What happens when you break a penis?

Last month, we filled you in on a few things you may not have known about the science of love and sex, and right at the top of the list was an item outlining the horrors of penile fracture.

We learned a lot about penises that day. For example, we found out that they can, in fact, be broken; that penile fractures are (perhaps not surprisingly) quite painful; and that they often occur during sexual acrobatics — while trying to penetrate somebody "with a flying leap," for example. But it turns out there are some other interesting details that we neglected to include.

For example, according to a paper written by urologist and surgeon Andrew Kramer, published in a recent issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, penile fractures "seem more likely during sex under stressful situations." What qualifies as a stressful situation? According to Kramer, half of the penile fractures he saw between 2007 and 2011 were sustained during an extramarital affair. The majority of the others, he said, were suffered while getting it on in "out-of-the-ordinary" locations, including cars, elevators, and public restrooms.

But what really stuck out was Kramer's description of the fracturing process itself. He writes:

The unusual event of penile fracture occurs when there is a disruption of the tunica albuginea surrounding engorged erectile tissue during aggressive sexual behavior. There is often an audible crack and rapid detumescence with subcutaneous hemorrhage that follows [emphasis added].

If reading that didn't make you tense up, you're either heartless or penis-less. Maybe both. "Tumescent," for those of you wondering, is the usually excellent word used to describe swelling in response to sexual arousal, and in this case, we're talking about a man's member. So detumescence, in this scenario, would be the process of deflation/de-engorgement/withering-away-and-dying that a penis undergoes after the audible crack, but before the intense sub-skin bleeding and bruising, associated with penile fracture.

So the next time you or someone you know might be considering a high-stress sexual encounter involving one or more penises, go ahead and read them that little description. You might be sparing them the sickening crack of their own genitalia — not to mention the harrowing experience of detumescent-ing all over the place.

[The Journal of Sexual Medicine via NCBI ROFL]
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