Q. While stroking me during foreplay, my girlfriend slid a large rubber band over my cock and behind my balls. After a few more strokes and licks, she had given me the biggest, hardest erection of my life, and it seemed to last forever. My girlfriend loves this trick because it prolongs her pleasure. I am curious as to what it's called and why it works. Are there any side effects?
-- J.A., Austin, Texas
A. Your girlfriend improvised a cock ring. It works by restricting blood flow from the penis, which can heighten sensation and provide staying power. But a ring can cause serious damage if worn for more than half an hour (don't fall asleep with it on). Avoid using metal or latex rings, which can only be put on or taken off when you're flaccid. If the metal ring starts to pinch after you're hard, you can either wait for your erection to subside (ice might help) or visit the emergency room. Latex rings are somewhat safer because you can snip them off, although that means placing a sharp point perilously close to your penis. We prefer leather rings that fasten with snaps or Velcro. The deluxe models have straps that separate the testicles or stretch each ball downward, if that's your thing, and/or D-rings to which your lover can attach a leash. Rough, rough.