Penises are shrinking because of pollution, warns environmental scientist

It may sound like a joke, but this research shows the full extent of how much we are damaging reproductive health.

By Marthe de Ferrer • Updated: 13/12/2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on

Edited for content. The opinions expressed in this article may not reflect the opinions of this site’s editors, staff or members.

Our Takeaways:

· Pollution is proving to causing penis shrinkage and decreasing fertility worldwide.

· Some scientists believe the trend of infertility and smaller penises will qualify humans as becoming an endangered species.

· Phthalates which are now found in the environment are disrupting endocrine systems.

Pollution is causing human penises to shrink, according to one scientist.

A leading epidemiologist and environmental expert has published a book that examines the link between industrial chemicals and penile length.

Dr Shanna Swan’s book, Count Down, argues that our modern world is altering humans’ reproductive development and threatening the future of our species.

The book outlines how pollution is leading to higher rates of erectile dysfunction, fertility decline, and growing numbers of babies born with small penises. Though the headline fact about shrinkage may sound like a laughing matter, the research paints a bleak portrait of humanity’s longevity and ability to survive.

“In some parts of the world, the average twenty-something today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” Dr Swan writes, dubbing the situation a “global existential crisis” in the book.

“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc.”

According to the book, humans meet three of the five possible criteria used to define whether or not a species is endangered. “Only one needs to be met,” writes Dr Swan, “the current state of affairs for humans meets at least three.”

How is pollution causing problems with fertility?

According to Dr Swan’s research, this disruption is caused by phthalates, chemicals used in plastic manufacturing, which can impact how the hormone endocrine is produced.

This group of chemicals is used to help increase the flexibility of a substance. They can be found in toys, food packaging, detergents, cosmetics, and many more products. But Dr Swan believes that these substances are radically harming human development.

“Babies are now entering the world already contaminated with chemicals because of the substances they absorb in the womb,” she says. Much of Dr Swan’s recent work has focused on the effects of phthalates, initially looking at phthalate syndrome in rats.

In 2000, however, there was a breakthrough in the field, and it became possible to measure low doses of phthalates in humans.

Since then Dr Swan has authored papers on how these chemicals can pass between parents and their offspring, the impact on female sexual desire, and – most recently – on penile length.

One of her most famous studies examined the intersection between sperm count and pollution in 2017, in ground-breaking research which looked at men’s fertility over the last four decades. After studying 185 studies involving almost 45,000 healthy men, Dr Swan and her team concluded that sperm counts among men in Western countries had dropped by 59 per cent between 1973 and 2011.

But there is some good news. Since the creation of the European Environment Agency, European citizens are exposed to 41 per cent less particulate pollution than we were two decades ago. It’s believed that these regulations have gifted Europeans an extra nine months of life expectancy, on average.

“A demand for change from citizens and subsequent strong policies have helped to clear the air in parts of Europe before, and can continue to do so to ensure that high pollution today does not need to be tomorrow’s fate,” says Michael Greenstone, director of the Energy Politics Institute at the University of Chicago.

So if pollution reduction measures can be properly implemented, there is still hope for the future and humanity’s fertility.


Should you be exercising your penis?

Should you be exercising your penis?

Rumours relating to hacking your sex life with the likes of ‘penis gyms’ and ‘penis training programs’ have been doing the rounds in recent weeks. So far so curious. But are these practices really a thing and if so, who is doing them and do they actually work?

Are penis workouts going to be incorporated into your normal gym routine? / Jesper Aggergaard

21 January 2020

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Evening Standard

You are by now probably familiar with the concept of biohacking, namely the self-improvement trend started by a handful of individuals who, venturing into the unknown, made it their mission to find whatever means, from microdosing to eccentric exercise trends and extraordinary diets to enhance their physical, cerebral and even spiritual function.

Five or so years later Silicon Valley caught on with the likes of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and former Facebook president Sean Parker joining the brigade and forking out tens of thousands of dollars to improve everything from their productivity to muscle condition. Often they turned to the world’s biohacking ‘gurus’, self-experimenting guinea pigs and lifestyle enhancers such as Ben Greenfield, Tim Ferriss and Gwern, as their guides, eschewing traditional medical professionals, presumably preferring the more macho and unconventional approach. It’s perhaps worth mentioning that approximately 90% of biohackers are men…

Washington State based Greenfield is an elite biohacker who says he has a biological age of nine and makes a successful living documenting his quest for the world’s most effective means of physical and cerebral enhancement. While his practice is vast and varied, covering everything from microdosing LSD to supplementation and a process described as a ‘full-body stem-cell local’ whereby every joint in the body is injected with stem cells, it is arguably his reporting on sexual performance technologies and comments on penis gyms (he wrote a blog post entitled ‘how to make your penis stronger with a Private Gym’), which have garnered most attention. On day one of the 30-day Private Gym program Greenfield wrote, ‘I start round one of my training: contract, relax, contract, relax, five rounds done. 20 rapid flexes, done. 20 second hold, done. My penis quivers (oh geez, did I just write that?) under the weight towards the end.’ It’s undeniably attention-grabbing stuff.

And before those of you with a better-than-average anatomical knowledge flag – correctly – that contrary to popular belief the so-called love muscle contains no muscle and therefore can’t be trained, we know. And so does Greenfield. What he colloquially refers to in this way is in fact – less thrillingly – known as pelvic floor training.

Long considered a woman’s work, pelvic floor exercises tone the muscles that support the uterus. Done daily they can ease childbirth, prevent incontinence and even improve your sex life. Now however, experts are keen to flag that men have the same network of muscles as women. Extending like a hammock from the tailbone to the pubic bone they support the back, abdomen, bladder and bowel helping to maintain faecal and urinary continence. In male bodies these muscles also surround the base of the penis and are activated during erection, orgasm and ejaculation, as well as being responsible for the surge of blood flow to the penis.

