Yes, you can actually break your penis—and some sex positions can put you at a greater risk for penile fracture than others, according to a recent study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research.
For the study, researchers looked at 90 patients aged 18 to 66 who had fractured their penises. They found that 77 percent of those cases were sexual-trauma related, so they took a closer look at the sex positions being performed during the time of their injuries.
The most dangerous sex position? A whopping 41 percent of men fractured their penis during doggy style, followed by missionary and bottom-on-top. The severity of the fracture was similar between doggy and missionary, but significantly worse when comparing doggy and bottom-on-top, the study found.
Penile fractures occur when you put too much force on your erection. There are sponge-like tubes in the tissue of your penis that become rigid when filled with blood, urologist Tobias Köhler, M.D., told us last year. Those tubes don’t bend when they’re hit with lots of force, which can cause them to “break,” leading to pain, swelling, blood blockages, and if it’s bad enough, a trip to the ER.
And yes, you may even hear a cracking or popping sound, the study authors note.
Recent Brazilian research concluded that bottom-on-top is the riskiest sex position for your penis, since your partner is in control of angle and speed. If they accidentally slip out, your member can hit a bony area of their body, or they may sit back down on your penis (with their entire body weight) at a funny angle.
But what makes doggy style so severe in this case? The researchers speculate that when you’re entering from behind, you may get overly excited and sex can become “extremely vigorous.” If your penis slips out and hits against their perineum or pubic symphysis—both of which are hard, bony surfaces—it can cause greater trauma to your rod.
One way to reduce your risk? Opt for literally any other sex position, since they haven’t been tied to sex-related injuries.
And as hard as it may be sometimes, try not to overdo it in bed. When sex gets vigorous, you put your penis at risk. Maintaining your cool will help you avoid any awkward slip ups or angles, says Dr. Köhler.