Breaking one’s erect penis is a possibility during both sexual and non-sexual activity, and when it occurs, requires medical treatment. Even though this trauma to the erect penis is called a “penile fracture,” the penis is actually rupturing because it is not a bone, which is why another term is “corporal rupture.”
Signs that someone may have “fractured” or “broken” their penis include, but are not limited to, a popping sound, pain, loss of erection, swelling and bruising called “eggplant deformity” for the color and shape of the rupture.
Positions that put pressure on the penis (i.e., woman-on-top), accidentally slipping out while thrusting forcefully, or even non-sexual activity like rolling over an erect penis, are among the many ways someone could potentially fracture their penis.
Other potential causes include a practice in some cultures called “taqaandan,” bending of the erect penis for a variety of reasons including pleasure or to stop an erection.
Treatment is required to repair a fractured penis. Injury to the penis may lead to other side effects with or without treatment.
The penis may also experience other trauma and injury from the friction of sexual activity, as well as pain or discomfort from STDs/STIs (see SexEd.net STD Topic).
The sourced articles below should provide more information on potential trauma to the penis, including penis fractures, from sexual activity.
- What Is A Penis Fracture, And How Is It Treated?
“In the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, the Taghaandan maneuver is a frequent cause. Men who practice this forcefully bend the shaft of an erect penis. The maneuver is sometimes compared to cracking one’s knuckles. Some men feel pleasure from it.”
International Society for Sexual Medicine, issm.info, accessed on 7/6/2019
- Recognizing And Treating A Penile Fracture
“Did You Know: Scientists estimate that penile fractures are substantially more common in the Middle East and North Africa? This may be due to the prevalence of certain types of penile manipulation that are associated with damage. One such type of manipulation involves ‘kneading and snapping’ the penis to induce a rapid loss of erection, which is a very risky activity.”
Elizabeth Boskey, PhD, Medically reviewed by a board-certified physician, verywellhealth.com, 7/6/2019
- What To Know About A Cut On The Penis
“Friction: The skin on the penis is quite thin. During prolonged or repetitive physical activities, the penis can rub against other parts of the body or tight clothing, which can lead to tears or cuts. Example of activities that may irritate or injure the skin of the penis include:
– running and jogging
– sexual activities, including masturbation …”
Jenna Fletcher, Reviewed by J. Keith Fisher, MD, medicalnewstoday.com, 6/24/2019
- Penile Fracture
“Complications following repair include penile curvature during erection, penile paraesthesia, and dyspareunia / painful erection. Prompt diagnosis and surgical repair carry a good prognosis, with post-operative complications only present in around 5% of cases.”
Online resource, teachmesurgery.com, 3/26/2019
- 4 Sex Scenarios That Could Lead To Injury, According To Experts
“‘The most common male sexual injury we see is *penile fracture.* This happens when the woman is on top — e.g. Cowgirl or Reverse Cowgirl. With rough sex, the penis can hit against the pubic bone in the woman, causing the penis to forcefully snap,’ board-certified urologist and female pelvic medicine specialist Dr. Michael Ingber, told INSIDER. This condition is known as ‘eggplant deformity’ because the attendant swelling and bruising can cause the penis to resemble an eggplant. Penile fracture is a surgical emergency and warrants an immediate trip to the hospital.”
Sophia Mitrokostas, businessinsider.com, 2/21/2019
- What Causes A Sore Penis After Sex?
“A sore penis after sexual activity or intercourse isn’t always a cause for concern. But if you’re experiencing other unusual symptoms, it may be time to make an appointment with your healthcare provider. …
[1.] Lack of lubrication during sex …
[2.] Prolonged or vigorous sex …
[3.] Delayed ejaculation (DE) …
[4.] Allergic reactions to condom, lubricants, or other products …
[5.] Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) …
[6.] Prostatitis …
[7.] Phimosis …
[8.] Yeast infection …
[9.] Urinary tract infection (UTI) …
[10.] Peyronie’s disease …
[11.] Post-orgasmic illness syndrome (POIS) …”
Tim Jewell, Medically reviewed by Janet Brito, PhD, LCSW, CST, healthline.com, 12/21/2018
- Yes, You Can ‘Break’ Your Penis
“Fracturing your penis is a medical emergency and should be addressed expeditiously. Delays can cause meaningful harm. Non-missionary sexual positions are at greater risk of causing this eventuality. The force it takes to buckle a penis has to be strong and just off the straight down of the long axis. Aggressive thrusting during intercourse can prompt hitting the pelvis or misalignment upon re-entry, for example, causing the penis to bend.”
