Unfortunately, the answer to that question is: yes. In the medical world, it’s not described as ‘breaking’, because there are no bones in the penis. But the ‘penile fracture’ can indeed happen during sex. It’s most likely when the penis is bent severely and the tunica albuginea (the penis membrane) ruptures. As a consequence, blood that flows through the corpora cavernosa during an erection begins to leak into the surrounding tissues.
What are the signs of a broken penis?
The pain from breaking your penis will often be excruciating, although there are exceptions. You may also hear a loud popping sound and an erection will immediately come to an end. The broken penis may look deformed, be discolored, and feel swollen or bruised. If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to consult a doctor immediately.
How often do penis fractures happen?
A broken penis is fairly rare. The first reports date back to 1924, but in recent years more cases have been recorded worldwide. Roughly 1,043 cases of penile fracture have been reported in the U.S. within a single year. Half of the 1,600 cases of penile fractures mentioned in the scientific literature were recorded in Muslim countries. A broken penis is most common in young men in the 20s or 30s.
In the U.S., the majority of cases are linked to intercourse. During sex when there is thrusting, the penis may accidentally hit a different, solid location. This tends to happen more often during positions where the woman sits on top (e.g. cowgirl) or positions that involve more acrobatic moves. But fractures can also occur during masturbation or when rolling over in bed. For example, just 19% of penile fractures in Japan were reported to be intercourse related. Other reasons for a broken penis include accidental banging of the sex organ against solid surfaces and even putting on very tight jeans.
One study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine noted that fractures happened more often during stressful sex such as extramarital affairs or in unique locations. When the researchers reviewed 16 cases of patients with the injury, they found that half had had an affair when they fractured their sex organs, three injured themselves in the bedroom and the rest fractured their penis whilst having intercourse in strange locations such as elevators, cars or public toilets.
How is a fractured penis diagnosed?
Most patients will usually seek immediate emergency medical care. A doctor will usually examine the penis and ask questions to make the right diagnosis. Urologists may also order for images to be taken to rule out more severe injuries. If there is bleeding, it could point to a serious injury of the urethral and a urethrogram would have to be taken. In the U.S. and Europe, around 38% of penile fracture cases are accompanied with urethral injury.
How is a broken penis fixed?
In most cases, a fractured penis requires immediate surgery. During the surgery, the penis is opened up and a doctor will stitch up the tear in the tunica albuginea and corpus cavernosum.
During the early days, patients would use cooling packs and take painkillers, but long-term complication was 30% or higher. Penis surgeries became more popular in the 1980s when surgeons noted that long-term complication was reduced to 4%. If a penis fracture is not treated surgically, patients may be left with painful erections, infections, abscesses or penis deformation in the long-term.
Although surgery is successful in 90% of cases, some patients continue to experience pain, erectile dysfunction or issues involving the scar tissue. Recovery is much better the earlier you get to the emergency room.
After surgery, patients are usually required to stay in the hospital for a few days and you will be expected to attend follow-up visits to check that the penis is healing correctly. You should not have sex for at least one month afterward.
- Jack, G. S., Garraway, I., Reznichek, R., & Rajfer, J. (2004). Current treatment options for penile fractures. Reviews in urology, 6(3), 114–120.
- Malis J. (1924). Zur Kausuistik der fractura penis. Arch Klin Chir. 29:651. (Ger).
- Aaronson, D., & Shindel, A. (2010). U.S. National Statistics on Penile Fracture. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 7/9: 3226. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.01879.x
- Eke, N. (2002). Fracture of the penis. British Journal of Surgery, 89/5: 555-565. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2168.2002.02075.x
- ISHIKAWA, T., FUJISAWA, M., TAMADA, H., INOUE, T., & SHIMATANI, N. (2003). Fracture of the penis: Nine cases with evaluation of reported cases in Japan. International Journal of Urology, 10/5: 257-260. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1442-2042.2003.00619.x
- Reis, L., Cartapatti, M., Marmiroli, R., Oliveira Júnior, E., Saade, R., & Fregonesi, A. (2019). Mechanisms Predisposing Penile Fracture and Long-Term Outcomes on Erectile and Voiding Functions.
- Kramer, A. (2011). Penile Fracture Seems More Likely During Sex Under Stressful Situations. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 8/12: 3414-3417. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02461.x
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