In order to give you a better service we use cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. I Agree

Choosing the Right Penis Ring: A guide to selecting and using this popular sex toy

By: Carol Queen, PhD

Good Vibes: How to Choose and Use a Penis Ring

People use cock rings (also known as penis rings or c-rings) for a variety of reasons. Some enjoy enhanced sexual experiences, including stronger erections, when wearing them. Some enjoy them during partner sex because some models enhance a partner’s experience, often providing clitoral stimulation or other pleasurable effects. They are made with and without attached vibrators. Here’s more information to help you decide if you’d like to explore penis rings yourself.

(By the way, you don’t actually need to have a penis to wear a ring, because almost all of them can also be used on dildos!)

What are Penis Rings and How Do They Work? 

Good Vibes: How to Choose and Use a Penis RingPenis rings are toys designed to fit around the base of the penis (sometimes also including the testicles). They usually are designed with one of two primary functions: to support erections by helping stabilize the flow of blood into the penis (and this will often affect sensation and more); and to add stimulation during intercourse, especially for the wearer’s partner. Some will do both. They work because of the blood flow control function–keeping more blood in an erect penis can make the erection last longer and/or feel firmer. The stimulation–for the person wearing the ring–involves the way this enhanced blood flow affects the nerves, often increasing their sensitivity.


Why use a Penis Ring? 

A penis ring can positively affect erections, one common reason to use one: the erection can be firmer, last longer, or feel more sensitive, or a combination of these. A cock ring can also stimulate a partner’s clitoris when it’s shaped to give it extra contact, or when it vibrates, or both. The best cock rings also look sexy when worn on the penis!


Types of Penis Rings 

Adjustable Penis Rings 

Rings that are adjustable are usually made of leather (real or faux) or a stretchy, hardy material like Neoprene, affixed with snaps. You can also find adjustable rings that work like a bolo tie. Most of these rings don’t include vibrating elements. 
Use an adjustable ring by wrapping around the base of the penis and the testicles. Snap closed, using the snap that makes it feel comfortably tight but not too tight. If it’s the bolo style, use the slider to open up the ring, put it over the penis and testicles, and tighten it again with the slider.
These rings can be easily removed or adjusted when you’re done using them or want to make them looser or tighter. This makes them a great style for beginning users. 

Vibrating Penis Rings 

Good Vibes: How to Choose and Use a Penis RingVibrating c-rings can be used for the wearer’s pleasure (and are especially effective worn right below the head, which is more sensitive than the lower shaft; they will also please some wearers when worn turned backwards toward the testicles, perineum and anus). Their main design, though, allows them to add clitoral stimulation during intercourse. They will usually be positioned on a stretchy-but-solid ring, so note the issues with stretch and girth we just mentioned. 

Solid Penis Rings

Solid c-rings are made from many materials–usually somewhat stretchy ones so that they can fit a variety of girths. Some have vibrators, while others don’t. If stretchy enough, wear the solid ring around penis and testicles, but if the ring doesn’t stretch enough for that (or it’s uncomfortably tight when you do), just wear it around the base of the shaft. If even that feels uncomfortably tight, don’t wear the ring. (You can still put it onto a dildo or other penetrative toy if it vibrates, or wear it around a finger or two during play.) 

When shopping for a solid ring, try to get one that will stretch well or that fits you well even if it isn’t very stretchy. Do you know your girth? Get out a measuring tape!

Metal Penis Rings 

Metal rings are not at all flexible or stretchy, and they aren’t put on in the same way as adjustable or solid-but-stretchy rings. They are also not safe for beginning users who aren’t already quite familiar with how a cock ring will affect their erections. 

For starters, it’s usually necessary to put on a metal ring when the penis is mostly flaccid, and it needs to be taken off when the penis is soft, too. If the rigid ring makes the erection harder or larger than it would usually be, depending on how the ring fits, it can be a problem to take off. The wearer must know in advance if at all possible whether the ring will make it difficult to ejaculate and go soft. In some cases wearers of metal rings have to go to the emergency room to have the ring removed, since it’s not safe to wear a cock ring for a long period of time. (In short: Explore other styles of cock ring first!)

To put on a metal ring, work one testicle through the ring, then the other; next, bend the penis so its head can be worked through the ring too, then pull the ring and adjust for comfort at the base of the penis. (This situates the ring around both penis and testicles.) You can also just position the ring at the base of the shaft. It may not function exactly the same way, but should be easier to get off. Use a lubricant with a metal (or other solid, not-very-stretchy) ring.

Cock and Ball Rings 

These rings may be adjustable or solid, but they are usually two rings in one, designed for one ring to circle the base of the shaft and the other to circle shaft and testicles together. For some wearers, this style gives extra stimulation to the testicles; others like to wear them because they make the cock and balls more prominent.  


Benefits of Using a Penis Ring 

There are varying reasons to wear a cock ring that include the wearer’s pleasure and functioning–and partner pleasure as well. 

Enhanced Pleasure

Good Vibes: How to Use and Choose a Cock RingA ring enhances a wearer’s pleasure by its presence when it fits comfortably (it can feel something like being circled by a thumb and forefinger; the ring will make the wearer conscious of penis and testicles, which might be arousing). Its function controlling blood flow may also make the sensations felt by the penis more intense. 

