My microwave beeps three times to indicate that a tube sock filled with uncooked rice is sufficiently heated. I enter the kitchen apprehensively, first making sure my roommate has left for the day. Then I nudge the sock a couple times to check the temperature before draping it over my semi-erect penis for three to five minutes.
The “Rice Sock Technique” is the preferred warm-up of AJ “Big Al” Alfaro, my “Male Enhancement Coach” (i.e., dick enlargement tutor), who explicitly warns me NOT to skip this step. Some guys cut corners because they’re short on time, he explains, but warming up is essential when working out the penis because it prevents injuries and maximizes gains, as with any kind of exercise. I’m hoping to add an extra inch — to go from five and a half inches to six and a half inches, which Big Al assures me can be done in a matter of months so long as I follow his direction. We meet weekly via Skype to discuss my training regimen, and I receive occasional emails reminding me to update my training log. “The most difficult part of my job is getting men to comply with the Journal Progress Log,” he says sternly.
That “job” is founder and head trainer at meCoach (“Male Enhancement Coach”), a first-of-its kind personal training service providing one-on-one tutorials on “how to get the penis you want.” The program is made up of 30 different exercises with names like “The Slow Crank,” “The Leg Tuck Pull” and “Viking’s Kegel Squeeze,” all of which are designed to stretch and elongate your penis. Big Al has helped thousands of men like me increase hardness, improve stamina, reduce penis curvature, kick porn addiction and add length and girth to their penis — averaging an inch and an inch-and-a-half, respectively. The meCOACH basic plan costs $37.77 for a month, but I opt for a three-month premium plan for $257.77, which includes weekly progress reports and 1-on-1 coaching.
Big Al has been a pioneer in penis enlargement for going on two decades. The 44-year-old Miami native tells me he was a “thin, shy and bookish child” until age 14, when he began lifting weights and caught the self-improvement bug. After a five-year stint in the Army, he became a self-taught expert on nutrition, kinesiology and biomechanics. While researching a book on steroid-free natural bodybuilding, Big Al noticed the muscle mags were all filled with ads for penis enlargement pumps, pills and surgical procedures, so he developed a natural penis enlargement program as a free bonus for his bodybuilding course. “Surprisingly, nine out of ten weightlifters I spoke with were only interested in male enhancement,” he says.
So in 1997 he pivoted to the penis full-time, flexing his male enhancement chops by answering questions in web forums, Usenet groups and AOL chat rooms. Whatever he didn’t know, he learned, combing medical journals and consulting urologists to base his methodology on sound research. He was frustrated, though, by a dearth of information on natural, exercise-based male enhancement training and says the majority of online communities at the turn of the millenium were only focused on pumping. (Both jelqing and penis pumping force blood to the penis but do so differently. Imagine a tube of toothpaste: Starting at the bottom and squeezing the toothpaste out is jelqing; sucking the toothpaste out is pumping.)
“I’ve seen a lot of shifts over the years,” Big Al says after explaining a reverse kegel called the DLD Blaster. “When I first started, most guys were just looking for raw size — length and girth.” As time has passed, though, he’s given much more attention to things like erection quality, sexual confidence and addiction to porn. In fact, these days, four out of five of Big Al’s clients are self-diagnosed porn addicts.
“Big Al and I are kind of the kings of the male-enhancements space,” explains Michael Salvini (aka “Double Long Daddy”), the namesake of the aforementioned DLD Blaster reverse kegel and founder of the natural penis enlargement website MattersofSize.com. (The $159.95 “Maximum Gains Package” includes a lifetime membership to MoS forums; “the World’s First and Only Penis Enlargement DVD”; MoS Titan Pills “to intensify your workout by 200%”; and a patented stretching tool “to get the most intense stretch possible out of every workout.”) “We’ve been around since the beginning, and there’s really nobody else out there who survived.”
Salvini moonlights as a pastor and views Matters of Size as a Christian brotherhood — it’s tribal, he says. Men call each other “brother,” which makes it feel like a family rather than a business. The most common issue, he says, is men who were mocked about the size of their dick. “That’s 80 percent of it,” he says. “A lot of women are vindictive and know exactly what to shoot for to hurt a man. If you have a six-inch dick, she’s gonna say it’s eight inches and stroke your ego when she falls in love with you. But when the relationship ends and she suddenly hates you, she’ll deduct two inches and go around saying you have a four-inch nubby cock. That’s just the way it is.”
As I recently learned from Missouri State sociology professor Alicia M. Walker, men’s obsession with the diminutive size of their dicks can be debilitating. She’d spoken to numerous men who haven’t been to the doctor for a physical in a decade because they didn’t want to be naked in front of their doctor. Others had never approached someone for a romantic relationship because they didn’t believe anyone would be interested in them because of their penis size.
In terms of what constitutes small, big and average, a 2007 study from British urologists Kevan Wylie and Ian Eardley revealed that the average erect penis is 5.5 inches in length and 4.7 inches in girth. According to Wylie and Eardley, most men who suffer from small penis syndrome (i.e., the anxiety of thinking their penis is too small even though it isn’t) have nowhere close to what scientists define as a micropenis. Not to mention, according to one of the studies cited, 85 percent of women surveyed said they were satisfied with their partner’s genitals, whereas only 55 percent of men were happy with what nature had given them. In other words, almost half of the men surveyed would like to have a bigger dick.
Ben Clark was introduced to Big Al and the Double Long Daddy in the late 1990s after seeing Boogie Nights. Mark Wahlberg’s character is based on John Holmes, perhaps the biggest-dicked porn star of all time. Clark had never thought about the size of his penis — or how he measured up against other guys — but he became a major size queen after watching Wahlberg unfurl his monster cock in the film. He poked around on Lycos, a pre-Google search engine, which turned up a bunch of penis-enlargement spam links. One was a forum administered by Big Al who explained he’d developed a series of exercises proven to add significant length. “I guess you can say that changed everything for me,” Clark says with a laugh. “Big Al has always been a positive influence and inspiration for this industry. I’ve always known him to be honest about what he says and does.”
