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Cock Rings: What They Are, How to Use & More

A cock ring, also known as a penis ring or constriction ring, is a type of ring that’s worn around the base of the penis.

Cock rings are used for a variety of purposes, including to create a harder erection, to increase the total amount of time an erection lasts or to make the penis larger during sex. They’re sold in a range of styles and are made from several materials, including silicone and metal. 

While there isn’t much scientific research behind the benefits of cock rings, many people swear by them for sexual performance and pleasure.

Below, we’ve provided more information about what cock rings are, how they work and the key benefits they may offer for sexual performance pleasure. We’ve also talked about how you can use a cock ring safely, from limiting your total use to some simple hygiene tips. 

Finally, we’ve shared several alternatives to cock rings that you may want to consider if you use a cock ring for harder erections or to treat erectile dysfunction. 

What Is a Cock Ring?

As mentioned above, a cock ring is a ring-shaped device that’s typically worn around the base of your penis. 

Cock rings can range from simple to quite complex in design. Some are little more than a soft silicone ring that’s designed to fit around the base of the penis, while others may incorporate a variety of pleasure-enhancing devices, such as butt plugs, dildos and harnesses.

You can buy cock rings in a large range of materials, from silicone and rubber to various types of metal. They’re available in a variety of sizes to provide a comfortable but effective fit around your penis. 

How Cock Rings Work

Cock rings work by applying pressure to the area near the base of your penis. This slows down the flow of blood out of the penis, which may help you to maintain an erection and stay hard for longer during sexual activity.

Anecdotally, some people claim that cock rings can enhance the pleasure of sex by prolonging  sensation and providing more powerful orgasms. However, research on these potential effects of cock rings is very limited.

Possible Benefits of Cock Rings

Like many other sex toys and devices, many of the purported benefits of cock rings are based more on anecdotal evidence rather than real scientific research. Possible benefits of cock rings include:

  • A reduced risk of erectile dysfunction. Although there’s no research on cock rings specifically, constriction rings are sometimes used with vacuum erectile devices as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.

    Men who use cock rings often claim that they notice stronger erections and have less difficulty staying hard during sex.

  • Improved sexual sensation. Many people claim that cock rings increase the pleasure of sex. Some cock rings feature vibration, nubs and other features designed to provide enhanced pleasure for one or both partners. 

Although some men claim that using a cock ring helps to improve sexual stamina and prevent premature ejaculation, there’s no reputable scientific evidence to prove this. 

In fact, one study on 42 men with premature ejaculation found that constriction rings had no significant impact on time to ejaculation.

How to Use a Cock Ring Safely

Cock rings are generally safe when used as advised. However, there are several safety risks associated with cock rings that you should be aware of if you’re considering using a cock ring during sex. To use a cock ring safely, make sure that you follow the advice below.

Limit Use to 20 Minutes at a Time

First, cock rings can be dangerous when used for too long. Cock rings work by reducing blood flow out of your penis. If a cock ring is left on your penis for too long, it may potentially damage the tissue and cause injury to your penis.

Although uncommon, there are reports in medical literature of people leaving cock rings on for too long and needing medical assistance to remove them.

If you use a cock ring, make sure that you use it for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time. Take your cock ring off as soon as you can after sex to make sure you don’t fall asleep while it’s still on your penis. 

If you experience any discomfort, tightness or physical pain during sex, take your cock ring off right away. If you can’t remove your cock ring, seek emergency medical assistance as soon as possible. 

Choose a Cock Ring That Fits You

Cock rings are available in a variety of sizes. It’s important to choose a cock ring that fits your penis well. A cock ring that’s overly tight may cause your penis to feel numb during sex, while an overly loose cock ring may not be fully effective. 

When you’re comparing cock rings, check the diameter and choose a ring that’s a good fit for your penis. Start with a cock ring made from a flexible material — a topic we’ve talked about in more detail below. 

Start With a Silicone Cock Ring

Cock rings can be made from numerous different materials, including silicone, neoprene, rubber and metals such as steel and aluminum.

If you’re purchasing a cock ring for the first time, it’s best to choose one that’s produced from a flexible material such as silicone. These tend to be easier to fit on your penis, easier to remove and less likely to become stuck on your penis during or after sex. 

If you’re allergic to latex or a certain type of metal, make sure not to purchase a cock ring that’s made from these materials. 

Use Lubrication

Make sure to lubricate your cock ring before you fit it to your penis. Applying a small amount of lubricant will make the cock ring easier to fit and remove. It can also help to reduce any friction that may cause cause discomfort during sex. 

Wash Your Cock Ring After Use

Like with other sex toys, it’s important to wash your cock ring thoroughly after use to prevent the spread of infections and STDs. 

If your cock ring is made from silicone, you can clean it by placing it in boiling water for five to 10 minutes, by cleaning it with anti-bacterial soap and warm water or by placing it in the top rack of your dishwasher.

If your cock ring is made from steel, you can clean it using antibacterial soap and warm water, put it in boiling water for five to 10 minutes, place it in the top rack of your dishwasher or use a 10 percent bleach/water solution to soak it for 10 minutes.

For cock rings and sex toys made from other materials, check the instructions provided by the manufacturer for safe cleaning advice.

Consulting With Your Healthcare Provider

Of course, if you have any medical conditions or aren’t sure about whether a cock ring is a proper choice for you, do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.

We get it — this can be an extremely personal and private topic for a lot of guys. But, your healthcare provider has heard it all. Because there are some potentially dangerous risks associated with cock ring use, it’s always a good idea to check in with your healthcare provider before using one.

Alternatives to Cock Rings

If you use a cock ring to treat erectile dysfunction or to maintain a harder erection during sex, an alternative may be more effective. Erectile dysfunction (ED) medications offer similar benefits to cock rings and, for many men, are a more convenient option.

ED medications like sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®), avanafil (Stendra®) and vardenafil (Levitra®) are fast-working, very effective and, for most men, safe options for treating erectile dysfunction and improving sexual performance. 

Contrary to popular belief, these medications aren’t just for older men, nor is ED a problem that only occurs in your 40s, 50s and beyond. We’ve talked about how they work and their potential benefits in more detail in our guide to the most common ED treatments and drugs

In Conclusion

If you’re prone to erectile dysfunction, using a cock ring may help you to stay hard and perform better during sex. You may also experience improved sexual pleasure.

While cock rings can be helpful, they’re far from the only option for treating ED. Medications like sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), avanafil (Stendra) and vardenafil (Levitra) also provide relief from ED in a more convenient form than a cock ring. 

Learn More About Treating Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a common sexual dysfunction that can affect men of all ages. Our guide to erectile dysfunction goes into more detail about the causes of ED, as well as the treatments that you can use to stay hard and improve your sexual performance.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.