Our bodies are mysterious things. This wild collection of tangible cells and bone and muscle combines with our non-tangible bits like feelings and emotions to somehow create amazing individuals who all vary in amazing ways. While we are all similar and share many common experiences, we are also all unique. And our bodies remind us of this every day.
Yes, Pleasure is Possible, Even With No Erection
Collectively speaking, many people have generally similar experiences and ideals, particularly within a shared culture or background. Is this nature or is it learned? That is certainly something up for discussion, but regardless of the reason, we’ve established some criteria for bodies that isn’t always reasonable—both sexually and generally. But our individual bodies don’t always want to conform to these expectations!
As with any body part, the penis doesn’t always behave as you want it to. Simply put, sometimes hoped-for erections just don’t happen. Every penis-haver finds themselves in this situation from time to time. Not being able to have an erection can be incidental, but it can also be a longer-term concern for some. Erectile dysfunction can happen for many different reasons and present in different ways. It can be the result of psychological reasons as well as many different physical causes. If you are experiencing erectile challenges, speak to your doctor about potential health concerns.
Unfortunately, lots of mainstream thought focuses on the idea that all penis pleasure is seated in getting an erection, maintaining that erection and then ejaculating. For too long, not being able to get or maintain a hard-on has been a source of ridicule and shame. Being the butt of jokes and not seeing your sexual reality reflected in society can add further stress and challenging feelings.
In reality, there are many different ways for a penis—and the people playing with it—to feel great regardless of its hardness. Let’s all repeat: an erection does not equal penis pleasure. The penis is a very versatile organ that offers many different pleasure potentials while flaccid, while erect and everywhere in between.
Arousing All Anatomy
In order to broaden our penis pleasure horizons to include both erect and non-erect possibilities, it is important to really get to know the various parts of the penis and surrounding anatomy, as well as the rest of the body. Let’s get a lay of the land before getting laid!
The glans is more commonly known as the head of the penis. It is the highly-sensitive squishy topper of the cock. For those who are not circumcised, the glans sits inside the foreskin when the penis is flaccid. If you are circumcised, the glans are predominantly exposed most of the time. The urethral opening sits near the top of the glans.
The frenulum is that little tuck of skin that sits directly under the urethral opening, on the underside of the penis. It can be extremely sensitive for some folks and may or may not be a choice spot for touch. Some people find it too sensitive to have attention concentrated there.
The shaft is the "grower" part of the penis that expands in length and width during an erection. Shafts differ greatly among penis-havers—some are quite small when flaccid and others are larger. The size of a flaccid shaft does not necessarily reflect the final size of an erect penis.
Moving lower, the scrotum is the sack of skin that houses the vas deferens and the testicles. Watch it tense and loosen when the body is cold or hot, and also potentially as the haver approaches orgasm. Sensitivity of the scrotum depends on the person.
Tucked in behind the scrotum is the perineum. This space of exposed skin varies in size, depending on the person. On the outside, it is plenty sensitive and responsive to touch. However, the perineum has an extra trick. Apply pressure externally and you can actually stimulate the prostate as well!
As the outermost ring of the digestive tract, the anus has a very important job. At the same time, it is a hotbed of pleasure that responds wonderfully to external touch and penetration.
Dipping inside the body, most penis-havers also have a prostate. This walnut-sized gland that produces seminal fluid is also a hidden jewel of pleasure that responds very well to stroking and repeated penetrative caress.
The Rest of the Body
There are so many erogenous zones spread all over the body. Not everybody will enjoy touch in all of these areas, but be sure to explore the nipples, neck, armpits, buttocks, feet, chest, belly, fingers and many, many more!
Explore Your Pleasure Chest
We are living in the golden age of sex toys and folks with penises a truly reaping the pleasure potentials and orgasmic options now available. There are so many different pleasure playthings available these days, you’ll definitely find some that will appeal for when an erection is available and when it isn’t.One of the the best aspects of the current crop of sex toys is that they don’t necessarily focus on orgasm as the be-all, end-all of the experience. Many penis-focused sex toys work great as arousal tools that focus on either moving a penis toward erection, maintaining erection or just feel great on their own.
Let’s not discount the opportunity to go all the way with these products and have an orgasm—for sure that can happen too! But that they are versatile and non-specific in nature makes them less overwhelming to enjoy.
