7 Sex Acts That Could Actually Break a Penis

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One of my worst sex nightmares is breaking someone’s penis. The cracking sound, the discoloration, and, most likely, the screams are the stuff of horror movies. If you share this nightmare, or if you’re just morbidly curious, you may have wondered how such a thing can happen. Because there aren’t any bones in the penis, you can’t technically break it, but if it’s erect,you can fracture it by breaking the skin that covers two tube-like bodies inside of it. These are called corpora cavernosa, and during an erection, they fill with blood. Bend an erect penis at enough of an angle and these blood-filled cylinders can essentially burst, making a cracking or popping sound (cringing forever) followed by deflation of the erection, swelling, bruising, and pain. Lots and lots of pain.

“Usually there’s no bleeding coming out through the skin, it’s an internal fracture of the jacket of tissue around the erectile cylinders — that blood then leaks out of the erectile cylinders and fills the skin, and therefore gets progressively more swollen and can get very misshapen as well,” Rush University Medical Center urologist Laurence Levine, MD, tells Cosmopolitan.com. “The characteristic appearance of the penis will be what’s called the eggplant penis, where the penis just looks like a purple eggplant; a very irregular, swollen structure.” So this is definitely something you do not want to happen, and fortunately, it’s a relatively uncommon problem, says Dr. Levine. It’s caused almost exclusively by sexual activity, since a blow to a flaccid penis is unlikely to lead to a fracture.

To avoid making an actual penis look more like an eggplant emoji than it should, read on for the sex acts likeliest to “break” one.

1. Woman on top. “The most common way a fracture occurs is during penetrative sexual activity, and the most common position is going to be female” — or whoever is being penetrated — “on top,” Dr. Levine says. “The penis comes out and in, and in the attempt to go back in, you miss, and you hit the pelvic bone or the buttock or something that is not allowing the passage of the penis. The penis is getting bent suddenly, those pressures go sky-high, and then you have a tear.”

One 2014 study of 42 penile fracture cases showed that of the 28 of them that had occurred through vaginal intercourse, 14 had happened during woman-on-top sex. “Our hypothesis is that when the woman is on top, she usually controls the movement with her entire body weight landing on the erect penis, not being able to interrupt it when the penis suffers a wrong way penetration,” the researchers wrote. “[W]hen the man is controlling the movement, he has better chances of stopping the penetration…”.

To minimize risk, instead of moving their body entirely off the penis and then reinserting, the receiver can focus on rocking and grinding rather than bobbing up and down (which feels better for you and your clit, anyway). Leaning back too far is also inadvisable, as this could hyperextend the penis.

7 Sex Acts That Could Actually Break a Penis

2. Reverse cowgirl. It’s not surprising that another receiver-on-top position could have similarly disastrous results. This position puts an erect penis at a downward angle that adds pressure, which is compounded by the risk that you won’t be able to keep from slamming down onto it incorrectly. Proceed with caution.

7 Sex Acts That Could Actually Break a Penis

3. Anal sex. This one might be surprising — it’s not just another “you might miss” category. “Anal penetration can sometimes put a lot of pressure there, particularly if it’s being attempted in too rapid a way so the partner [receiving] can’t relax,” Dr. Levine says. “If there’s a lot of resistance, anything that is going to increase resistance is going to put more pressure on the penis if it’s being pushed into something.”

Basically, more pressure = greater chance of a fracture, which means one more reason to warm up before anal play instead of diving into it, and to use generous amounts of lube. In this instance, it’s more on the person with the penis to prevent fracture, since they’re more in control of the thrusting in typical doggie-style sex positions. They’ll want to be very careful to be more “precise” in entry, because banging it against something hard, for example the perineum, the area between the anus and the vulva or scrotum, could lead to fracture.

7 Sex Acts That Could Actually Break a Penis

4. Vigorous masturbation. Yes, someone can break their own dick if they’re masturbating hard enough and at enough of an angle. However, masturbation is most likely to lead to fractures in unusual scenarios, i.e. not when someone is sitting comfortably in their bed, but when they are jacking off in a moving car and then hit the dashboard, or when they decide to masturbate into a cocktail shaker — two real-life examples that this delightful study details. (Might I suggest using a Fleshlight next time instead, buddy? Nobody needs a surprise semen cocktail.)

7 Sex Acts That Could Actually Break a Penis

5. A violent hand job. In the same vein, you can also break someone’s dick with your hand. “A rather vigorous hand job where the penis is getting folded one way or another might potentially injure it,” Dr. Levine says. Hopefully the penis owner will put the brakes on such a hand job before it gets to this point, but it’s not impossible.

7 Sex Acts That Could Actually Break a Penis

6. Bending the penis in an attempt to get rid of an unwanted erection. Dr. Levine warns that the practice of bending a penis mid-shaft — whether by hand or by stuffing it into underwear or other clothing — can break it. Research has suggested that while vaginal intercourse is responsible for most penile fractures in Western society, efforts to banish boners are a leading cause of cases reported in the Middle East, especially Iran.

7 Sex Acts That Could Actually Break a Penis

7. Jelqing. Jelqing is a natural penis enlargement attempt in which someone forcefully squeezes a penis from base to tip to increase blood flow and pressure. There is no evidence that jelqing will make a penis permanently larger, but just as overzealous masturbation can injure a penis, so can this ineffectual practice — so just jettison it from your workout routine altogether.

Blow jobs, meanwhile, are not on Dr. Levine’s list of the sex acts most likely to lead to a fracture, although he allows that teeth can wreak some havoc. “A bite would hurt a lot,” he says. “I would think that the worst that you could do is tear the skin — you’re not going to necessarily tear the inner jacket of the penis, unless you clamp it down really hard, I guess.” He adds that Peyronie’s disease — the development of scar tissue inside the penis that causes painful erections — is a concern for many more men than are penile fractures themselves. While doctors aren’t sure exactly what causes the condition, which may affect as many as 1 out of 11 men, many believe that trauma to the penis (including but not limited to fractures) can lead to it.

The long and short of it: Play it safe, and if you do injure your or someone else’s penis, escort it quickly to an emergency room. It may not need surgery right away (or at all), but an immediate evaluation is always a good idea.

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