When people think of sexual enhancement devices, they tend to pull up images of pocket rockets and rabbits –Toys that are, arguably, not super friendly for users with penises.
Fortunately, in the past few years, the world of sex toys for penises has grown to include several different styles of toys for both solo and partnered use. Basic toys for penises can be divided into a few different categories, but we are going to focus on the two most common types; stroking toys and c-rings.
Strokers, in their essence, are meant to envelop the penis and provide stimulation through texture and pressure. They come in many styles, but most fall into categories based on their projected longevity.
“Single” Use stroking toys are generally made from TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer, also referred to as simply, elastomer), have no hard outer container for during use, and are relatively inexpensive. You may notice single is in quotations. These toys are not designed to last forever or through aggressive use, but with care and cleaning, a single use stroker could last up to 5 uses. Just be aware that toys made of elastomer are porous and can grow mold and harbor bacteria, as well as potentially pass infections between partners. So here, “single” use means disposable and for a single person to use.
An example of a single use stroker is the Tenga Egg, which comes in an egg-shaped case that contains an elastomer sleeve and lube. The inside of the sleeve, designed to fit over the head of the penis, has textured ribbing that matches the package design.
Repeated Use stroking toys are more expensive and designed to last for significantly more uses–but not forever. Most strokers in this category are made from elastomer, Thermoplastic Rubber (TPR–make sure it’s phthalate-free), fancy proprietary materials like “Cyberskin” and “Sil-a-Gel,” and occasionally silicone.
Mid-range use strokers tend to have three designs:
- Soft tubes: These strokers are the longer, more durable version of the elastomer single use stroker. Some models are open at both ends: some are closed. These strokers can be secured at the base of the stroker and pulled away from the body to create suction.
- Plastic cylinders: Picture the standard: The Fleshlight. These stroking toys have hard outer shells and squishy, textured internal components. Because of their design, the plastic cylinder stroker can be hard to clean. The Tenga Fliphole series has taken hygiene into account with their design, which flips open for washing and has a stand for drying, as well having both suction and pressure adjustments.
- “Taco” style sleeves: These sleeves are more likely (but not guaranteed) to be silicone. They are meant to be manually wrapped around the penis, with the hand providing pressure. These strokers may also have a space for a bullet vibrator built in, like the Rocks-Off Hand Solo and Maia Ray.
For the discerning masturbator
For the toy user with penises looking for something less manually dependent, there are two newer vibrating toys on the scene: The Hot Octopuss Pulse II and the Fun Factory Cobra Libre 2. Although they look and function differently, they share the common trait of stimulating the head and frenulum of the penis. Neither of these toys are designed to “stroke” with, but rather to stay stationary and let the machinery do the work.
C-rings, with the “c” standing for cock, restrict the blood flow out of the penile shaft, creating a firmer erection and, for some, increased sensitivity. C-rings come in many styles, shapes, materials, and user levels. Here’s the information you need to know to put the right ring on it.
C-rings come in two basic diameters: for shaft-only (1.25-1.5” diameter) or to encompass both the shaft and scrotum (~2” diameter). For people looking to maintain firmer erections, shaft only c-rings are probably the better choice. If delaying ejaculation is the main goal of you c-ring purchase, look for one that encompases both the shaft and scrotum.
Like stroking toys, c-ring quality largely depends on how long the ring is expected to last. If you are looking to try one out to see if you like it, elastomer c-rings by companies like Screaming O are available at a lower price point, but will probably not last very long. Lower price point c-rings may include a bullet vibe pocket (sometimes with a vibrator included).
Midrange c-rings are generally made from silicone or nitrile, both of which are hypoallergenic and fully body safe. For beginners looking for a longer-term investment, the Tantus Super Soft Silicone C-Ring is still affordable, while being a versatile introductory c-ring that will last through many uses.
Also in the midrange category are c-slings, which look like a standard c-ring with a triangle attached. The c-sling can be used in two ways: either to support the penis by sitting with the triangle flush against the shaft pointing towards the head or with the triangle point sitting behind the scrotum, pressing against the perineum. This second style of wear is engineered to delay ejaculation as well as stimulate the prostate through external pressure. Laid makes an excellent line of c-slings of varying diameters.
Many mid to high price point c-rings include built in vibrators. This can be great for people with penises who enjoy vibration or have partners that need extra stimulation to achieve orgasm. Rings like the Je Joue Mio or the Tantus Vibrating Super Soft C-ring provide the desired pressure to maintain an erection while adding on variable vibration.
C-rings come in a variety of materials: elastomer and silicone like mentioned above, but also stainless steel, leather, plastic, TPR, and wood. An important thing to remember about materials when picking your c-ring: if you are a beginner, do NOT use a c-ring that is not stretchy or able to be opened. While steel, hard plastic, or wood may appeal to your sexual aesthetics, the safety of your genitals is more important, and, while it may be funny in hindsight to talk about a visit to the emergency room to remove a stuck c-ring, in the moment it can be distressing and uncomfortable.