Yes, penis pumps do work for most people — at least for what they’re intended for, which may not jibe with how a product’s advertised, or your expectations.

Let’s start with what they can’t do, which is give you a bigger penis — contrary to what some internet articles and retailers may promise.

What they can do is increase blood flow to your penis to help you achieve or maintain an erection so you can have penetrative sex. Sure, you may gain a teeny bit of extra length from a pump, but it’s a temporary gain.

For someone with erectile dysfunction (ED), penis pumps are less expensive and generally safer than other options when used correctly. They can also be used alongside ED medication, like Viagra.

Penis pumps have also been shown to be effective in preserving erectile function after prostate surgery and radiation therapy for prostate cancer.

A penis pump works by using suction to draw blood into the penis.

The blood fills the blood vessels in your penis, causing them to swell so your penis gets — temporarily — bigger and harder.

A constriction ring — better known as a cock ring — is usually placed around the base of the penis to help keep the blood in the penis and maintain the erection, er, longer.

For the most part, yes.

Penis pumps — medically referred to as “vacuum erection devices” — are generally considered safe, but they may not be right for people with certain medical conditions.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), using a penis pump or other external rigidity device could aggravate penile conditions, such as priapism.

Too much air pressure in the cylinder can also cause mild bleeding under the skin’s surface. For this reason, penis pumps may be not be right for you if you:

  • have a blood disorder
  • have a history of blood clots
  • take blood thinners

A cock ring that’s too tight or left on too long could cause your penis to become bruised, numb, and cold.

For starters, avoid any pump that’s advertised as being for penis enlargement.

A pump that’s made for erectile dysfunction and FDA-approved is the way to go to avoid getting one that may not be safe or effective.

Ask your healthcare provider for a prescription. You don’t need a prescription to buy a penis pump, but having one can ensure you get a safe device.

You may also be able to have part or all of the cost of your device covered by insurance or patient assistance if you have a prescription.

Speaking of safe, the pump you choose should have a vacuum limiter. This helps control the pressure in the cylinder from getting too high and potentially — ouch — injuring your penis.

Finally, consider your penis size when buying a pump or tension ring (if not included with your pump).

Most kits are a one-size-fits-most deal, but if your member leans much smaller or bigger than average, you’ll want to choose accordingly.

Some products have more bells and whistles than others, but the basic function is the same.

Here’s the gist:

  1. You place a tube over your penis.
  2. You pump out the air, using the hand pump or electric pump attached to the tube, creating a vacuum effect.
  3. Once you’re erect, you remove the pump.
  4. You can place a constriction ring around the base of your penis to help you maintain your erection.

Yep!

Taking the following precautions can help make your experience safer and help you get the best results from your device:

  • Shave your pubes. Nothing kills the mood or a boner like snagging an unruly bush. Removing hair from the base of your D before use will prevent hairs from getting caught in the ring. It may also help you get a better seal against the skin.
  • Use as directed. Even if it looks pretty self-explanatory, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s directions to ensure safety and effectiveness.
  • Don’t leave the ring on for more than 30 minutes. Cutting off blood flow to your penis for too long could cause damage. Constriction rings shouldn’t be left on longer than 30 minutes.
  • Have lube on hand. Apply a bit of lube to your shaft and the base of your penis, as well as around the end of the cylinder, to create an airtight seal. Lube will also make it easier to slide the tension ring on and off. Plus, if you’re going to get handy before getting your pump on, lube can make masturbation even more pleasurable.

Typically, expect around 30 minutes, but everyone’s different.

Factors like your arousal level and when you put it on during your sesh can also influence how long the effects last.

It depends on your situation and comfort level.

Most people can use it safely multiple times a day if needed, as long as they use it correctly.

Absolutely — at least as far as function goes, anyway. Increasing size, well, that’s a tad harder.

When it comes to improving function and getting stronger erections, a balanced lifestyle will go a long way. This means:

  • reducing your stress levels
  • getting enough sleep and regular exercise
  • limiting things like nicotine and alcohol, which can have the opposite effect on boners

Certain medications can also mess with your sex drive and cause erection problems — especially antidepressants and blood pressure medications. See your doctor if you think your medication may be the issue.

Though it should go without saying, being horny is a key part of getting hard and maintaining an erection. Spending a little more time on foreplay before penetration can help get the blood pumping.

Now regarding size…

There’s really no way to increase your penis size without surgery. Not that size matters or has any bearing on your ability to give or enjoy some serious pleasure anyway.

If having a bigger penis matters to you, you can make it look and feel bigger by:

  • keeping your pubes trimmed so every inch is on display instead of covered by hair
  • maintaining a balanced weight, which can make your D look bigger than it is
  • learning to work with what you’ve got using sex positions that allow you to go deeper so it feels bigger to your partner

Penis pumps do work, but if you’re looking for a permanent increase in size, you’re out of luck.

Pumps are designed to help you get and maintain a firmer erection. And, like all boners, pump-induced erections are temporary.


Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.