Medical evidence suggests that done correctly male pelvic floor exercises taught by the likes of Professor Grace Dorey a professor emeritus of physiotherapy and urology at The University of West England can improve pelvic floor control, urinary function (particularly after radical prostatectomy surgery to treat prostate cancer) and sometimes even sexual function. Doctors explain that like all muscles, pelvic ones weaken with age, but can be strengthened by tightening the muscles used to cut off a flow of urine midstream. Held for a few seconds this contraction is then released and the motion repeated 10 to 15 times.

There is unsurprisingly, a budding market of systems to aid men with such ‘exercises’. Greenfield’s preferred Private Gym for example, includes an instructional DVD and small, ultralight weights on a silicone band that fits around the penis and is intended for men who want to add a little resistance training to their routines. The KegelPad meanwhile is another tool designed to aid good practice. Of the former Professor Dorey, has gone as far as to say ‘ It’s as good as Viagra, without the costs and the side effects…the pelvic floor muscles provide the base for the erection — for the penis to sit on, if you will.”

That said Karl Monahan of London’s The Pelvic Pain Clinic recommends that patients practice due diligence when purchasing such items, taking the time to identify companies that are legitimate and well intentioned. ‘Choose those which offer sound, medically supported programs and clinical trials,’ he says. Moreover, many of the symptoms associated with poor pelvic health actually have separate root causes that should be professionally diagnosed and treated. ‘Working with an experienced specialist is the best way for men suffering with pelvic floor related symptoms,’ he explains. ‘Unguided programs can also lead to patients overdoing their pelvic floor exercises, which can in turn, have dramatic effects on their pelvic health.’

Greenfield too warns against seeing biohacking and hacking technologies as quick fix. ‘A negative implication of the proliferation of these self-improvement methods is that people are inherently lazy and so in many cases [think] these biohacks can be used as a shortcut,’ he tells us. ‘But biohacking is not a shortcut. It’s the use of science or technology to enhance human biology, but always needs to be paired with actual hard work and dedication.’

I Put a Giant Red Light on My Balls to Triple My Testosterone Levels

I Put a Giant Red Light on My Balls to Triple My Testosterone Levels

I tried red light therapy, a radical (and expensive) alternative treatment, on my testicles— and honestly, I’ve never felt better

By Ben Greenfield
Oct 26, 2017

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Men’s Health

Edited for content.

I’m not really a nudist kind of guy. The last nudist beach I visited primarily featured lots of curly hair, very unattractive gonads, and a disturbing volleyball game spectacle, so ever since, I’ve tended to stay away from nudist beaches and bars. But three months ago, while on a camping trip, I decided to sunbathe nude in the forest. I lay out in my hammock with my drawers tossed to the forest floor, my crotch proudly displayed to the bright, blue sky, basking in the glorious feeling of warmth on my balls. I pondered whether this was some kind of little-known biohack I was tapping into. After all, enough people expose their crotch to the warm rays of the sun that there must be some benefit to it, right? I had to find out.

As a man on a constant quest to optimize my brain and body (including my own balls), I decided to actually look into the health effects of UV light on the genitals. To my surprise, some studies have actually demonstrated that exposing the torso or the testes to light can potentially increase testosterone. In fact, studies on the effects of light on the testes go way back to 1939, when researchers exposed various parts of men’s bodies to UV light. They found that men’s testosterone levels went up by 120% when the participants’ chests were exposed to UV light, and they went up by 200% with UV exposure to the genital area. (This was the same study former professional baseball player Gabe Kapler cited back in 2015, when he advocated for tanning your testicles in a blog post that later went viral.)

To be fair, the results of the 1939 study are nearly 80 years old, so it’s possible that the effects of sunlight on your nuts have been overstated. But assuming it is good for you, there’s one major problem with it: most dudes don’t have the time, desire, or year-round exposure to sunlight to step out into the backyard buck-naked. (Not to mention that most guys have something called “neighbors,” many of whom have access to phones and can call the police.) Ultimately, moseying through the neighborhood on a sunny day with your pants jacked down isn’t a practical way of getting your daily dose of testosterone.

So I delved back into the research, and messaged the one guy I consider to be an expert in all things testosterone and sperm-count related: my Finnish friend and physician Dr. Olli Sovijarvi, who studied at the University of Helsinki. I originally met Dr. Sovijarvi when speaking at a biohacking conference he hosts in Finland. Turns out that since those initial sunshine studies, many more studies have investigated the effects of direct sunlight exposure to the torso, which increases a human male’s testosterone levels by anywhere from 25% to 160%, depending on the individual.

Sunlight exposure directly to the testes reportedly has an even more profound effect, boosting production in Leydig cells (the cells that produce testosterone) by an average of 200%. Olli went on to inform me that some animal studies have linked light, particularly a special form of light called “red light”, to increased testicular function. (It’s important to note, however, that this is not exactly proven science: one red light study conducted on rams, for instance, was inconclusive.)

If you haven’t heard of red light, or if your only experience with red light is a streetlight or strip bar, you’re not alone. But basically the theory is this: while sunlight has many beneficial effects, such as vitamin D production and improved mood, it is not without its downsides. Too much exposure to sunlight, particularly to sensitive areas like the skin around your precious ball sac, can create sunburn, excess radiation, inflammation and damage. And let’s face it: you don’t want a shrunken, shriveled, dehydrated dick, no matter how impressive the tan.

Red light, however, is different than sunlight. Red light is comprised of light wavelengths in the range of 600-950 nanometers (nm). According to red light therapy proponents, red light works to stimulate ATP production, increase energy available to the cell and in particular, increase the activity of the Leydig cells in your testes, which are the cells responsible for testosterone production.

It’s important to note that there are currently no light therapy devices on the market cleared by FDA for the enhanced production of testosterone LED-based therapy. That said, the treatment is generally considered low-risk, so the products like the one I tried do not require FDA clearance. (A few treatments like LED red-light beds, however, have been approved by the FDA for very narrow indications, like wrinkle reduction, etc.) It also should be noted that most (but not all) of the existing clinical research related to testosterone production and sperm mobility stems from animal studies, not studies involving humans.

