Please Stop Believing These Broken Penis Inaccuracies
Every once in a while, we see the headline that makes all men cringe: Man Breaks Penis—or some variation of it. The story is usually pretty sensationalized, but that doesn't mean it's completely made up.
Here's a genitalia fact: Yes, it is possible to break your penis, aka a penile fracture.
We'll look at what that means, examine some misunderstandings about a broken penis and find out what you need to do if it happens.
It doesn't have a bone, so you can't really 'break' your penis.
Oh, you poor, sweet summer child. Even without an actual bone inside, you most certainly can break your penis, and it isn't pretty.
Certain species of animals do have a bone in their boner, but humans aren't among them. However, the interior structures of the penis can and will rupture—i.e., break—if you put enough pressure on them.
"Yes, there is something called 'penile fracture,' although there is no actual bone in the penis," said Amy Pearlman, M.D., a men's health specialist and co-founder of Prime Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "Penile fracture occurs when the tissue surrounding the erectile chambers, called the 'tunica albuginea,' ruptures. This is often due to forceful bending of an erect penis, most commonly during sexual intercourse."
These chambers function as a stiff but pliable sheath, a membrane that surrounds the corpus cavernosa and urethra and helps to trap blood in the penis when it's erect. Sudden pressure on an erect penis at an odd angle can cause the tunica to snap. Frequently, this occurs when the man's partner is on top and his penis slips out, causing the partner's body to slam down against the end of it.
Such a rupture is often accompanied by an audible "cracking" sound and a sharp pain (often with the loss of erection). Symptoms of a penile fracture depend on the severity of the break and what gets broken. They could include swelling and bruising due to a tear in the tunica. Anything along these lines should prompt immediate medical attention.
A broken penis will always heal on its own.
The most common structure to be broken is the tunica albuginea. As it heals, it can cause scarring that alters the shape of the erect penis. Some penile fractures can involve the corpora cavernosa, the chambers within the penis that fill with blood when it's erect.
"If left untreated, penile fracture may lead to erectile dysfunction (ED), penile shortening, loss of penile girth and/or penile curvature," Pearlman said. "There aren’t too many emergencies when it comes to urology, but concern for penile fracture is one of them and should prompt an urgent visit to the ER for further evaluation and possible surgical correction."
One of the most common causes of Peyronie's disease—aka internal penile scarring that leads to a new curvature to the erect penis—is often this kind of penile trauma.
A broken penis is always the traumatic result of rough sex.
An accident during an overenthusiastic romp is likely the most common cause of a broken penis, but it can happen in other ways—including on purpose. More on that in a moment.
Another possibility, however, is that microbreaks can accumulate over time, causing deformations in the way the tunica heals.
"Most men don't recall a discrete trauma," said William Brant, M.D., the chief of urology at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center. "It's more likely that a minor trauma—think 'missing' during sex, although it doesn't need to be with sexual activity—results in blood getting into places where it shouldn't be. Then there's an abnormal tissue healing response."
There are reported instances of people breaking their penises when they roll over awkwardly on an erection while sleeping or due to a clumsy fall while erect.
Another cause of a broken penis is when it's done deliberately, as in a practice in some Middle Eastern countries called taqaandan. The Kurdish word for "click," taqaandan is a method—strongly not recommended—for getting rid of an unwanted erection. The man grasps his penis partway up the shaft, then grabs the head with the other hand and sharply bends it to one side until he hears a pop or a click.
You could call it a self-induced penile fracture. Some men use the technique for more than simply to get rid of unwanted erections; they also find it pleasurable, likening it to cracking your knuckles.
With all due respect to unique cultural norms, please be aware that deliberately and repeatedly cracking your tunica albuginea could lead to serious issues.
It's difficult to know how common a fractured penis is. That's partly due to many people not realizing it's a medical emergency in need of treatment. It's also likely to be underreported due to embarrassment.
If you suspect a penile fracture, get medical attention immediately. Doing so can go a long way toward minimizing the long-term damage. Early treatment can help prevent the scar buildup that contributes to the bend that comes with Peyronie's disease.
If there's significant bruising or swelling, immediate treatment may be critical to avoid further complications.