The truth behind male enhancement

L . Moore | Sex Columnist

With 355,671 breast augmentation procedures performed in 2008 in the U.S. alone, the thirst for bigger reproductive assets continues to rise. Women, searching for an alternative to small- or even medium-sized breasts know that the answer to their “plight” lies not in exercise, special enhancement bras or pills, but in cosmetic surgery. Products claiming to stimulate growth hormones or pump up breast “muscles” are dangerous and ineffective compared to expensive augmentation procedures.

What many don’t know is that these facts surrounding breast enlargement are similar to those concerning penis enlargement. While women can find reason for insecurity in their breast sizes, men can feel the same way about their penis sizes. A man with a self-assessed large penis may feel more self-assured around others or even more confident in bed from the beginning of a sexual interaction with another. From locker rooms to hallway gossip, penis size is singled out as a defining masculine feature, and thus many men feel self-conscious about their sizes. In fact, most men who are self-conscious about the length or girth of their penises tend to be around average (6 inches long, 4 inches in circumference).

My point here is that penis enlargement is something many men seek. Advertisers bombard the Internet and magazine classifieds with “natural” herbal remedies like horny goat weed, penis “muscle” enhancement exercises, and devices like penis pumps claiming to expand; all of these are similar to methods for breast enhancement. As most would guess, these techniques by and large do not work. The penis is not a muscle that can be built up by exercise, and in fact, such exercises advertised for penis enlargement like “jelqing” (much like intensive masturbation without developing an erection) or penis stretching are incredibly rigorous and can easily cause tissue damage or broken blood vessels.

Of the 25,000 penis enlargement pills on the market, none have ever been scientifically shown to permanently increase penis size. Finally, penis pumps, or “vacuum pumps,” draw extra blood into the part of the penis sealed off by the pump during use. But once the penis is released from the pump, the penis will return to normal size. If the pump is used for longer than 20 or 30 minutes, the penis can easily acquire tissue damage, blisters, thickened skin or ruptured blood vessels.

The only proven method to increase penis size—and this is still only by an inch or less in successful procedures—is, yes, plastic surgery, or “phalloplasty.” Procedures for width enhancement involve fat graft transfers, usually from the base of the penis at the pelvic site in overweight individuals or harvested from cadavers. Penis lengthening procedures involve cutting the suspensory ligament that holds back the penis through tension. While the lengthening process costs a mere $5,000-$7,000, it is not always successful for increasing penis length and the ligament can reattach itself within six months. The widening procedure can cost upwards of $20,000.

Costs aside, these procedures can also cause immense scarring, erectile dysfunction, loss of sensitivity, and even loss of girth due to fat reabsorption. Although breast augmentation carries risks far greater than these that can lead to serious infections and even death, the fact is that breast augmentation is a much more studied and researched procedure. The number of women who have received successful breast surgery is much higher than the number of men who have successfully increased their penis size and retained this change over time with phalloplasty. Although phalloplasty may increase in popularity in the coming years and become more developed, as of now, it is a risky course of action. The reality is, penis size doesn’t matter as much as it may seem in teen movies. Keeping the free use of one’s penis and its God-given sensitivity is much more important than any slight change in size.

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