There is also another caveat to this — and this is the part where Olli just about scared my pants off (or more appropriately, back on). Many types of lamps and bulbs sold for red light therapy (such as incandescents, heat lamps, infrared lamps that generate red light at greater than 1000nm) give off a significant amount of heat and can actually fry your testicles. So apparently, you have to be careful when you use red light therapy, unless self-castration with a red heating lamp from Home Depot is on your wishlist.

The good Dr. Olli then went on to inform me that each night he lays down on his couch, pulls down his pants, and hugs a big long panel of red infrared light from an LED source at 600-950nm. It sounded just like hugging a giant, warm teddy bear (a very hard and uncomfortable teddy bear, plugged into a wall outlet and generating enough red light to turn the entire room into a video arcade).

I was convinced. The morning after my conversation with Olli, I ordered something called a “JOOVV” (pronounced “Joove”) light. This was the red light he personally recommended and used himself, and I didn’t want to play around with frying my balls to a crisp with a cheapo knockoff, so I spent the big bucks (a grand total of $995) for what the website described as a “full body LED red light therapy device”.

When my JOOVV arrived the next week, I hoisted it downstairs to my office, leaned it against my stand-up desk, pulled down my pants and flipped it on.

I jumped back as best I could with my underwear wrapped around my ankles. Holy hell. Not only was the red light panel itself as wide as my torso and nearly five feet high, but the light coming out of this thing was freaking blinding. I fumbled for the little sunglasses that were included with the light panel and slapped them on. There, much better.

No longer feeling like I was staring into the depths of a semi-truck’s red brake lights, I simply stood there, naked. I replied to a few emails, then checked my watch. Five minutes. That should be good. After all, according to good ol’ Dr. Olli, five to 20 minutes is the sweet spot for red light exposure to your gonads, and I didn’t want to overtrain or excessively fry my little fellas on their first foray into the wonderful world of red light.

The rest of the morning, my crotch felt warm. Alive. So I did it again. Glancing out my office window to make sure the lawnmower guy wasn’t tooling around in the grass, I pulled down my drawers and bathed myself in the heavenly, warm, tingly glow, this time for eight minutes.

That night, my wife and I made love. Admittedly, I felt – well – a unique heavenly, warm, tingly glow in my crotch. Nice.

Two days later, I waited until the evening, then wandered downstairs. I rubbed my hands together, took a deep breath, and flipped my JOOVV on. I called my mom to see how her day was going mom (she had no clue what was going on below the phone). Ten minutes. I read a blog post. Fifteen minutes. My crotch grew more and more warm, but in a pleasant, day-at-the-beach sort of way. I finished an email. Twenty minutes. Mission complete.

That night was date night, and I was a rock star.

I sat at dinner, horny, my penis pulsing, staring across the table at my wife and feeling as though I’d popped a couple Viagra. Later, I blew the biggest load I could recall in recent memory.

And from that point on, for nearly the past seven months, I’ve stuck with twenty minutes of red light exposure on my crotch each day. Actually, I’m afraid to do more. I suspect there must be a law of diminishing returns, and I don’t desire to wind up with my dick looking like a leather handbag. But in the meantime, it is now a daily habit to pull down my pants at my desk, flip on my JOOVV and get my red light on.

“His penis is too big” – Woman begs court to dissolve one-week-old marriage

“His penis is too big” – Woman begs court to dissolve one-week-old marriage

Andreas Kamasah | April 26, 2021 4:00 PM

This article is a repost which originally appeared on pulse

Edited for content.

A newly wedded wife who has realised that the size of his husband’s manhood is not something she can cope with for the rest of her life has asked a court to dissolve the marriage.

The Nigerian lady identified as Aisha Dannupuwa has reportedly filed divorce processes at the Sharia court to end her one-week-old marriage because ‘she can’t come and die’.

According to a report by, the mother of three told the court that she simply cannot continue to endure the nightmarish pain during sex just because of her husband’s overendowed penis.

She reportedly decided to marry another man after her first marriage failed, but she appears to have jumped out of a frying pan and landed in the fire.

In her statement to the court, Aisha revealed that she first moved into her parents’ house and finally into her husband’s home as tradition demands, and there, they had sexual intercourse which was not a pleasant experience at all.

“When he came, we had sex but the experience was a nightmare.

“Instead of enjoying the sex, it turned out to be something else because his penis was too big,” she told the court.

She further disclosed that the first sexual encounter with her new husband left her private part in pain and she had to take some native medication prepared by her mother who assured and encouraged her that she would get used to the ‘bazooka’.

“Two days later when he came to visit me, we had sex again; but the experience was too much to bear.

It was then I knew that I could not continue with the marriage because of the size of his penis,” she added.

It is reported that the husband has confirmed Aisha’s concern and acknowledged that he indeed has a manhood that is not meant for just any woman.

He reportedly agreed to the dissolution of the one-week-old marriage.

Vaseline in Place of Viagra: Is It Safe and Effective?

Can You Use Vaseline in Place of Viagra?

Medically reviewed by Matt Coward, MD, FACS — Written by James Roland on March 17, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Healthline

Edited for content.

If you experience erectile dysfunction (ED), you may be willing to try just about anything to restore healthy sexual function.

However, there are plenty of potentially dangerous options that people have tried, including the injection of Vaseline or other petroleum jelly products into the penis.

For many years and in many cultures, the practice of injecting or inserting something into the penis to make it larger or to improve sexual stamina has been done, often without the guidance of medical experts.

If you’re tempted to use Vaseline in place of Viagra or any other approved treatment for ED, don’t waste your time or take the risk. There are plenty of safer and more effective options available.

You may also have heard of topical gels or essential oils for ED, but there has yet to be any evidence to suggest that applying Vaseline as a topical treatment to your penis will have any effect on sexual function.

The science

Numerous studies have shown that injecting Vaseline into your penis is a danger, rather than a cure. The practice can lead to:

  • infections
  • serious skin and tissue injury
  • other medical complications

In a small 2008 study of 16 people who were treated for Vaseline injections, researchers found that “urgent surgery” was necessary to prevent further injury.

A 2012 case report concluded that Vaseline injections are usually done without medical supervision and can lead to severe complications if the petroleum jelly or other foreign objects aren’t removed promptly.

