Medical News Today: Masturbation and penis size: What’s the link?

Penis size can cause concern in some people. Having a small penis might affect a person's self-confidence and lead to feelings of anxiety. One of the many myths surrounding masturbation is the idea that it can make a person's penis bigger or smaller.

However, these myths can worsen anxiety in people who already have issues with the size of their penis. Several other myths suggest masturbation can lead to adverse effects on different aspects of health.

Keep reading to learn more about the relationship between masturbation and penis size, other factors that may affect penis size, and the myths about masturbation.

Does masturbation make the penis bigger or smaller?

a man sat on his bed and wondering if masturbating can make your penis larger or smallerShare on Pinterest
A person's penis size is mainly determined by genetics.

There is no scientific evidence that masturbation has any permanent effect on penis size. Masturbation does lead to an erection that increases the size of the penis, but this is only temporary. The penis will return to normal size after ejaculation.

Penis size is mostly a result of genetic influences. The penis grows throughout puberty and sometimes for a few years after. For most, the penis will stop growing around the ages of 18 or 19.

Learn more about when the penis stops and starts growing here.

Testosterone is an essential hormone for sexual functioning and development. During puberty, testosterone levels increase and may contribute towards penis growth.

Testosterone levels also vary during masturbation. However, these changes are minimal and have no long-term impact. Testosterone levels return to normal soon after ejaculation.

As both penis growth and masturbation have an association with testosterone levels, this could explain the misconception that masturbation affects penis size. But that is all it is — a myth and misconception.

What factors could affect penis size?

Many companies sell lotions, ointments, and other products to increase penis size. However, there is little evidence supporting these products.

A review in 2019 assessed 21 different methods to increase penis size in over 1,000 men. The study included both surgical and non-surgical options. They found that there was little high-quality evidence proving that these methods worked.

Penis surgery can extend the length or girth of the penis. This typically involves taking fat or other tissues from different parts of the body and inserting them into the penis. The results of these surgeries vary and can lead to complications, such as sexual dysfunction.

Read more about penis enlargement surgery here.

While it is difficult to increase penis size, it may be possible to make the penis appear larger by:

  • losing weight
  • shaving pubic hair
  • maintaining good physical fitness

Some factors can cause the penis to shrink in size, such as being cold. However, these effects are again only temporary.

There are also several methods for treating erectile dysfunction. In some people, regaining the ability to get erections may give the feeling of a larger penis. For example, penis pumps draw blood into the penis and cause it to swell. Drugs, such as Viagra, can also help. It is a good idea to talk to a doctor or healthcare professional before taking any medications.

Other common myths about masturbation

Many of the myths about the effects of masturbation relate to testosterone levels.

For example, one misconception suggests that masturbation limits growth in other areas during puberty. However, because testosterone plays a crucial role in growth throughout the body, and masturbation temporarily affects testosterone levels, this could be the source of this myth.

Another myth links masturbation with acne. It is unclear what causes acne, but it may relate to hormonal changes during puberty.

Read more about the links between masturbation and acne here.

Other myths link masturbation to sperm count or infertility and impotence in later life.

Again, there is a lack of reliable evidence supporting these claims. One medical explanation for infertility is that it results from a sperm disorder that may be due to:

  • genetics
  • chronic illness, such as kidney failure
  • smoking
  • heavy alcohol use
  • certain medications, such as antidepressants

Read more about the myths and side effects of masturbation here.


Masturbation does not cause changes in the size of a person's penis. It is mainly genetics that determines penis size.

However, testosterone may influence penis growth during puberty, and because masturbation causes temporary changes in testosterone, some people may think that masturbation affects penis size.

While many products claim to have the ability to increase penis size, there is a lack of high quality evidence supporting these claims.

There are many other myths about masturbation, including that it causes infertility and acne. However, there is little scientific evidence behind these claims. Research suggests that masturbation does not appear to have any serious health risks.

Having a small penis may cause anxiety and other mental or social issues. People who are worried about the size of their penis should avoid using products that claim to increase penis size and seek help from a therapist or talk to their doctor or another healthcare professional.

Original Article

Medical News Today: What are the stages of puberty?

Everyone goes through puberty slightly differently, but there are puberty stages that usually happen at certain ages in a young person's development.

In this article, we look at the stages of puberty for males and females, and the ways that parents and caregivers can help to support kids through this time.

Females, stage by stage

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People's experience of puberty varies.

Females start puberty sooner than males. Puberty in females most often begins between the ages of 8 and 13 years. The process may continue until they are 14 years old, although this can be later.

The first stage of puberty includes prepuberty changes. These are changes that start to happen in the body but are not yet visible.

One of the first physical changes females will notice during puberty is their breasts starting to grow.

The initial stage of growth is breast buds. Slight swelling appears under the nipple, and the area of skin around the nipple, known as the areola, will start to get bigger.

The breasts will then slowly start to grow during puberty. Females may experience some tenderness or itchiness as the breasts begin to change. It is usual for each breast to grow at slightly different rates, which will often even out over time.

Females will also start to notice more hair growing in places such as their legs and arms. At around 12 years old, on average, females will begin to see hair growth under the arms.

