When the topic of safe sex is addressed, it is usually related to the importance of using protection against STIs rather than actual physical injuries that can occur when you're intimate with your partner.
But sexual injuries do happen, and not necessarily as a result of particularly inventive or seemingly risky sexual positions. A study featured in the Journal of Impotence Research examined 90 men between the ages of 18 and 66 who had suffered penile fractures (ouch, right?), noting which positions the men were in when the unfortunate events happened.
Researchers then ranked each of the positions in order of injuries — and the results just might surprise you. Read on. And gird your loins!
This position tops the list for causing 41 percent of penile fractures in the study. Dr. Deb Laino, a sex and relationship therapist based in Delaware, says doggy-style sex can cause penile fractures because of rough penetration and possibly missing the entrance into the vagina and/or anus. Don't want this to happen to you? Refrain from entry until you're good and ready. "The best way to avoid a penile fracture is for the male to make sure (the penis) is fully erect, which reduces the risk of having it twist or get moved harshly in an unnatural direction (such as to the side)," she says. Good advice.
Yes, even the seemingly safest of all positions, missionary is not without its risks. Though it is what Laino calls far and away the most popular sexual position, the missionary position was ranked by the study to be the second most risky. Both Laino and Shubham Gupta, MD, Assistant Professor of Urology at the University of Kentucky, were surprised by this result. "In the man-on-top position, most of the movement is controlled by the male partner, and this accounts for a lesser risk of fracture," says Laino. Apparently, there's no accounting for men's overenthusiastic thrusting and the subsequent penile injury when the vagina and/or anus is missed. Slow down, guys!
3. Woman On Top
Though it was named the third most dangerous, Dr. Gupta said he would have suspected the woman-on-top position would place higher than man-on-top position in this study. "Intuitively, situations where the man has lesser control of the frequency and vigor of vaginal penetration would predispose him to penile injuries," he says. Dr. Laino agrees. "All the female weight is on the male. If she is rough, fast or twists and turns in ways that are heavy-hitting (controlling the movement), it can result in a penile fracture (or other sex injury)," she says.
4. Blunt Trauma
If just hearing the words "blunt trauma" in relation to a penis can cause one to wince — imagine how it must feel! What exactly do the researchers mean by blunt trauma? Gupta says various forms of masturbation, sexual intercourse and alternate sexual practices (like hitting the penis against objects) can cause it to fracture. The thing is, excruciating pain aside, not many men are willing to cop to it. "These are sex-related injuries that are not often confessed to by patients," says Gupta, though he has heard about folks who claim to have fallen on their penis.
What if you break your penis?
Laino says there's one way to tell if something serious is up with your penis. "When (a penis fracture) does happen, there is usually a popping noise, which is the sound of the tissue tearing," she explains. If your partner suspects they've broken their penis during sex, rush them to the hospital. In severe cases the urethra can be damaged, which can cause issues with urination.
"A penile fracture is a disturbing injury," says Gupta. "It can cause psychological distress." Not only does breaking your penis hurt like heck, it can swell up and look like an eggplant. "Many guys are embarrassed to go to the doctor," adds Gupta. "It's critical that the partner provide emotional support and encourage the patients to seek urgent treatment."
So there you have it! Whatever position you're having sex in, please be careful. You do not want to be another statistic.
What Do YOU Think?
Have you — or your partner — ever sustained a sex injury? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments below!