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?
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.
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.
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.
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:
- chronic illness, such as kidney failure
- heavy alcohol use
- certain medications, such as antidepressants
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.