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Penis Sleeves: What They Are, How They Work & More

Kristin Hall, FNP

Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 8/24/2022

If you’ve ever searched online for non-pharmaceutical ED treatments or sex toys, you may have stumbled across penis sleeves. 

Also referred to as penis extenders, enhancers or sheaths, penis sleeves are worn around your penis during sex. They’re available in a large variety of size options and are typically made from silicone blends or rubber. 

Penis sleeves are designed to do two things. The first is to make penetrative sex easier for you if you’re affected by erectile dysfunction (ED). Because a penis sleeve stays firm, it can make it easier to have sex with your partner, even if you’re not totally erect. 

The second is to enhance the enjoyment of sex, both for your partner and yourself. Many penis sleeves feature internal and external ribs, nubs and length extensions that may help to spice up your sex life and make sexual intercourse more pleasurable.

Below, we’ve gone into more detail about how penis sleeves work, what to look for when buying a penis sleeve, as well as the key advantages and disadvantages that penis sleeves offer. 

We’ve also talked more about the other treatment options that are available if you’re one of the tens of millions of US men affected by erectile dysfunction.

What Is a Penis Sleeve?

Put simply, a penis sleeve is a type of hollow penile support device that’s worn over your penis during sex. 

Penis sleeves come in a large variety of designs, sizes and types. Some are sized realistically and are designed primarily to make sex more pleasurable for you and your partner if you find it difficult to stay hard during penetrative sex.

Others are large, with built-in extensions designed to add extra length and girth to your penis for a more intense sexual experience. These products are often referred to as “penis enhancers” or “girth sleeves” due to their design and size. 

Some penis sleeves are closed, meaning the sleeve covers the entire penis, including the glans (the tip of your penis). These products are widely referred to as “penis sheaths” and are typically marketed for their ability to enhance your penis’s length and/or girth.

Others are open, with a hollow option design and hole at the end of the sleeve to accommodate the glans of your penis.

Many penis sleeves are designed with extra features to enhance sexual pleasure. Some feature ribs, nubs and other textural features to enhance sensation for you or your partner. Others have features such as vibration, prostate massagers or g-spot stimulators. 

How Much Do Penis Sleeves Cost?

Like other sex toys and devices for treating erectile dysfunction, penis sleeves vary significantly in price. Inexpensive penis sleeves are sold online and in sex stores for $10 to $50, while higher quality penis sleeves may cost several hundred dollars.

As prices increase, penis sleeves generally become more realistic and comfortable for both you and your partner, with features such as skin-safe silicone, different firmness levels, matte option texturing and more life-like shapes. 

Less costly penile sleeves are often made from lower quality silicone, with some low-cost sleeve devices made from porous sex toy materials that may be difficult to properly sterilize.

In general, you should expect to spend between $30 and $100 for a reasonable quality extender sleeve that’s designed to add girth and length, or $400 or more for a higher quality penis sleeve that’s designed specifically to improve penetration if you have ED.

Things to Consider Before You Buy

To avoid accidentally buying a poor quality penis sleeve, make sure to ask yourself the following questions when you compare different products:

  • Why are you buying the penis sleeve? Some penis sleeves are designed to lengthen or thicken your penis, while others are designed to provide a realistic feel and make sex easier if you have erectile dysfunction.

    Do you want a size-enhancing sleeve, a sleeve that allows for easier penetration, or a bit of both? Make sure you clearly define what you’re looking for before you start comparing your options.

  • Do you want open or closed? Some penis sleeves are open (meaning they allow your glans to stick out and feel more sensation during sex), while others have a closed design that covers your entire penis.

    The type of sleeve you pick will have a large impact on your sensation level during sex, making it important to understand what you want before making a purchase.

  • What features does it offer? Some penis sleeves provide pleasure-enhancing features, such as a textured inside, vibration or a bulbed head for enhancing your partner’s sexual experience. Others are more minimalistic, offering little other than easier penetration.

    Before selecting a penis sleeve, check that its features are a good match for your sexual preferences and expectations.

  • What is the sleeve made of? Higher quality, more expensive penis sleeves are usually made from body-safe silicone, which can be cleaned between uses. In contrast, low-cost penis sleeves often use thermoplastic rubbers that are difficult to properly clean.

