Sexual Wellness Resource Center
For Adults over 50.

Sex Toys for Erection Problems (ED): Can They Help?

By Michael Bates, M.D.

I have had a number of questions lately from readers who can no longer get an erection. They have a condition called erectile dysfunction (ED).

Are erection problems and ED just a normal part of aging?

Starting around age 50 it is normal for erections to change. They may:

  • require more tactile stimulation
  • not be quite as firm
  • not last as long
  • require more time for recovery between erections

However, usually erections are still possible and adequate for penetration. Most men enjoy their sexuality throughout their senior years. It is not normal to not to be able get an erection satisfactory for penetration simply due to aging.

What are the first steps to take if you experience erection problems?

If you are having difficulty with erections, you can first try simple lifestyle changes to treat the problem. These might include:

  • losing weight
  • drinking less alcohol (no more than two drinks per day)
  • quitting smoking

If you’re not seeing any response after three months, it’s time to see your doctor. ED could be your body’s way of saying that something is wrong. High blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes are examples of health problems that can present this way.   Psychological conditions like depression, anxiety and stress can also cause ED. If you are already taking medication, ask your doctor about the possibility of sexual side effects.

What about Viagra and other similar ED medications?

Your doctor may prescribe Viagra or similar medication as a trial. These work well for most men. However, some men have health conditions prohibiting their use while others experience annoying side effects. Sometimes these medications just can’t overcome medical and psychological aspects that may be the cause of ED.

What about non-medical options (sex toys) for ED? Can sex toys help with erection problems?

Once you understand what role, if any, your health is playing in your ED and you have taken the appropriate steps, you may want to explore non-medical options like sex toys. Sex toys are safe, fun, and can open a new world of sexuality for both men and women.

Here are some common types of sex toys that may help with erection problems:

Vibrators

Reduced penis sensitivity can require prolonged tactile stimulation to build an erection, sometimes tiring weakened or arthritic hands. Vibrators are non-gender and provide the strong and consistent stimulation that the body no longer can.

Masturbation Sleeves

Sleeves are vibrators specifically made for men. The flaccid penis is placed into a sleeve, usually made of silicone. They can be used with penis rings to maintain the erection. The Flight Pilot and the Fleshlight are two popular models of sleeves.

Rings

Rings, also known as cock rings or penis rings, are for men who can achieve an erection naturally but cannot hold it long enough for penetration. Some come with vibrators, which provide clitoral stimulation for the female partner. The Je Joue Mio C-Ring is a popular model.

Pumps

Pumps consist of a cylinder that is placed over the non-erect penis. Negative pressure created by the pump causes blood to flow into the penis and creates an erection. A ring is then slipped off the base of the cylinder to maintain the erection. These have long been available by prescription, however they can be less expensive when purchased in a reputable sex shop.

Strap-Ons & Penis Extenders

Strap-ons are dildos, which are attached to a jock strap like harness. They can be used for intercourse, even with a flaccid penis.  Penis extenders, sometimes called penis prosthetics or hollow dildos, are designed to fit over the penis. They, too, need some kind of harness for hands free use. Some come equipped with vibrating tips and/or internal nubs for extra stimulation. 

The message is that sex toys won’t solve major medical problems, but they may help treat the ED associated with the problem. They are safe, fun and can add a new dimension to your sexuality. You can shop for these products at home in the X’s & O’s Store.

About the Author

Michael Bates, M.D.

Dr Bates practiced obstetrics and gynecology for 34 years in Wichita, Kansas, until his retirement in 2011.

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