Sex Toys For ED: 3 Toys That Can Help
Reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Rachel Sacks
When it comes to healthy sex life, toys are teammates, not competition — and that can also be true when it comes to dealing with sexual health issues like erectile dysfunction (ED).
But while sex toys and devices make a lot of claims about their effects on erectile dysfunction, how much of it is based on science?
If you’re reading this, you might have already considered buying something out of a shop or off the internet as a solution to some sexual dysfunction — all to avoid an awkward conversation with your healthcare provider about what’s going on.
Sex toys may have some benefits when it comes to treating ED, but they’re far less proven than other options. But could some of those benefits of toys for ED work for you?
Keep reading to learn about the evidence behind sex toys for ED as sexual aids for men.
4 Sex Toys for ED
Before we get into the science of whether erectile dysfunction toys are good male sexual aids, it’s important to understand what erectile dysfunction actually is.
ED can affect men of all ages and backgrounds so there’s no need to be ashamed or embarrassed — you’re simply one of the approximately 30 million men in the U.S. who deal with this condition.
Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to get an erection firm enough for satisfactory penetrative sex, as well as if:
You can’t get an erection every time you want to have sex
Your erections don’t last long enough for satisfactory sex
You’re unable to get an erection at all
Erections happen thanks to increased blood flow to the penis’s blood vessels and the trapping of that blood in two long chambers in the penis called the corpora cavernosa.
But this process doesn’t always go right, and there can be several causes of erectile dysfunction, both psychological and physical.
Health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure can affect your sexual health as can obesity, excessive alcohol use and illicit drug use. Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and performance anxiety can also play a role in ED and other sexual issues.
There are several scientifically-backed treatment options for ED out there, so you may be wondering why someone would want to try erectile dysfunction toys in place of a pill.
Well, pills can have side effects, may interact negatively with other medications or simply may not work for some people.
On the surface, male enhancement toys and devices present a less-invasive, non-prescription option for in-the-moment ED treatment. And it can be less embarrassing to acquire male sexual aids in the form of toys than talking to a healthcare provider about sexual dysfunction.
But could toys for erectile dysfunction be useful male sexual aids for you?
While there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that toys can have some benefits, they’re far from proven treatments. Let’s examine a few of the most popular device types and if they can do what they claim to do.
A penis sleeve is a hollow, penis-shaped male sex toy that’s worn over your penis during sex.
Penis sleeves come in a diverse variety of shapes, sizes and types.
Some are sized realistically and are designed primarily to increase sexual pleasure for you and your partner if you find it difficult to stay hard during penetrative sex.
The idea is that your partner gets something firmer and girthier, and you both get an enhanced, textured — and in some cases, vibrating — space for added pleasure.
Although penis sleeves seem to have promise for ED treatment, there’s only a small amount of research available on their effectiveness.
One scientific review published in 2017 mentioned penis sleeves as an option for men with erectile dysfunction who’d like to have penetrative sex. How well this works, though, can vary greatly based on factors such as the sleeve’s fit, shape and thickness.
These male enhancement toys work similarly to penis sleeves, in that they’re a tool worn to enhance sexual pleasure during intercourse. Essentially, cock rings are ring-shaped devices you wear around the base of the penis.
Silicone cock rings are a good baseline model for beginners, as they’re usually stretchy and easy to put on and take off. Penis rings can also incorporate a variety of pleasure-enhancing devices, such as butt plugs, dildos and harnesses, and they’re available in a variety of sizes.
Cock rings work by applying pressure to the area near the base of your penis. This slows the flow of blood out of the penis, which may help you to maintain an erection and stay hard for longer during sexual activity.
But while they may be effective in keeping the blood in, cock rings are not a treatment for issues that prevent blood from flowing into your penis and keep you from getting an erection in the first place.
Because you have to have a cock ring ready to go at the time of sexual activity and it has to be washed, etc., it’s not really a more convenient option than medications. Still, it can be effective in some instances.
These sex toys are just what they sound like — vibrator toys designed for male pleasure, although many have the added bonus of enhancing female pleasure as well.
They can turn a penis sleeve into a “vibrating penis,” providing added stimulation for both partners if the vibes are powerful enough — and enhanced pleasure is, of course, an added benefit to just about any type of sexual aid.
A review of the use of vibrators to treat sexual dysfunction found that the stimulation from vibrators has evidence-based support for treating not only erectile dysfunction but also other sexual issues like premature ejaculation and difficulty achieving orgasms. However, the evidence isn’t definitive as to whether male vibrators are good sexual aids for men.
But since vibrators can be enjoyable for vaginas, the clitoris, anuses, the G-spot and everything in between, they may have an added bedroom benefit even if they’re not addressing the core erectile problem.
If you want to bring a male vibrator into the bedroom, make sure you read up on best practices for choosing and using one, like using water-based lube if you bring it into the shower. You can also check out the OMG Ring Penis Vibrator, a vibrating cock ring for a hands-free two-in-one device to use for masturbation or with a partner.
Or you can use the Thrill Ride prostate massager, perfect for multi-spot stimulation during both partner and solo use.
Other Sexual Aids for ED
There are other male enhancement toys with limited or no scientific backing. Penis pumps and extenders, for instance, have shown promise for making erections larger. And when they’re paired with a cock ring, these sexual aids may keep you erect longer than you might otherwise be able to stay hard on your own.
The problem again, though, is that neither device solves the initial problem of dilation and blood vessel engorgement. You can’t make an erection bigger if you don’t already have an erection.
ED treatments, delivered
No matter the treatment plan, the best place to start is somewhere.
Alternatives to Sex Toys for ED
While the evidence behind sex toys for ED is lacking, there are other benefits to bringing in a few new toys. For solving erectile dysfunction though, your best bet is to look to proven treatments.
Oral medications for ED treatment are known as PDE5 inhibitors, which allow you to achieve and maintain an erection by helping the blood vessels near the penis expand and allowing more blood flow to the penis.
Some of the most common ED medications include Viagra® (sildenafil), Cialis® (tadalafil), Levitra (vardenafil) and Stendra® (avanafil). These are often offered in a tablet you swallow or as chewable hard mints you can use just about anywhere.
While medication can help with the physical process of erectile function, oftentimes there are psychological causes of ED. What’s more, ED can not only interfere with your sexual activity, but it can also wreak havoc on self-confidence, relationships and more (not that we need to remind you), all of which can then make ED worse.
If you’re experiencing ED and think it might have a psychological cause, you should consider talking to a mental health professional either in person or through online therapy.
Sexual Aids for Men with ED: Final Thoughts
Erectile dysfunction can be frustrating — we get it. So rather than going through the embarrassing process of talking to your healthcare provider to figure out what’s wrong, you may decide to try sex toys for erectile dysfunction.
If you decide to go this route, just don’t forget these important facts about ED and its treatment options.
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve an erection that’s firm enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse. Whether this happens every once in a while or all the time, or if you get partial erections or no erections at all, it’s all ED.
There are several sex toys for ED on the market, such as penis sleeves, cock rings, male vibrators and other sexual aids for men like penis pumps. But while these can bring sexual enhancement to the bedroom, they don’t solve the underlying issues behind ED.
There are proven-effective treatments for ED though, from oral medications like Viagra or Cialis to talk therapy where you can work through anxiety or other sexual performance or mental health issues.
While certainly intriguing, sex toys like an erectile dysfunction strap-on dildo won’t actually solve sexual dysfunction. Fortunately, there are plenty of erectile dysfunction treatments you can learn more about from a licensed healthcare provider, as well as other sexual health resources.