What is a penis pump and why are they so popular? According to Cosmopolitan Magazine, this toy does exactly what it sounds like: it pumps the penis!

A penis pump “surrounds the penis in a cylinder and allows you to pump out the air, creating a vacuum,” Cosmo explains. “This engorges the penis, resulting in increased sensitivity and temporary penis enlargement.”

Users report across the board that penis pumps really do enlarge an erection; however, they most likely will not enlarge the penis itself.

“If you’re looking for help getting erections – then yes, they work, and fast,” shares Cosmo. “If you’re looking to increase sensitivity and enjoy the visual of it growing, then you’re definitely going to be satisfied. However, a penis pump is not going to give you a bigger erection, contrary to popular belief. There are varied reviews out there but there’s no evidence to back up these claims.”

Dick Baker, a sex toy influencer, claims, “I noticed once I’d been pumping for a month or so that flaccid my penis had increased in length and girth by a small amount.”

If that were indisputable, we think a lot more people would be using penis pumps!

Rather, penis pumps were invented as a cost-effective, non-invasive alternative to medication to help people suffering from erectile disfunction.

“A penis pump uses negative pressure to suction blood into the blood vessels around your penis,” explains Zachary Zane, Cosmo columnist and author of Boyslut. “This can result in a firm erection, which is particularly helpful for those who struggle to maintain an erection during sex.”

This toy is most commonly used in solo play and masturbation, but it can also make for a great couples toy, especially in dominant/submissive BDSM play.

Adult performer James Bennett shares: “there’s also a kinky-fetish-play feel about them because when your dick is in it you really want to touch it, but it’s in the chamber so it’s impossible.”

To use a penis pump, Cosmo recommends: use lubricant, read the instructions, pump it slow, listen to your body and release!

All bodies are different, but most people tend to get their erection between 30 seconds and three minutes, according to Cosmo. Once you’re erect, you can stop pumping. To finish, hold the base of your penis as you press the penis pump’s release valve.

“This will stop suction and enable you to remove the tube,” explains Cosmo. “To maintain the developed size, slide a cock ring around the base of your penis.”

Although penis pumps are safe to use, there are risks, as with anything.

“This includes blood clots and scarring,” explains Zane, “but this is rare and only tends to happen with improper use.” Zane points to a 1989 study which found that not a single user in a study of 1,500 people reported any serious adverse effects.

Read more of Cosmopolitan’s tips for penis pumps and get their full list of recommendations here.

Featured photo is of Pipedream Products’ Pump Worx Max Boost penis pump.