Clark was so inspired that he invented a penis weight-hanging device called the Malehanger, which attaches up to 80 pounds of weight to a flaccid dick for 20 minutes at a time. (It’s best to restore circulation after 15 to 20 minutes, he says.) Clark typically advises customers to use Malehanger instead of jelqing and stretching, since he claims the more focused you are on one type of training, the better results you’ll get.
Big Al makes similar claims. “Why would anyone want or need hundreds of exercises?” he wonders aloud. “If you want to really enlarge and strengthen your penis, you need exercises planned out in easy-to-follow routines that have been proven to work.”
All consultations with Big Al are done remotely via Skype, which he conducts from his home office in Central Florida (out of earshot of his wife and young kids). His wife is aware of what he does and is totally cool with it, so long as he’s helping people. Which he appears to be doing from the looks of dozens of seemingly legit testimonials on PEGym, a sexual improvement site for men. Dear Ambellina, for example, says he made some “good and easy newbie gains” before hitting a wall, but Big Al kept him motivated to reach his desired length of 7.5 inches. “A huge part of penis enlargement is mental discipline,” Ambellina explains. “A coaching service like Big Al’s is invaluable because you’re much more likely to follow through when a passionate professional is monitoring your progress and pushing you to achieve.”
I found that passionate professionalism a bit unnerving to be honest, but then again, I’ve never had weekly strategy sessions about my dick with a stranger. Like, how do you respond to a statement like this before lunch: “Be very careful not to grip the glans during your exercises, Brian. If you need to use some talcum powder to enhance your grip, that would be fine. Remember to update your log.”
Since I’m more interested in length over girth gains, after warming up with the rice sock, Big Al assigns 100 reps of the “Side-to-Side Stretch.” In a standing position, I grab my flaccid penis right below the head (avoiding the glans) and pull down. Maintaining that tension, I proceed to pull it left and right, like a ticking grandfather cock. The goal is to eventually reach 2,000 reps, but after 100, my dick is sufficiently fatigued.
The physiological goal of Big Al’s program is to expand the spongy bodies of the penis — known as the corpora cavernosa and the corpus spongiosum — while simultaneously stretching the tunica that holds those spongy bodies and spreading the suspensory ligaments that anchor the penis to the pubis. Cell walls grow and expand with each exercise session, Big Al tells me, and the compound effect over time is increased length. “One-third to one-half of the entire length of the penile body is hidden behind the pubis,” he notes. “Lengthening exercises like the Side-to-Side Stretch permanently expand these ligaments, allowing more of the inner penis to be exposed, and thereby, lengthening the measurable portion of the penis.”
Admittedly, most everything Big Al teaches can be found in various pockets of the internet, he just packages them in a program that would be difficult to replicate on your own. Like a trainer at a gym, most of Big Al’s value comes from his knowledge, access and willingness to hold clients accountable. Less valuable is his nonexistent medical expertise. “I have no formal medical training,” he admits. “But I’ve studied many journals.” And Wikipedia pages like this one, which he says includes “sound scientific principles” that informs the majority of meCoach’s enlargement methodology.
“There are at least six major complications with penile jelqing and stretching that have been documented in the medical literature,” explains urologist James Elist, inventor of the only FDA-approved penis enlargement implant on the market. Unsurprisingly then, he’s not a fan of the techniques Big Al et al employ. “It may stretch the penis for awhile, but as soon as you let it go, it’s going to go back. So in the long-term, I don’t think it has any effect, but it does have major major side effects.” For example, he says, stretching penile skin continuously forms thick scar tissue around the penis like a condom under the skin, limiting how much it can expand. You can also permanently damage nerves, he adds, creating small tears in the penis that cause numbness and internal bleeding.
“I had a patient last week who was using a vacuum to masturbate and half of his penis turned black after iron absorbed into the skin. Unfortunately you can’t do anything but replace the skin.” As for the legions of men who’ve reported significant gains via stretching and jelqing, Elist rolls his eyes. “It’s just temporary. As soon as they stop, in a matter of few months, it will go back. There’s no doubt about that.”
“I hate to say it, but I think Elist is wrong,” counters male sexuality educator Paul Nelson, who wonders if Elist is confused with penis pumps, because Nelson says gains with penile extenders are absolutely permanent. There may be some retraction if you’re using it every day and suddenly stop, but most of it, he promises you’ll retain. Nelson agrees that jelqing could be dangerous, though, particularly for guys who believe that “some is good and more is better” and jelq too hard. “He may finish a jelqing session and think, That was good, let me do it again harder. And a little bit more next time. The next thing he knows, he’s got snapped nerves, torn tunicas and all kinds of devastating injuries.”
Thankfully, I’ve avoided the emergency room. After six weeks of daily rice socks and side-side-stretching, my penis has, in fact, lengthened. I’m embarrassed to admit how satisfying it felt to notch six inches on my ruler. And I’m confident those increases would continue if I stuck with Big Al, but I think I’ll stop here. After all, as Nelson explains, the average penis is 5.16 inches, so at just over 6, I’m already in the 70th percentile. “You’re an inch bigger than average and thick,” he says. “Holy shit, what more do you want?”
The answer is definitely not “a more devoted male enhancement coach.” Big Al’s unceasing commitment to his students is reminiscent of Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society. In fact, I just received another email. “Hi, checking up to see how your training is coming along. I’ve noted no new postings to your journal? Al.”