There are many options for treating erectile dysfunction, including oral medication, herbal remedies, vacuum pumps, injections, and surgery. However, ED rings (also known as penile constriction rings, venous constriction rings, penis rings, constriction bands, tension bands, or tension rings) continue to be a popular choice for men seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction.
In this article, we'll cover:
ED rings are not guaranteed to work for everyone, but by understanding how they fit into an overall ED treatment regimen and which features to prioritize, you can make better, more informed choices as a consumer.
You may choose to try an ED ring to treat your erectile dysfunction for a number of reasons:
A tight-fitting ring at the base of your penis can help prevent blood outflow, or "venous leakage," a type of erectile dysfunction that results from veins in your penis failing to properly lock in blood. While ED medication, injections, and pumps primarily help to increase blood inflow, constriction devices such as an ED ring primarily help to prevent outflow.
ED rings can be used as a stand-alone treatment by men with milder ED, and they can also be an effective complement to other treatments for men with more severe ED. In fact, most penis pumps (also called vacuum erection devices or vacuum constriction devices) come with basic constriction rings included.
Rings can also be used along with oral ED medication or injections as a way to enhance the strength of the erection, prolong the duration of the erection, or reduce the dosage required for effective treatment.
The three main types of ED ring include:
The simplest type of ring, penile rings are circular bands positioned at the base of the penis. This design is the least effective in preventing blood outflow because the ring is not anchored in place and moves around during sex. The movement allows blood to leak out of the penis and reduce the firmness of the erection.
This type of constriction device consists of one or more rings that constricts both the base of the penis and the scrotum. While the penoscrotal style provides a little more stability by anchoring the constriction device to the scrotum, this style still allows some venous leakage during sexual activity, which reduces the strength and duration of the erection.
Loops (also known as "penile tourniquets") can be tightened around the base of the penis or around the penis and scrotum. The advantage to a loop is that it can be adjusted to fit the user's size and desired amount of tension.
Not every constriction device is an appropriate treatment for ED. Search the internet and you'll find thousands of different rings, but most are designed for novelty value only, have little or no therapeutic effect, and have not been designed for use as a medical device.
In general, constriction devices available in adult stores have been designed for entertainment use only. Unless otherwise stated, these devices have not been designed for therapeutic use, may not meet FDA compliance requirements, and have likely not been tested in a clinical setting. As a result, they may not produce the desired results, and they may also put your health at risk. For example, many novelty products contain harmful phthalates.
If you plan to use a ring specifically as a treatment for your ED, limit your search to rings that have been designed for therapeutic use.
Beyond the rings and loops that you can find in adult stores, there are a number of constriction devices that are designed specifically for the treatment of ED. These devices can offer a number of advantages over novelty items, such as higher-quality materials, higher safety standards, better design, and, in some cases, clinical trials that prove their effectiveness in treating ED.
The devices listed below are all designed to treat ED. All are FDA-compliant, and at least one has been proven effective in clinical trials.
Overview: The Maintain Constriction Loop is fully adjustable and while detailed information about the material in unavailable, the product is latex-free and FDA approved, so it is unlikely to cause irritation or damage when used according to the instructions.
Pros: This product is FDA compliant and constructed to medical standards, which should give consumers confidence in the efficacy and safety of the device.
Cons: The loop can only be tightened around the penile shaft, not the scrotum, which means that this product is less versatile. Because it can't be anchored to the scrotum, there is likely to be less stability and more movement of the product during intercourse, which can lead to venous leakage and the softening of the erection.
USER REVIEWS: 5/5 on Urology Health Store
FDA COMPLIANT: Yes
CLINICAL TRIALS: Unknown
Overview: Similar to the Maintain Constriction Loop, the Venoseal Constriction Loop is a device that uses an adjustable loop to constrict the penis rather than a ring.
Pros: Like Maintain, the Venoseal is fully adjustable, which can accommodate men with larger or smaller penises comfortably..