    Make sure to choose a material that offers the right mix of benefits (for example, life-like texture, skin safety or ease of proper care and cleaning with warm water) for your needs.

It’s also important to consider whether a penis sleeve is the right option for you. If you’re buying a penis sleeve to treat erectile dysfunction, you may also want to consider ED medications such as sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra®) and others.

Many of these medications can help to reduce the severity of ED without the disadvantages of a penis sleeve. We’ve discussed medications for erectile dysfunction, as well as their benefits and potential downsides, further down the page.

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How Do Penis Sleeves Work?

Most penis sleeves are designed primarily to enhance sexual pleasure, whether by adding extra length and girth or by providing vibration and textural features that make sex more enjoyable for both partners. 

Some penis sleeves can also be used to treat erectile dysfunction. Since penis sleeves are firm, they can help to keep your penis in a certain shape and make sex pleasurable even if you aren’t able to get or maintain an erection

Penis sleeves can also be used by men affected by premature ejaculation (PE), as some wrap fully around the penis and reduce the amount of sensation you’ll feel during sex. 

In addition to making it easier to stay hard and avoid ejaculating early during sex, some penis sleeves can help you have penetrative sex a second time by avoiding the need to wait for full sexual recovery.

This is because the firmness provided by a penis sleeve may help you penetrate your partner again, even if you’re still in your refractory period

Are Penis Sleeves Effective?

Penis sleeves are popular sex toys. Many of the most popular penis sleeves have hundreds of positive reviews from users, indicating that they offer real benefits when it comes to enhancing sexual pleasure. 

When it comes to scientific effectiveness, however, assessing whether or not penis sleeves are effective is a little difficult. 

Compared to other treatments for erectile dysfunction, there’s only a small amount of scientific research available on the effectiveness of penis sleeves.

However, some research does suggest that penis sleeves can be effective for helping men with erectile dysfunction enjoy pleasurable sex.

For example, one scientific review published in 2017 mentioned penis sleeves as an option for men with erectile dysfunction who’d like to have penetrative sex.

The review notes that the effectiveness of a penis sleeve can vary greatly based on a range of factors, including its fit, shape and thickness.

Another scientific review from 2019 stated that penis sleeves and similar devices allow for the preservation of penetrative sex for men with erectile dysfunction. 

Although these findings support the use of penis sleeves for ED, there’s currently no research that directly compares penis sleeves with other treatment options for erectile dysfunction, such as prescription medications. 

As such, it’s hard to know if penis sleeves are as effective, more effective or less effective than existing options for treating ED.

How to Use a Penis Sleeve

Using a penis sleeve is an easy process. However, because the fit is so important, it’s essential that you accurately measure your penis before making any type of purchase to avoid ending up with a penis sleeve that’s either overly loose or uncomfortably tight. 

Most penis sleeves should fit snugly but comfortably over your penis when it’s erect. To work out the right size for you, measure the length, width and circumference of your penis when you have an erection

Then, compare the measurements of your penis with the size of the penis sleeve. Be aware that many low-cost penis sleeves are only available in a single size, and may not offer the right fit for your penis. 

To wear a penis sleeve, place it over your partially erect or flaccid penis, securing the sleeve at the base of your balls. 

Most penis sleeves have a stretchy ring or loop that fits around your scrotum to hold the sleeve in place, while some have a stretchy hole for your testicles or a belt that’s worn over your waist to prevent the sleeve from moving.

Once your penis is erect, the sleeve should stay in place on its own with little or no forwards or backwards movement. 

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Advantages & Disadvantages of Penis Sleeves

Penis sleeves offer several advantages. The first, and most obvious, is that they can increase the length and girth of your penis. This may provide extra pleasure for your partner, as well as extra confidence for you as a man.

Second, some penis sleeves are designed to enhance the pleasure of sex, making sex a more enjoyable activity for you and your partner. 

Using a penis sleeve during sex can also help with certain forms of sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.

For example, if you have ED, wearing a penis sleeve can help you to have penetrative sex even if you’re unable to maintain an erection. After penetration, the firmness of the sleeve can make it easier to continue having sex with your partner, even if your penis is partially flaccid.

This may be a significant benefit if you can’t use ED medications such as sildenafil, tadalafil (the active ingredient in Cialis®) or others due to health issues or personal preference.

