Different Types of Penile Constriction Rings

Different Types of Penile Constriction Rings

By Rainey Horwitz, MD, MS

Penile constriction rings are devices designed to be placed around the base of the penis to aid in maintaining an erection by restricting the outflow of blood. There are several reasons people with a penis might be interested in exploring the use of rings during sex. Many wearers appreciate that penile constriction rings/bands can aid in enhancing erectile function by gently compressing the veins that drain blood penis, causing the corpora to retain blood and remain firmer for a prolonged period of time. Difficulty maintaining rigidity can be a source of distress for people with a penis, so penile rings offer a safe option to try before utilizing erectile dysfunction medications. Some rings are specifically designed to be used in conjunction with vacuum erection devices (VEDs) to treat erectile dysfunction by maintaining corporal blood flow with negative pressure. Penile rings and VEDs are examples of conservative approaches to treating erectile dysfunction and can also be useful augmentations in optimizing erectile function prior to and following urologic surgery.

Shapes Example Description  Notes 
Solid Do not stretch. Often made of metal. Can be multi-piece/magnetic. Multi-piece/magnetic models allow for safer use.
Snaps Flexible or fixed material with snaps. Easily removeable, adjusts to individual anatomy. Note: leather not recommended as a material as not easy to clean and can source infection.
Drawstring Bolo tie design, flexible or fixed material. Easily removeable, adjusts to individual anatomy. Can incorporate penis and scrotum. 
Simple Stretchy ring. Often come in varying sizes/thicknesses.
Textured With textured elements like ridges, bumps, and soft spikes. Can provide gentle external clitoral glans stimulation during partnered intercourse. 
Mixed Material Phallic in shape, varying dimensions to accomodate different anatomy.  Internal cervix, clitorourethral complex, and vaginal stimulation. 
Penoscrotal Rings Two connected rings that encircle both the base of the penis and the scrotum simultaneously. Provide scrotal support, aesthetic, and comfort preferences. 
Smart Ring  Contains pressure sensors that record erectile fitness data and display it in a phone app. Allow users to monitor rigidity through a sexual session or nocturnal erections. Flexible ring with hooks for easy removal.
Vibrating Ring Wearable penile constriction ring with vibrating component attached.  Constriction ring assists with prolongation of erection and vibrating component can stimulate external glans clitoris in positions where partners are facing. 

There is quite some variability in the characteristics of penile rings available to consumers. Some rings are fixed, meaning that they have a set diameter and are not adjustable. Other rings are adjustable with closures, snaps, or drawstring mechanisms that allow users to customize tightness. Rings can also have textured elements like ridges, bumps, or soft pikes to vary sensations for wearers and partners. Rings can also be double rings, meaning the encircle both the base of the penis and the scrotum simultaneously. This additional constriction can create a unique sensation for some users.

Rings can be made of different materials including silicone, metal, and leather. Silicone rings are flexible and generally the most comfortable for wearer use, coming in a variety of sizes and styles. Some silicone rings come with a vibrating component designed to stimulate the wearer’s genitals and/or their partners. Leather rings are less common and while intriguing for their texture and feel, leather is not easy to clean and therefore not the safest option when incorporated to sexual activity. Not all rings are safe to be worn, especially for extended periods of time. Metal rings are durable and rigid; however, they are dangerous in that they can cause penile entrapment, a medical emergency where an erect penis becomes strangulated by the ring and removal can be extremely challenging, often requiring bolt cutters and the involvement of the fire department visiting the emergency room. Nevertheless, in recent years, some companies have created metal rings with magnetic releases to aid in maximizing user safety and quick removal.

Penile rings have also evolved into their own category of smart sex tech. Some models include smart pressure sensors that can record erectile fitness data and display it in a phone app that allows users to monitor rigidity through a sexual session or during the night while one sleeps, as identifying the presence of nocturnal erections can be valuable information when treating erectile dysfunction.

In general, it is important to invest in products made by body-safe materials like medical grade silicone or elastomer to prevent irritation or allergic reactions. It is also important to consider preventing the transmission of bacteria from materials like porous rubber and leather. Users are generally advised not to wear constriction rings for extended periods (typically less than 30 minutes) to prevent potential complications including penile entrapment, however some models are made of more compliant materials (like elastomer) and easy-removal hooks and are created with safety in mind. Those may be safe to leave on for longer periods of time. It's important for individuals to choose a penile constriction ring that suits their preferences and needs, and to use them responsibly by following recommended guidelines for safe and enjoyable experiences.

 

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