Dear MKE SEX,

My question is short, sweet, and to the point: What’s the deal with cock rings? Not the vibrating ones—I get that. But the plain ones are a mystery to me. I see them when I’m in your store but I don’t understand the appeal. Are they just jewelry or what?

Help me understand!
C-Ring Curious

Dear Curious,

I just went back through my old columns, and I’m shocked that no one has asked specifically about cock rings before! This is one of the most common questions I get at the Tool Shed, so I’m ready with an answer for you.

A cock ring is generally worn at the base of the penis behind the testicles. It allows blood to enter the shaft of the penis, but prevents it from flowing back out of the penis into the body (to some extent). For a lot of people, this helps make the penis harder for masturbation or partnered sex. It also tends to increase sensitivity in the penis (though this isn’t universal), because the penis is more engorged than usual. And finally, depending on the thickness of the ring you use and your own anatomy, a cock ring may temporarily delay ejaculation by holding the testicles forward (preventing them from drawing up toward the body as your body grows close to orgasm). Cock rings are also a great tool for people who are using penis pumps to get an erection. Using a ring as soon as you’re done pumping will help that hard-on last a little longer.

There are plenty of folks who don’t want to wear a ring that far back, and would rather wear it just on the shaft. That’s fine too! It might not cause as much extra engorgement, but you should still see some difference. There are also rings that are designed specifically to be worn on the head, too, and they look great!

Cock rings are incredibly popular, and are available in a lot of different materials. We carry several that are soft and stretchy, made from things like elastomer, neoprene, or silicone. If you want to try a ring that’s easy to get in and out of, check out the bolo style rings.

It’s true that some cock rings are worn like jewelry, too! While lots of people are wearing them for the practical reasons I mentioned before, plenty of folks are wearing them because they like the look. Leather and metal rings look hot and can be just the right aesthetic touch to your sexy-time look. With metal rings, you need to be pretty careful about getting the right size. Cock rings are sized by the diameter, not the circumference. In order to figure out your size, you’ll want to measure around the part of your penis where you plan to put the ring (all the way behind the testicles, just around the shaft, or around the head). It’s often easier to use a piece of string for this. Put the string around the penis, note where the string overlaps, and measure the string with a ruler or measuring tape. Then you’ll divide that measurement by pi (3.14) to get the diameter (and you thought you’d never use geometry after high school!). Ta da! You now know your cock ring size!

If you’re ready to try out a ring, there are a few comfort and safety things to consider. Your cock ring will go on and come off more easily if you trim your pubic hair at least a little, and use a bit of lube. Try putting it on when you’re by yourself the first few times to the hang of it in a no-pressure situation. And put it on when you’re not erect. It just works better, I promise. Cock rings should not be worn for more than about 30 minutes at a time because they trap blood inside the penis. Prolonged wear can cause capillaries in the penis to burst which can lead to pain and bruising. When you’re first experimenting with cock rings, it’s a good idea to get one of the softer ones. Even better to get one that’s adjustable, so you can get the fit that’s right for you. Solid metal rings are for a more advanced user because they can be tricky to get off. However, if you’re ever struggling to get any kind of ring off, try dunking your whole package into a bowl of ice water. It might be uncomfortable for a moment, but it should cause enough shrinkage to get it off quickly.

Curious about cunnilingus? Anxious about anal? Do you have questions about queefs or problems with your prostate? Lucky Tomaszek is the education coordinator at The Tool Shed: An Erotic Boutique, Milwaukee’s only mission-driven, education-focused sex toy store. Send her an email at [email protected] and she’ll get back to you with an answer.

About The Author

Contributor

Lucky Tomaszek, LM, CPM, is the education coordinator at The Tool Shed: An Erotic Boutique, Milwaukee's only mission-driven, education-focused sex toy store. Most mornings you can find her balancing her cat and her keyboard in her lap, working to make the world a smarter, safer place for people of all genders and orientations.

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