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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Hook-up culture is optional

Dear SHIC,

I’m interested in getting a c*ck ring but have no idea about what it actually does and how effective it might be. Enlighten me!

-Inquisitive Reader

Dear Inquisitive Reader,

Thank you for your openness, let’s get right to it! A c*ck ring is often used to make an erect penis harder and bigger for a longer span of time. This might work to delay and intensify your orgasm. Essentially, c*ck rings constrict blood flow and allow for more blood to remain in the shaft of the penis. Thus, during ejaculation, as a result of the increased blood and level of delay, your orgasm might be amplified.

C*ck rings can be used to fit over the shaft and the testicles/scrotum when a man is not erect. The ideal c*ck ring stays in place when the penis is soft, yet it can fairly easily slip off or unsnap when the penis is hard. Usually it goes around the base of the shaft, though sometimes directly underneath the head or even fully around the testicles. Lube can be added to make putting rings on and taking them off a little easier. It might also be worthwhile to give the ring a sudsy scrub before use. Generally, c*ck rings can be used alone or with partners. Some are inflexible and made of metal, others are more adjustable and made of rubber or leather. SHIC carries vibrating c*ck rings which are made of a flexible polymer. The flexibility of rubber and other elasticized c*ck rings allows a greater range of fit but they are certainly not a one-size-fits-all deal.

For safety and pleasure, a c*ck ring needs to increase the size of the erection only slightly. If the swelling is drastic, the fit is too tight and the ring should be taken off immediately. Pay attention to pain or cold sensations as well, as these might be indicators of things gone awry. It’s dangerous to leave a ring on for too long, including wearing one to sleep. To avoid serious health issues, wear the ring only for 20 minutes. If you’re new to the deal, try 10 minutes and see how that feels. Try bits of time, wearing it for five or 10 minutes during foreplay, taking it off for another five, then another five to 10 minutes with penetration or oral sex. The idea is to get you used to the idea of what will feel the best with the c*ck ring on. Generally, if your c*ck ring feels really unpleasant, please take it off.



Dear SHIC,

People are always talking about “hook-up culture” and Grinnell Yik Yak on the weekend always has people trying to find sexual partners. I guess I don’t really see the appeal in having a post-Harris hook-up or having sex at all, really. Sex is so glorified, am I weird for not wanting it?

-The Platonic Ideal of a Cuddler

Dear Cuddler/Punster,

As peer educators, we at SHIC spend a lot of time talking about how to have sex safely, but an important part of this dialogue is the agency to choose to have sex or to not have sex at any given time. If you don’t want to have sex, then don’t have sex! It’s completely okay to choose not to have sex, to not enter or stay in a sexual relationship and to stop any sexual encounter at any time. It’s valid to want sex and also valid to NOT want sex.

Part of sex positivity is creating an environment in which people feel safe and comfortable to make the right decisions for themselves without judgment, social stigma or pressure. Sexual self-ownership and empowerment is control over your own wants, and not-wants. No one has the right to judge others based on their sexual choices. “Prude-shaming” is harmful in many of the same ways “slut-shaming” is. Sex is never owed or an obligation. If you’re ever in a situation where you feel you can’t say no, reach out for help like a friend, SA, RLC, Grinnell Advocate, counselor or Security.

There are lots of reasons people don’t want sex. Maybe someone has a belief system that conflicts with having sex, identifies on the asexuality spectrum (hit up the Asexuality Support Network [acenet]!), is scared of consequences like pregnancy or STIs, would rather watch Netflix, is healing from a sexual trauma, prefers non-sexual intimacy, isn’t comfortable enough, is busy dealing with a personal issue, doesn’t feel ready, doesn’t feel the desire, hasn’t found their desired kind of sexual opportunities or isn’t in the mood. All of these reasons, and many others not listed here, are valid. You don’t even have to have a reason that you can explain, if you don’t want to do it then you don’t have to.

Remember, consent is about choice. You don’t have to explain or justify yourself or your personal choices. Do what feels right to you, and respect the choices of others.

Much love,


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