How To Use A Cock Ring

The general industry recommendation is to keep a cock ring on for no more than 20 to 30 minutes. The blood flow restriction is usually safe in short bursts, but much like when you wear a tight rubber band on a finger, it can become painful after a prolonged period. Theoretically, cutting off fresh blood circulation to the penis for too long could cause tissue damage, according to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, but people using cock rings shouldn’t have to worry about that as long as they follow the instructions and listen to their bodies.

How to Use a Cock Ring, Just in Case You Were Wondering

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Cock rings. Pleasure rings. C-rings. Penis rings. Whatever you call these devices, they’re the unsung heroes of many a sexual escapade. A cock ring is exactly what it sounds like: A ring-shaped sex toy that goes around a penis or dildo to squeeze the shaft or shaft and balls. Learning this might inspire a very valid question: Why the hell would someone want that.

Well, this restriction can feel highly pleasurable for some people. It can also help make erections feel harder. Erections happen when arteries leading into the penis dilate, making the penis bigger than usual, while veins leading away from the penis constrict, trapping as much blood as possible in there. By adding another mode of constriction on top of that vein action, cock rings can help even more blood collect in the penis, resulting in more intense hard-ons. (All of this helps explain why people with erectile dysfunction sometimes use cock rings, according to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, although anyone in that situation should talk to their doctor before trying this out.)

If it’s your first time or you’re just intrigued and wondering how to actually use a cock ring, here are a few tips to help you out and some recommended products and accessories to use. And for more sex and love questions visit our sex love page.

1. Start with a simple cock ring made of something stretchy like silicone.

Silicone cock rings are flexible, easy to remove, and simple to clean, making them great for beginners. Some cock rings are made of stainless steel or metal, but I only recommend those for people who are more advanced when it comes to these toys.

There are lots of simple silicone cock rings out there, but adjustable rings are great if you’re just getting started, because they allow you or your partner to control how tight the ring gets. The Cock Ties from Doc Johnson are solid cock rings.

Some cock rings come with pretty fun bonuses for both the wearer and partner’s sexual experience. Both of my favorite ones—the Pivot from We-Vibe and the Tenga SVR—are vibrating cock rings with raised heads, which can be great for vulva-owning penis-riders. (New feminist super heroine name?)

Doc Johnson Cock Ties in black with purple beads

Doc Johnson Cock Ties

Lovehoney Colorplay Silicone Cock Ring Set on gray background

Lovehoney Colorplay Silicone Cock Ring Set

We-Vibe Pivot cock ring in navy silicone

We-Vibe Pivot

Tenga Smart Vibe Vibrating Ring in black

Tenga Smart Vibe Vibrating Ring

2. Lube up.

It’s recommended to always, always, always use lube with sex toys, including cock rings (it’s a common sex toy mistake). Before putting on a cock ring, spread a few drops of lube around the inner part. This will help it slide down a penis or dildo more easily.

Since I’m all about those silicone rings, I’ve got a duty to remind you to avoid using silicone lube with a silicone cock ring. It can corrode the toy and cause damage. Whether your sex toys are pricey or you’d just like to avoid the hassle of replacing them, this is a rule worth following.

Then there’s the fact that oil-based lubricants can damage latex, so if you’re using condoms, that’s a no-go. Choosing a water-based lube makes things easier all around.

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Sutil Rich Body Glide on white background

Sutil Rich Body Glide

Sliquid H20 Original Water-Based Lubricant on white background

Sliquid H20 Original Water-Based Lubricant

3. Place the ring on a flaccid or semi-erect penis.

If you and your partner are experimenting with using a cock ring on a dildo, this is a non-issue. Otherwise, don’t try to pop a cock ring on an erect penis. Even with lube, that might be too uncomfortable and difficult, depending on how tight the ring is. Placing the ring over the head of the penis and sliding it down the shaft will typically be easier if the organ is flaccid or semi-erect. You may have to experiment a bit to figure out what works best for better sex.

After that, there’s the question of where exactly to position the cock ring, since many of them can either go at the base of your penis or surround the shaft and balls. We recommend that beginners stick with the base of the penis versus base of the shaft. It’s the easiest way to put the ring on and cuts down on the prospect of hurting those sensitive testicles. On the flip side, if you’re using a condom, placing a cock ring over the shaft and balls means it’ll have a bit of distance from the rim of the rubber, which means the ring can be less likely to slide around and push it up. (We still encourage condom use when necessary no matter which cock ring placement you’re into!)

If you’re leveling up and placing a cock ring over someone’s balls in addition to their shaft, do so with care. Once the ring is all the way down their shaft, stretch it as far as it can go without snapping, then gently—gently—place each testicle through the ring one at a time. Adjustable rings are great for this type of placement as you can make them bigger for the testicles to pass through. Either way, it might be easier for the person wearing the ring to do this part themselves.

Ultimately, the ring should feel pleasantly tight without feeling uncomfortable. Pain, numbness, or skin that’s dramatically changing color (like becoming bright red or deep purple) indicates that the ring is probably way too tight. Encourage your partner to be open with you about how they are feeling and remove the ring immediately if anything feels too uncomfortable. This is not the time for them to take one for the team.

4. Don’t leave a cock ring on a penis for too long.

The general industry recommendation is to keep a cock ring on for no more than 20 to 30 minutes. The blood flow restriction is usually safe in short bursts, but much like when you wear a tight rubber band on a finger, it can become painful after a prolonged period. Theoretically, cutting off fresh blood circulation to the penis for too long could cause tissue damage, according to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, but people using cock rings shouldn’t have to worry about that as long as they follow the instructions and listen to their bodies.

When removing a cock ring, again, gentleness is key. You can even apply more lube if necessary to help it slide off more easily. As with placing the ring, it might be easier for the person wearing the ring to handle this part.

When testing out cock rings, the most important thing of all is to enjoy yourself! Just kidding, it’s safety, although enjoying yourself is a very close second. Be careful, pay attention to how everyone is feeling, and, yes, have fun as you figure out if cock rings can make your sex life even better.

Gigi Engle is a certified sex coach, educator, and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Related:

  • The 17 Best Cock Rings for Extra Stimulation, According to Experts
  • Best Sex Toys for Couples, According to Sex Educators
  • Butt Plugs That Sex Experts Recommend for Safe Anal Play

What Are Cock Rings?

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.

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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 Cosmopolitan 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.

Show 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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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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