Can You Break A Penis During Sex? You Sure Can, So Be Careful Out There

It sounds like one of those things that middle schoolers make up when they're still fuzzy on the actual mechanics of bangin', but it's true: you can break a penis during sex. Dismissed by many as some kind of urban sex myth, the broken penis — medically known as a "penile fracture"— exists, but still remains a source of great mystery to most of us. How common is it? What causes it? I thought we had established that boners don't have bones in them, so what the hell is this even about?

Well, first off, to soothe your panicked mind: penis fractures are extremely rare. In fact, there have only been around 1300 recorded since 1935, which translates to around 16 a year in the entire world. So the odds of breaking your fella's penis after getting a little too rowdy on a Friday night are minimal.

But if you are one of the unlucky few, how does a penile fracture actually happen? When a penis becomes excited, the spongy material inside it fills with blood, giving us our friendly neighborhood erection. The erection is a curious little fellow, always looking for new and unusual places to explore! But sometimes, when his explorations take him off his usual path, something goes wrong for our pal the erection. Very wrong. Extreme pressure put on the erect penis — say, when a penis rams into something unforgiving, like a pubic bone, or an Ikea nightstand — can create a puncture in the casing of this sponge-like material, causing internal bleeding inside the penis. Most penile fracture sufferers only experience bruising and swelling from this internal bleeding, although the occasional unlucky fracturee may see some external blood.

And how do you know when you've fractured a penis? Oh, trust me, you'll know. Among the goriest symptoms reported for a penile fracture was a "popping" sound emanating from the penis, followed by the penis bending, and loss of erection. The ailment requires immediate medical treatment — usually brief surgery that only lasts an hour — leading to a few stitches, and a few weeks in which getting an erection is verboten. And after said treatment, the average penis can go back to (cautious) sex within a month. But an untreated penile fracture can doom the victim to a life of penile deformity and erectile dysfunction.

Of course, you probably already knew all of this is you watched this 2009 episode of Grey's Anatomy focusing on this unusual "athletic injury" :

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But enough of the technical stuff. I know what your real question is: "What are the ways that penises typically become fractured, so that I can be sure to never, ever do them?" The real truth is that penile fractures can happen in any position or situation...but if you're really pushing me, here are some factors that turn up in many broken wiener sitches:

1. Aggressive sex

Going buck wild on someone's dong is one of the great American traditions, like Arbor Day or Tang. But superfast banging isn't just a fun way to spend the occasional Sunday afternoon — it is also a great way to break your penis. Most penile fractures happen when victim is in a stressful sexual situation — and "stressful" here refers to things that put stress on your body, like extremely aggressive and fast intercourse, not, like, sex the day before your taxes are due. So while we culturally revere a hard pounding, you may want to keep things on just this side of crazy, for your favorite penis's sake.

2. Non-missionary sex

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Like I said, there isn't one sexual position that causes penis fractures — but a whole lot of them seem to have been caused by a bouncing vagina that didn't quite land where everyone thought it was going to. Enthusiastic receptive-partner-on-top intercourse can go wrong when the penis accidentally rams into the perineum or pubic bone instead of whatever hole you were aiming for. Doctors have also seen broken boners result from doggystyle, and that thing where the girl sits on a table and the dude stands and bangs her and it's never quite as fun as everyone hopes it will be. But don't start only doing it missionary (or as I like to call it, "Duggar-style") on account of fear — odds are, you're not going to injure your guy's manhood, as long as you don't go into full-on frenzied bouncing. Come on, admit it, it doesn't even feel that good!

3. Adulterous sex

A 2011 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that of 16 patients treated for penile fractures in a Maryland hospital, half admitted that they had damaged their dongs while cheating on their mates. But there isn't anything inherently penis-breaking about screwing around on your partner — the study researcher speculated that the high percentage was caused by the hurried, time-constrained circumstances under which most extramarital sex occurs, which caused more frequent accidents to happen. So, if "morality" or "being a good human being" hadn't scared you off cheating, you have this to think about too before stepping out on or with someone. Don't wreck a home and a dick!

4. Sex in a weird place

But what is the greatest factor in picking up a broken schwanz? Having sex in an unusual place. The same Journal of Sexual Medicine study found that of those 16 previously mentioned patients, 13 had sustained their injuries having sex someplace unusual, i.e. a car, a supply closet at work, a Starbucks bathroom. Though breaking your penis on a sexual field tip is still rare, if this factoid freaks you out, I say good! Go with it! Stop banging in that Starbucks bathroom! There are a ton of people outside it who just drank a huge espresso and have to pee very, very badly! Images: Giphy (3)