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Using Vacuum Erection Therapy

The steps below show how to get and keep an erection with a vacuum erection therapy system.

Closeup of male genitalia with hand putting vacuum pump on penis.

Closeup of male genitalia with tension ring at base of erect penis.

Getting started

  • Place the rubber tension ring on the open end of the cylinder.

  • Apply water-based lubricant to the end of the cylinder.

  • Put your penis into the cylinder. Hold the cylinder firmly against your belly (abdomen) to create a seal. But take care not to pinch the scrotum.

Getting an erection

  • Squeeze the hand pump or turn on the electric pump. Blood will be drawn into your penis and your penis will become erect and firm.

  • Follow the instructions you’ve been given for using your particular brand of pump.

  • It may take some practice before you get optimum erections.

Using the tension ring

  • When your penis is fully erect (often less than 5 minutes), roll the tension ring off the cylinder onto the base of your penis. The tension ring holds blood in your penis, creating an erection. The area behind the ring remains soft and flexible.

  • Remove the cylinder from your penis.

  • After no longer than 30 minutes, remove the tension ring from your penis. To do this, grasp the tabs on the ring and pull to stretch the ring.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:

  • A very cold penis during erection (some coolness is normal)

  • A black-and-blue or significantly darkened penis (some discoloration is normal)

  • Pain while using the vacuum device or tension ring

  • Lack of an erection or loss of an erection before the tension ring is removed

The tension ring may block ejaculation during orgasm. This is harmless, but won't prevent pregnancy.

Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Marc Greenstein MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2020
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