This Device Prevents a Penis From Going Too Deep in Your Vagina—and It Could Make Sex Feel Better
The Ohnut just might be the solution to painful sex.
Emily Sauer never thought she’d be an inventor. But after a decade of bouts of searing pain when she had penetrative sex—and after multiple doctors couldn’t give her a diagnosis—Sauer was fed up. She needed to do something, and she had an idea: What if she could somehow put a buffer between her genitals and those of her partners?
After experimenting with several random Amazon purchases, she had the very first prototype of what would eventually become the Ohnut—a stack of squishy rings that slips over a penis or dildo.
To buy: $65; ohnut.co
The idea is that the rings (which look kind of like a baby-blue donut—hence the name Ohnut) act as a bumper during penis-in-vagina sex. With the Ohnut, your partner’s penis physically cannot go as deep. The rings easily come apart and connect so couples can adjust the depth of the bumper to their personal needs. Ohnut’s initial set, which sells for $65, comes with four detachable rings, each a little more than half an inch tall, but you can buy extras if you find that you need more cushion.
So how good does a sex bumper actually work? It’s hard to get a true, unbiased opinion because most sex experts haven’t seen anything like the Ohnut before. Miranda Harvey, a pelvic floor physical therapist, is one of them. But though she hasn’t seen a bumper like this before, she tells Health she’s excited to be able to offer the Ohnut as an option for her patients who have pain with intercourse. “I like the design, the flexible fit, and the idea,” she says.
Of course, it’s important to recognize that the Ohnut is a temporary fix. Having a bumper in place might help sex be less painful, but it’s not going to address the root cause of anyone’s pain. To do that, Harvey suggests seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist, who works to strengthen the muscles around your bladder, uterus, and bowel. “It’s important for the pelvic floor muscles, soft tissues, and bony structures to be mobile and allow pain-free intercourse when that goal can be fully reached,” she says.
Pelvic floor PTs often see people who have vaginismus (a condition that causes the muscles at the opening of the vagina to squeeze involuntarily and can make even putting in a tampon painful) and endometriosis (when the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus). These are two reasons someone may feel intense pain with penetration, but painful sex can also be caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroids, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, ovarian cysts, and more, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Both communicating with your partner and changing your typical sex positions can usually help relieve some pain during sex—and the Ohnut may help you do both. “We isolate sex as this shameful, closeted conversation, but it’s about quality of life,” Sauer says. She hopes that the Ohnut can help people who feel pain during sex talk to both their partners and their doctors about it. You can say, “I saw this cool thing, and I’d really like to try it because sometimes it hurts when we have sex and this is supposed to help.”
If you’re in a long-term relationship, there’s a good chance that your partner cares deeply about your sexual pleasure and doesn’t want you to be in pain. But if you (or they) are worried about how the Ohnut will feel for them, Sauer says that she constantly hears from customers that the rings are comfortable to wear. Apparently, most people forget they’re even wearing anything once the action starts.
And, honestly, the relief someone who’s been dealing with pain during sex must feel once that pain is gone or reduced is 100% worth a maybe-awkward conversation and a little fumbling as you and your partner figure the Ohnut out.
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