Recently, on the Viceland show Party Legends, Dennis Rodman revealed — it's not too late to click through to another story if you're squeamish — that he has broken his penis no fewer than three times. Rodman recounts that, on one of these three occasions, his member apparently began bleeding so profusely that his partner "was screaming, 'Oh, my God! He’s dead! I killed him!'" "No, honey," Rodman responded, "I just broke my dick." But what does "breaking a dick" even mean? There aren’t any bones in the penis, so you can’t break it, per se, but you can fracture it — and it isn't pretty. During arousal, blood rushes into two tube-like bodies inside the penis called the corpora cavernosa. That’s how an erection happens. If a penis experiences a lot of force when erect, the skin that covers these blood-filled tubes can tear, causing a popping or cracking sound (I know, awful) followed by immediate loss of the erection, plus swelling, bruising, and intense pain. Penile fractures are rare, but during penetrative intercourse, they’re most likely to happen when the person being penetrated is on top. One way to reduce the risk is to make sure a penis is fully erect before penetration, since the less hard it is, the more likely it is to twist too far in one direction after penetration. In the event of a penile fracture, do not stop. Do not pass go. Go directly to the ER. It’s a serious injury that could require surgery, but if you get the care you need right away, your prognosis is good.
The gap between what we learned in sex ed and what we're learning through sexual experience is big — way too big. So we're helping to connect those dots by talking about the realities of sex, from how it's done to how to make sure it's consensual, safe, healthy, and pleasurable all at once. Check out more here.