How to Avoid Fracturing Your Penis During Sex

by Carrie Borzillo - February 1 , 2021


Photo Credit: by Photo by Deon Black on Unsplash
Photo Credit: by Photo by Deon Black on Unsplash

If you ask a guy his deepest, darkest fears about his penis, you’ll get a lot of far-fetched fears. The most common replies, though, go like this: It gets cut off! Something goes inside the pee hole! It breaks! It gets caught in a zipper! The truth is all except for one of those can technically happen to a penis. Which one?

Well, we all know how it technically could get cut off (remember the Lorena Bobbitt story?). But, in the case of the victim, John Bobbitt, that horror story shockingly had a happy ending as the doctors were able to sew it back on. And, of course, the classic Cameron Diaz movie, “There Something About Mary,” showed us how dangerous a zipper can be to a man’s best friend in that infamous scene with Ben Stiller.

While the fear of something going inside the urethra might sound far-fetched, it actually does happen. There’s what’s called a “penis fish” (formally known as a candiru fish) in the Amazon river that’s like a tiny little catfish that has been known to swim into men’s urethras while urinating in the river. (For one man’s shocking penis fish story, check out this episode of the Animal Planet television series, “River Monsters”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b2hbY4PbSQ)

But the one that actually simply cannot happen is breaking the penis. Why? Well, while we might call erections “boners,” the penis doesn’t actually have a bone so you can’t actually break it. But, while you can’t break your penis per se, you can fracture it and it’s more common than you might think. Here’s what you need to know...

What Exactly Is a Penis Fracture?

In brief, a penis fracture is a tear in the tunica albuginea. “The diagnosis of penile fracture describes the traumatic rupture of the tunica albuginea of an erect penis. Penile fractures typically occur when the engorged penile corpora are forced to buckle and literally ‘pop’ under the pressure of a blunt sexual trauma,” explains the National Institutes of Health.

The tunica albuginea is “the rubbery sheath of tissue below the skin that allows the penis to increase in width and length to produce a firm erection. Sometimes the erectile tissue beneath the tunica albuginea also ruptures. That’s known as the corpus cavernosum,” according to Healthline.

How It Happens

It can happen when there is trauma to an erect penis. The most common cause of a penis fracture is from sexual intercourse — specifically when the penis slips out of the vagina and accidentally thrusts against the pelvis, or elsewhere, and bends in the process from, well, missing its mark. This mishap often happens during sloppy, drunk sex when the coordination isn’t that good, or when changing positions fast and not paying attention to where you’re putting it.

The trauma can also be caused by aggressive masturbation or taqaandan, which is a cultural practice in which the top of an erect penis is forcefully bent to relax an erection, according to Dr. Matthew J. Ziegelmann, MD, for the Mayo Clinic. Brace yourself for this one: Taqaandan is practice in certain Middle Eastern cultures where men purposely crack their penis (like cracking your knuckles) in an attempt to either enlarge or straighten their penis or deflate an unwanted erection.

A third common cause is from a sharp blow to an erect penis from an accident, a fall, or an assault on the penis, such as a kick or other blunt force blow directly to the erect penis.

Penile Fracture Symptoms

You’ll usually know it when it happens as you might hear a pop or snapping sound, feel a sharp or severe pain instantly, or see bruising and discoloration in the area. Other symptoms include the penis might be visibly bent, there could be blood leaking from the penis, and/or you might have difficulty urinating. Many report that it looks like an eggplant — bulged and purple.

If any of this happens, you want to head to the emergency room immediately. Time is of the essence here because if left untreated, it can result in a curved penis or

erectile dysfunction in which you are unable to get or keep an erection.

One Man’s Horror Story

Dr. Jesse N. Mills, MD, told Men’s Health that it’s the most common penis injury he’s seen in his practice, and that most of the cases he’s seen or heard of have happened during sex with intoxicated lovers.

Dr. Mills explained one extreme case to Men’s Health: "[The couple] were in the throes of disinhibited, liquor-induced passion at 2 a.m. when she elevated her thrusting pelvis to the very tip of his erect penis and momentarily lost coordination as she slammed her pelvic bone forcefully down on his erect penis. They both heard a loud cracking sound followed by his shriek of pain," he explained.

In addition to the fracture, this patient also tore his urethra to the point where he was unable to urinate. His urethra had to be surgically reconstructed. "There are three chambers in a penis — the two erectile bodies and the urethra (urinary channel)," Dr. Mills explained. "Most penile fractures are mild with a small tear in one of the chambers that requires a few stitches to close the defect and get the man back to normal in a few weeks. This man tore all chambers and the only thing keeping his penis attached to his body was his skin."

The doctor had to fully reconstruct all chambers surgically. The patient had to use a urinary catheter for about three weeks but was fully recovered and able to have sex normally in about six weeks.

Treatment & Recovery

If you experience the aforementioned symptoms, understand that this is indeed a medical emergency, and you need immediate care. A doctor can confirm it’s fractured through a cavernosography X-ray, penile ultrasounds, or an MRI. Unfortunately, many penile fractures require stitches or surgery in order to make sure you maintain your ability to get, and keep, erections and to make sure you have normal urinary function.

The recovery is not fast. After surgery, most patients recover in the hospital first for a few days. Pain medication, antibiotics, and rest will be prescribed, as will follow-up exams and abstaining from masturbation or sexual intercourse for about a month until you’re fully recovered. The prognosis for this type of surgery is pretty good, but not 100 percent. According to a study in the Ghana Medical Journal, 90 percent of cases show good results. But some men will have side effects such as erectile dysfunction, curvature of the penis, painful erections, or trouble urinating.

Moral of the story? Be careful down there — Don’t have drunk sex and certainly don’t practice taqaandan!

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DISCLAIMER

While the above article is based on thorough research, we do not claim to offer a substitute for medical advice from a qualified healthcare provider. The article was written for information and educational purposes only. We aim to provide helpful information to our readers, but cannot provide a treatment, diagnosis, or consultation of any sort, and we are in no way indicating that any particular drug is safe or appropriate for you and your individual needs. To receive professional medical attention, you must see a doctor.