Cowgirl and doggy style are the most likely positions to break your penis
Disclaimer: This information isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should never rely upon this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.
What does a broken penis sound like?
Breaking your penis isn’t like snapping a bone (because your penis doesn’t have any bones). It’s more like popping a balloon. When you break your penis, the sheath around the engorged tissue tears, blood rushes through that tiny opening to the surface of the penis, and in a very real sense, the penis explodes. That’s why a broken penis is often accompanied by a loud “popping” sound or a crackling noise (and excruciating pain).
Breaking your penis typically results in:
- A loud pop
- Rapid loss of the erection
- Swelling and severe bruising
- Excruciating pain (it’s worth mentioning again)
In some cases penile fracture can tear blood vessels and even sever the urethra. A broken penis is a serious thing. But to really understand how you can avoid breaking your penis you need to know a little about the structure of the penis and how erections work.
How does your penis work?
Despite all the charming euphemisms, your penis doesn’t contain any bones or even any cartilage. Instead, the penis is made up of lots of blood vessels and spongy tissue. And this tissue is designed to handle a lot of blood flow.
When you get an erection, arteries in the penis open while other veins contract to allow more blood in and trap it before it flows out. That means an erection can contain up to 8x the normal amount of blood. This causes that spongy tissue in the penis to swell and stiffen, and you get an erection. In fact, tissue in the penis would expand endlessly if it weren’t contained by something. That’s why the penis has a strong, white sheath of fibrous tissue surrounding the dual spongy, blood-filled tubes in the center.
This sheath is what allows a penis to become rigid enough to penetrate a partner without any bones or cartilage. And it has to be incredibly strong to contain this swelling, pressure, and the force of penetration.
Under pressure: how does your penis sheath work?
So how strong is the sheath around your penis (tunica albuginea)?
- Normal blood pressure is around 120/80mm
- High blood pressure is anything above 135mm
- Blood pressure above 200mm is high enough to rupture blood vessels in your brain
- The blood pressure in an erect penis can be as high as 1,500mm
Your penis can handle 8x more blood pressure than blood vessels that would rupture in your brain
Even more impressive, while the penis sheath is very flexible and thick when the penis is flaccid—about 2 mm thick—it’s only about 0.5 mm thick during an erection (it stretches).
The penis is a blood-filled tube of soft muscle that becomes hard only because it is tightly contained by a tough piece of tissue that is under enormous strain when erect. One wrong move, one odd snap or twist, one misplaced forceful thrust, and that tissue can tear with surprising force.
What are the sex positions that can break your penis?
According to a 2014 study from Advances in Urology, “Heterosexual intercourse (~66%) is the most common cause of penile fracture, followed by “penile manipulation (15%).” “Woman on top” was the most common position to cause penile fracture (50%), followed by “doggy style” at 29%.
“Cowgirl” is the sex position most associated with a broken penis
A similar study found that sex was responsible for penile fracture 75% of the time. The other 25% of cases involved masturbation, blunt trauma, or falls (such as falling out of bed). While not exhaustive, the research seems to show that the greatest risk for severe penile fracture—one where both sides of the penis pop under pressure and where the urethra is torn—results from sex in the “doggy style” and “partner on top” positions.
However, it’s not all bad news for your favorite positions. The culprit behind a broken penis may be “where” and ‘with whom’ you have sex rather than the positions themselves.
A Journal of Sexual Medicine study found that “Penile fracture patients appear to be a unique population of men who are having sexual intercourse in stressful situations. Extramarital affairs and out‐of‐the‐ordinary locations appear common in patients sustaining this relatively rare injury.”
Of the sixteen patients with an acute penile fracture, seven were in the midst of an extramarital affair.
- Two fractures happened in the backseat of a car
- Another two occurred in a bathroom
- Three were sustained while having sex at work
- One was even in an elevator
The unusual places may have meant unfamiliar physical positions, and the illicit nature of the sex may have made it more hurried and unusually excited. There’s nothing sexy about positions that strain your physical limits. Slow down. Take it easy. And make sure you stretch before plowing through the entire Kama Sutra in one night. There’s nothing sexy about a broken penis.
How can you fix a broken penis?
In almost every case, a broken penis requires surgery to repair the damage. Long-term complications of penile fracture can include scarring, a bent penis, erectile dysfunction, and difficulty with urination or orgasms. Penile fracture is a serious injury with potentially lifelong consequences. That’s why it’s important you take a deep breath, and keep reading if you want to learn how to prevent breaking your penis.
How common is a broken penis?
The reality is that penile fracture is scary, but it’s rare. The sheath around your soft tissue is durable and can handle enormous pressure and stress. So unless you’re engaging in particularly aggressive sex, your penis should be just fine.