Published in the FTM Newsletter #41, June 98
Updated 1/14/00

Trans Sexuality: GONNA PUMP YOU UP!

By Michael M. Hernandez

I have changed the title of this column for two reasons. It was pointed out that the phrase "New Man" by its terms excluded those who had spent some time in the "community" and had already addressed "new comer" issues as well as those members of the community who identify as other than man or male. Exclusion was never my strong suit. Hopefully, the new title will instil the sense of inclusion and openness that I originally envisioned. Now, on with the show.

The last article dealt with masturbation. This one deals with the penis pump. Penile enlargement via the use of a vacuum pump is called hyperemiation and is being used to treat erectile dysfunction. Why are we even discussing this, you may ask? Well the answer is because (1) it adds variety to masturbation and (2) it appears to work for some people.


One theory as to how the pump works is that the vacuum causes the suspensory ligament to stretch. That increased pliability results in the appearance of greater length. Another theory is that the pump works in a fashion similar to muscular development. Blood enters the area and engorges the tissue. The increased blood flow results in better circulation which in turn results in greater erection (yes, we do get erections).

Don't get too excited, you aren't going to grow 4" or anything like that fantasy number that may be floating around your grey matter. Mileage varies from user to user. No one can guarantee that it will work or that your money will be well
spent. In fact, improper usage can do more harm than good. Ligaments are capable of being torn, tissue can be bruised or abraded. Before deciding whether to make an investment in one of these products there are a variety of factors that you should analyze.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not exactly buying into that phallocentric size queen mentality, but I do believe that just about anything (within reason and the law) that increases pleasure is worth trying. If the added perk is the potential for growth, how could I pass it up? I, on my own, would never in a million years have thought to use a dick enlargement device. Imagine my surprise when someone mentioned that this was a possibility. I was instantaneously possessed by the idea. The intrigue did not take long to culminate in action. Within a couple of days I had my own pump. The potential for growth and the variance in masturbation was enough of a selling point for me.

If you have had phalloplasty or metaoidioplasty, my suggestion is that you either pass or consult your physician. There is really no telling what effect pumping could have on the scar tissue. Impatience and an overzealous nature are also indicators that this activity may not be for you as the likelihood for overusage and injury increase. If you have limited spending cash, are saving up for surgery, or are looking for guarantees, you may want to reconsider spending your money.

Growth will depend on how consistent you use the pump, what you had to start with, and genetics don't hurt any either. I polled the mailing lists on the internet and received only one response, so there are basically no figures available as to what you can reasonably expect. I know that I gained a 1/2" in diameter and near approximately 3/4" in length before becoming rather lazy about pumping. These changes have been permanent and in my eyes worth the $80.00 that I spent.


Discussion of the clitoris in this section refers to tissue prior to enlargement caused by androgen usage. Both the clitoris and the penis contain two corpora cavernosa composed of erectile tissue. The glans or head of the clitoris contains tissue similar to the corpus spongiosum located in the glans of the penis. Also like the penis, there is a suspensory ligament which holds the clitoris in place.

The Kinsey Institute New Report On Sex states:

"[W]e all start out with gonads that have a potential to become either testicles or ovaries, and two sets of ducts that can develop into either the male or female reproductive tract, depending on the hormones present during fetal development. It is the hormones produced by the gonads that determine the way in which internal reproductive organs and external genitals will develop."

During sexual arousal, the primary tissues affected in the penis are the corpora cavernosa and the corpus spongiosum. These tissues become engorged with blood. It is no different for clitoral tissue. Testosterone causes this clitoral tissue to enlarge and become what Jake Hale has called "FTM specific erectile tissue". The most significant results tend to be noticed within the first year, although there have been reports of growth after that time period. Pumping is a relatively new practice for FTMs. Therefore, if it works for non-trans men, it should work for us as well.


