Sexual Wellness Resource Center
For Adults over 50.

Vibrators for Men: Can They Help Treat the Symptoms of ED?

By Michael Bates, M.D.

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If you are having difficulty with erections (ED), this scenario may sound familiar…

You are exercising, you have lost weight, you have limited your alcohol intake, you stopped smoking or have never smoked, and yet your erections still are not satisfactory.

You had a thorough physical exam and your blood pressure is normal, your heart is normal, and you do not have diabetes.

Your doctor prescribed Viagra or a similar medication, but you are really not much of a medicine taker. Besides, you read about some side effects. Is there another option to help you with your ED?

The answer is YES—you can experiment with sex toys. Although sex toys do not treat the cause of ED, they can help you treat the symptoms. They are safe, fun, and can help with sexual arousal and increase sexual pleasure.

How can vibrators help with ED?

I believe vibrators and stimulators are overlooked and undervalued as an option for treating the symptoms of ED. This is unfortunate, as they effectively provide the extra tactile (touch) stimulation many older men need to achieve erections.

The reduced penis sensation that accompanies aging and illness means that more tactile stimulation is required to build an erection. The challenge?

  • Weakened and/or arthritic hands may tire during prolonged manual stimulation
  • Joint stiffness and muscle weakness may limit comfortable positions for oral stimulation
  • Prolonged sessions of stimulation may lead to fatigue or tiredness

In these situations, vibrators provide the kind of consistent, strong stimulation that the body no longer can.

How to use a basic vibrator

Many vibrators for external stimulation are non-gender. If your female partner already uses one for clitoral stimulation, you can use it, too!

Place the vibrator at the head of the penis, at its base or on the perineum (the skin between the scrotum and the anus). The vibrator gets blood flowing into the penis, resulting in erection.

If you want to buy a vibrator, where can you start?

Finger vibrators are a good starting point for any gender. They are small vibrators worn on your fingertips, or your partner's fingertips. This makes them easy to integrate into your favorite familiar sexual touches, while adding extra "zing"! You might also try a small "bullet style" vibrator. They are about the size of your finger, and can be used just about anywhere on the body. These toys are often marketed to women as "clitoral vibrators," but they can be enjoyed by any gender!

Finger and bullet vibrators range in price from very inexpensive models that are powered by small watch batteries, up to premium models that have stronger motors and are rechargeable. We recommend the latter because they are more likely to provide the very strong, consistent stimulation many older men need, and because you don't have to worry about fiddling with small batteries. They also tend to have deeper, rumblier vibrations rather than "buzzy" surface vibrations, which many people prefer.

Here are a few top-quality finger vibrators and bullet vibrators:

AMO by Hot Octopuss

Hot Octopuss Digit

DiGiT by Hot Octopuss

Tango by We-Vibe - Blue

Are there vibrators designed specifically for the penis?

Yes, there are! You'll see these marketed as penis vibrators, penis stimulators, male stimulators, vibrators for men, and even "guy-brators."

One of the best products that I have seen is called the Hot Octopuss PULSE. The main advantage is that it doesn't require an erection to use and enjoy! The flaccid or semi-erect penis is placed into the sleeve. Its unique oscillating and strong pulsing effect can lead to erection. There is also a couples version of the PULSE that adds a vibrating base.


Like the PULSE, the Hot Octopuss JETT can also be used while flaccid, either for solo enjoyment or to help build an erection for intercourse. It is worn against the frenulum, below the tip of the penis, and has a flexible sleeve that expands as the erection grows. JETT has remote control that lets you adjust two different types of vibration (intense and deep/rumbly) to find the stimulation that suits you best.

Hot Octopuss JETT

JETT by Hot Octopuss

The Manta Vibrating Stroker by Fun Factory has vibrating silicone wings that smoothly and comfortably grip the penis. This is a wonderfully versatile toy in that it can be held in place or moved up and down the penis shaft like a stroker, and can be used solo or for partner sex. You or your partner can use it to augument manual stimulation, or let Manta take over if your hands tire. It also has an ergonomic design that makes it easy to hold AND to nestle between bodies during partnered sex.

Fun Factory Manta Rechargeable Blue Vibrating Male Stroker

What are masturbation sleeves (strokers)? Are these a kind of vibrator?

Another option is the use of masturbation sleeves or strokers, which are not vibrators. However, they can be used to help enhance manual stimulation to produce an erection.

These work well for those who can get a partial erection, but not enough of one for penetration. The partially erect penis is inserted into the sleeve. You or your partner grab the sleeve and stroke. The sleeves have soft ridges or bumps or some other texture on the inside. The Fleshlight Flight Pilot and Sue Johanson Head Honcho are two good products.

Fleshlight Flight Pilot Male Masturbator


Sue Johanson Super Head Honcho Male Masturbator

The take-home message?

  • Although sex toys are not designed to treat ED, some offer ways in which men can experience sexual pleasure through vibratory stimulation. For many, this can result in an erection satisfactory for penetration.
  • Even if a complete erection is not possible, orgasm often is.
  • The toys can be combined with Viagra like medication if that alone is not giving you the outcome you want.
  • Sex toys for men with ED can improve outcome, increase your sexual health and enable you to enjoy sexual intimacy.

This article is the third in our series on the use of sex toys by those suffering from ED. If you have specific questions or feedback, we would like to hear from you. Go the Ask the Expert page to contact Dr. Bates.

Advertising disclosure: This content contains affiliate links and sponsored product placements. That means that if you make a purchase through one of these links, we receive a commission. See our Advertising Disclosure page for more info.