Sex talk
Speaking of Pumps

Simon Sheppard,

Surely the most frequently e-mailed question of all time is, "Wouldn't you like your penis to be bigger?" Well, wouldn't you?

One oft-prescribed route to a heftier rod is the penis pump. Sold in sex shops the world over, the gizmo consists of a plastic or acrylic cylinder, open on one end, a vacuum-producing pump clamped to the other. Stick in your dick, work the squeeze bulb or hand pump, or – most high-tech of all – flip an electric pump's switch, and bingo! Little Willie becomes Big Dick. Or so the sales pitch goes.

"I used a pump for months," says one size-conscious guy, "and yes, it did make my cock a little longer and quite a bit thicker. But my meat started looking really spongy and, well, unattractive. It took my dick weeks to return to something like normal."

Still, short-term swellings are sufficient for many men. And, says one often-engorged customer, "I enjoy watching my shaft swell up in the tube, and pumping is a pretty intense sensation, not like anything else I've felt. It sucks the jizz right out of me."

Not everyone is so impressed. "I found using a pump kind of painful," says one dissatisfied user, "rather than erotic. Guess I'm not much of a masochist. Or maybe I wasn't doing it right."

Pumping may be a dubious route to a bigger prick – there's no hard-and-fast evidence it enlarges organs on a permanent basis, although few pump-sellers would tell you that. But it does have real medical usefulness. Though prescription pills are usually used for impotence, in some cases of erectile dysfunction, especially due to circulatory problems, a pump is preferable. Vacuum yourself up a hard-on, put a restraining ring around its base to keep things stiff, and you're ready to roll.

It requires a physician's oversight, however. And, as one purveyor of sex toys says, "It's a safe bet that most of the men who buy my pumps don't have medical conditions, just self-image problems."

Not all pumps are created equal. Squeeze-bulb models are less likely to maintain suction than the hand-pump sort, and the hard, thin rims of some models can cause injury. Size matters: A too-large tube will make it tough to get suction. Insertable sleeves can help with the seal, though hairy guys might have to shave anyway. Upscale models with automatic vacuum-limiting valves are safer to use. And it should go without saying that makeshift substitutes like Mom's Hoover are so dangerous you might as well just throw your cock off a cliff.

Whichever pump a fellow uses, he has to take care. Over-enthusiastic pumping can burst blood vessels or cause blisters or ugly bruises, and too-high levels of suction can even cause serious, permanent damage. Use plenty of lube, go slow, pausing often, and make sure your nuts don't get sucked in. Some pump-promoters recommend half-hour sessions several times a week for optimum groin growth, but suctioning for no more than 10 or 15 minutes will lower the possibility of a dick-related disaster.

Like any toy, the penis pump isn't fun for everyone. And some of its claims are, um, over-inflated. But fellows with a fondness for nookie knick-knacks might well give the pump a shot. Just don't expect a between-the-legs monster to miraculously appear.

And easy does it – the shaft you save may be your own.

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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