- Some sex positions could lead to injuries like penile fracture, experts told INSIDER.
- Shower sex needs to do done with caution.
- We talked to experts about which sex moves are the riskiest, and how to avoid injuries during sex.
As with any physical activity that involves a number of moving parts and a decent amount of coordination, accidents during sex can happen. In fact, some sexual positions are more likely to cause injury than others.
INSIDER spoke with doctors and sex experts to learn what sexual positions are the riskiest and what you can do to prevent injury.
Female-on-top positions can cause something called “eggplant deformity”
Sexual positions where the penetrative partner is on the bottom (lying on their back) and the receiving partner is on top can result in a scary-sounding injury called penile fracture or “eggplant deformity.”
“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.
Positions involving an exercise ball are especially dangerous
Adding props or toys to a sexual encounter can keep things exciting, but throwing an exercise ball in the mix might lead to injury. Positions where the receiving partner is on top of the penetrative partner on an exercise ball, have the potential to cause harm in multiple ways.
“While this position is adventurous and adds extra bounce, it is risky because of the possibility of the penis slipping out of the vagina and the weight of the female partner coming down on the penis,” sexuality researcher and educator Dr. Wendasha Jenkins Hall, Ph.D., told INSIDER.
An ill-timed move or wobble may cause the penis to collide with the receiving partner’s bottom or enter the anus or vagina at an odd angle, resulting in a penile fracture. It’s also possible that the penis may inadvertently enter the anus too forcefully due to the bounciness of the ball, causing anal tearing.
And of course, there’s always the chance that one or both partners might slip off the exercise ball and sustain non-genital injuries.
Vertical missionary position can cause muscular injuries
Another risky position is the so-called “standing straddle.” The standing straddle is a vertical missionary position where the penetrative partner supports the weight of the receiving partner while standing and bending backward, flexing their knees, and bouncing the receiving partner up and down on the penis.
“This position is risky because it can cause strain to the knees and back and the neck and arm muscles. Also, if the male partner loses his balance, both can topple or the woman can be dropped,” cautioned Dr. Hall.
A certain amount of upper-body strength and balance is required to perform this sexual position, which means that both partners should be ready to switch positions if vertical missionary becomes uncomfortable or painful.
The shower is a generally risky place to have sex
Many couples like to hop in the shower together for an intimate encounter, but it’s actually one of the most dangerous places to get frisky.
“Any sex position done in the shower [is risky]. Water and soap raises the risk of slips and falls. Falling on a faucet or out of the tub or shower completely can increase one’s chances of cuts, bruises, and broken bones,” remarked Dr. Hall.
If you do want to have sex in the shower, try to make the experience as low-risk as possible. This might involve putting down a non-slip shower mat, minimising the use of soap until after you’ve finished having sex and saving the more adventurous positions for dry land.
If you don’t treat a penile fracture immediately, it could lead to serious problems
Sustaining an injury during sex isn’t that uncommon, and minor bumps and bruises can likely be tended at home without medical intervention. However, if you suspect you or your partner have suffered a penile fracture, it’s crucial to get to a doctor as soon as possible.
“If a penile fracture is severe and not treated in a timely manner, it can lead to problems with obtaining or maintaining erections (erectile dysfunction); it may also cause scar formation in the penis and a condition called Peyronie’s disease which causes curvature and deformity of the penis,” Dr. Alex Shteynshlyuger, board-certified urologist and director of urology at New York Urology Specialists told INSIDER.
Some people report hearing a popping noise during penile fracture, and the ensuing swelling and discoloration is unmistakable. Don’t wait to seek treatment if you’ve injured your penis during sex.
Everyone’s anatomy is different, so it’s important to pay attention to what positions feel right to you
Though some sexual positions are known to be especially risky, everyone’s anatomy is unique. This means that what might be safe and comfortable for one person might not be right for another.
“Every penis has a different curvature and length and rigidity, and every female has different vaginal anatomy. Therefore, when may be a safe position in one couple might not be safe in another,” said Dr. Ingber.
Even if a sexual position has been easy and fun for you or your partner in the past, it’s worth taking the time to make sure that position works with your combined anatomies before.
“Rather than panicking each time you try a new position that you’re going to do it ‘wrong’ or hurt yourself, spend some time exploring by yourself and with your partner or partners so you can find what feels best to you, then go slow and practice until you feel more confident,”certified clinical sexologist and sex therapist Michael DeMarco, Ph.D., told INSIDER.
And if you do injure yourself during sex, there is no reason to feel ashamed. Follow up with your doctor, urgent care or emergency room, depending on your symptoms.
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