A reader recently asked, "I like to use a cock ring for a stronger and longer lasting erections. Is there any long term health risk I should be aware of?"
Dave Holt ARNP responds:
While there isn’t much research on cock rings or “penile restrictive devices”, their use goes back at least as far as the early Greek and Egyptians and very likely used much earlier. Thus the very short answer to your question is, “probably not.” However, it might better serve your needs to give you a brief explanation of how the erection occurs so you can better understand how the cock ring works.
Blood is constantly flowing into and out of the penis even in the flaccid or soft state. When the muscles in the penis become relaxed, more blood flows in than flows out and the erection occurs. The erection will continue as long as there is more blood coming in than going out. The cock ring assists in the erection by slowing the flow of blood out of the penis.
The use of the penile restrictive device is one of several treatments recommended by urologists either by itself or as an adjunct to the vacuum pump for diabetics and other men with erectile dysfunction. There is one condition however, that you should be aware of that can be a urological emergency and that is priapism. Priapism is an erection of the penis that lasts longer than a few hours. It can lead gangrene of the penis and in worst cases, amputation. It is most often caused by the use of erection enhancing medications either injectable or oral but can also be caused by other medications such as some antidepressants. I always recommend that anyone taking these medications use a leather snap ring or a rubber ring that can easily be cut. I always caution to NEVER use a metal cock ring if you are using any erectile medications.
Beyond that caution however, I don’t think there is any long term harm in using a cock ring as long as the erection isn’t kept too long.
You might find the following site of interest: www.erectilefuntion.org