Sugar Talk: Keeping it up—a guide to erectile change including cock rings, pumps, harnesses, more

As I’ve been getting older, sometimes my erection doesn’t last. Is there anything that I can do?

Erections—how easy it is to convince your penis to stand up and how reliably it stays hard—can all change with age. Often, those changes are totally normal. However, sometimes, they can be one of the first warning signs of health problems.

Erectile changes can be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or heart disease. These are health issues that benefit a lot from early treatment. If you have noticed a change in your erection patterns, checking in with your clinician should be your first step. Don’t have health insurance? Check out Chase Brexton or another Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). A quick google search should turn up several close to you. FQHCs offer health care on a sliding scale.

Once you’ve had your health checked out, it’s time to deal with the erection stuff.

The good news is there are a lot of options. The bad news is that no solution is perfect.

Penises are pretty amazing things. When you get turned on, all kinds of chemical stuff happens in your brain. A message gets sent down your spine and blood gets sent to your genitals. The blood fills up the the spongy tissue in the penis and creates an erection.

As we age, blood flow changes, and those changes can make it difficult to get or maintain an erection. In some cases, additional stimulation like vibrators (there’s even a vibrator called The Pulse that’s specifically designed for penises!) and taking your time can get you to an erection. Are there parts of your body that you like to have stimulated in addition to your penis? Nipples? Butt? Add it all in.

Sometimes people choose to use medications like Viagra or other “erection drugs.” These drugs all work the same way. There are vasodilators—which means that when someone is turned on, the medication helps open up the small blood vessels in your body sends more blood to the penis. Blood causes erections.

Lots of places sell supplements that they claim will do similar things. Those supplements are either useless or they are working on your blood flow. It’s a bad plan to take something that is affecting your blood flow without getting it from a clinician. Worst case scenario, it could interact with something else going on with your body or a medicine that you’re on and hurt you.

Want to use a medication, but don’t want to take a pill? There is emerging research that indicates that CBD oil (made from marijuana or hemp) may be of some use in supporting erections. If you have your medical marijuana card, it might be worth a try.

Below are sex toys that can also help you get and maintain erections—and you don’t have to go to the doctor.

Cock rings: To use a cock ring to help an erection, first, put it on when you aren’t hard. First, lube up, next, insert the balls, then insert the penis. The cock ring should rest back behind your balls and at the base of the penis. The ring will help your blood stay in the penis and help you to maintain an erection.

There are cock rings that have vibrators attached. The extra stimulation of a vibrator may provide the boost you need to help you keep that erection going. If you aren’t getting an erection at all, a cock ring isn’t the place to start. It’s also not a great idea to use a cock ring if you are taking any erection medications or cocaine. You shouldn’t wear a cock ring for hours at a time.

Pumps: A pump is a simple device that draws blood into the penis. There are number of different kinds of pumps that vary a lot in price from around $25 to over $300. Put a cock ring around the base of the pump. Once the pump has helped you get an erection, roll the ring off the pump and onto the base of the shaft of your penis. That ring will help you keep the blood in the penis and keep your erection.

Harnesses: Sometimes, an erection just isn’t going to happen, but you still want to penetrate your partner. That’s where a harness comes in. With a harness, you can attach a dildo to your body and penetrate your partner. Harnesses are pretty much magic. The Deuce harness by Spare Parts is specifically designed for folks with penises and scrotums. You get to pick what size dildo you and your partner want that day. You don’t have to worry about if you’re staying hard; you can just focus on giving your partner pleasure.

Some folks find that they really love using a harness. Not only does it take all of the pressure off worrying about your erection, but you get to experience what it’s like to be focused on your partner and not distracted by your own sensations. It can be a deeply sexy and hot experience!

Do you have a question about sex, relationships, or gender? Send us an email at sugartalk@sugartheshop.com.

Jacq Jones is a sex educator and the owner Sugar, a sex positive, education focused sex toy store in Baltimore and online at sugartheshop.com

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