Clinical treatments

Instead of trying risky self-help solutions for ED, consider proven medications and other treatments that have a track record of success.

Oral medications

While Viagra, known clinically as sildenafil, may be the best known ED pills, there are other FDA-approved medications. They all vary somewhat in their:

  • potency
  • how quickly they take effect
  • duration of effectiveness
  • side effects

Other ED medications on the market include:

  • Tadalafil (Cialis). It’s available in a generic form and can be taken daily at low doses or as needed in higher doses.
  • Vardenafil (Levitra). It’s available in brand-name and generic versions. it tends to remain effective a little longer than sildenafil.
  • Avanafil (Stendra). It’s not yet available in generic form, Stendra is unique among ED medications in that it can become effective in about 15 minutes, while others take between 30 and 60 minutes to take effect.

Your lifestyle may help determine the best ED medication for you.

Vacuum pumps

This treatment involves the use of a tube that fits over your penis and attaches to a pump that withdraws air from the tube to create a vacuum.

The vacuum created around your penis helps draw blood to fill the blood vessels within and produce an erection. An elastic ring is also placed around the base of your penis to help maintain the erection.

A 2013 research review noted that the use of vacuum devices to treat ED is usually safe and effective, particularly when combined with ED drugs known as PDE-5 inhibitors, which include:

  • tadalafil
  • sildenafil
  • other standard medications

Penile injections

Certain medications can be injected into your penis to increase blood flow and create a firmer erection for intercourse. Those include:

  • papaverine
  • phentolamine
  • prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) or alprostadil (Caverject, Edex)

There are also combinations of the above medications available.

Penile implants

Some people choose to treat ED with surgically-implanted, flexible, or inflatable rods that you can activate on demand.

Penile implants are generally reserved for individuals who have not had success with other traditional ED treatments.

Alternative treatments

Many safer and more effective alternatives to Viagra are available, including several prescription medications and over-the-counter (OTC) supplements, as well as complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, according to a 2016 research review.

Some people have had success using herbal supplements to treat ED. Some OTC products that have been supported by research include:

  • Korean red ginseng. It’s a plant that grows in Asia and may help both ED and alertness with relatively few side effects.
  • L-arginine. It’s an amino acid that serves as a building block for certain proteins. A small 2019 research review of 10 studies found that L-arginine used in doses of 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams significantly improved ED symptoms compared with placebo.
  • Yohimbe. It’s an herbal supplement commonly used in West African cultures, proved to be at least partially effective in treating ED in about one-third of people who participated in an old 1989 study.

Lifestyle changes

In addition, improving your health may improve ED symptoms and provide other benefits, including:

  • more energy
  • better sleep
  • greater cardiovascular fitness

The following lifestyle changes may pay dividends in terms of sexual health:

  • regular aerobic exercise, at least 150 minutes per week
  • maintaining a manageable weight
  • no smoking
  • consuming little or no alcohol
  • maintaining a healthy blood pressure
  • getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night
  • managing stress through meditation, yoga, or other strategies

When to talk with a doctor

The first step in finding the solution that’s right for you is to talk with your primary care physician or a urologist.

And while ED can be an embarrassing and frustrating topic to discuss with anyone, understand that ED is a common condition, affecting an estimated 1 in 3 adults with penises.

In other words, you won’t be the first person to ask your doctor for advice or treatment in this department.

Occasional concern

If ED occurs occasionally, then you may not need any treatment at all. In this case, it may usually be chalked up to:

  • stress
  • fatigue
  • relationship concerns
  • a side effect of misusing alcohol

Keep in mind that ED can be a symptom of many physical and emotional health conditions, including:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • obesity
  • hypertension
  • diabetes
  • depression
  • anxiety

Sometimes treating an underlying condition can lead to improved sexual function.

Persistent concern

If ED is a persistent concern, then a conversation with your doctor is recommended. Your concerns may be an inability to:

  • achieve an erection at all
  • achieve an erection that is firm enough for satisfactory intercourse for you and your partner
  • maintain an erection for the duration necessary for satisfactory intercourse
  • become erect at certain times or with certain partners

Regardless of the nature of your ED, there is a range of treatments that may be helpful. Psychotherapy and relationship counseling may be very helpful too, so you may want to talk with your doctor about referrals for therapy.

But because medications are generally tolerated, the first approach may be a prescription for Viagra or any of the other approved ED medications.

The bottom line

ED can affect several aspects of your life, including self-esteem and relationships, so it’s not something to ignore — especially when viable treatments are available.

And rather than rely on unproven and potentially very harmful treatments on your own — such as injecting Vaseline or any foreign substance into your penis — address this common medical condition with your healthcare professional.

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

The Best Ways to Increase Penis Sensitivity, According to Doctors

The Best Ways to Increase Penis Sensitivity, According to Doctors

The fix might be simple!

By Zachary Zane Mar 30, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Men’sHealth

Edited for content

Over the years, you may have noticed that your penis has become less sensitive. We’re not talking completely numb, which is a different story—just a little less receptive to stimulation. This can be a bit of a bummer; while some sexual pleasure is psychological, a lot of it comes from physical stimulation, meaning you might not enjoy sex as much when you have decreased sensitivity. You might even struggle to orgasm, which can be extra frustrating, and leave you desperate for ways to increase your penis sensitivity ASAP.

The issue is relatively common in people with a penis, according to experts. “We see a lot of men in our sexual health clinic who complain of decreased penile sensation,” says Michael Ingber, MD, a urologist and urogynecologist at Garden State Urology. While that may not sound like good news, it does mean urologists are adept at treating folks who experience reduced sensitivity. They know the common causes and can provide solutions.

But before getting to the best ways to reverse the condition, it’s important how penis sensitivity works in the first place. “The penis is innervated [supplied with nerves] by a nerve called the pudendal nerve,” Ingber says. The pudendal nerve doesn’t just provide sensation to the skin of the penis, but also the perineal region, scrotum, and anus.

