription for a penis pump. They’re also sold in sex toy stores as a novelty item.

Why People Like It

A penis pump can help someone with erectile dysfunction maintain an erection long enough to have sex. Penis pumps can be a help with ED because they:

  • Work well when used properly.
  • Cost less than other ED treatment options.
  • Are noninvasive and may take the place of medication or injections.
  • Can help you regain function after certain medical procedures.

People use them for nonmedical reasons because they make the penis larger. It may temporarily grow up to an inch both in length and girth.

Myths About Penis Pumps

There are some common misconceptions about penis pumps, including:

They make your penis larger permanently

The effects of using a penis pump only last for 10 to 15 minutes. They can last longer if you use a rubber ring to maintain the erection. However, they don’t make your penis larger in the long term.

Penis Pumps are only for people with ED

While people with ED do benefit from using penis pumps, many people use them just for fun. Some partners enjoy watching the growth of the penis in the pump. Others use a penis pump as part of a dominance and submission game. Still others enjoy the larger size the suction creates.

How to Try a Penis Pump Safely

Penis pumps sold in sex toy stores aren’t regulated. They may lead to injury if used incorrectly. A penis pump prescribed by a doctor is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medical device. However, even these can cause injury if you don’t use them properly. If you try one, always pay attention to how your penis feels. If something hurts or doesn't feel quite right, stop using it.

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According to sex educators, using a pump too often can break the blood vessels in your penis and permanently affect the tissue. They suggest using a product that has a pressure gauge so you can check the pressure and keep it at a safe level.

Take these steps to properly use a penis pump:

Step 1: Apply lubrication

Put some lube on the base of your penis. This helps create a seal between your skin and the pump. Some experts suggest shaving your pubic hair in that area to help with the seal.

Step 2: Put on the device

Each pump is different. Follow the directions on the package for how to put the suction device over your penis.

Step 3: Start pumping

There are three main types of pumping mechanisms:

  • Battery-powered pumps do all the work for you
  • Hand-triggered pumps give you a little assist with a comfortable handheld device
  • Hand-powered pumps have a pump you squeeze to create the vacuum effect

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Go slowly to make sure the pump stays comfortable. Depending on the device, it will take between 30 seconds and three minutes to finish pumping. If anything hurts, release the pressure.

Step 4: Take it off

Most penis pumps have a release valve to help you remove them. Follow the instructions on the box for how to do it properly.

Step 5: Use a rubber ring

Slip a rubber ring onto the base of your penis to help the effects of the pump last longer.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Cosmopolitan: "A complete beginner's guide to penis pumps."

Cosmopolitan: "Want to Make Sex *So* Much Better? Tell Your Man to Try a Penis Pump."

EDCure.org: “What Are Penis Pumps? Are Penis Pumps Safe for Treating ED?”

GQ: "Health Myth: Can You Really Increase the Size of Your Manhood?"

Mayo Clinic: "Penis pump."

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