(Men's Health does not endorse the use of any penis extension device without first consulting with a physician.)
I recently pored over the largest study of penis size to date, and if penis size was a dice game, it would appear that I’ve rolled a four. That means that while my schwanz is not nearly big enough to elicit a gasp, it’s not quite small enough to risk another roll of the dice, should that somehow be an option. In spite of being in the 62nd percentile at six inches in length, I periodically check in on any developments in the field of penis enlargement, usually after watching porn or listening to a friend liken the size of a recent conquest’s appendage to her forearm.
My most recent search revealed that there’s still only one non-surgical way that has scientific support: traction, aka a penis extender.* To the layman, it would seem to make sense. Traction, after all, is used to move teeth around, lengthen limbs, and decompress spines—and according to research, this same method of action can be applied to the penis and achieve results.
Two separate studies, one from 2009 and another from 2011, both found that volunteers who underwent this method saw on average length gain of two-thirds of an inch. Other heartening news: If you order within the next two hours and fourteen minutes, you can have a similar device to the one used in the study discretely delivered to your home two days from now for less than $28! But here's the rub: The gains noted by researchers entailed having their most prized appendage stretched like taffy for up to nine hours per day over a three-month period. Simply put, it’s going to take some motivation that the overwhelming majority of guys in the “normal” penis size range will find it hard to muster.
But there’s a population of guys who are motivated to go to such, ahem, lengths: men who have Peyronies disease. Peyronies develops when scar tissue forms inside the penis. It can cause the penis to bend over time, making erections painful and lead to erectile dysfunction. A few years ago, Mayo Clinic urologist Landon Trost found that Peyronies patients who used traction devices found them uncomfortable and that that said devices didn’t exert enough force. So he developed his own device from scratch. RestoreX.
I’d found RestoreX during my occasional, casual, but ongoing research into having a more sizeable knob. Via email, Trost told me that in a randomised trial, six Peyronies patients had seen length gains of between 1” and 1.75”, and only had to wear the thing for 30-90 minutes daily for three months. I immediately asked Trost what he would expect to happen if a guy without Peyronies gave it a whirl.
“I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that you’d see at least equivalent gains in men who don’t have a fibrosing condition such as Peyronie’s disease," he said, "but without data, I can’t say for sure.” He added that this use would be “off-label,” meaning that I'd by applying it in a manner for which it was neither developed nor approved.
But let’s bury the lede: Here’s an esteemed Mayo Clinic urologist telling me that by using the device he’d developed, I could end up with a penis that’s seven or possibly eight inches long three months down the road. Five business days and $650 later, the RestoreX had arrived at my home, and ten minutes after I’d signed for it, I was watching the handy quickstart video and strapping in.
To start, I had to measure my penis using the method demonstrated in the video. This entails getting your best erection then pushing the end of a ruler as hard as you can into your pubic bone and measuring its top side. It’s a little painful, but I found that by pushing it as deep into my body as I could, I was quarter inch longer than I thought.
Next I swaddled the head of my now 6.25” penis in a self-adherent wrap so that it wouldn’t be damaged by the clamp that would hold it in place. I then threaded through a plastic ring that sat flush against my pubic bone, closed the clamp and gingerly ratcheted up the tension.
Wearing the device wasn’t particularly uncomfortable, though taking it off at the end of my first stretching session imparted a sensation not unlike waking up with a numb arm—but on the head of your penis, which is far more disconcerting. As per the instructions, I slowly worked up to doing two 30-minute sessions per day, the first shortly after waking up and the second while watching TV in the evening.
As the days went on, I noticed that I was able to ratchet up the device much more than I had during my initial session. When flaccid and stretched in the device, I was now recording a length of over seven inches, though of course, having a penis that was long when flaccid and stretched was decidedly not why I was in the game. After a couple of weeks I started to suspect that my Johnson was casting a longer shadow, but I somehow managed to wait for another 14 days before measuring it. When I did, I found that it was a little over 6.85”. Admittedly, some of that new length was coming from the undue amount of downward force I was now putting on the ruler, but not all of it. Regardless, in just a month of use, my penis was significantly longer that it was at the start of my two-a-day regimen.
Interestingly, when I asked Trost where this extra length actually comes from, he told me that he couldn’t say for sure, as there wasn’t a great way to investigate it. “I think the device is probably pulling on those areas and pulling more of the penis outside the body,” he said. “I suspect over time, you actually get new growth, but the immediate gains are probably pulling parts of the penis which have become more internalised.”
Now, if someone had asked me what I’d pay for a significantly larger penis before I started the regimen, I might have offered a figure in the low five figures. If you’d asked me what I’d give, I might have thought that my pinky figure would have been a worthwhile trade. But after realizing that I’d made some certifiable initial gains in my first month, I found that I was skipping sessions here and there. Within a few weeks, the device was back in its box and stored under my bed, and I’ve subsequently lost the gains I made. Was using the RestoreX such a chore? Not at all. I wore it while answering morning emails and watching Netflix. I was simply unable to rediscover the motivation to use the device consistently.
I guess that part of my demotivation could be attributed to the fact that my girlfriend didn’t really care that I’d gone from the 62nd to the 88th percentile of penis length. That’s not to say that she didn’t agree that my penis had grown a little over the previous four weeks, but it didn’t increase her enjoyment of sex. In fact, she remarked that the extra length made the vigorous rear entry sex we both enjoyed sort of painful. So while my off-label use of the RestoreX was proof positive that I’d made my penis longer, its ultimate purpose was to make me feel quite a lot better about the hand I’d been dealt.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health