Here are the parameters of the protocol you can adjust to your situation or preferences:
Day use: Lots of boys wear the ring at night, which is an individual preference. Please beware of involuntary movements that can cause you to sleep on your stomach with your penis squeezed against it. This position must be avoided to prevent the ring from compressing your penis without you even noticing it. You must also make sure you are comfortable with your testicles being lifted and that the ring fits your morphology to keep it from sliding off and keep your testicles from moving back down without you noticing it. Night use does take some getting used to but it works perfectly fine.
15 hours out of 24 in one go: You can split and spread your wearing time as you wish within the 24 hours.
15 hours, no more, no less: The protocol uses an average time ranging from 14 to 16 hours rather than a fixed duration. Some may be able to reduce this length of time to 13 hours out of 24, but if you wish to do so, you will first need to make sure it does not make your sperm count surpass the contraceptive threshold.
10 hours one day, 20 hours the next day to compensate: No, that doesn’t work. The time you lost on a given day cannot be made up for. You must be very rigorous when it comes to daily exposure periods.
For several reasons, I cannot lift my testicles up 15 hours a day for a few days: There is an alternative to testicle-lifting called SpermaPause. These boxer shorts come with a heating pad that brings the temperature just above 37°C. No need to lift the testicles up with this method, as the heat comes directly to them. Exposure time is lower as well, from 3 to 5 hours out of 24.
24/7 exposure: Irrelevant from a contraceptive perspective. This will not make you reach the contraceptive threshold quicker but won’t increase the risk of developing side effects either. It has actually been tested by some volunteers over a two-year period with a stitch in the vas deferens. See this study for reference:
Shafik A. Testicle suspension as a method of male contraception: technique and results. Adv Contr Deliv Syst. 1991;VII:269–79.
Increasing daily use can, if you so wish, enable you to reach a sperm count as low as 0, just like vasectomy would. However, this is not necessary. But if you wear the ring just 16 to 17 hours a day, you can reach a concentration that is close to zero.
Mingling different tools: The ring, the jockstrap, the briefs, the DIY models, the SpermaPause – yes, you can juggle tools.
Up to 4 years: No studies have been conducted beyond that for lack of funding. But keep in mind that boys have been using this method outside of clinical trials for about forty years and during much longer periods of time without any problems being pointed out by health monitoring services. Also remember that this method has been held back for sociocultural reasons but that it would have been banned altogether long ago if any flaws had been found. You can go beyond 4 years. But a contraceptive journey is meant to evolve continuously. A method that fits your needs today may not suit you in a few years’ time. My advice: After you’ve completed 4 years on the method, allow yourself a 6-month to 1-year break. This time off enables you to reflect on your contraceptive journey, to let your physiological functions get back to normal and to explore existing alternatives.