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Penile Self-Injection Procedure

Self-injection is a good option if you have erectile dysfunction (ED). You put a tiny needle into the side of your penis and inject a medicine. This helps your penis get hard and stay that way long enough for sex. Sex and orgasm will feel the same as before.

You may be nervous about doing self-injection at first. But with practice, it'll get easier. Your healthcare provider will show you how to do self-injection the first time. Your partner can also be taught how to inject the medicine if you have anxiety about giving yourself the shot, have manual dexterity problems, or can't see your penis due to your weight.

Tell your provider about any medicines you take and any recent illnesses or health problems.

Preparing for injection

  • Wash your hands well with soap and water.

  • Prepare the medicine, 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 the 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 medicine

  • 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 medicine into the spot you already cleaned.

  • 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° 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 medicine and count to 5.

  • Remove the needle and get rid of it safely.

Closeup of hands giving injection into side of penis.Cross section of soft penis with syringe demonstrating penile self-injection.

Gaining an erection

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

  • 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

Go to the closest emergency room if you have an erection that lasts longer than  3 to 4 hours. Erections that last longer than 4 hours can damage the penis and lead to permanent ED.

Call your provider if you have:

  • Bleeding or bruising

  • Severe pain

  • Scarring or curvature of the penis

Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Marc Greenstein MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2022
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