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Penile Self-Injection Procedure

Self-injection is a good option if you have erectile dysfunction (ED). You inject a tiny needle into your penis. This helps your penis get hard and stay that way long enough for sex. And sex and orgasm will feel as good as always. You may be nervous about doing self-injection at first. But with practice, it will get easier. Your health care provider will show you how to do self-injection the first time. The simple steps are outlined on this sheet.

Preparing for injection

  • Wash your hands well with soap and water.

  • Prepare the medication (if needed).

  • Sit or stand in a comfortable position in a warm, well-lit room. If you need to, sit or stand in front of a mirror.

  • Find an injection site on one side of your penis, in a place with no visible veins. (Don’t inject into the top, bottom, or head of the penis.)

  • Clean the injection site with an alcohol swab. Grasp the head of your penis firmly with your thumb and forefinger (don’t just pinch the skin). Stretch the penis so the skin on the shaft is taut.

Injecting the medication

  • Rest your penis against your inner thigh and pull it gently toward your knee. Don’t twist or rotate it. This way you’ll be sure to inject the medication into the spot you chose and cleaned before.

  • Hold the syringe between your thumb and fingers, like you’re holding a pen. Rest your forearm on your thigh for support.

  • Insert the needle at a 90-degree angle (perpendicular) to the shaft. Do this quickly to reduce discomfort. (The needle should go in easily. If it doesn’t, stop right away.)

  • Move your thumb to the plunger. Press down to inject the medication, counting to 5.

  • Remove the needle and dispose of it safely.

Man inserting needle into his penis.

The injection site can be in any part of the shaded area.

Close-up of needle being inserted into penis.

Insert the needle straight into the penis.

Gaining an erection

  • Apply pressure to the injection site for a few minutes. This prevents swelling and bruising and helps spread the medication. 

  • Stand up. This may help your erection develop. Foreplay often helps, too.

  • Your penis should become firm within 10 to 20 minutes. The erection will last long enough for sex, and maybe longer.

When to seek medical care

An erection that lasts longer than 3 to 4  hours

  • Bleeding or bruising

  • Severe pain

  • Scarring or curvature of the penis


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