Penis Injury 101: Can Your Genitals Be Broken Or Snapped? Experts Explain All

'The force has to be very intense.'

For a lot of men, nothing is perhaps more terrifying than the prospect of “breaking” your penis during intercourse.

While it is a rare occurrence, just last year, a man was hospitalised after “snapping” his penis during vigorous sex with his partner.

Steven Horden, 37, from Gillingham, Kent, was left with a bruised and bloodied penis and doctors told him he may no longer be able to have children.

“It’s nasty. The whole penis is bruised and bent and horrible,” he said at the time. “We were doing [it] doggy style. It was a little bit too frantic.”

So what actually happens when a man “breaks” his penis? And how can it be prevented?

What is a penis injury?

While people commonly refer to this type of injury as “breaking” the penis, in reality it’s more of a tear.

Dr Helen Webberley, GP for Oxford Online Pharmacy, explains: “Fracture of the penis is a rare occurrence and although the word fracture evokes images of snapping bones, in reality the penis doesn’t actually break.”

“When the penis becomes erect it is engorged with blood and becomes very hard. The fibres within the cavities of the shaft can be torn if excessive force is applied.

“The force has to be very intense and may be caused by extra vigorous intercourse or masturbation.”

According to the NHS, when the tubes within the penis burst, blood pours out of them, filling up the penis and causing a very painful swelling.

“Reported cases of penile fracture are rare, but it’s thought that some men are too embarrassed to report it to their doctor,” the site states.

Damage during sex, where a partner is on top, is responsible for about a third of all penis breakages.

This type of injury often occurs when a man’s penis slips out of his partner and is bent violently.

“Men describe the sensation as feeling just like a ‘snap’,” explains Dr Webberley. “It is painful and can result in spontaneous bruising.

“If you are concerned you should seek medical advice urgently because a surgical repair may be needed to prevent the long-term complications of deformity and difficulties with erections.”

How can a penis injury be prevented?

Sex expert Tracey Cox tells HuffPost UK that the most dangerous sex positions for men are ‘him from behind’, ‘her on top’ and ‘missionary’.

In regards to the first position, also known as doggy style, she says: “I’d rate this as the most dangerous of the sex positions – especially if it’s done at the end of the bed. All it takes is for him to thrust enthusiastically and her to shift position a little and next thing, he’s fallen out and is about to hit the hard end of the bed with force.”

To stop this from happening, she advises men to take firm hold of their partner’s hips to ensure they stay in position.

“You’re also safer doing this position on the floor rather than with something hard in front of you,” she adds.

For positions where the woman is on top, things can go awry if “she leans too far forward or too far back and he has a full erection”.

“It can bend the penis into angles that it isn’t supposed to go,” adds Cox.

Finally, she explains that it can occur from one of the most common sexual positions among heterosexual couples - missionary.

“Missionary isn’t a position you’d normally classify as dangerous but if he accidentally pulled out and thrust hard against a hard floor, it could cause a fracture,” she says.

“The trick to stopping penile injuries is to thrust quite shallowly, holding your partner close to you using a grinding rather than thrusting motion.”

Well, there you have it.

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