Jamie Wells, MD, acsh.org, 8/15/2018
- Penile Fracture
“Penile fracture was reported for the first time by Abul Kasem, an Arab physician, in Cordoba, Spain more than 1000 years ago. It is not an uncommon condition but is often underreported. It occurs more frequently in Middle Eastern and North African countries (almost 55% of the total number reported) than in the United States or Europe (almost 30% of those reported). Annual incidence in the USA is estimated at 500–600 cases, responsible for one in every 175,000 emergency admissions. Concomitant urethral injury has been reported as high as 38% of cases, although the largest USA series suggests a lower rate of 23%.”
Prashant K. Singh, Christopher M. McLeavy, and Margaret Lyttle, urologynews.uk.com, 5/1/2018
- A Comedian Broke His Penis And Wrote A Book About It
“A 2002 study identified more than 1,300 cases of penile fractures in the medical literature since 1935. According to the study, over half of these cases were from predominantly Muslim countries, where men sometimes take drastic measures to hide their arousal. ‘In other countries … particularly in the Middle East … people try to lose their erection because they’re socially embarrassed about it,’ Purohit said. Such efforts to forcibly subdue an erection can result in its fracture. In the US, the majority of cases are due to traumatic coitus and are usually caused by thrusting against the pubic symphysis or perineum. Certain positions, such as having the partner on top, are also higher risk, according to a 2004 study.”
Mark Lieber, cnn.com, 4/18/2018
- 13 Answers To ‘Embarrassing’ Sex Questions
“There’s a whole smorgasbord of sexual positions you can try with your partner. But do any of them pose real risk for injury? ‘Most sexual positions are safe,’ says Dr. Michael Ingber. However, he warns that penile fractures can occur when a woman is on top during rough sex. If the tip of the penis hits the pubic bone in the woman, causing the penis to forcefully bend while erect, you may hear a ‘snap’ or ‘pop,’ and then the penis will swell and turn purple. ‘We call this an *eggplant deformity,* and it requires urgent surgery,’ says Dr. Ingber.”
Michelle Spencer, livestrong.com, 3/22/2018
- Yes, You Can Break Your Penis. And It’s As Awful As It Sounds
“The sudden tearing of that sheath is the same as popping a balloon with the prick of a pin. Blood rushes through that tiny opening to the surface of the penis, and in a very real sense the penis explodes in the area of the tear. This is why breaking a penis is usually accompanied by a loud ‘popping’ sound or a crackling noise and excruciating pain. Without getting too into the specifics, 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)”
Dr. Michael Reitano, getroman.com, 1/17/2018
- Penile Fracture (graphic images)
“Penile fracture is defined as a disruption or tear of the tunica albuginea of the corpus cavernosum in the penis. The mechanism for this injury is most commonly the erect penis slipping out of the vagina and thrusting against the perineum or the pubic bone, causing a sudden bending of the penis and resulting in a buckling injury to the penis and a tearing of the tunica albuginea of the corpus cavernosum. … The most common causes include reverse coitus– woman on top, doggy style intercourse, anal intercourse, masturbation, rolling over on the erect penis, and the self-inflicted bending of the penis practiced in Iran and called taqaandan. The most common signs and symptoms of penile fracture include a cracking or popping sound, sudden penile pain, rapid detumescence of the penis, and sudden swelling and discoloration of the penis.”
Frederick A. Gulmi, MD, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, 2018
- Is It Possible For A Man To Break His Penis?
“Seek immediate medical attention if it is suspected you have ‘broken’ your penis. This is because surgery may be needed to repair the tissue in the penis, and as time ticks on, scarring can form in the tissue. This may increase the possibility of complications from the injury.”
Dr. Tobias Köhler, urologyhealth.org, 2018
- Penile Fracture
“Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to fracture a penis. The penis is an assembly of tissue, not a bone. Penis fractures are a rare occurrence, but when they do happen, 95% of injuries occur during vaginal intercourse. A penile injury is not limited by sexual activity. A fracture can occur by blunt force trauma or even by rolling over on an erect penis. A penis fracture is considered to be an urgent medical emergency that must be treated as soon as possible.”
