Guest written by Rain Andersen (@wearenotfriends_), a marketing and e-commerce coordinator for Lovers. Rain is a retired sex worker, pleasure advocate, and sexual wellness expert. Rain has worked in the adult entertainment industry for eight years and in the adult retail industry for four years.
People with penises are no longer limited to the inanimate, fleshy sleeves and rings that once dominated the sexual wellness market. Modern strokers and cock rings come in a variety of different styles that can enhance or recreate the sensations of oral sex. Unlike our suite of other vibrating devices, strokers and cock rings were designed specifically to stimulate different areas of the penis.
Strokers & Cock Rings 101
We know that the penis fills with blood when it is aroused- these devices are meant to work in tandem with this bodily function, offering plenty of room for the penis to expand or shrink in size throughout the arousal process. Let’s take a look at how these two pleasure devices work:
A stroker (or masturbation sleeve) is a soft and pliable sex toy that can be used for stroking the penis. Strokers can be closed-ended or open-ended depending on the level of coverage that you desire. Open-ended strokers are easier to clean and leave room to stimulate other parts of the penis- perfect for partnered play and travel. Close-ended strokers are designed to cover the entirety of the penis, making them a popular option for solo masturbation. Some of our favorite open ended strokers include the Fun Factory Manta, the Double Decker, and the Thump & Grind. For close-ended strokers, we recommend the SVAKOM Sam Neo, the Swirl Cup, or the Satisfyer Men’s Heat & Vibration Sleeve.
PRO TIP: Why do some strokers have cases and other don’t? In addition to keeping your toy clean, a stroker with a case can be easier to grip on to- allowing for speedier strokes. Strokers without cases can be fun too, allowing you to control the intensity of your grip.
Strokers differ from other sex toys because they are meant to be inserted into. Their tight and textured inner channels are excellent for stimulating the penis, but can make cleaning your toy more challenging. To clean your stroker you’ll want to invest in a foaming toy cleaner and a restoration powder. Foaming toy cleaners are gentle enough to preserve the material of your stroker, but powerful enough to eliminate bacteria. Spray 2-3 pumps of toy cleaner on the inside and outside of your stroker and bring to a lather. Using the water from your facet, flush out the inner channel of your sleeve to remove bacteria. Once your sleeve has fully dried, apply a light dusting of restoration powder or cornstarch to the inside and outside of your stroker. This powder will prevent moisture from accumulating, prevent the toy from molding, and keep your stroker lasting for years to come. After sanitizing your sleeve, we encourage you to store your stroker in a cool, dry place. Storing your stroker next to similar toy materials can lead to deterioration.
A cock ring is used to facilitate stronger and longer erections. Worn at the base of the shaft, these rings are designed to prevent blood from exiting the penis. There are many reasons that people enjoy using cock rings, beyond the physical enhancements mentioned here. For many people, trapping blood inside the penis can result in heightened sensation. For others, a vibrating cock ring can add sensation to a partnered experience… and because cock rings are worn on the body, not held against it, couples are free focus on what’s important: each other. Cock rings are sold in a variety of different styles. Some of our favorite non-vibrating cock rings include the Optimale Thick 3-Ring Set, the Elastomer Cock Ring 3-Pack, and the Titan Men Cock Ring. For vibrating cock rings, we recommend the We-Vibe Pivot, the Lovers Royale Cock Ring, and the Black Rabbit Cock Ring.
The band of your cock ring will inform you about how the ring will fit against your skin. Rounded bands are designed to be rolled up and down the shaft, whereas flat bands will sit directly against the penis. To remove a flat banded cock ring, lift the sides of your ring and pull them away from the skin. Flat banded cock rings are an excellent option for hairier shafts, as a rounded band will snag and roll against the hair follicle. A thicker band will be more difficult to pull away from the skin, as the density of these bands provide a firmer fit. Thinner bands offer more stretch, and for beginners- more comfort. To find cock ring size that works best for your anatomy, simply divide the circumference of your penis by Pi (3.14) to find the diameter. Your cock ring should feel snug against the skin. If you are new to wearing a cock ring, this might feel a little uncomfortable but it should never feel painful. A lubricant can be used to place and remove your ring comfortably.
PRO TIP: Looking for an extra firm grip? Some cock rings are designed to hold on to the shaft and the testicles. To use this style of cock ring, place one testicle inside the ring at a time, before sliding your *flaccid* penis into the ring.
With these great insights, we hope that you'll feel more confident with finding the perfect sex toy for your goals, budget, and lifestyle! Looking for more 101 content? You can find our favorite 101-Guidebooks in our blog, A Modern Sex Education.