If your penis sleeve covers your entire penis, it may also reduce sensation during sex, allowing you to last for longer and reducing your risk of experiencing premature ejaculation.

Penis sleeves also have several disadvantages. The first is that although they can make having sex much easier for people with erectile dysfunction, they don’t actually do anything to enhance the flow of blood to your penis or treat ED from a physical perspective. 

As such, if you have ED and can use medication without health concerns, you may notice better results from medications such as sildenafil or tadalafil. 

The second is that a penis sleeve can provide a different type of sensation from penetrative sex without any toys or aides. This may be an advantage for some and an annoyance or distraction for others. 

Finally, while wearing a penis sleeve for extra length or girth can be fun every now and then, the reality is that you probably don’t need it. 

Contrary to what porn might make you think, the typical penis isn’t that large. While it’s fine and fun to wear a penis sleeve every now and then, it’s important that you don’t let the boost in size make you feel insecure or anxious when you have sex without the sleeve. 

Put simply, if you wear a penis sleeve for extra fun rather than ED, go ahead, but don’t let it fool you into thinking your real penis isn’t enough to satisfy your partner. 

Other Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Wearing a penis sleeve may make penetrative sex easier and more enjoyable if you’re affected by erectile dysfunction. However, it’s not the only option, nor is it necessarily the best choice for everyone. 

Other treatments for ED include medication, erectile dysfunction devices and changes that you can make to habits and daily life. We’ve discussed each option in more detail below.

Erectile Dysfunction Medications

Currently, the most effective way for most men to treat erectile dysfunction is through the use of medications such as sildenafil, tadalafil and avanafil (sold as Stendra®).

These medications, which are called PDE5 inhibitors, work by increasing blood flow to the soft erectile tissue inside your penis. This boost in blood flow makes it easier to get and stay hard when you’re sexually aroused.

Many ED medications start working within 15 to 60 minutes, making them ideal for as-needed use before sex.

We offer several medications for ED online, following a consultation with a healthcare provider who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.

You can also learn more about how these medications work in our complete guide to the most 

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Erectile Dysfunction Devices

In addition to penis sleeves, several other devices may help to treat ED. These include vacuum erection devices (ED pumps, or penis pumps) and sex toys such as cock rings

While research is mixed on the effectiveness of these products, many men claim that they help to improve erections and enhance other aspects of sexual performance.

Our guide to sex toys for erectile dysfunction goes into more detail about how toys and similar devices may help to improve your erections and sexual performance. 

Lifestyle Changes

If you have ED because of a physical issue, such as obesity or high blood pressure, changing certain aspects of your lifestyle may help to make your symptoms less severe and allow you to have penetrative sex more easily. 

Simple changes such as eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting your consumption of alcohol can potentially have a big impact on your erections and general sexual performance.

We’ve talked more about simple changes that you can make to your everyday life for improved erectile function and better sexual health in our complete guide to home remedies and lifestyle changes for ED

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The Final Word on Penis Sleeves

Penis sleeves can offer real benefits, from enhancing your sexual pleasure to making you feel as if you have a longer, thicker erect penis.

They can also make it easier to have fulfilling, satisfying sex if you’re one of the tens of millions of American men affected by erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation. 

However, penis sleeves aren’t the only option available for improving your erections. In addition to sleeves, cock rings and other devices, options like erectile dysfunction medications also offer relief from ED that can make maintaining optimal sexual performance easier.

Since fit is essential for good results with a penis sleeve, it’s important to carefully measure your penis before you buy this type of product. 

Once you have your measurements, pick a penis sleeve that matches both you and your sexual partner’s tastes and enjoy an easier, more pleasurable experience together. 

3 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Wassersug, R. & Wibowo, E. (2017, November). Non-pharmacological and non-surgical strategies to promote sexual recovery for men with erectile dysfunction. Translational Andrology and Urology. 6 (Suppl 5), S776-S794. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5715194/
  2. Krzastek, S.C., Bopp, J., Smith, R.P. & Kovac, J.R. (2019). Recent advances in the understanding and management of erectile dysfunction. F1000 REsearch. 8, F1000 Faculty Rev-102. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6348436/
  3. Dhaliwal, A. & Gupta, M. (2022, April 19). PDE5 Inhibitors. StatPearls. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK549843/

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. Learn more about our editorial standards here.