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March 6, 2013

Advice: Savage Love

Lockup

Q: My girlfriend and I read your column religiously, and I have you to thank for being comfortable enough with my kinks to tell her about my interest in BDSM. She has indulged all my kinky fantasies and discovered some of her own. Our latest adventure has her locking up my dick in a CB-6000 male chastity device. The play/sex has been super-fun so far, but we want to be aware of any health and safety concerns, specifically damage to my penis. We’ve had the device for almost a week, and I’ve been doing a ton of research. There is no shortage of information on proper hygiene and cleaning while locked, and the effects of infrequent ejaculation/orgasm denial. Should I be concerned about having my erections constricted by the device while being teased or wearing it overnight or longer?
Lock On Cock Kausing Erectile Dysfunction?

A: There are more submissive guys out there blogging about their locked-up cocks than there are submissive guys out there whose cocks are locked up. By which I mean to say: Whether you’re talking about food, politics or locking a dude’s cock in a male chastity device, LOCKED, you’ll find more anonymous liars online pretending to be experts than you’ll find actual experts. So how about some advice from an actual board-certified urologist instead? “I’ve never had a patient ask me about using, or admit to using, a male chastity device,” says Stephen H. King, MD, a urologist in Washington State. “And I cannot find a single reference in the medical/urological literature.”

What would Dr. King advise a patient who asked him about wearing a male chastity device? “As a urologist, my primary concern is long-term health and preservation of erectile function ‘down the road,’ so I tend to err on the cautious side, especially in someone young with many good erections ahead of him,” says Dr. King. “So if LOCKED came to my clinic with this question, I’d certainly caution against any long-term or continuous use of such a device, anything more than four to six hours, if it places any significant compression on the tissue directly.”

Some guys who wear male chastity devices for extended periods invest in custom-fitted devices, as a custom device is less likely to put “significant compression on the tissue” than a one-size-fits-all CB-6000. The device you’ve got is fine for newbies and short-term play, but the expensive chastity devices they sell at steelwerksextreme.com have the benefit of being both safer and impossible for the wearer to remove without the key.

So let’s say you invest in a hardcore, expensive chastity device that doesn’t rely on potentially tissue-compressing rings to be held in place. What does Dr. King say now? “With no compression from the cock ring, it might be safe for somewhat longer use. Overnight use may still be problematic. Nocturnal/spontaneous erections are hypothesized to exist to encourage blood flow and stretching of the vascular and erectile tissue to keep it healthy and prevent atrophy. Like any other tendon, ligament or muscle in the body — use it or lose it.”

Of course, if we only listened to doctors, no one would ever eat sugar, smoke cigarettes or let his girlfriend lock up his cock because something “bad” might happen. So I got a second and a third opinion. The second opinion is mine: The manufacturers of CB-6000s don’t provide information about risks because they’re not required to. Male chastity devices, like all sex toys, are sold as “novelty items.” They’re not medical devices, and the FDA doesn’t regulate them. But so long as your CB-6000 isn’t so tight that it’s cutting off circulation, pinching nerves or rubbing you raw, and so long as you’re not wearing it for extended periods of time, you’ll be fine.

The third opinion is from a kinky blogger. Metal served for six years on the board of Gay Male S/M Activists, an organization dedicated to promoting safe, sane and consensual BDSM, and now runs the popular BDSM site metalbondnyc.com. He’s also a keyholder to several men locked in long-term chastity devices. “I’m not a medical doctor,” Metal says, “so I can’t speak with authority on potential long-term physical effects. But I can tell you that many, many men use chastity to enhance their sex lives. There are whole websites devoted to just that one aspect of BDSM play, and some of the most popular entries on my site are about chastity.”

None of the men Metal has personally locked up — some for months at a time — have had any trouble getting hard once their chastity devices were removed. “What I would suggest to this couple is to go ahead and experiment. Lock him up for a day or two initially, then a few days, and then maybe work up to a week or more.”