Inside the Subreddit for People Who Stick Things Down Their Pee Hole

Yes, it can be painful, and yes, that’s part of the appeal.

09 September 2021, 11:03am

John has a collection of metal rods. They vary in size and look like boba straws or fancy cocktail stirrers. But really, they’re for something entirely different. They’re essential elements to help him explore his kink—sounding

“My urethra was just another hole, and I had something to insert into it,” 31-year-old John, from Delaware, told VICE. John preferred to go by a pseudonym because of the stigma associated with sounding.

Sounding is the practice of inserting objects into the urethra for sexual and mental pleasure. The urethra is the tube through which pee—and, for people with penises, semen—passes out of the body. The kink is more common among people with penises, but those with vaginas can practice it, too. 

As far as sex kinks go, it’s still pretty taboo, but on r/sounding, a subreddit started in 2012 which now has around 36,000 members, people share NSFW photos and videos of themselves sounding or being sounded. They also ask each other questions about the risky practice, exchange tips, and share sounding stories without judgement. 

A set of instruments one man uses for recreational urethral sounding. Photo: Courtesy of subreddit member 

t_jones562, 27, who asked to be referred to by his Reddit username to protect his privacy, was happy to find the community.

“[It] was nice to know I wasn’t the only freak,” he said, laughing.

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The kink gets its name from medicine, where it pertains to the examination of an internal area of the body using slender metal or plastic instruments, called sounds. In urological surgery, doctors sound their patients to dilate the urethra or access the bladder. 

John, however, is not a doctor, and he sounds himself not for medical purposes but “first and foremost, because it’s fun,” he said.

Sounding gives a nice feeling of fullness and pressure in the penis, John said, which is different from the pleasure given by masturbation or sex.

But it’s not without risk. According to a study published in the United States’ National Center for Biotechnology Information, participants who had engaged in recreational sounding had a slight but statistically significant increase in lower urinary tract infections

According to urologist Lye Diwa, dilating the urethra is a painful procedure if done without anesthesia. She said doctors sometimes use a urethroscope, a small camera on the end of a probe, to ensure they are navigating the urethral canals correctly. 

“Even for [doctors], a blind dilatation of the urethra is still worrisome,” she said.

Other members of the sounding subreddit told VICE that there’s also a risk of bleeding, wounding, and getting sounding toys stuck. 

“The urethra is not a very forgiving organ to injure. [Injuring it] most often results in reconstructive surgery,” said Diwa.

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Still, people continue to sound. And sometimes, other people watch them do it.

t_jones562 said he now sounds mostly for his followers on Snapchat and OnlyFans, but he tried it for the first time out of curiosity.

He was in middle school and he used a pen. He continued to do it for years, with objects like glow sticks, pencils, paint brushes, toothbrushes, metal chopsticks, and his pinky finger, without knowing it was a kink he shared with other people.

These objects are not designed to be inserted into urethras, but a variety of other objects are. John said sounding toys have never been easier to find. Some sounds are steel rods with beads, meant to go deep into the urethra, while others are hollow silicone plugs, meant to stretch the hole while allowing users to pee without unplugging.

James, a 60-year-old member of the subreddit from New York, who preferred to only go by his first name to protect his privacy, came across the kink in porn videos before ordering his first set of sounds online.

“My first experience was mixed,” he told VICE. “I was very nervous about inserting something into my urethra and did not know what to expect. I was surprised at how easily it went inside, and it felt great.” 

When he removed the sound and urinated, however, James said it burned like hell. 

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“That burning feeling continued each time I urinated for about an hour afterwards,” he said, adding that it eventually went away. 

Given the sheer risks of the kink, some might find it difficult to imagine why anybody would do it, let alone how it might feel. But James had a simple answer.

“It feels amazing,” he said. 

Patrick, 40, from Virginia, who also preferred to use a pseudonym because of the taboo around the kink, said he keeps his plugs, well, plugged, all day and night. 

Recounting the first time he tried sounding, he said: “At first it felt a little weird, but there was something about the slight pain and sensation of being penetrated [that] felt so good.”

If all this sounds more painful than erotic, it’s because oftentimes it is painful. But those who do it say they still find it sexually gratifying. Like other kinks, the pain is part of the appeal. 

More sounds. Photo: Courtesy of subreddit member

But the appeal isn’t just physical. John said that there’s a mental component, too.

“There is something of an erotic mind fuck in the role reversal involved with your penis, which is usually used for penetration, and instead using something to penetrate it. It’s a fantastic way to sort of play with the idea of maleness and sort of redefine what you can use your penis for.”

John now sees himself as a bit of an expert on sounding, dishing out advice for other members of the subreddit. He described the community as encouraging, passionate, and a great place for people to learn how to sound while also feeling a sense of kinship with others who share the taboo kink.

“It can definitely be nice to know that people share a pretty niche sexual interest in the same way you do,” he said.

Follow Romano Santos on Instagram.

Tagged:

Sex, penis, Reddit, sounding

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