Pubic hair will start growing along the labia and will gradually become thicker, curlier, and cover a larger area of the vulva. In the final stages of puberty, pubic hair may grow around the top of the thighs.

Females will usually begin their period roughly 2 years after their breasts have started to grow. They might get their first period anywhere between 10 and 16.5 years old. It is also normal for females to have white vaginal discharge.

Females will also grow taller in puberty, with a gradual height increase each year. In the first stages of puberty, females may grow 5–6 centimeters (cm) in a year. In the following stages of puberty, this can increase to 7–8 cm per year. Females will usually stop growing around 16 years of age.

Females may also increase in weight and have more body fat around the upper arms, thighs, and back. Hips tend to become wider, while the waist narrows.

At 17–18 years old, breasts are usually fully developed. Breasts can continue to grow up until the early 20s, though.

Males, stage by stage

One of the first changes in males during puberty is the scrotum enlarging and becoming darker. Once the scrotum and testes begin growing, the penis also starts to grow.

Males will start growing pubic hair at the base of the penis, which will then gradually cover a larger area around the genitals. As pubic hair grows, it becomes darker and coarser.

In the later stages of puberty, pubic hair may spread to the thighs and stomach. Males will also have hair growth under their arms, legs, and usually on their face and chest.

In the first stages of puberty, males may grow in height by about 5–6 cm. In later stages of puberty, this can increase to 7–8 cm and then 10 cm per year. Males will usually stop growing around 17 years old.

Height changes can happen in growth spurts, where teenagers may grow very quickly over several months. A period of slower growth may then follow. Males also become more muscular during puberty.

Hormonal changes during puberty can sometimes cause slight breast swelling in males. Breast swelling is a common and temporary stage of male puberty.

As the voice begins to deepen, males may find their voice "breaks." This means the voice may go through a period of switching between sounding deep and high before it becomes permanently deeper.

Males may start having erections as the body begins to produce sperm. Males may also have ejaculations while they sleep, which people may refer to as "wet dreams."

Possible complications

Some people may experience puberty later or earlier than usual. This can sometimes be a sign of an underlying medical condition, so people should see their doctor.

If people experience puberty early, a doctor may refer to this as precocious puberty.

In females, early puberty is the appearance of puberty signs and symptoms before the age of 8, such as:

  • ovulation and menstruation
  • underarm and pubic hair
  • breast development

For males, early puberty is the appearance of puberty signs and symptoms before the age of 9, such as:

  • a deepening voice
  • pubic and underarm hair
  • enlarged testicles and penis
  • facial hair
  • acne
  • sperm production

Early puberty may be a result of an underlying medical condition. Some causes of early puberty include:

  • an issue with the central nervous system
  • genetic syndrome
  • a family history of the condition
  • tumors or growths affecting either the ovaries, brain, pituitary gland, or adrenal glands
  • early release of puberty hormones with no known cause

Delayed puberty means there are no physical signs of puberty in females by the age of 13 or males by 14 years old.

Symptoms of delayed puberty in females include:

  • more than 4 years between the first signs of breast growth and their first period
  • no breast development by age 13 years
  • no menstruation by 14 to 16 years old

Symptoms of delayed puberty in males include:

  • no testicle enlargement by 14 years of age
  • longer than 4 years to reach the adult genital development stage
  • no pubic hair by age 15 years

If people have signs of delayed puberty, they may want to see their doctor. Causes of delayed puberty can include:

  • a family history of delayed puberty
  • chromosomal or genetic disorders
  • chronic illness
  • tumors affecting the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, a part of the brain that affects hormones

Parental advice

Kids go through many physical and emotional changes during puberty and may experience:

  • mood swings
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • low self-esteem
  • self-consciousness
  • aggression
  • body image issues

Both males and females may develop acne during puberty. This is because of their body changes and increases in hormone production. These developments can create excess oil, which contributes to the start of acne. Washing the face daily with a cleanser may help to keep acne under control.

During puberty, people also start to sweat more. Daily hygiene is essential and may help prevent body odor. Young people may want to start using deodorant.

Sometimes, certain body parts, such as hands, feet, arms, and legs, will grow more quickly than the rest of the body. This may cause temporary clumsiness and a slight lack of coordination.

Parents and caregivers may want to discuss these issues with their teenagers to ease any embarrassment or anxiety they may feel about their changing bodies.

Teenagers may start experiencing romantic or sexual feelings for people of the opposite or same sex. Some teenagers may also feel uncomfortable about their assigned gender.

Talking through these issues with teenagers and giving them plenty of support can help them address any anxiety or confusing emotions they may be experiencing through puberty.

Advice from Planned Parenthood, which discusses how to talk through puberty with teenagers, may be helpful.


Although everyone will experience puberty slightly differently, particular physical changes occur that signal puberty. If people experience puberty symptoms a lot later or earlier than the standard stages, it may indicate an underlying medical condition, and people should see their doctor.

Some individuals may feel anxious or embarrassed about the changes to their bodies during puberty. Parents and caregivers may find that discussing the stages of puberty with their preteen or teenager might help to ease their worries.

Original Article