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Health Information and Tools > Cancer and Sexuality > Male Sexuality and Cancer > Overview of Erection Problems >  Male Sexuality and Cancer: Vacuum Erection Devices
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Male Sexuality and Cancer: Erection Problems

Vacuum Erection Devices

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Vacuum devices are cylind​er-shaped, external pumps put over a soft penis to make it hard.

Picture of a vacuum device for erection problems

What if I want to have an erection for longer than 30 minutes?

If you want to have an erection for longer than 30 minutes, you need to take the ring off for a few minutes so the blood flows normally. After a few minutes, use the pump again to make the penis hard and put the retaining ring back on for 30 minutes, but no longer.

Will the erection look normal?

The skin of the penis may look darker or blue and might feel cool. The erect penis might move more from side to side than normal. It may hang erect from the body instead of standing up erect. Sometimes this makes the penis slip out during intercourse. You and your partner might need to adjust the way you thrust during sex, or try different positions. Some men get a firmer erection if the device is used after foreplay that might stimulate a partial erection.

A vacuum device doesn’t change how the skin on the penis feels, or the ability to feel an orgasm. Many men find that the ring closes off the urinary tube, which means that no fluid comes out during an orgasm. If this happens, it will likely drip out when the ring is removed after sex.

Where can I buy a vacuum device?

It’s a good idea to buy a medical quality device. You can buy them online. Call Psychosocial and Rehabilitation Resources in Calgary to learn more about using vacuum devices. If you don’t live in Calgary, you can pick up the device from there and have teaching via telehealth.

Tips for Using a Vacuum Device

  • It’s important to have support from your partner if you choose this option. It’s also a good idea to have foreplay with your partner before and after you use the vacuum device.
  • Practice using the device for a few weeks before you use it for sexual activity. If you have questions, call the manufacturer—there’s usually an advice line.
  • You can buy many different types of rings. Try different ones to find out what you like, what you’re comfortable with, and what size is right for you.
  • Think about asking your partner to help you use the device.
  • Before intercourse, warm the penis with a warm cloth or hand massage.
  • Talk about and make sure your partner understands that you‘re still attracted to them, even though you need the device to get an erection.
  • Try some foreplay on your partner after you use the device and before you start intercourse, so that sexual excitement stays high.
  • Some partners feel comfortable touching themselves while you use the device to stay sexually excited.​

Related Video


Information about the Vacuum Erection Device

Dustin Olson from Timm Medical Technologies discusses and demonstrates how to use a vacuum erection device.

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