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The Dangers of Masturbation

In extreme cases, self-pleasuring can actually fracture your dick and rupture your arteries. Be careful out there.

af Justin Caffier
14 februar 2015, 6:40am

Photo via Flickr user kattebelletje

Photo via Flickr user kattebelletje

This Valentine's Day, while you couples and triads have romantic meals and cover your furniture in rose petals or whatever, the singles of the world will be firing up Netflix and a bottle of wine, and then, inevitably, glancing down at their hands, or the drawer they keep their vibrators in. Just you and me, buddy. Like always.

Masturbation is great, obviously, but like any indulgence, too much of it can be a bad thing. I'm guessing you already know about the health and mental benefits of regular masturbation—it decreases men's chances of getting prostate cancer and can help post-menopausal women regain their pelvic-floor strength—but jacking or jilling off can have negative consequences, some of which are pretty darn gruesome.

I spoke with Dr. Richard A. Santucci, chief of urology at Detroit Receiving Hospital, to find out about the major horror shows that might befall your privates if you self-pleasure with reckless abandon this holiday. What he told me was not pretty.

FRACTRURED PENISES
You hopefully know that there's no actual "bone" in the erect penis. There is, however, an inner core called the "corpus cavernosum" that can snap and rupture from acrobatic sex or vigorous masturbation—your dick can bend in half like a flag getting folded up during "Taps." Every survivor account of this event sounds so painful that you'll wish your femurs were getting smashed with sledgehammers instead.

Take this hapless 17-year-old, for example. (Warning: There are some gross pictures at that link.) After roughly masturbating one day, he heard a sudden pop followed by immediate flaccidity. Then his dick began to swell. It kept swelling until he brought his now eggplant-shaped member into the emergency room for immediate surgery.

Unfortunately, a great many poor souls wind up inflicting this sort of injury in a desperate attempt to avoid the temptation of stroking it: Iran and other Middle Eastern countries have alarmingly high rates of penile fractures, 50 percent of which are attributed to an anti-masturbation technique known as taghaandan, which teaches teens to rapidly bend their erect boners in an attempt to kill them. And kill them those young men often do.

INTERNAL BLEEDING
A California woman sued the adult toy manufacturer Pipedream Products, Inc., in 2011 after one of the company's dildos nearly killed her. One minute she was using the sex toy as intended; the next, there was sharp vaginal pain and severe bleeding. Her boyfriend quickly called 911, and she was rushed to the hospital, where she made a full recovery after a few pints of blood were pumped back into her. It turns out that the bleeding came from one of her iliac arteries, which are located deep in the lower abdomen and can rupture from blunt trauma due to objects inserted in the vagina and anus.

BLEEDING URETHRAL MEATUS
Not every guy jerks off the same way. Some like a tight fist around the shaft, others a more head-focused rubbing, and some guys just love to stick foreign objects up their urethras. An elderly Australian man of the latter variety thought it would be fun to insert a four-inch fork into his urethra. Lots of blood, lube, and forceps later, the object was removed and the man now has to urinate like someone holding his thumb over the end of a hose.

While we're on the subject, Dr. Santucci would like to take this moment to ask you to please refrain from sticking golf pencils, glass swizzle sticks, thermometers, and basically anything up your urethra. (He's had to personally remove all those items.) You WILL eventually lose it, and you WILL end up in the emergency room, and you WILL require a doctor to fish it out with an even larger instrument. The cons outweigh the pros here, sport.

TORN SCROTUMS
Part of being an adult is accepting the depressing reality that, more often than not, your job will be painfully boring. The other part of being an adult is finding appropriate ways to handle that boredom, like taking long shits or texting your mistress. A decidedly inappropriate way to handle workplace boredom is by masturbating, particularly if that workplace is full of heavy machinery. One now legendary man learned this the hard way by going for his usual lunchtime pleasure session of pressing his cock against the moving canvas drive belt of a piece of machinery. Apparently, while in the throes of orgasm, he leaned too far into the belt and his scrotum was yanked into it, flinging him across the room and jettisoning his left testes in the process. To make matters worse, instead of seeking medical treatment immediately, our friend here decided instead to staple-gun his shredded scrotum together and get back to work. His story was so widely shared on the internet most people assume it's an urban legend—but unfortunately for him, it's true.

GANGRENE
A few years ago, an otherwise healthy 29-year-old man checked himself into a hospital. He had a fever and had been vomiting for two days straight. After coaxing more info out of him, including the fact that he'd been jerking off with liquid soap until his cock and balls were chafed, doctors found his scrotum and perineum to be covered with necrotic tissue and stricken with Fournier's gangrene. (Google that at your own risk.) This guy was able to keep his dick after a couple skin grafts, but had he waited any longer on treatment, he might've lost his tool—or his life. Don't be that guy.

DEATH
This brings us to the worst-case scenario: You can, in rare cases, die from complications from jerking off. In December of 2014 a woman went into sudden cardiac arrest after complaints about abdominal pain. It turned out that she was experiencing hidden hemorrhagic shock brought on by spontaneous rupture of the left common iliac artery. Her husband's statement, coupled with the noticeable blunt trauma, led the medical team to assume overly aggressive vaginal dildoing was to blame. Though doctors controlled the bleeding with a stent, the woman died from her injuries.

That sort of death is extremely uncommon, though, so don't let it keep you up at night. The more common type of masturbation death comes from autoerotic asphyxiation, which kills "one in 2,000,000 people in Western countries every year," according to Dr. Santucci. He highly recommends you don't ever do this.

GOOD NEWS
Yes, that all sounds fucking terrifying. But before you throw in the stiff-as-cardboard towel, take solace in Dr. Santucci's words of reassurance: "It's pretty hard to masturbate too much. I've probably only seen it twice in a 20-year career as a urologist."

To avoid the most awkward emergency room trip of your life, you really need only exercise moderation. And if you notice skin abrasions and lasting pain from your sessions, the best treatment is to give yourself a masturbation vacation and knock that shit off until your body can heal.

However, sometimes masturbation is part of a more psychological crisis, as people dealing with great deals of stress often become obsessive and pattern-driven, and those obsessions can easily focus on the genitals. In these rare instances where sheer force of will isn't enough to stay your hand, it's time to seek professional psychiatric help.

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