Penile Implants: What Women Should Know
If your partner struggles with erectile dysfunction (ED), you likely know firsthand that the condition can impact their confidence and self-esteem and, in turn, your shared sex life. Many men are able to treat ED with oral medications or wearable devices. For others, ED drugs and other nonsurgical options may be unsafe due to health conditions or medications may be ineffective or cause side effects.
For men who are unable to improve persistent ED symptoms with other treatment options, getting penile implants may be an effective solution of last resort. If your partner is thinking about getting a penile implant or you're considering having sex with someone who has one, you should know what to expect.
How do penile implants work?
Penile implants don't all look or work the same way. The two main types are inflatable implants and semirigid implants, also known as malleable implants. Men typically choose an implant based on personal preferences and other factors, such as cost.
Most men choose an inflatable device, according to Mayo Clinic. There are two types of inflatables: a three-piece implant and a two-piece implant.
Three-piece inflatable implants consist of a fluid-filled reservoir that is surgically placed beneath the abdominal wall, a pump and release valve implanted in the scrotum, and two inflatable cylinders in the shaft of the penis. Individuals with this type of implant can create an erection by pumping the fluid from the reservoir into the cylinders in the penis by squeezing their scrotum.
This action inflates the implant and creates an erection. Afterward, the implant can be deflated by pressing the release valve. The two-piece inflatable implant is similar, but the fluid-filled reservoir is part of the pump implanted in the scrotum.
The semirigid penile implant remains firm at all times. The implant consists of firm, malleable rods placed in the penis. These rods can be bent in the desired direction: up during sexual activity and down toward the body for concealment.
How do penile implants affect sex?
If your partner has tried medications and wearable devices without success and is thinking about getting a penile implant and you're wondering what that would mean for your sex life, the answer is it would likely lead to improved satisfaction for both of you.
First of all, your partner will no longer have to try medication and wait for it to kick in. Penile implants don't change the shape or appearance of the penis and are invisible to the naked eye. You may not even know your sexual partner has a penile implant unless they tell you.
If you're preparing to have penile implant-assisted sex for the first time, remember a few tips to ensure the experience goes smoothly.
Be sure to treat it like any other sexual experience. The whole point of getting the implant in the first place was to be able to resume a normal sex life, so the last thing you want to do is make your partner self-conscious about having an implant. If your partner has an inflatable implant, you could incorporate pumping the scrotum into your foreplay, or they may prefer to do that themselves, so it's important to communicate in the bedroom.
Getting a penile implant is a big decision, and if your partner made that choice, chances are your mutual sexual satisfaction is important to them. Your partner may feel self-conscious or embarrassed about the implant at first, but with time and communication, you will be able to resume a healthy and satisfactory sex life.