But What Does A Cock Ring Actually Do?

Many years ago, I started a new job at a well-established sex toy company, and was brought on because even back then I’d been doing it for a while. On my first day, I had a meeting with some of the directors and managers. One of them asked me outright, ‘so what does a cock ring do?’

what does a cock ring actually do

I laughed, thinking that it was surely a joke, and that this room of people all working for one of the world’s most authoritative sex toy brands must know what a cock ring does. But immediately I noticed them all looking at me, expectantly, waiting for an answer. They were serious.

“Oh,” I said, self-consciously. “Well, a cock ring sits quite tightly around the base of the penis to constrict and control the blood flow, thereby improving circulation.”

“But,” replied the director after a pause, “how does it constrict blood flow and increase it at the same time?”

And then it occurred to me. I didn’t know what a cock ring actually did. I knew what it was for, and what effects it had, but I didn’t know how it did it. Naturally, being a sex geek, I devoted a lot of time to finding out exactly what a cock ring does. Because after the apocalypse, knowledge will be the only currency.

Why Use A Cock Ring At All?

A cock ring offers a number of benefits and almost no disadvantages. It’s a wonder we’re not all wearing them all the time, because of the positive impact they can have on pleasure. Among much else, a good, well-fitting cock ring can:

  • Improve the firmness of your erection
  • Increase the sensitivity of the penis
  • Delay your orgasm
  • Intensify the orgasm when it arrives
  • Increase the overall size of your erection

It’s like a miracle cure for your dick. Research suggests that they can be particularly useful in the treatment of erectile dysfunction too, so what’s not to love?

Is A Cock Ring Dangerous?

In and of itself, a cock ring is not dangerous. Any negative effects are only introduced if the cock ring is too tight and worn for too long. Just use some common sense: if your penis starts to hurt, or goes numb, take the ring off, and contact a doctor if the symptoms persist. But in most circumstances, a cock ring should be perfectly safe.

Just take it off before you fall asleep. Most manufacturers recommend wearing a cock ring for no more than 30 minutes at a time, to be on the safe side.

So What Does A Cock Ring Really Do?

You might have read that the purpose of a cock ring is to constrict the flow of blood and trap it in the penis. That’s not true, and I wish everyone would stop saying it. It’s provably not true: if a cock ring were to allow blood into the penis, but not out, your penis would inflate like a water balloon. That’s obviously not what’s happening.

It is true that the blood flow is constricted, but not true that blood is trapped in the penis. What’s actually happening is the constriction forces the blood vessels that make the penis erect to expand, increasing the overall size and firmness of the penis. The blood is still flowing normally but, a little like how a weightlifting belt provides some resistance necessary to direct power to the upper body, the pressure inside the penis’ blood vessels is increased. Try holding your nose and closing your mouth, and then trying to force air out. You notice the arteries in your neck expanding? Same thing.

That’s the primary function of a cock ring, and it has a lot of subsequent benefits. The enlarged blood vessels swell the penis, increasing the overall surface area and exposing more of the skin’s nerve endings to sensitivity. This makes sex more intense for the penis-haver, and since the penis is slightly larger than normal, it has the potential to make it more satisfying for a partner too.

The restriction on the urethra can also help you control and delay your orgasm – so not only does it make your penis more sensitive to sexual contact, but it makes it harder to cum too. When you do finally allow your orgasm to overwhelm you, there’s a good chance that it will be bigger, longer, and more intense. (And… umm… messier. Sorry about that.)

Removing the cock ring will almost immediately return the penis to its conventional size and shape, so cock rings are by no means a permanent solution to either enlarge the penis or combat erectile dysfunction in the long term. But, in my opinion, the pros of a cock ring far outweigh the cons.

Check this out: How to Use a Cock Ring for Better, Longer Sex

Written by: Stuart Nugent

With 16 years in the adult industry, including many years at LELO, it's fair to say Stu has been around the sex toy block a few times. As LELO's resident sex geek, he's been featured in the Independent, the Guardian, HuffPost, Vice, Cosmopolitan, and anywhere people talk about sex. Here on Volonte, he turns his spotlight onto the important events affecting sex right now in a regular op-ed. Views are his own.

One comment

  1. I am a physician, but obviously not a sex therapist. Yet the physiologic explanation of the cock ring is totally flawed.
    First, the explanation of what happens in the neck when you hold the nose and try to force air out is wrong too. The dilated blood vessels visible in the neck are NOT arteries but veins, the external jugular vein! The carotid artery is much deeper in the neck. Erection has two components, arterial and venous.
    The principle of a cock ring is to restrict the flow out of the veins of the penis thus keeping the erection longer and stronger. When the veins leak, erections is not sustainable Among other treatments for leaky veins exiting the penis is a surgical procedure: ligating the dorsal vein of the penis and an interventional radiological procedure called ‘coil embolization’ closing of the internal/external pudendal vein or the peri-prostatic venous plexus. 
    Obviously, a precise diagnosis is needed by a sex specialist!

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