Did you know penis pumps are lowkey super popular? And it’s not just for the main reason they were invented (erectile dysfunction *sad face*). People love ‘em! They share that special status with the vibrator, in that they were invented for medical use but eventually became a sex toy as well. Unlike the vibrator which now lives fully in the world of pleasure, penis pumps are still considered medical devices and a doctor can even prescribe one, as well as being available pretty much anywhere sex toys are sold. Whether you’re taking a penis pump home for help or for exploration, let’s just take a minute to appreciate the duality of this undercover awesome product.


  1. What is a Penis Pump?
  2. How Does a Penis Pump Work?
  3. A History of the Penis Pump
  4. How to Choose a Penis Pump
  5. How to Use a Penis Pump

What is a Penis Pump?

Other common names for the penis pump are vacuum pump or vacuum erection pump.

The base model consists of a tube that fits over the penis, a seal or ring that fits tight around the base of the penis, and a hand-powered vacuum that removes the air from the tube, causing blood to rush into the blood vessels of the penis, engorging it and triggering an erection. There are upgraded models that have battery-powered vacuums (look Ma! No hands!), and the latest in pump technology is called the hydro pump, which uses a combination of water and air. They are designed to be easy to use and have a very low chance of causing damage or side effects.


How Does a Penis Pump Work?

As mentioned above, penis pumps are mainly meant to help with erectile dysfunction (ED), which is a chronic difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. They can also be used to treat things like Peyronie's Disease or after procedures like prostate surgery. Unlike medications that treat ED, penis pumps have no side effects and so are generally considered to be a safer option. They are non-invasive as compared to penile implants and less expensive than both implants and medications.

On the flip side, you don’t have to have ED to use a penis pump. Pumps can be good for building up confidence around penis size by temporarily enlarging it. Using a pump can add up to an inch in length and girth, and can help an erection to feel harder and firmer. How long the benefits of the pump last depend on the individual, but the average is about 30 minutes when paired with the use of a cock ring. Having a penis pump on hand can also be helpful for those who occasionally struggle with getting an erection after drinking (i.e. “whiskey dick”). Even if you aren’t concerned with the regular size of your erection and don’t have an issue summoning one, experiencing a harder, girthier version of it probably feels awesome.

Rechargeable Penis Pump ($109)

A History of the Penis Pump

As you probably never thought about even once in your entire life, there have always been penises that needed a little help in the hard-on department. An American doctor, John King, invented the first version of the penis pump sometime in the 1870’s and recorded using it to treat male patients suffering from “erectile insufficiency” in his book, The American Physician.

40+ years later, a patent for the vacuum device that would become the modern design of the penis pump was filed by Dr. Otto Lederer. Since they were originally a medical device, penis pumps didn’t really get much action until the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. Since then, technology advancements have made the penis pump into the popular product it is today, thought the basics of it remain unchanged.

How to Choose a Penis Pump

Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right version of the penis pump for you.

  • Consider a model with a vacuum limiter to keep the pressure at a safe level during pumping.
  • Find the right size ring so the seal around your penis works properly. It should be tight enough to work, but not uncomfortable.
  • A pressure gauge is helpful as well, but not a must-have.
  • Select a pump for the length of your anatomy. Trans Masc Pumps can be used on individuals with anatomy under 3".

Lovers Power Starter Pump ($24)

How to Use a Penis Pump

  1. Place your penis in the tube, using a small amount of lubricant for comfort. Push back against groin to ensure tight seal.
  2. Turn on the pump (battery) or use the hand-pump to begin removing air from the tube. The change in air pressure will create a pulling sensation as the vacuum pulls blood into the penis. Pump slowly until desired pressure is reached.
  3. Remove the tube and engage in sexual activity. Use a cock ring to help maintain erection. (Using a cock ring limits the blood flowing out of your penis which can cause damage if worn too tightly or too long. Don’t leave a cock ring longer than 30 minutes). For best results, shave pubic hair before using a pump to create a better seal.

Be careful not to pump too much air out of the tube as that can cause injury to your penis. While pumping might be a little awkward to do in front of a partner at first, don’t let that deter you from trying one in a similar way you would try any other sex toy. You can use a penis pump before foreplay or right before intercourse. Pumps are popular for a reason and continuing to normalize their use is something we fully support at Lovers!

Ready to shop for your very own penis pump? We got you. Check out our assortment of great pumps now on

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Further Readings

The Complete Guide to Penis Pumps: TooTimid
My Boyfriend Uses a Penis Pump: The Cut
A Concise History of Penis Pumps: Size Development