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Exposing the Myth of ‘Male Enhancement’

Thinking about buying some medication or device that promises to increase the length and girth of your penis? Don’t waste your money! No such magical penile enhancement product is available anywhere.

Anxiety over penis size is rarely linked to reality, according to psychiatrist David Veale of King’s College London and author of a September 2013 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Furthermore, says Veale, men worry much more about size than women do, listing penis size along with height and weight as top body concerns. The men surveyed as part of Veale’s study showed that dissatisfaction with size is present in men of every age, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, with 30 percent dissatisfied with their size, 35 percent happy with their size, and the rest falling somewhere in between. Men who were older, who were bisexual, or gay were more likely to have anxiety over penis size. Why this is the case is speculative, but with older men it may have to do with overall anxiety over aging, and with gay and bisexual men it may have to do with more opportunities to compare their bodies with those of other men.

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of entrepreneurs ready to separate men anxious over body issues from their money, as anyone with an email account and a weak spam filter can attest. Offers for male enhancement products abound, and while some are obviously outlandish frauds, others manage to scrape together enough realism to convince men their “all natural” products really work, when they don’t.

Inside the Male Enhancement Industry

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has never approved a pill or device for penis enlargement. While some may argue that the FDA hasn’t approved a lot of other stuff that may be safe and effective, here’s what the eminently reputable Mayo Clinic says: “[N]o reputable scientific research endorses or supports any type of nonsurgical penis enlargement.” But that doesn’t stop people from marketing all sorts of questionable products, and one man, actor/comedian Patrick Moote, tried several of them.

Moote lived through the nightmare of proposing to his girlfriend at a UCLA basketball game, live on the Jumbotron, and having her react by running away. But it gets worse: later on his would-be fiancée told him one of the reasons for turning him down was that he wasn’t well-enough endowed. In a classic lemons/lemonade scenario, Moote made a documentary titled Unhung Hero, in which he tried a series of pills, exercises, and devices purported to enlarge penises, and briefly considered a scary injection treatment in Papua New Guinea (but ultimately didn’t go through with it).

Moote’s film alleges that the penis enlargement industry is worth $5 billion, which is 10 times bigger than the budget of the Red Cross. If anything, this figure is conservative because there is apparently no limit on greed directed at online consumers who are insecure about their bodies.

Why All the Insecurity?

In a word, “porn.” Gareth May of the United Kingdom’s Telegraph, interviewed penoplasty surgeon Roberto Viel, M.D, of the London Centre for Aesthetic Surgery about trends in plastic surgery for penis enlargement, who credits the growing accessibility of online porn as a primary driver of penis insecurity. Viel told him, “The psychological aspect between a man with a small penis and a man with a normal penis who feels small are very similar.”

Today’s generation of young adults has been able to consume porn videos online as easily as music videos, and the porn industry now has in addition to long-time female porn celebrities, a growing number of male porn stars who are now considered mainstream. When men get their ideas of sex in the real world from porn videos, misconceptions flourish, including the idea that enormous penises are somehow “normal” or “average.”

Legal Remedies for Fraud

Multiple purported penile enlargement schemes have been found to be fraudulent. 

In 2010, Biotab Nutraceuticals was ordered to pay a $6 million class action settlement over false marketing claims related to male enhancement product ExtenZe. In 2006, Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals faced a 112-count indictment over claims that its product Enzyte defrauded consumers. Owner and president Steven Warshak was found guilty on 93 counts of conspiracy and was sentenced to 25 years in prison and $93,000 in fines. The company had to forfeit $500 million and was ordered to only sell its product as an “herbal supplement.”

For men who take the bait and try penis enlargement products, the best result they can realistically hope for is a depleted bank account. At worst, they can ingest products that are dangerous. An article posted at Vice.com about male enhancement products found that some of these products contain high levels of lead, and links to a 2008 case reported in the New England Journal of Medicine where 150 men were sickened and four died from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) after taking male enhancement pills containing a diabetes drug called glyburide.

What Medical Professionals Say

While there are trained surgeons who perform cosmetic procedures on penises to make them longer, larger in diameter, or both, other products and procedures simply don’t work. Those stretching exercises that claim to increase length of the penis? Any results would by a Pyrrhic victory at best. Scientists say that if you actually could stretch and lengthen your penis, you would reduce erection strength and could tear blood vessels and cause nerve damage.

Terry Malloy, M.D., a urologist at Pennsylvania Hospital, goes a step further and says there’s no clinically significant reason for penis enlargement surgery, telling The Philadelphia Inquirer, “It’s the worst form of chicanery. They prey on emotionally vulnerable people, maybe guys who got kidded in high school. . . . Unlike Viagra, which cures impotence, there’s no medically sound reason to have this surgery, or to perform it.”

Patrick Moote, the spurned fiancé mentioned above, ultimately came to the healthy conclusion after his extensive research of the penis enlargement trade that, “If there are things you can’t fix, you don’t have the time or energy to put into them. You’ll still be insecure about it but don’t let it dictate your behavior and your personality and the way you interact with the world.”

Men who struggle with erectile dysfunction, however, have many proven options for treatment that are safe for the majority of them. Longtime online facilitator eDrugstore.com sells Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Staxyn and Stendra, as well as generic formulations of Viagra and Cialis. It dispenses these medications by prescription using licensed U.S. pharmacists. eDrugstore.com offers privacy, safety, convenience and is committed to the highest standards of online security. To learn more, visit its Erectile Dysfunction page.

Don Amerman has spent more than three decades in the business of writing and editing. During the last 15 years, his focus has been on freelance writing. For almost all of his writing, He has done all of his own research, both online and off, including telephone and face-to-face interviews where possible. Don Amerman on Google+