Cons: The Venoseal is made of latex, which can cause irritation to the wearer or his partner if they have an allergy or sensitivity to this material. According to user reviews, the Venoseal also has a tendency to become slippery and loosen when used with lubricant.
USER REVIEWS: 3/5 on Vitality Medical
MATERIAL: Latex (synthetic rubber and plastic)
FDA COMPLIANT: Yes
CLINICAL TRIALS: Unknown
Overview: The Eddie by Giddy features an oval design that is intended to fit the shape of the penis more comfortably. Instead of being made of a soft, elastic material like silicone, the device is constructed from a more rigid plastic that is held in place by a separate elastic closure.
Pros: Eddie's unusual, oval shape was designed by urologists and engineers, and it may be more comfortable for some users. With four sizes to choose from, Eddie promises to fit "98.99% of American men." The quick-release elastic closer may make the device easier to apply and remove.
Cons: According to user reviews, the ring can be uncomfortable, perhaps because of the harder material. In general, the fit, comfort, and effectiveness of the product seem to be a recurring problem for a number of users, despite the range of sizes available.
USER REVIEWS: 2.8/5 on Trustpilot
MATERIAL: Polycarbonate/ABS alloy base and thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) coating
FDA APPROVED: No*
CLINICAL TRIALS: Unknown
*Eddie is FDA registered, not approved. This means that the FDA is aware of the manufacturer and their device, but that the device is not necessarily effective for the specific treatment applications claimed by the manufacturer.
Overview: One of the newest ED treatments, Xialla is a soft, silicone device that includes a constriction ring, scrotal loop, and a strap to anchor the ring in place. Xialla's unique, patented design prevents the constriction ring from moving during sexual activity, which reduces venous leakage and supports a stronger, longer-lasting erection.
Pros: Like the Eddy, Xialla was designed by engineers and urologists. Xialla is safe and FDA compliant, and according to users, Xialla works both as a stand-alone treatment and in conjunction with other therapies, such as medication, injections, and pumps. Xialla comes in three sizes to provide a range of fit options. Xialla is also the only constriction ED device currently on the market with published clinical trials proving effectiveness.
Cons: Xialla requires the user to attach the anchoring strap to the small of their back using a patented adhesive pad. Men with hyperhidrosis (extreme sweating) may find that the adhesive loosens during sexual activity.
USER REVIEWS: 4.1/5 on Trustpilot
FDA COMPLIANT: Yes
CLINICAL TRIALS: Yes (see the research for clinical trials #1 and #2)
When it comes to constriction devices to treat ED, everyone has different preferences, and no single device will be right for everyone. However, there are a number of factors that every buyer needs to consider:
The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of medical devices. By choosing a device that is FDA compliant, you can ensure that you are minimizing any risk to yourself or your partner.
When a sexual aid is "body safe," it is considered safe to use on your genitals. Materials such as silicone or SEBS (styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene) are considered body safe, while rings made with phthalates, a compound that is often added to plastic sex toys, have been linked to cancer, neurological issues, and reproductive issues. Rings made of latex are also not considered body safe because they can cause irritation for some men and their partners.
Look for ED constriction devices that are adjustable or come in a range of sizes to ensure that you can choose a size that provides the amount constriction and the level of comfort you need.
No ED device is guaranteed to work for every user, but you won't know what works for you until you try it. Make sure that the company promises to return your money with no questions asked if you are dissatisfied for any reason—not just in cases where the product breaks or malfunctions.
ED constriction devices that anchor the penile ring to the scrotum can be safer and more comfortable because they relieve some of the pressure on the penis. Devices such as Xialla, which anchor the device to the user's lower back, are not only more comfortable but reduce the venous leakage (blood outflow) that can occur during sexual activity.
While FDA compliance helps to ensure that the product is safe to use, clinical testing proves that the product is effective. Look for ED rings that have undergone clinical trials to prove that they reduce venous leakage and improve erection strength and duration.