Improved Function

As noted above, a ring keeps the blood in an erection, and this may make the penis firmer, the erection last longer, and hence allow the user to play longer, whether it’s having intercourse or some other kind of erotically enjoyable activity that centers an erection. (You don’t need an erection to enjoy erotic play unless the erection is central to the kind of play you’re doing!) 

Increased Size and Firmness 

All other things about ring-wearing aside, the wearer may really enjoy feeling enhanced the way a well-fitting ring can do. 

Pleasure for One’s Partner

Good Vibes: How to Use and Choose a Cock RingWearing a ring with a vibrator or clitoral stimulator can add arousal and increase the odds of orgasm for the user’s partner–which can of course be a source of pleasure for the ring-wearer too! 

Note that when many vibrator-users play with their vibe, they keep it focused on the clitoris without much movement away. That’s not how a vibrating cock ring stimulates–with thrusting, it will move toward and away from the vulva and clit. For orgasm, the partners may want to stop movement and add clitoral focus with grinding or other activities that extend contact. 

To note - this isn't just for clit-owners, these sensations from a vibrating cock ring can feel fantastic against the nerve-rich anal opening as well! Adding vibration to back-door play can be a pleasure game-changer for any gender.


Choosing the Right Penis Ring

Since there are various types of ring, let’s look at specifics that might help you choose the one you’ll get the most pleasure and use out of. 

Consider Your Needs 

What are you hoping to get out of using a cock ring? 
Are you adding clitoral stimulation during partner sex? If so, vibrating rings or those with a built-in stimulator are the rings to try. 
Are you hoping to get a harder or longer-lasting erection? A stretchy solid ring that fits snugly, or an adjustable ring, are probably your best bets. 
Do you want to enhance your own sensations? A vibrating ring will let you add some stimulation and keep your hands free for other things. Any of the snug rings that result in a strong erection are potentially going to enhance the sensations that an erect penis can enjoy. 
Does it just sound sexy to wear one? Choose the style that you think would look awesome on you, because it is likely to enhance your experience in more than just an aesthetic way. 

Think About Material 

Good Vibes: How to Choose and Use a Penis RingThere are three main things to consider about material, beyond the style of your cock ring. Will it be easy to put on and take off? That’s largely a function of how flexible the material is. Stretchy rings are great for beginners and good for a range of sizes; they are generally comfortable to wear. Some silicone will be flexible but not very stretchy; consider your size if you’re shopping for one of these. 

Silicone, however, is great for quality and also for keeping clean. Some materials, like leather, are difficult to clean well. 

Finally, will it be long-lasting? Metal certainly is, but as we noted above, it’s not for everyone and can be dangerous when used by a person who isn’t familiar with cock rings. Silicone rings are usually quite long-lasting too. 

Keep Design and Extra Features in Mind 

If you’re going to use a ring with a partner, consider shopping for it together so you can decide which extras you might enjoy. Smart rings not only vibrate, some have multiple functions and can be used via app. Some rings are designed to double for cock and ball bondage play; some have anal stimulation capabilities too. Learn about the available rings, read user reviews, and think about which functions you might want to play with later. 


How to Use a Penis Ring Safely 

If you have any sort of circulatory or nerve condition, like blood pressure or cardiac issues, diabetes, or other issues that cause numbness or nervous system changes, ask your doctor if it’s safe to use a penis ring before you get one. If the MD says yes, ask how long it would be safe to wear it. Our recommendation is to use a ring for 20 minutes or so, and to cease using if it is uncomfortably tight. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Using a Penis Ring 

We’ve given recommendations about putting on and wearing cock rings above. It’s wise to play with your new ring solo so you can see how it affects your erection and comfort. 

Good Vibes: How to Choose and Use a Penis RingPutting it on: If you are wearing a ring in hopes of strengthening your erection, it will do that best if it circles both the base of the penis and the balls. This will allow it to fit as close to the body wall as possible, which can help with function as well as a snug and stable fit. (When it is situated only on the shaft, depending on fit there can be more movement.) If adjustable, it’s easy to wrap the strap around the whole package and snap it where it feels both secure and comfy. If it’s solid but stretchy, stretch it over cock and balls. If solid and not particularly stretchy, use the method you’d use with a metal ring: one testicle in, then the other, then bend and work the non-erect penis through the ring (lube can help), then adjust.

Penis Ring Safety Tips 

Choose a material you can easily take off, either solid but stretchy, adjustable, or worn just on the shaft, like a vibe ring.
Use lube! Remember - water-based lube for silicone rings.
If it is uncomfortable or it’s been longer than 20 minutes or so, remove it.
If you begin to lose sensation or the penis becomes discolored, remove it.
If you can’t get it off, try stopping sexual stimulation and see if cool water brings your erection down - or use safety scissors to remove it (this is why we don't recommend metal rings until you're an experienced cock ring wearer, as removal of a stuck metal ring may require a trip to the ER).

Get Ready to Explore 

Cock rings can be a great choice for pleasure and function, though they do not work equally well for everyone and it’s wise to ask your doctor if there is any reason you shouldn’t use one. Measure your girth if you don’t know what it is, so you can make a decision on a ring you can actually wear enjoyably.

Explore the way your ring works during solo play before you introduce it to a partner–this is gear that can change your experience (subtly, or quite a bit), so learn how it works with you.