Penis Pumps and How to Use It


Let’s talk about penis pumps

The question I get asked most is: Are they useful?

In a word “Yes” but only for some purposes.

As a matter of interest, the most googled searched topic worldwide about penises is “penis length”. So it’s not surprising that many companies will advertise the use of a penis pump to make penises longer and increase girt. Don’t get sucked (pun intended) into this as it is not true. 


Perhaps you have heard of Growers and Showers?

For those of you who haven’t, a Grower is a term used to refer to a man whose penis resides back in the pelvis and grows substantially when erect, whilst the Showers look impressive when flaccid but usually only get larger in diameter when hard and not lengthen. The exception to this is post-prostate removal surgery as will be discussed below.

Vacuum penis pumps have been commercially available since 1985 and consist of a clear plastic cylinder and a hand or battery-operated pump. These can be used with air or water. They have been often considered a gimmick but are now being used increasingly because they are cheap, non-invasive, and an easy way to exercise the penis. For some couples, it is a useful device to keep the penis engorged for sexual intercourse or help maintain an erection.

Studies suggest that early usage of this device decreases the loss of stretched penile length after removal of prostate and increases the chance of early erectile recovery sufficient for vaginal intercourse. (Wang R. Penile rehabilitation after radical prostatectomy: where do we stand and where are we going? J Sex Med. 2007;4(4 Pt 2):1085-1097.)

Vacuum Pumps or Penis Pumps in Erectile Rehabilitation

Vacuum pumps or penis pumps or penis vacuum are mechanical devices that draw blood to the penis.

With regular use, you could consider it as:

  • physiotherapy for the penis
  • taking your penis to the gym”; and,
  • it can also be used to get an erection for intercourse.

If you are planning to use a vacuum pump for your penis, we would encourage you to purchase a pump made from a reputable manufacturer, see following blog on different types of pumps.

During prostate removal surgery, the urethra is drawn into the pelvis and sutured to the bladder, so all patients report a degree of shortening, approximately 1cm.

How to use penis pumps after prostate removal

The penis pump is useful to preserve the penile length. Imagine that the prostate is like a ball of varying sizes depending on the man’s physiology, this ball pushes the penis to the outside of the body but when removed there is a void which the penis can retreat into. Thus, the penis looks like it has shrunk. However, in the early days post-surgery, it is just hiding like a turtle retracting its head. Using a pump promotes your old friend getting back out in front and helps prevents long term shrinkage and atrophy.

The best time to start using the vacuum pump is four weeks post-operatively. You can use the pump as an exercise minimum of 3 days a week. If you read about this on the net, you find lots of different regimes. However, the one I find most useful and acceptable to patients is this:

  • Use it to engorge the penis for 30 -60 seconds, three times in one session. This whole procedure should take between 5 and 10 mins. We suggest patients start the pump at 4 – 8 weeks. If perineal pain occurs, then it is useful to wait another week.

Urine Leakage is very common with the pump. Void before using. For rehabilitation, we recommend a minimum of three times a week. Pump the pump until the penis lifts (approximately 80% your usual erection), keep it there for 30 seconds and then release the vacuum. Repeat this process 3-5 times.

Make sure you use “water soluble lubricant.

How to use vacuum pumps during sex

Personally, I’m not a fan of pumps and cock rings for use during sex because of a few reasons.

  1. The first being when a penis is constricted by a ring it doesn’t get much oxygenated blood so it becomes dusty blue in colour and cool to touch.
  2. The other problem is it hinges at the base which a normal erection doesn’t.
  3. Finally, it is fiddly to get all the bits in alignment so you may need an extra pair of hands which can either be a fun thing to involve your partner in or a passion killer.

“That said I do have patients who really like using them so give it a go.” 

Each manufacturer will include instructions for use with the pump, and in the case of some producers, an educational DVD is also available. The flaccid penis is placed in the cylinder and an air-tight seal is obtained with lubricating gel. A partial vacuum is created by pumping air out from inside the cylinder.

The penis then becomes filled with blood, and when hard enough for intercourse, a plastic ring is slipped from the end of the cylinder and around the base of the penis. This traps blood in the penis and the erection can be safely maintained for up to 30 minutes. Some people will use two constriction rings to obtain a stronger and better erection. It usually takes about 3 mins of suction to get a usable erection.

There are various rings available, most pumps come with one. A good ring that can be used is a Stud Lasso and can be purchased in adult shops or you can buy one in our shop.

Trouble shooting penis pumps

The most common problem I see with pumps is difficulty getting a good seal. This is usually fixed by using a good quality lube (as seen on our website) or trimming the pubic hair. Shaving also helps but can be really itchy when it grows back and a short crop will achieve the same result. It has the added bonus of making your wood look bigger through the trees!

I have had quite a few men describe the eye watering experience of sucking their testicles into the pump. If this happens don’t worry just turn it off, release the pressure and extricate the testes and start again. This is usually caused by too much pumping.

Prior to the return of urinary control after surgery, securing an adequate seal with a vacuum pump can be tricky. In addition, urinary leakage can increase during use of the pump.

However, there are very few issues with using the pump overall and aside from bruising, no serious complications have been reported with reputable brands.

Don’t use it for more than 30 minutes, as it can become uncomfortable and do damage.

If you have questions about pumps or have other concerns, feel free to book an appointment with me here.

You can also listen and subscribe to our Penis Project podcast tackling real-life experiences related to men’s sexual health.


What we Do

Check our Highly Recommended Penis Pumps

Excellent for penile rehabilitation post prostate cancer treatment. This product is registered as medical device in England and comes with 3 year warranty.

Vacuum constriction devices help men achieve and sustain an erection by creating a vacuum around the penis so that blood flows through it, enlarging it.