“Still, the skin on the phallus is the same skin that’s on the rest of your body,” says Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD, a urologist and sexual wellness expert at Orlando Health. “Depending on the thickness of the skin and presence of nerve fibers, sensation can be felt in different ways.” The skin on your penis is less thick than, say, the skin on the soles of your feet, which is why your penis is more sensitive.

Alright, now that you have a better understanding of the skin on your penis and the nerves that cause stimulation, let’s go ahead and address why you may be seeing a decrease in sensitivity and what you can do about it.

Cause: Too much friction

“Your body will naturally decrease sensation to the penis if there is constant mechanical friction in a short period,” Brahmbhatt says. There’s actually a word for the diminishing physiological response to a frequently repeated stimulus: habituation. So habituation can happen “with too much masturbation” or if you “go at it all night.”

Solution: You gotta switch it up! If you’re masturbating aggressively with a ton of pressure (often referred to as white-knuckling), they you need to loosen that grip. At first, it won’t feel as pleasurable, but over time, your body will reacclimate, and you’ll regain sensitivity.

Having sex or masturbating with a little less frequency is another way to increase sensitivity, Brahmbhatt adds. If you’re going at it for hours on end or jerking it three or four times a day, give your little fella a break.

Lastly Brahmbhatt recommends changing sexual positions. Again, habituation is a response to doing the same thing the same way over and over again. So if you’re always jerking off with a death grip in the same position, your body will habituate to it. If you only do it in doggy style, your body will habituate. Switch things up so your penis can experience multiple sensations and never habituate to a single one.

Cause: Frequent bike riding

“Riding a bike, especially one with a narrow seat, can constrict blood flow over time, as much as 60%,” Ingber says. “This is because the artery that supplies blood to the penis gets compressed [when you’re sitting].”

Solution: Obviously, biking less would help, but we don’t want to suggest that to avid bike riders. Ingber recommends investing in a split bike seat, which will allow for better blood flow.

Cause: Sitting for too long

Just like riding a bike, “Working from home can put pressure on your perineum and prostate. This is where the nerves and blood vessels that go into the penis travel,” Brahmbhatt says. This can affect sensation and even erection quality.

Solution: Find ways to spend less time sitting, like scheduling daily walks or getting a standing desk. It can also be helpful to set hourly reminders on your phone that tell you to get up and move around.

Cause: Low testosterone

Sensation is a complex process, and your hormones could play a role. “Low T can cause a decreased libido which can translate into a decrease in how you ‘feel’ sexual activity,” Brahmbhatt says.

Solution: Get your testosterone levels checked. If low, your doctor may suggest administering testosterone replacement therapy, Brahmbhatt says. (FYI, there are several delivery methods for TRT. Often, we think TRT and then think injections, but there are also skin patches, gels, and tablets that dissolve in your mouth.) Most people will notice relief from symptoms within 4–6 weeks of starting TRT.

Cause: Alcohol

If whiskey dick doesn’t strike, you still might not have a rewarding sexual experience if you drank too much because your penis will become less sensitive. “Alcohol is a depressant and can cause you to have decreased sensation—as well as a whole line of other things—especially when you’ve had one too many,” Brahmbhatt says.

Solution: There’s no magic number for how many drinks you can have and still be able to get hard, or how many will decrease your level of sensitivity even if you can get erect. If you’re worried about your performance on a day you’re also drinking, keep it to two drinks, max. If you overdo it, don’t panic: whiskey dick or lack of penis sensitivity caused from excessive drinking abates once you sober up. (However, chronic heavy drinking can lead to long-term ED, so be careful there!)

Cause: Medications

“There are several medications that can decrease your ability to perceive pain—a big one is opioids,” Brahmbhatt says. Many meds that decrease pain decrease sensitivity overall, which might be why you don’t have as much feeling down there as you used to.

Solution: Let your doctor know you’re having decreased penis sensitivity. Ask if it has anything to do with your current medications, and then see if your doctor can adjust your meds.

What if there’s no direct cause?

When the direct cause is unclear, lack of penis sensitivity can be challenging to solve. That said, there are some other things you can do to help remedy the problem. “I’ve had patients who have practiced tantra, meditation, and have been able to improve their sensitivity based on this alone, but we also have some innovative therapies that have been working great in several men,” Ingber says.

One therapeutic option is “Platelet-Rich Plasma” or PRP. “This therapy involves taking your own blood and isolating the ‘stem cells.’ These cells are then reinjected into your penis in a few different locations,” Ingber says.

There’s a far less invasive option that works for some folks, and that’s cream specifically designed to increase penis-sensitivity. However, we don’t promise any miracles with these products. A quick read through the reviews of Amazon’s most popular creams shows that it works for some and really does nothing for others. But there’s no harm in giving it a shot.

The Long and Short of Dick Dysmorphia

The Long and Short of Dick Dysmorphia

Inside the mind of someone with penile dysmorphic disorder — an obsession with penis size even when what you’re packing is perfectly average

Excerpts from this article courtesy of C. Brian Smith of MEL Magazine.

Edited for content

Eric has measured virtually every object in his house and compared them to his penis. The pseudonymous 27-year-old musician in Norway feels grossly inadequate despite his dick measuring 6.5 inches, nearly an inch longer than the average Norwegian and an inch and a half longer than most American men.

He’s been insecure about his penis size ever since he and a friend found his dad’s porn stash on the family computer between rounds of Age of Empires II and The Sims when they were 12. Porn brought with it many revelations, not least of which was an enduring conviction that the average penis is “much more formidable” than his. “When you get these ideas in your head at such a young age, you never really grow out of them,” he explains. “They’re branded into your subconscious forever.”

Men with adequate penis length who consistently underestimate (and obsess over) their size despite falling within the normal range suffer from something called penile dysmorphic disorder (aka “small-penis syndrome”), explains Judson Brandeis, a board-certified urologist in California. To that end, Eric know he’s above average, statistically, but just doesn’t believe it. Besides, he’s convinced that “average” is too small anyways, so he says it doesn’t matter if he “just tips the scale.” (PDD often leads to upsetting concerns, compulsive behavior, and in the most severe cases, suicide.)

