Stuff Not To Do With Your Penis

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Given the depth and breadth of penis articles recently, our editorial board thought not covering them would do the public a disservice. Since some in our office are gun shy about the topic (e.g. males), I was tasked with the assignment. 

No big deal. I got this junk. Being a medical doctor means being so used to penises and vaginas, to me they are interchangeable with any body part, from brain to anus. 

Some people will always test boundaries, that is why I wrote an entire series of articles on inanimate objects found in bodily orifices by doctors, and those covered the penis and urethra. Doctors are used to it, from general practitioners to surgeons.

So, let’s deep dive into the latest penis don’ts…

Penile elongation and girth enhancement procedure results in sudden death

Sadly, a young, reportedly otherwise healthy man (with a history of mild asthma) died after undergoing a two-step procedure intended to transform the appearance of his penis while flaccid. You read that correctly, its purpose was not to combat erectile dysfunction but to alter size (and cosmetic) perception. In fact, a component of the process performed-- loosening the fundiform ligament to elongate the penis-- can actually make erection more challenging. 

A case report published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences details this individual's autologous fat transer where fat was collected via liposuction from the lower abdomen and reimplanted into the same person's penis. The more common adverse effects include bleeding, infection, disfigurement and expanding bruising, swelling or blood collections (aka hematomas). In this case, the fat migrated into the patient's circulation --termed fat embolism-- and caused catastrophic obstruction within the pulmonary system resulting in cardiac arrest and ultimate death. Typically, these fat transfers are more superficial just beneath the skin, but in this instance, the theory is the pretraumatized tissue from the first step of the procedure made the entry into the damaged blood vessels more feasible. The engorgement of the blood vessels located here is what maintains and sustains erections, so the area is highly vascularized. Fat entering this system can travel well beyond the genitals. 

This was done in a private plastic surgery clinic in Sweden and efforts to revive the patient were unsuccessful. The working hypothesis is the risk of this outcome could be reduced if the two steps are not performed in the same procedure. 

"Who's A Penis Genius?... Jiftip the Diktip"

So, yes, this is actually on the website of a new penis product Jiftip being touted to "Feel Your Partner,
Feel Freedom, Feel Safe." It is described as a solution to the pullout method and a feel shield. Its intent is to cover and seal the tip of the penis to ensure "nothing gets in or out until you remove it." It boasts a legal disclaimer: "This product is for novelty or entertainment purposes only. THOU SHALT NOT USE IT FOR PREGNANCY OR STI PURPOSES."

There you have it. With catchy phrases like "Use condom: You feel safe, nothing else" and "Use Nothing: You feel everything, except safe" the product walks a fine line vacillating between gimmick and actual utility, while also spreading dangerous messages about the importance of condom usage for disease and pregnancy prevention. The safety and efficacy of condoms are well-established. There is no evidence that pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections are reduced by using the Jiftip and certainly it has not been shown to be safe. They admit this and state "Use Jiftip for pleasure enhancement and convenience only. DO NOT USE FOR PREGNANCY OR STI's." 

Additionally, plugging the outlet for semen could pose a risk of retrograde ejaculation where the material enters the bladder instead of the outside world-- this can lead to male infertility issues. Urine could also be propelled in the wrong direction. Then, there is the potential of placing a bonding agent or adhesive on the very sensitive skin on the penile tip and the trauma this might cause. Since they don't provide the ingredients within the product on their site, understanding the extent of the possible hazards is unknown. 

"Cock-Stuffing, Sounding OR Urethral Play"

The former term is pretty self-explanatory and given the recent use of the c-word in the political sphere last week seemed warranted for inclusion. "Cock-Stuffing" or "urethral play" includes inserting objects into the urethral opening often to the length of the shaft to enhance sexual stimulation. Some will extend even further into the bladder. It can be a fetish or proclivity anyone might try. The goal might also be to dilate the urethra (aka the tube in the penis through which urine and semen flow) for placement of penile piercings. Or, it can play a role in sadomasochistic practices since insertion can impede erection development and if poorly timed and placed cause damage to penile tissue. 

There is tremendous variability in items used. Some objects like thermometers made of glass are highly risky given their risk of breaking along with the mercury exposure should that occur. As are any objects that are sharp or could become so. "Sounding" typically refers to the use of metal, even plastic rods with smooth edges--started from medical probes. They can be used for "prostate play" and are intended to enhance sexual stimulation. 

In Penis and Urethra: Inanimate Objects in Orifices, I detail the hazards of inserting foreign objects into the penile opening and through the penis and urethra, in general. They range from urethral strictures, to tissue erosion to infection and bleeding. Often, wide ranging lubricants are used which can be irritating and problematic as well. Sometimes numbing agents are employed which pose dangers too. 

I could go on...

But, I won't. Quite frankly, it is hard to limit the conversation. Bottom line: Putting items where they aren't intended, could be putting your life at risk. If there is an untoward event after an ill-advised or accidental activity, then do not delay seeking emergency medical treatment. Urologists are the specialists most apt to manage your concerns about penile enlargement and erection issues. Seek their and your doctor's counsel before undertaking potentially irreversible procedures, do your research. Fortunately, there are many safe and well-established ways to correct a lot of medical problems today, but avoiding preventable injury should be your first step. Condoms are shown to be safe and effective in reducing the spread of sexually transmitted infections and as a contraceptive device. Discuss with your doctor your concerns and how best to maintain your personal sexual and reproductive health.