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Last updated November 6, 2019. 5 minute read

What is a cock ring? What do I use it for?

A cock ring restricts blood flow out of the penis, helping the wearer have a firmer, longer-lasting erection. There are several types of cock rings made from a range of materials, including silicone and stainless steel. There are stretchy cock rings and rigid cock rings.

Self Written by Michael Martin
Reviewed by Dr. Mike Bohl, MD, MPH

If you’re looking to vary your sex life, or just want to get to know your body better, you might be looking to incorporate sex toys into sexual activity or masturbation. Cock rings are one of the most commonly used sexual accessories used worldwide, probably because they’re easy to use and provide a range of benefits. 

Vitals

  • Cock rings are one of the most commonly used sex toys.
  • A cock ring restricts blood flow out of the penis, helping the wearer have a firmer, longer-lasting erection.
  • There are several types of cock rings made from a range of materials, including silicone and stainless steel. There are stretchy cock rings and rigid cock rings.
  • Some cock rings vibrate or have different types of stimulators.

What is a cock ring?

A cock ring is a band worn around the penis to restrict blood flow. This can help the wearer maintain an erection, get a firmer erection, last longer during sex, or just accentuate the package, so to speak.

A cock ring (also known as a penis ring) is usually worn around the base of the penis. Sometimes the testicles join the party, inserted into a single ring that also encircles the penis, or into an attached ring of their own (known as cock-and-ball rings, or c-rings). There are stretchy cock rings and rigid cock rings: They’re made from a wide variety of materials, including silicone, rubber, leather, metal, stainless steel, plastic, and rope. 

Some styles of cock rings fit under the glans (head) of the penis; those are known as crowns, glans rings or head rings. Some guys like to wear a thicker cock ring that fits only around the scrotum, just above the testicles; those are called ball stretchers. 

You can use a cock ring by yourself or with a partner. Some people wear cock rings because of erectile dysfunction, others do it for fun, and some wear them for aesthetic reasons. 

If you’re looking at a small silver hoop and thinking something like WTF?, or perhaps Hell no, those are both totally valid reactions. Learning how to use a cock ring takes a little doing—and believe it or not, there are ways that banding your dick with a restrictive device can go very wrong—but it is possible to use a cock-ring safely and easily, resulting in enhanced sexual experiences for you and/or your partner and a more varied sex life.

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How to use a cock ring

  • Get the right size. Different strokes for different folks, different sizes for different guyses: Cock rings are sold in a few different widths, and you don’t want one that’s too tight or too loose. To determine your size, get an erection and wrap a soft measuring tape around the base of your penis, or around your penis and balls, depending on what kind of a cock ring you want to buy. (If you don’t have a measuring tape, you can wrap a piece of string around your dick and/or balls, mark the point where the string rejoins itself with a pen, then measure that length of string with a ruler.) Take this measurement and divide it by pi (3.14)—that’s the diameter you’ll want to buy. If this seems like too much math (and perhaps too little science), inexpensive cock ring sets are available in graduated sizes, so you can try each on and find your ideal size that way. And adjustable cock rings have snaps or a quick release function so you can experiment to find a tension that feels best.
  • Use lube. Lubricant can help a cock ring slide on. It’s particularly helpful if you want to wear a non-adjustable ring (like a metal or silicone cock ring) around both the penis and testicles. That requires a bit of choreography: Put the cock ring around your erection, leaving space for the testicles below, then insert one ball at a time and slide the ring back.
  • Give yourself a trim. Cutting back or shaving your pubic hair may make a cock ring easier to use—and by easier, we mean not insanely painful. Pubes can get caught in cock rings and yanked when you adjust or remove them. Having to pretend you’re weeping for joy in front of your partner might set your evening off on a tangent.

What cock rings can be used for

Longer, harder erections

Because wearing a cock ring can keep blood from flowing out of an erect penis, it can help you maintain a stiffer erection for a longer time. The appearance of enhanced girth can be a turn-on. That could help you extend the duration of sex and experience more vivid sensations, which can lead to more intense orgasms for yourself and your partner. It can also enhance masturbation for the same reason.

ED treatment

Cock rings can be helpful for men who are experiencing erectile dysfunction—they can help blood flow stay where it should in the moment and not disperse back into the body. 

Clitoral stimulation

Some cock rings contain vibrating, nubbed, or ridged elements designed to stimulate a female partner’s clitoris. Many vibrating cock rings have an extension that sits at the base of the penis, positioned for clitoral contact. Some cock rings may have an extension situated toward the wearer’s anus, which serves as a stimulator of his perineum. Cock rings that vibrate may have batteries; they’re often rechargeable.

Blow jobs and hand jobs

Wearing a cock ring can enhance the sensation of getting a blow job or hand job. And if you go soft during blow jobs or hand jobs, wearing a cock ring can help you learn to enjoy the experience.

Anal penetration

Because the anus is a tight ring of tissue, anal penetration can require a firmer erection than vaginal sex. By helping you preserve a harder erection, a cock ring can make this easier, especially if you’re a bit nervous about the experience (which is totally normal). If you’re a man being anally penetrated, wearing a cock ring to maintain your erection can make the experience more pleasurable. 

With other sex toys

Cock rings can be used alongside other sex toys, including a vibrator, bullet vibrator, buttplug, dildo, or BDSM gear, to enhance sex or masturbation. A cock ring can improve sensations or help you realize a fantasy, leading to better sex or more pleasurable ejaculation, whether you’re by yourself or with a partner.

Cock ring safety

A cock ring is not a clock radio — you don’t want to skip over the instructions. To use a cock ring safely: 

  • Don’t wear a cock ring longer than 20 minutes, and don’t fall asleep while wearing one. That can lead to dangerous conditions such as priapism, an erection that won’t go down. That can result in permanent damage to the penis.
  • If you feel pain or “blue balls,” take off the ring ASAP.
  • If a cock ring gets stuck — a super-rare event, but it does happen — use plenty of lube and try to retreat from the ring gradually, removing one testicle at a time. If you’re using a silicone ring, jumping in a warm shower may cause the ring to soften and expand, enabling easier removal.
  • If you can’t remove a cock ring, do not try to cut it off yourself. Head to the emergency department ASAP. And don’t be embarrassed — ER doctors have seen it all. (Possibly that very same evening.)
  • The best treatment for a stuck cock ring is prevention — use the tips above to measure yourself and determine the right size before you buy, or start off with an adjustable ring.