The touch of a vibrator is like a magic lightning bolt on a penis whether it is erect or not. Run a rumble number up and down the shaft, swirl it around the head or focus directly on the frenulum for amazing sensations. Any traditional vibrator can work for this, but cock-focused toys, such as the Hot Octopuss Pulse Solo Interactive Powered by KIIROO are shaped for the penis and hit all of the best spots effortlessly. Some are even hands-free! Another potential with the Pulse is that it’s specific vibration makes it possible for a flaccid penis to orgasm and ejaculate.
Sleeves and Strokers
Sometimes, a little variety in touch is what is needed. Penis sleeves and masturbators cover the cock to replace the sensation of a hand, mouth, vulva/vagina or anus. While they are predominantly focussed on erect penises, there’s nothing to say that their silky textures can’t also be enjoyed when a penis is flaccid. Add some lube and squeeze these around the head and shaft of the penis and enjoy some exquisite feelings!
If your goal is to work toward an erection, a cock ring can make a huge difference for those who have difficulties maintaining an erection. They’re not necessarily going to help you get one, but if some blood can flow into the penis, a cock ring can help keep it in place while the penis-haver enjoys many different sexual activities. Remember though, cock rings can sometimes desensitize the penis a bit, so reaching orgasm might be a challenge.
Want to watch a penis twitch and jump and ooze with pleasure without ever touching it? Try a prostate stimulator! Rubbing or vibrating that walnut-sized gland on the anterior wall of the rectum will drive any penis, in any state, absolutely wild. This is another great way to induce orgasm and ejaculation even while a penis is flaccid. These toys also add in anal stimulation, which is a delightful bonus!
Never underestimate the incredible sensations offered by simply playing with sensual lubes and oils. Whether a penis is hard or not, coating it with slick liquids and then rolling it around in your hands or rubbing it with other body parts feels absolutely amazing! If you will be using silicone sex toys, stick with a water-based lube, as silicone lube can degrade the material.
Intimate Immersive Experiences
Another significant development in sex toys for penises is the continuing infusion of toys with technology and immersive experiences. For so long, sex toys have felt like manual tools of pleasure—something you grab and use. These days, tech-enabled toys are more like something that happens to you and you sit back and enjoy waves of pleasure—whether you’re erect or not.
One of the best advances is the opportunity to connect toys to adult entertainment. Products such as the Hot Octopuss Pulse Solo Interactive Powered by KIIROO are interactive with the content. As the penis on screen feels a specific pleasure, so will you! Many manufacturers, such as KIIROO, curate content specifically-encoded to offer a variety of sensations through their toys. The variety on these platforms is outstanding!
Another opportunity sex tech offers is the extension of imagination—whether you are close to your partner or far away. Some penis products are now bluetooth equipped and can be controlled via an app when you’re in the same room together or across the planet! This means the penis-haver can receive pleasure from a partner in any situation. This is a great way to remain intimate over distance, but it also can make role play exploration extra fun!
Pleasure Through Pain
The body and sexual response is so magnificently complex. Who’d have thought that pain can also be a source of sexual pleasure! We’re taught to avoid pain at all costs, but, for some, extreme sensations can also be very pleasurable. And this definitely extends to the penis!There are many different ways to bring BDSM experiences into penis pleasure. As with all forms of extreme play, be sure that everyone involved consents and for sure know your limits. The penis, whether flaccid or erect, is a tender organ and can be damaged. However, it is also surprisingly rugged in ways an you can get rough and tumble with it. One of the ways some folks like to explore penis-focussed BDSM is with impact play. Think about it, there that cock is, just dangling there or jutting out. Isn’t it just so tempting to give it a little smack now and again? This sensation can be incredibly stimulating, particularly when combined with bondage and restraint and impact play on other parts of the body, such as legs and buttocks.
Another opportunity is to take that bondage one step further by ensnaring the penis itself. For some, denial of pleasure can be just as exciting as touch is. Cock cages and chastity devices not only make denial of touch a reality, but they also bring an extra psychological element into penis play. This can ratchet up the pleasure potential significantly!
The Bottom Line
With so much focus on things like "rock hard erections" the fact that hard-ons aren't a necessity for penis-centered fun can get lost. It simply isn't the case that a boner means better. There are a ton of options that feel great and lead to amazing sexy fun. All you have to do is give it a go!
Jon Pressick is a sex-related media gadabout. For more than 20 years, Jon has been putting sex into our daily conversations at his long-running site SexInWords—as a writer, editor, publisher, sex toy reviewer, radio host, workshop facilitator, event producer and more. These days, he focuses on writing for Kinkly, GetMeGiddy, The Buzz and PinkPlayMags and editing Jason Armstrong's series of Solosexual books. You can find him on Twitter at @Sexinwords.