A Gentleman’s Guide to Putting a Ring on It — And by It, We Mean Your Junk

If used correctly, cock rings can be a one-size-fits-all solution for all your erectile needs

In the halcyon days of my youth when I worked at a sex store for rent money, I fielded a lot of questions from complete strangers about their dicks. Why couldn’t they get hard? Why were they cumming so soon? What would make sex and masturbation feel better? What could they use with their partner to “spice things up?” How could they make their dicks vibrate? What could they, a submissive person with a penis, use to give their dominant partner a greater sense of control? And, most commonly, what in this store — scratch that, what in this world — would make their dicks feel biggerNo matter what these people would ask me, the answer was always the same, four-word utterance: Try a cock ring

For the uninitiated, cock rings are the Swiss Army knife of penile accessories. Capable of helping you maintain an erection, elongating the time it takes you to cum and increasing the strength of your orgasm, they offer a surprising number of solutions to a surprising number of penis problems, all of which are pretty nifty for a small — and relatively inexpensive — piece of plastic, silicone or metal. 

But since few people have tried them, let’s go over everything you need to know to pick out, use and flourish with a tiny band around your dick. 

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What’s a cock ring?

Cock rings — also called penis rings, ED rings and constriction rings — are sex toys that function like tiny tourniquets for your dick. Their sole purpose is to constrict the flow of blood in the shaft of the penis and prevent it from flowing out. 

Give me a visual.

Pretend you’re holding a water balloon. Now, squeeze the base of it. See how the rest of it gets bigger and harder? It’s like that. (If that doesn’t do it for you, here’s a bunch of uncut cocks wearing cock rings for absolutely no reason.) 

Beautiful imagery, but why would I want that?

Cock rings make you harder for longer. If you have erectile dysfunction or are having a hard time getting, er, hard, they’re an incredibly simple, boner-creating solution that can help you manifest an erection where there was none before. They also make your dick more sensitive, can make you cum harder and, if you’re a premature ejaculator, can lengthen the amount of time it takes you to orgasm. 

What does it feel like to wear a cock ring? 

Kind of like someone’s squeezing your cock, but with pretty even, non-human strength. Every ring will feel different depending on how big it is and what it’s made of, but in general, the thicker, stretchier, cushier ones feel like a light, more general grip, while the thinner, rigid ones put a more acute pressure on a specific area. It’s the difference between wearing a tight rubber band on your wrist versus one of those wider, more flexible terry cloth sweatbands. 

As for your dick, it’ll feel a lot harder and more “full” than it usually does, and will probably be more sensitive because of all the extra blood being held in it by the ring, too. Some people say the added sensitivity makes stimulation feel more “nuanced”; others believe that the extra firmness gives them “more control.” Either way, the sensation tends to be more intense, but it’s not necessarily “better.” Most people say it’s just a “different” sort of sensation

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If you’ve got a partner, they can usually feel the difference, too — the veins are usually more pronounced so there’s a bit of extra texture for them, and all the blood can make it feel slightly fuller as well. The added hardness also means that sometimes, it’ll hit a spot it doesn’t when it’s not being constricted by a little piece of plastic. 

You said “fuller.” Does that mean a cock ring will make me bigger?

Nothing except months of painful, regular pumping or a very skilled surgeon will make your penis bigger. But a cock ring will give you a very mild and very temporary increase in length and girth (we’re talking, like, a fraction of a centimeter, and only while you’re using it). It’s not because your dick is actually bigger, though — there’s just more blood in it so it feels heavier, girthier and more sensitive. 

Wait, so why doesn’t everyone use them all the time, then? 

Like any sex thing, they’re not for everyone. Some people love the sensation of feeling fuller and more constricted; others hate it. Plus, sometimes they hurt a little bit. If you’re wearing the wrong size or put it on incorrectly, it can feel less like a penile panacea and more like you just got drop-kicked in the nuts. 

Not my precious nuts! How do I make it not hurt-y?

Follow this three-step guide and thank me later: 

  1. Get the right size ring. While plenty of rings are stretchy enough that they’ll fit on almost anyone, plenty others come in graded sizes based on the circumference or diameter of wherever you’re putting it on (shaft, balls or full package). To figure out what size you are, take a piece of string or a shoelace, wrap it around the part of yourself you want to throw a ring on, and then use a rule to measure how much string you used. That’s your circumference — to find your diameter, divide your circumference by pi (3.14159).  This is really only necessary for rigid or semi-rigid rings, but it’s pretty clutch — if you put a ring on that’s way too small, it’ll feel like your dick’s getting choked out by a boa constrictor and you could totally mangle yourself
  2. Use lube. Put a generous amount of lube on your cock and/or balls, as well as on the ring itself. This will help you slide it on and off with more ease, thereby reducing any pain. Make sure, though, you use a lube that’s compatible with the material of your ring. 
  3. Trim or shave whatever part of yourself you’re putting a cock ring on. Few things hurt more than ripping a handful of pubes out of your delicate sack as you struggle to apply or remove a tiny, anti-circulation device. Trimming the area you want to put your ring on will reduce that feeling tenfold (though, if you’re just going to wear it under your head or somewhere on your shaft, depilating your entire lower body probably isn’t necessary). However, if you’re one of the many people who gets off on the pain of an incorrectly sized and placed cock ring, feel free to ignore this section and keep strangling your penis to your little heart’s content. 