AJ “Big Al” Alfaro — a “Male Enhancement Coach” and my former dick-enlargement tutor who, since 2009, has worked with more than 6,000 men hoping to increase their size — tells me that many of his clients are larger than average, but “just don’t like being on the small side.” Their inspiration for action often stems from a negative comment from a sexual partner. “Cases like this are the hardest to deal with because they’re rooted in actual trauma,” he says. “From these guys’ perspective, they’re not making it up because they’ve actually had someone tell them that their penis is inadequate.”



Shower vs grower: What is the difference and does it matter?

What is the difference between a ‘shower’ and a ‘grower’ and does it really matter?

Medically reviewed by Joseph Brito III, MD — Written by Beth Sissons on February 9, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on MEDICALNEWSTODAY

Edited for content

How much a penis extends in length while erect varies from person to person. It may also change over time and with age. However, there is no evidence to suggest this affects an individual’s health or sex life.

A “shower” or “grower” refers to how much a penis expands in length when erect compared with its flaccid state.

This article explores the science behind the terms, how common they are, and whether being a shower or a grower has any significant impact on health and sex life.

Distinction between the two

According to the popular colloquialism, a shower is a person with a penis that does not expand relatively significantly in length when it becomes erect.

In contrast, a grower is a person with a penis that grows relatively significantly longer when erect.

What determines whether you’re a shower or grower

The erectile tissue of the penis comprises:

  • elastic fibers
  • collagen
  • smooth muscles
  • arteries and veins

All of these allow the penis to become erect.

However, with age, the penis can lose tissue elasticity, which may affect how it stretches.

People may also experience inflammation and less blood flow to the penis as they age, which can affect erection.

A 2018 study involving 274 males found that age played a role in whether participants were a grower or a shower.

The researchers defined a grower as having a flaccid to erect penile length increase of 4 centimeters (cm) or more, while an increase of less than 4 cm indicated that a person was a shower.

All of the participants had previously undergone penile duplex ultrasound (PDDU) for erectile dysfunction.

Researchers measured flaccid penile length and gave participants a vasodilation drug before measuring erect penile length.

Growers had an average length change of 5.3 cm, while showers had an average length change of 3.1 cm. The mean age of the growers was 47.5 years, compared with an average of 55.9 years in the showers.

The research also reported that 37% of males who fell into the grower category were single, compared with 23% in the showers category, although this may also relate to age.

Growers also had a lower dose of the vasodilation drug.

There were no differences in the showers or growers regarding:

  • race
  • smoking history
  • comorbidities
  • erectile function
  • flaccid penile length
  • penis firmness after vasodilation injection
  • PDDU results

The study notes that confirming these findings requires more research, including larger scale, multicultural, and multinational studies.

The research did find an age difference between growers and showers. According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, the way the penis changes as people age may account for this age differentiation.

Is one more common?

The 2018 study found that out of 274 participants, 73 males (26%) were growers, while 205 males (74%) were showers, according to the researchers’ criteria on flaccid to erect penis length.

This suggests that showers may be more common, but there is not enough evidence to reflect the whole population.

Further studies are needed to confirm the findings.

Which group are you?

People may be able to tell if they are a shower or grower without any tests.

If people have a penis that does not significantly change size between a flaccid and erect state, they may be a shower.

In contrast, if an individual’s penis size changes drastically between a flaccid and erect state, they may be a grower.

People can measure their penis when flaccid, from the base to the tip. They can then take the same measurement when their penis is erect.

If the difference between the two measurements is greater than 4 cm, people meet the definition of a grower.

However, if the difference is less than 4 cm, people meet the definition of a shower.

Can this change over time?

The 2018 study found that age was the main factor in whether people were a grower or a shower, which suggests that people may change between a grower and a shower as they age.

When people age, collagen and elastic fibers in the penis decrease, which may affect whether they are a shower or grower.

Other penis changes can also happen as people age. Testosterone levels start to decline after a person reaches 40 years of age, which can cause the penis to shrink slowly.

Health conditions that impair blood flow can also affect penis color and erection.

Does it impact overall erection size?

According to the Kinsey Institute, flaccid penis size is not a reliable indicator for its erect size.

Generally, shorter flaccid penile lengths enlarge by a greater percentage than longer flaccid penile lengths.

The 2018 study found that growers had a larger erect penis size, measuring 15.5 cm compared with 13.1 cm in the showers group.

Does it affect your sex life?

There is no research to suggest whether being a shower or a grower impacts a person’s sex life.

However, concerns about penis appearance may affect sexual activity.

A 2016 survey looked at genital dissatisfaction in 4,198 males aged 18–65 years and living in the United States.

Participants reported the lowest satisfaction with flaccid penile length, with 27% reporting dissatisfaction. Different demographics had no bearing on survey answers.

Those who reported dissatisfaction with their genitals reported less sexual activity, including less vaginal sex and less receptive oral sex.

If a person has concerns that their penis appearance is affecting their self-esteem, confidence, or sex life, people may find it helpful to talk with their partner or healthcare professional.


Being a shower or a grower refers to the change in penis length from a flaccid to erect state.

If people have a penis that increases significantly in length from a flaccid to erect state, they may be a grower. If there is no significant change, they may be a shower.

Some research suggests being a shower or a grower relates to age. Therefore a person’s category may change over time.

However, there is no evidence to suggest that being a shower or grower affects their health or sex life.

Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid using tertiary references. We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

13 Questions About Erections: What It Is, How It Works, What to Do

What Is an Erection? A First-Timer’s Guide to Getting Hard

Medically reviewed by Jennifer Litner, LMFT, CST — Written by Adrienne Santos-Longhurst on December 15, 2020

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Healthline

Edited for content. Some of the recommendations below may not be recommended by the forum- e.g.- watching porn

Got questions about erections? Like why do they happen, and usually at the most random times?

Or what the heck is dribbling out of it? And what’s up with raging semis?

Keep reading, because we’re answering all of your burning questions here. (Not that your boner should burn, BTW.)

So, what exactly is it?

