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What Are Cock Rings?

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on December 16, 2020

Cock rings are rings that go around the penis and/or scrotum. They slow blood flow out of an erect penis and can help make erections harder and longer-lasting. Some may also have little vibrators to increase pleasure for you and your partner.

Cock rings are also known as penis rings, tension rings, and constriction rings. They may also be marketed as erectile dysfunction (ED) rings, but people without this condition may want to use them, too.

There are several different kinds:

Soft and stretchy rings. These are the most common and generally the cheapest rings available. They are circles of a soft material, often silicone. They’re easy to use and remove. It may take some trial and error to find the right fit.

Adjustable cock rings. These use lasso adjusters, velcro, or other fasteners to allow the wearer to adjust the fit as needed.

Vibrating cock rings. These have a small vibrator attached. The sensation may feel good for men, but these are generally designed to stimulate a woman’s clitoris during sex.

Solid cock rings. These rings are only for very experienced users. Even then, you may want to avoid them. There is a danger of penis strangulation with metal cock rings that fit poorly, get stuck, or are left on too long.

Why People Like Them

Cock rings make sex more intense and last longer. Specific benefits include:

  • A delayed and more intense orgasm
  • Boosted confidence in your erection and sexual performance
  • Help keeping an erection
  • Added sensation for you and your partner

Myths About Cock Rings

There are a few common misconceptions about cock rings:

They’re Only for Older Men with Erectile Dysfunction

Not at all. People with no medical issues use cock rings. They may want the erection to last longer, increase sensitivity, or add a new element such as vibration or texture for their partner.

They Can Be Used as Contraception

No. Cock rings cannot help you avoid pregnancy in any way.

They Hurt

When you use them correctly, cock rings should not cause pain. The new sensation may take some getting used to, but if it hurts, remove the ring right away. It may be a symptom of something else or simply an indication that you need a different size or style of ring. 

How to Try Cock Rings Safely

Pick a beginner-friendly ring, something soft, stretchy, and easy to remove. Use the least constrictive size that still stays on and helps maintain your erection.

Psychologist and sex expert Antonia Hall, in an interview with Cosmopol itan magazine, recommends putting the ring on while the penis is flaccid or only semi-erect. Use lubricant to make it easier to slide the ring on, and then continue stimulating the penis until it’s erect.

If you want to wear your ring over your testicles, Hall suggests sliding them in one at a time. Remember: the fit should be snug but not uncomfortable.

For Erectile Dysfunction

The best way to use a cock ring to help with ED will depend on your specific problem.

If you can get an erection but have trouble keeping it, you can try the cock ring by itself. If you struggle to become erect, you may want to use your ring with a penis pump.

After pulling blood into your penis with the pump, slip your ring around the base of your penis before you remove the pump. The erection should last long enough for sex. A little light bruising afterward is normal.

Safety Measures

Because cock rings restrict blood flow, it’s important not to wear one for longer than 20 minutes. Start by wearing one for just 5 minutes at a time to give yourself time to get used to the feeling. If you feel discomfort, take it off immediately.

If you’re using the cock ring as a sex aid for erectile dysfunction, make sure that you’ve talked to a doctor about your symptoms. There are many health conditions that can cause ED or make it worse, including heart disease, diabetes, alcohol problems, and mental health issues. It’s important to get help for those conditions and not use a sex toy to mask the symptoms. 

Also, consult a doctor before use if you are on blood-thinning medication or have a bleeding disorder.

Do not fall asleep while using the ring, and don’t use it while you’re impaired by drugs or alcohol. It could lead to potential injury. 

Allow at least 60 minutes between uses.

Care and Cleaning

Remember that sex toys can transmit STIs. You may also risk other kinds of infection if you don’t clean them properly.

For most toys, water and a mild dish soap or antibacterial hand soap should do the trick. If your device vibrates or otherwise uses power, you may not want to submerge it in water, but make sure you get it fully clean with soap and a damp cloth.

For further instructions, refer to the directions on your sex toy’s label. At the very least, it should list the material, which may require special care.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Cosmopolitan: “Can You Use Cock Rings for Stronger Orgasms?”

Food and Drug Administration: Center for Devices and Radiological Health: “Class II Special Controls Guidance Document: External Penile Rigidity Devices.”

Journal of Pharmacy: “Successful Removal of Metal Rings Causing Penile Strangulation.”

Mayo Clinic: “Erectile dysfunction: Nonoral treatments.”

Men’s Health: “How Penis Rings Can Help You Have Better Sex.”

Planned Parenthood: “Sex Toys.”

Self: “How to Clean Your Sex Toys So You Can Use Them Safely.”

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