Mechanical aids

This is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of devices which enable a successful erection. They are used to treat impotence and are an alternative to surgery, medication and hormone therapy.

What types of mechanical aids are available to me?

These include:

  • Vacuum pump (known as a ‘ penis pump’)
  • External splints
  • Rings
  • Vibrators

Vacuum pump

This is, basically, a cylinder which you fit over your penis. This creates a vacuum which enables blood to flow into the penis and results in an erection.

As soon as you achieve an erection, place a plastic ring around the base of your penis to sustain this. Leave the ring in place for a maximum of 30 minutes.

The main problem with this is that it can appear cold and mechanical and may reduce sexual pleasure.

External splints

These are either rigid or flexible supports which are designed to keep the penis upright during sexual intercourse.


This is often used in conjunction with a vacuum pump. They are specially designed to be worn around the base of the penis to prevent blood from flowing out and deflating an erection.


These are often thought of as something used by women only but they can help men to achieve an erection. Some versions of this can be attached to the penis.

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