An erection — or boner, wood, or chubby, if you prefer — is a hardening of the penis.

Most of the time, the penis is flaccid and just hangs around minding its own business.

During an erection, it becomes temporarily engorged with blood and enlarged. This makes it feel stiff and causes it to stand up and away from the body.

Why does it happen?

Sexual arousal is often the reason, which is caused by seeing, feeling, or even thinking of something that turns you on.

Erections can also happen for no particular reason. There’s actually a name for these random boners: spontaneous erections.

So if you get a stiffy while watching a documentary on slugs, it’s just a penis doing what a penis does and it’s NBD.

It’s also normal to wake up with morning wood, whether you’ve had a sex dream or not.

How does it work?

To know how an erection works, we need to start with a little lesson on penis anatomy.

There are two chambers that run the length of your penis called the corpora cavernosa. Each contains a maze of blood vessels that create sponge-like spaces.

When those blood vessels relax and open, blood rushes through and fills them, causing the penis to engorge, creating an erection.

A membrane around the corpora cavernosa helps trap the blood so your D stays hard.

Erections aren’t just about the penis, though. Your brain plays a role, too.

When you get aroused, your brain sends signals to your penis that cause the muscles in it to relax and let the blood in.

Does everyone get them?

Everyone with a penis does.

That said, certain lifestyle factors can make it difficult for you to get an erection, like being tired, stressed, or intoxicated.

Certain medications and medical conditions can also cause erectile dysfunction.

Does it hurt?

It shouldn’t. Mostly boners just make you super aware of your D when you don’t generally really feel it or think about it otherwise.

However, there are some instances when an erection might be uncomfortable.

Pee boners are an example of this. They happen because your penis is designed to not let you wet yourself. It’s quite marvelous, really. Try to pee when you’re still hard and you’ll feel the burn.

Excessive or especially vigorous masturbation can also cause some discomfort down there. So, if your pain starts after you’ve been especially heavy-handed lately, giving your penis a rest should help.

Otherwise, an underlying medical condition or injury can cause painful erections. If you have penis pain, a trip to a healthcare provider is in order.

What if stuff starts coming out? Is that normal?

Totally normal — assuming that what’s coming out isn’t bloody, green, or yellow, or has a dank stank to it. (Those are all signs of an STI or other infection.)

Barring those things, what you’re seeing is either ejaculate or pre-ejaculate — or precum, as most people call it.

Ejaculation typically happens during orgasm. This is when your arousal builds and leads to an intense, feels-so-good release that’s accompanied by ejaculate shooting from your penis.

That said, it’s possible to orgasm without ejaculating. It’s also possible to ejaculate without having an O.

That thin, slippery fluid that dribbles out of your D when you’re hard before ejaculation is called precum. It happens to anyone with a penis and is no biggie.

An FYI about precum: It can contain a small amount of sperm and therefore can cause pregnancy.

What’s the point of all this?

The point of an erection is so you can partake in penetrative sex.

Granted, you don’t need to have penetrative sex if you don’t want to, but in order to be able to get it in there — whether there is a vagina or anus — you need to at least be a bit hard.

Penetration without an erection is kind of like pushing rope.

How do you make it go away?

The penis is designed to lose an erection once you’ve ejaculated, so that’s one way.

Other than ejaculating, you may be able to able to make it go away by eliminating the source of stimulation, like:

  • shifting positions (or your boner) so your jeans or thighs aren’t rubbing it
  • thinking about something else, preferably something nonsexual
  • distracting yourself by reading anything in sight or counting backward

You can also just wait it out and hide it in the meantime by holding something over it, like your bag or jacket. If your shirt is long enough, you can try untucking it (the shirt, not the boner).

For a menacing rager that pops up at a particularly inopportune time, hightailing it to the nearest exit or washroom might be your best bet.

How often are you supposed to get one?

There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to how many erections a person should get.

People with penises have an average of 11 erections per day and three to five more each night, but everyone is different.

There are numerous factors that can affect how often you get hard, like your age, hormone levels, and lifestyle.

If you’re concerned about your ability to get or maintain an erection, talk to a healthcare provider. Same if you feel like you’re hard more often than not or have an erection that persists for more than 2 hours straight.

Is there anything you can do to prevent it from happening?

Not really.

Erections are a normal part of having a penis. They’re bound to happen whether you want them to or not.

Using some of the methods we gave to stop an erection might also help you prevent one, but it’s not a sure thing, especially if you have an especially sensitive penis.

What if you want to make it happen?

Now we’re talkin’!

The key to getting an erection is being relaxed and allowing yourself to get aroused.

Here are some things that can help things along:

  • Fantasize about something you find sexually stimulating.
  • Look at images you find arousing.
  • Watch porn.
  • Read erotica.
  • Touch yourself anywhere it feels good, not just your penis.
  • Try a sex toy.

How do you know if you’re doing it right?

As long as it’s not causing you — or anyone — pain or distress, then it’s all good.

Sexual arousal should feel good. Erections shouldn’t be a source of discomfort or guilt.

If you’re concerned about your erections or are struggling with negative feelings about your sexuality, you may find it helpful to talk to a professional.

You can speak to your primary care provider or find a sexual health professional in your area through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) directory.

What’s the bottom line?

Erections are natural and just part of owning a penis. As inconvenient as they may be when they come up spontaneously, the ability to have them is a sign of health.

Their main purpose may be to facilitate penetrative sex, but no pressure. Your erection, your choice.

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

Penis health: Conditions, safety, lifestyle, and care

What to know about penis health

Medically reviewed by Kevin Martinez, M.D. — Written by Jenna Fletcher on April 2, 2020

This article is a repost which originally appeared on MEDICAL NEWS TODAY

Edited for content

A healthy penis should be free of lesions, warts, and abnormal discharge. In general, the penis should be roughly the same color as the surrounding skin, though it may be a shade darker or lighter.

Also, a person should not experience any pain in their penis when urinating or engaging in sexual activity.

A sudden change in the appearance, sensation, or function of the penis may signal an underlying issue that requires medical attention.

