I Tried Cock Rings Despite Fears They Would Guillotine My Boyfriend's Penis

I was cocksure, as in sure the ring went on the cock, but beyond that I didn't know anything about them.

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26 February 2019, 2:40am

This article originally appeared on VICE US

In the realm of sexual enhancement, as in fashion, there are plenty of accessories that go in, around, and on women, but the options for men are limited. The first and basically only one that comes to mind is the cock ring.

Although I'd never used a cock ring until five days ago, I believed I had an overall understanding of what to expect when two versions of it—the We-Vibe Pivot and Verge—were delivered to my desk by a bumbling, soft-handed messenger last Tuesday. Then I peeked in the box.

It was like playing Pictionary and pulling the card "ocelot." Before that moment, you think you have a firm grasp on what an ocelot is, but then you try to draw one and quickly realize you don't know any of the details. I was cocksure, as in sure the ring went on the cock, and that's about it. I didn't know how it worked, who it was designed to pleasure, or what you should know before putting it on (or a ring on it, as the case may be). I decided I should try it, but first, I wanted to investigate.

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Fact-Finding Mission

I was off to the Internet for answers, but my quest quickly turned into more of a Pandora's box—the kind of situation where you end up convincing yourself you have a brain tumor when you started out googling "sinus pressure."

"Cock rings that are too tight, or worn for too long ... can result in severe and permanent damage, including penile gangrene that can result in the destruction and possible amputation of the penis," reads the 'Risks' subhead on the Cock ring Wikipedia page. Wikipedia! This is from the first hit on Google, not a pull from the depths of r/cockringcatastrophes.

With visions of driving my boyfriend and his disintegrating dick to the ER, I turned to my peers for what I hoped would be less frightening insight. What are cock rings, and why do they matter?

No One Knows

Responses to my email inquest returned feedback that can be sorted into three categories: The Uninitiated, The Underwhelmed, and The Tugging Incident.


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The Uninitiated

This was the largest group, consisting of others who, like me, had no cock-ring experience but had a loose idea of how they worked.

According to The Uninitiated, cock rings are "for keeping your boner hard, or maybe they're for keeping you from getting a boner." They're also allegedly painful "or maybe that's only if used incorrectly."

At this point, the only certainty seemed to be that cock rings cause some kind of discomfort that could turn into a medical emergency.

The Underwhelmed

Those with cock-ring experience responded to my (BCC'd) email with a resounding "meh." Friends used descriptions like "fine," "whatever," and "didn't really do anything" to describe their dips onto cock-ringed dicks, leaving me with the sensation that I was staring down the cold oatmeal of sexual forays.

The Tugging Incident

The friend who shared the longest and most lively tale embarked on an evening of enjoyable cock-ring sex—"It was nice but didn't make it crazy" —that quickly turned tight and uncomfortable when her then-boyfriend went to the bathroom to remove the ring.

"I hear him breathing loudly, almost panting, and making grunts," she said. "After five minutes he asks me to come in. It's not coming off. The thing was stuck, and kinda cutting off his circulation. I had never handled [a cock ring] before, so I was in the dark, but I tugged at it for about two minutes before it popped off and he gasped and grabbed his junk. The thing was still vibrating and wouldn't turn off."

Perhaps the strangest part, my friend added, is what happened after. "I'm married now, but, like a creep, [my ex] texts me randomly about that weekend and the 'tugging incident'." The bonds of cock rings aren't easily broken.

The only certainty seemed to be that cock rings cause some kind of discomfort that could turn into a medical emergency.

The Test Begins Now

So to recap, I was about to try a sex toy that has the power to turn dicks into amputated stumps and might have a mind of its own. Cool, cool, cool! I banked on the assumption that cock rings wouldn't have lasted this long if they guillotined every penis they came across, so I asked my boyfriend to test out the We-Vibe Pivot and Verge with me.

He was game, but having tried a cock ring in a previous relationship only to also find himself among The Underwhelmed, he wasn't expecting much. We decided to try the Verge—a sleek, navy loop designed to fit snugly around both the penis and testicles while also stimulating the perineum—first, since his other adventure was a penis-only affair.

Looking at the Verge next to my boyfriend's half-erect penis, I didn't think everything would fit in the ring (a fact he encouraged me to include). With a little lube and a lot of maneuvering, everything found its way in, giving his equipment a bulging-neckerchief look (this he did not ask me to include).

We picked one of the multiple vibration settings and pressed a small button near the base—these can also be controlled via Bluetooth with an app on your phone—and started with blowjob. He instantly noted that this felt especially "goooOOOOoooood" partnered with the intense vibration, which now was tending to multiple erogenous zones. I agreed, feeling the buzzing pattern through his dick and into my mouth, which allowed me to pick up an easy and pleasing rhythm, kind of like Dance Dance Revolution for oral.

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Once we moved into sex with me on top, there was an immediate difference. The usual thrusts were replaced with a pleasing one-note vibration. The ring made sex feel like it wasn't happening between two parts but one buzzing whole. It was nice to experience a new sensation, but I did miss that, to put it eloquently, "dee- dicking" feel you get without a cock ring in the way.

We both finished and, with the haze of orgasm fading away, talked it over. It all felt good, and definitely different—better than my boyfriend's last experience with a drugstore cock ring. But it offered nothing that disrupted our ideas of sex or even made the act last longer. None of the effects were world-shattering enough to clear aside ten minutes of cock-ring prep time every time we want to do it. (Asking, "How flaccid are you right now?" is a bit of a mood killer.) Most of the benefits seemed to come from the fact that my boyfriend's dick itself was vibrating, eliminating the clunkiness of involving vibrators that aren't attached to the penis. This is not what happens with a traditional, non-vibrating cock ring.

Sex with the Pivot, a vibrating ring designed to fit closely around the penis only, was similar. Since the toy, which can be turned to hit different pleasurable spots for him and her mid-intercourse, covered less surface area, the all-encompassing shiver of the device was less intense, but there was still that feeling that you and your partner are one part instead of two.

After these two test drives, which We-Vibe recommends happen at least an hour apart for everyone's safety, my boyfriend's entire dick is still firmly attached to his body. I think that was the biggest success of all.


Sex Machina is a new and very personal column exploring the intersections of sex, romance, and technology. The regular author of the column, the bold and beautiful Maria Yagoda, is on vacation this week.

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