The pump is generally comprised of two components, the vacuum device itself and the cylindrical tubes [cylinder] in which the erectile tissue is placed. The cylinder is composed of plexiglass or an industrial grade clear cast acrylic and contains a plastic coupler that allows it to be connected to the pump via a long rubber tube. There are a number of pump manufacturers, but there two basic types, manual and electrical. For purposes of this article, we will limit ourselves to the manual pumps. The electrical devices tend to be expensive ($300+) and frankly, scare the hell out of me.

There are two types of manual pumps, those that can be operated single-handedly and those that require two hands to operate. The two handed pump is made of brass and has rubber seals. It looks like a bicycle pump only wider. The single-handed pump is plastic and looks like a brake line bleeder. I recommend the plastic unit because in addition to the convenience of using one hand (which allows you a free hand to situate the cylinder), it has a trigger which allows you to relieve the pressure if you over-pump. The double handed pump requires that you twist the plastic end of the cylinder to release the vacuum pressure. The pumps are actually somewhat reasonably priced running from $30.00 to $35.00 and are sold separately from the cylinders.

There are a variety of cylinders that can be purchased for use with the pump. There are nipple cylinders, foreskin stretchers, and the penis cylinders. The nipple cylinders have flush ends and tend to come in smaller diameters and lengths. The foreskin stretchers have flared ends, are slightly larger and come in intermediate diameters. The penis cylinders also have either flush or rounded ends and come in a variety of diameters. The concern is not so much with diameter, but with the fact that length adds weight and can break the seal. Since we have less tissue to deal with to compensate for the added weight, using a cylinder designed for a penis may prove frustrating.

The next step is to determine what size cylinder you will need. Purchasing a cylinder with too large a diameter will prevent you from creating a seal which basically means that you will not be able to establish the vacuum that is needed. The most reliable way to determine what cylinder size will be right for you is to purchase a Circle Master Template at an art supply or drafting store. The cost should be under $5.00. One such product is manufactured by Koh-I-Noor [Template No. 851204]. You may wish to measure yourself in a flaccid state as well as while erect.

Once you know what size diameter you are in your erect state, you are prepared to purchase a cylinder. Depending on your measurement, you may want to start out with the nipple cylinder. Nipple cylinders start rather small and are as large as 1" in diameter. The foreskin stretcher starts at 1" in diameter and gets slightly larger from there. If you have been fortunate enough to surpass the largest foreskin stretcher, the next step would be the penis cylinders. Special orders are available through

If you are within the first year of testosterone, especially within the first four months, buy larger. The changes are the most pronounced during that period of time. If you've reached a plateau then it's up to you. Please note that there most vendors have "NO RETURN" policies on the cylinders. This means, you bought it, you keep it. Check before you buy. Measuring The largest nipple cylinder is 1" in diameter. The smallest foreskin stretcher is 1" in diameter. If you are within the first year of testosterone, especially within the first four months, buy larger. The changes are the most pronounced during that period of time. If you've reached a plateau then it's up to you. Please note that there most vendors have "NO RETURN" policies on the cylinders. This means, you bought it, you keep it. Check before you buy.

Nipple cylinders are most often sold in sets, but not always, and prices range from $50-55. You may need to buddy up to buy the nipple attachments for maximum cost savings. The largest nipple cylinders which are sold are 1" in diameter and 3- 4" long. This will more than likely be your starting or intermediate size if you have already started taking testosterone. If you have, no intention of doing so, Good Vibrations in San Francisco carries a clitoral enlarger and sells single cups in shorter sizes. Bigger is not better and in fact, if you purchase something too large, the weight on the end may interfere with your ability to maintain a seal. Again, too short or tight will pinch and be uncomfortable. Make sure that what you purchase is at least 1" in length or 2" if you are taking testosterone.

Once the largest nipple cylinder becomes too small, the next size graduation is the foreskin stretcher. It is similar to the nipple cups, but has a plexiglass ball which is removable. You really don't need the ball, but may want to keep it around as it makes a wonderful cat toy or may prove useful for those of you who enjoy the sexual company of men who are interested in stretching their foreskins.