This article describes certain lifestyle factors and health conditions that can affect penis health. It also outlines some possible symptoms of poor penis health and provides tips on penis care.

Lifestyle factors that affect penis health

Lifestyle factors that can affect penis health include sexual relationships, weight management, and alcohol use.

The sections below outline some common lifestyle factors that can affect penis health.

Sexual relationships

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can negatively affect penis health. Some of the most common STIs include:

  • human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • chlamydia
  • gonorrhea
  • herpes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that people practice safe sex in order to reduce their risk of contracting an STI. This involves using barrier methods during sexual activity and getting vaccinated against hepatitis B and HPV.

The following can also help reduce the risk of spreading and contracting STIs:

  • limiting the number of sexual partners
  • maintaining a monogamous sexual relationship
  • abstaining from sexual activity

Often, people who contract an STI do not experience any symptoms. This is why it is important for people who are sexually active to attend regular sexual health screenings.

Weight management

Obesity can negatively affect many aspects of a person’s health, including penis function.

People with obesity may be more likely to experience erectile dysfunction, or impotence. This occurs when a person is unable to develop or maintain an erection during sexual activity.

According to the Obesity Action Coalition, obesity can contribute to erectile dysfunction by:

  • decreasing testosterone levels
  • causing inflammation throughout the body
  • damaging the blood vessels, including those that supply blood to the penis

However, one 2018 study suggests that the relationship between obesity and sexual health is not completely clear. Although obesity may contribute to erectile dysfunction, other factors may also give rise to poor sexual health. These include:

  • anxiety
  • stress
  • self-esteem issues


Eating a healthful, balanced diet can help prevent obesity and related sexual health problems.

A 2017 animal study investigated the potential link between diet, obesity, and erectile function. In this study, one group of rats consumed a calorie-rich diet, while a second group consumed a standard diet.

The rats that consumed the calorie-rich diet were more likely to develop obesity, and they also showed significantly poorer erectile function.

The types of food a person eats could also affect their penis health. For example, one 2016 study found that a diet rich in flavonoids was associated with a reduced risk of erectile dysfunction in men below the age of 70.

Flavonoids are chemicals that occur naturally in a range of vegetables, fruits, and grains. Some examples of flavonoid-rich foods include:

  • root vegetables
  • legumes
  • berries
  • grapes
  • citrus fruits
  • teas
  • chocolate


Exercise is important in helping a person maintain a moderate weight. This means that it also helps reduce the risk of obesity-related sexual health concerns.

Exercise may also benefit sexual health more directly. For example, one 2015 study investigated whether or not regular walking exercise could help improve erectile dysfunction in men who had recently had a heart attack.

Those who took part in the regular walking program reported a 71% decrease in erectile dysfunction symptoms. Those who did not take part in the program reported a 9% increase in erectile dysfunction symptoms.

The researchers conclude that regular exercise may help reduce symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

A 2011 meta-analysis investigated the effects of aerobic exercise on erectile dysfunction. The researchers analyzed five studies involving a total of 385 participants.

All the studies showed improvements in erectile dysfunction following aerobic activity. The researchers conclude that men with erectile dysfunction may benefit from aerobic training, though further studies are necessary to confirm this.

Alcohol and tobacco use

Drinking a lot of alcohol can negatively impact many aspects of a person’s health.

According to the CDC, excessive drinking can interfere with male hormone production, potentially contributing to impotence and infertility.

Alcohol also increases the likelihood that a person will engage in risky sexual behavior. Such behavior puts a person at increased risk of contracting or transmitting an STI.

Tobacco smoking can also have a negative effect on penis health. According to the Truth Initiative, smoking may play a role in the following sexual health issues:

  • erectile dysfunction
  • infertility
  • decreased libido

Health conditions that may affect penis health

There are several health conditions that can directly affect penis health. Some of the more common ones include:

  • STIs, such as chlamydia, herpes, or genital warts
  • phimosis, which occurs when the foreskin cannot extend over the head of the penis
  • balanitis, which is inflammation of the head or foreskin of the penis

Other conditions not directly related to the penis can also affect its health. Many of these conditions may cause erectile dysfunction or issues with fertility. These include:

  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • stress
  • certain heart conditions

When to see a doctor

Anyone who is sexually active should check for symptoms of STIs regularly. They should look for:

  • rashes, sores, or blisters on the penis
  • burning or itching sensations in the penis
  • abnormal discharge from the penis
  • a foul odor coming from the penis or groin area
  • pelvic pain
  • pain when urinating or passing stools

Anyone who thinks that they may have an STI should visit their doctor for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Importantly, many people who contract an STI will not experience any symptoms. Regular sexual health screenings will help detect STIs that a person may not have noticed otherwise.

Anyone who thinks that they may have erectile dysfunction should also see their doctor, who will work to diagnose the cause.

How to care for the penis

A person should clean their penis at least once per day using a mild soap. Using abrasive or heavily scented soaps could irritate the skin of the penis.

A person should wash all parts of the penis, including:

  • the pubic hair
  • the scrotum
  • the area between the legs and scrotum
  • the penis shaft
  • the area underneath the foreskin, if uncircumcised

Tips for a healthy penis

The tips below can help a person keep their penis healthy:

  • using a barrier method during sex
  • limiting the number of sexual partners they have
  • undergoing a sexual health screening at least once per year if in a monogamous relationship
  • undergoing a sexual health screening as often as every 3–6 months if having sex with multiple partners
  • keeping the penis and genital area clean
  • limiting alcohol consumption
  • avoiding the use of tobacco products
  • exercising regularly
  • eating a healthful, balanced diet


A person can take several steps to maintain the health of their penis. This includes exercising regularly and eating a healthful diet. A person may also wish to avoid having unprotected sex, drinking a lot of alcohol, and using tobacco products.

To maintain a healthy penis, a person should thoroughly wash the penis at least once per day. Those who are sexually active should also go for sexual health screenings at least once per year and perform regular self-checks at home.

If a person has any concerns about their penis, they should talk to a doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will work to diagnose the cause of the issue and provide appropriate treatments.


Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid using tertiary references. We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.