UCSB SexInfo, sexinfo.soc.ucsb.edu, 11/9/2017
- Everything You Should Know About Penile Fractures
“Although penis fracture can result from injury during any position in sexual intercourse, certain practices increase the odds. In heterosexual men, the woman-on-top position increases your risk. When the penis is momentarily blocked at the entrance to the vagina, the woman’s full weight can forcefully bend the erection. The woman may also rock too far forward or backward, bending the shaft of the penis. The rear-entry position is also associated with penile injuries. Men in certain Middle Eastern cultures practice taqaandan, or penile cracking. This involves grasping the shaft of the erect penis and bending the top until you hear an audible clicking sound. Men do this for a variety of reasons, such as:
– deflating an unwanted erection
– attempting to enlarge or straighten their penis
– out of habit, like cracking your knuckles”
Daniel Pendick, Medically reviewed by Daniel Murrell, MD, healthline.com, 8/30/2017
- Everything You Need To Know About Penile Fracture
“A penile fracture is not the same as a break in a bone. Instead, it is a rupture in the two areas of the penis responsible for erections: the corpora cavernosa and the penile sheath. Because the injury can cause long-lasting damage to a man’s sexual and urinary function, it is important to seek emergency medical attention.”
Rachel Nall, RN, BSN, CCRN, Reviewed by Alana Biggers, MD, MPH, medicalnewstoday.com, 7/25/2017
- Out Of The Albuginea Of The Corpora Cavernosa (graphic images)
“Fractures of the penis are rare in our context, and are most often due to a misstep of coitus. A more common cause has been described in countries of the Middle East which aims to stop the erection of a sudden bending of the penis, called ‘Taqaandan’.”
Hamza Dergamoun, panafrican-med-journal.com, 7/20/2017
- Relationship Between Sexual Position And Severity Of Penile Fracture.
“The sexual position at the time of injury varied, with 23 cases (25.5%) occurring in the ‘man-on-top’, 37cases (41%) in the ‘doggy style’ and 9 cases (10%) in the ‘woman-on-top’. We do not observe differences between the severity of the PF between the ‘doggy style’ and ‘man-on-top’ (P=0.9595), but the ‘doggy style’ had more severity of PF when compared with ‘woman-on-top’ (P=0.0396) and penile manipulation (P=0.0026). The ‘man-on-top’ and ‘doggy style’ positions showed more associations with bilateral fractures of the corpus cavernosum and urethral lesions.”
R. Barros, L. Schulze, AA Ornellas, L. Koifman, and LA Favorito, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, 6/29/2017
- We’re Going To Ruin The Eggplant Emoji For You Now
“Still, adds Benjamin L. Cooper of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, ‘I do find it horribly ironic that the eggplant is used as a symbol for an erection when in fact the eggplant deformity is… a broken erection, a fractured penis that has completely detumesced.’ (That’s un-hardened, for the non-urologists.)”
Mark Hay, vice.com, 4/25/2017
- Penile Fracture Epidemiology, Diagnosis And Management In Iran: A Narrative Review
“PF [Penile fracture] is commonly underreported in the published literature. In US, the reported incidence is 1 out of 175,000 male populations. The incidence of PF varies in different regions with divergent cultures. In some Eastern countries the incidence is higher and up to one case in a week may present to a busy emergency department. Some patients may not seek treatment because of embarrassment.”
Majid Mirzazadeh, Morteza Fallahkarkan, and Jalil Hosseini, tau.amegroups.com, 4/2017
- Young Man With Penile Pain And Swelling
“Penile fractures are urologic emergencies caused by rupture of the tunica albuginea of the corpora cavernosa during erection, when the tunica becomes thin and inflexible. They commonly occur because of penile trauma during intercourse or masturbation. In Middle Eastern countries, taqaandan or taghaandan is a common mechanism of penile fracture that involves bending one part of the erect penis while holding the shaft in place, described as being similar to cracking one’s knuckles.”
Eisha Chopra, MD, Kamna Balhara, MD, and Susan Peterson, MD, annemergmed.com, 3/2017
- What Should I Do If My Penis Is Torn?
“The small tag of skin on the underside of your penis, between your foreskin and the shaft of your penis, is called the frenulum or banjo string. The frenulum is sometimes tight and can tear, usually during sexual intercourse. Sometimes, the tear may not heal properly and your penis may become torn again in the same place.”
National Health Service, nhs.uk, 12/1/2016
- Is A “Broken Penis” A Legitimate Thing?
“The penis has three cylindrical tubes including the urethra and two larger ones that fill up with blood and cause an erection, according to Shape sexpert Dr. Logan Levkoff. An unfortunate situation causing ‘awkward traumatic force’ can bend or rupture these two larger tubes – hence, breaking the penis.”
Lauren Mazzo, shape.com, 9/21/2016
- What Is A Penis Fracture, And How Is It Treated?