Okay, my balls are smooth, hairless river stones and I’m ready to go. Where, exactly, do I put this thing? 

Wherever you want. Cock rings are all about what feels good to you, and different people have different interpretations of what that means. The most classic iteration is to put it around your whole package — dick and balls — so that it’s resting against your abdomen and constricting the most amount of circulation, but some people prefer the feeling of a cock ring underneath the head of their penis, around the base of the shaft or just around their balls. 

Some people mix and match placements with multiple cock rings at once — you can throw one on under the head and around your shaft or get one with multiple holes in it so you can apply pressure to your shaft and balls at the same time. No version of this is better than another; it’s kind of a choose-your-own-adventure thing. The more you experiment with different placements, the more you’ll find out what works best for you and your needs. 

Here’s a visual odyssey to help you paint a picture of what that looks like.  

Great, now how do I get a cock ring on? 

Cock rings can be tricky to put on and take off when you’re a fresh, nubile beginner, but if you have the right-sized ring and you time it correctly, it’s actually really easy

First, lube up your dick and the ring. Second, get yourself semi-hard. You’re looking for a good half-baked boner, here — if your cock is too flaccid, you won’t hold enough blood in it to maintain an imposing erection. If it’s too hard, it’s difficult to bend it and maneuver it around to get the cock ring on. Aim for a nice chub between soft and hard, and you’ll solve both of those problems. 

Then, stretching the ring as wide as you can, place it around whatever part of your dick, balls or full package you think would feel good. If your balls are going to be in play (kill me), some people find it easier to stretch the ring as wide as they can around their balls first before threading their penis through. Others slip it on their penis first, and then pull their balls through the bottom of it one at a time. Again, dealer’s choice. Here’s a nice visual guide

If your ring isn’t stretchy, double down on the lube and gently pull whatever anatomy you’re working with through it until it’s snugly in place. If your ring is adjustable, make it as wide as you can and then adjust it down to fit once it’s on. 

Reposition it until it’s comfortable, and then pat yourself on the goddamn back. 

What are cock rings made of? 

Anything and everything. Cock rings can be made of silicone, elastomer, TPE, metal, leather, shoelaces, tiny rope, a hair tie — basically, if it can reduce circulation to your cock, it can be a cock ring. What material you choose depends on what kind of sensation you want to have — if you’re a total newb, a stretchy, thick donut-shaped ring made of silicone or elastomer is probably a good way to start so you can see what it’s like to have something restricting your dick without committing to a more intense sensation. 

If you’re a bit more advanced or you like more extreme restriction, something rigid and inflexible like steel or leather might be more your speed. 

There are so many shapes, though. I’m confused and overwhelmed.

Different shapes give you different sensations and allow you to do different things. The cushier, stretchier and thicker a cock ring is, the gentler and easier-feeling it’s going to be. The more rigid and narrow, the more intense and sharp the sensation will be. 

Some are really small — those are for right under the head of the penis. Some are much wider and sort of oblong — those are full-package cock rings. Some have weird ingredients in them like pseudo-Viagra or “radioactivity,” a few have finger-like attachments to stimulate your partner with and many more come with a remote control or Wi-Fi-enabled app you can give to your partner so they can control how tight it is or how much it vibrates. 

Whoa, did you say “vibrates”?

Yep. Vibrating cock rings make really good couples’ toys because they essentially turn your dick into a vibrator, but you don’t need a partner to use one — some people just really like the feeling of vibration on their own. Others are scared of vibration because they think it’ll make them numb, but that’s rarely the case with a motor as small as the kind that could fit in a cock ring. Even if you do get a little numb — trust me, you really won’t — just give it a minute. The sensation will come right back. 

Which cock ring is the best cock ring? 

The cheapest one. Honestly — there are so many flavors of cock rings and so many potential sensations you could get from them depending on their shape, function and material that the so-called “best” option is really just the one you can experience without bankrupting yourself over. If I were you, I’d consult Amazon’s best-sellers list or this master collection to see if anything looks exciting, get what you can afford and get down to experimenting. After you get a rough idea of what you like and what types of rings feel good to you, you can invest in a more expensive, higher quality version that’ll last longer and feel even better. 

Or, after trying a few cheap ones out, you might decide that you completely hate them and can give up the game without spending a fortune. Win-win. 

How long can I leave a cock ring on?

The going rate is 20 to 30 minutes. Any longer than that and you could do permanent damage. Take it off if you’re experiencing pain or if you start feeling overly numb, hot or cold.

Oh, shit. How do I get a cock ring off?

Same way you got it on, but in reverse. The more flaccid and well-lubed you are, the easier it’ll be to slide off. 

Anything else?

You can make anything vibrate if you put a vibrating cock ring on it. You’re welcome! 

Your Hardest Questions About Dicks, Answered