The cost of cylinders ranges from $40.00 - $65.00 for the cups depending on size and whether sold singly or doubly. Don't be afraid to comparison shop. If you don't want to buy via mail order, you can go to one of the local sex or leather shops (usually the gay shops) and will more than likely be able to find this product locally. If you don't know how to find these stores check your local gay & lesbian yellow pages.


665 One # Short of Hell
8722 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 854-7276
$49.95 pump (one handed, plastic)
$55.00 Foreskin Stretcher and other cylinders
$60.00 nipple cylinders (pair)

Mercury Mail Order
4084 18th Street, Dept. CR
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-1188
$30.00 pump - (one handed, plastic)
$55.00 nipple cylinders - mail order $59.95 for a pair
$55-65 approx - foreskin stretcher

Jaguar Books
4057 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
$28.00 Pump
$58.00 pair of Nipples 3/4 or 1"
$58.00 Foreskin Stretcher large and small

Image Leather My recollection is that they only had the cylinders in
2199 Market Street Small (1 3/4) through Jumbo (2 3/4)
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-7551
$59.50 Pump

The Leatherman, Inc.
111 Christopher Street
New York, NY 10014-4222
Orders (800)243-5330
$55 .00 Pump
$25.00 Foreskin Stretcher large and small
$69.50 Nipple 3/4 or 1" =

Good Vibrations [Good Vibrations does not have the single handed pump,
1210 Valencia #BS but they do have smaller cylinders]
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 974-8890
(800) 289-8423 Orders Only
e-mail to
Web Page

Los Angeles Pump Distributing, LLC.
7985 Santa Monica Blvd Suite 25
West Hollywood, CA 90046-5112
Phone: (310) 289-7199 Fax: (310) 289-7199

Internet only:

Yet another vendor

Please note the prices listed above have more than likely changed since 1997.


Now that you know what to buy, how the heck do you use the thing? Connect the cylinder to the pump. Place enough mineral oil or some other lubricant to coat the inside of the cylinder. Always use lubricant to prevent abrasion. I tend to like the oil-based lubricants for this use since there is no penetration or latex involved. It is best to be sexually aroused before beginning to pump. You want blood flowing into the erectile tissue so as to enable you to form a seal. Place the cylinder on your erectile tissue. Once the cylinder is in place pump slowly and gradually until you feel pressure. If you feel pain, back off. An intense pinching sensation means that you either need to resituate the cylinder or it's time to move up in size. Remember, pain is an indicator that there is something wrong. If you feel pain, stop immediately and release some of the pressure. Here's where the one-handed pump comes in handy. If there is no pain, leave the cylinder on for so long as it feels comfortable, but do not exceed 5-10 minutes. You can expect to feel pressure or perhaps a very slight pinching sensation on the underside of your member. Release the pressure then rest for 5-10. Repeat once. As you get familiar with the device and the reaction of your body, you can work up to a second repetition. WARNING: Over-exuberance will result in injury.

The formation of a vacuum may be prevented if pubic hair gets in the way. One alternative is to use vaseline around the area of skin that comes in contact with the cylinder. That supposedly creates a seal. The other alternative is to shave.

Go slow and easy. Soreness is an indication that you need to take a break for a day or so. It is imperative that you listen to your body. When you are done pumping . . . well, I don't need to tell you how to scratch that itch.
After use, clean the cylinder with a liquid antibacterial soap and water. Do not use alcohol or alcohol based products as that tends to cause plexiglass and other acrylics to shatter. Happy pumping.

Please write and let me know how this has worked or not worked for you so that the information can be shared. Your identity will remain strictly confidential. Any questions, suggestions, or topics or requests for further information are greatly appreciated. Please write to Michael Hernandez at


© Copyright 2/1998
By Michael M. Hernandez
All Rights Reserved