We may laughingly refer to an erect penis as a "boner," but science fact tells us that there isn't really a bone in it. Don't believe me? Take a long look at a non-erect one and behold the droopiness. However, a lack of bone matter doesn't necessarily mean that the penis can't be fractured. It can. And I imagine it's very unpleasant. Wikipedia describes a penis fracture as involving "an immediate cracking sound, significant pain, immediate flaccidity, and skin hematoma..." Sounds like the sort of thing that could ruin your whole evening.

What Is a Penis Fracture?

So, what exactly is a penis fracture? It's a rupture of the tunica albuginea, which is part of the inner workings of an erection. This membrane stretches during erection. It becomes longer and thinner. If the shaft bends or buckles suddenly, this causes the membrane to tear. Ouch! (Learn more about the penis in 10 Things You Don't Know About Penises .)

What causes a penis fracture? Simply put, it's blunt force trauma - the same thing that kills people in police dramas on TV. This can involve *ahem* manual manipulation, frenzied intercourse with men or women, or maybe falling out of an airplane with an erection. A study found in Advances of Urology concluded that there are two heterosexual sex positions that are most likely to result in a penis fracture. And ladies, the news is not good.

Statistics on the Most Dangerous Sex Positions

The 2014 study focused on men between the ages of 18 and 60 who experienced a penile fracture. Heterosexual intercourse caused the most fractures: 66%. Masturbation caused 14%. (Whoa, calm down there, big guy!) Nearly 10% resulted from homosexual sex.

Thankfully, penis fractures are uncommon. Since the first recorded penis fracture in 1924, only 1,600 cases have been recorded worldwide. That means being killed by a hippopotamus, a swarm of ants, or a falling icicle are all more likely than a penis fracture. Keep in mind, though, that this is the sort of injury that causes so much fear and embarrassment that it's unlikely to be reported or treated in a timely way.

I can only imagine the internal conflict of someone with a fractured penis. On one hand, a permanently non-functioning penis is an unthinkable tragedy to most men. On the other hand, having to explain to an emergency room nurse what in the hell happened might seem even worse.

The Most Dangerous Sex Positions

As for specific positions, "doggy style" sex was the culprit in 28% of penile fractures. However, 50% of all reported penis fractures were caused by "cowgirl" (woman-on-top) sex. Dammit! A few penile fractures were caused by weird events like a donkey bite (that's not a position, I mean an actual bite by a live donkey), falling out of bed, or horse saddle mishaps.

The Most Dangerous Sex Positions

It looks innocent enough, but this sex position is responsible for 50% of penile fractures ...

What makes the cowgirl position so dangerous? First of all, let's be clear that this position is responsible for roughly half of all penile fractures. There are about 16 such fractures reported worldwide each year. So, it's not really that dangerous. I don't have the stats, but I'd guess that giving a blowjob with braces on your teeth causes more injuries than cowgirl sex.


The theory is that when a man is responsible for his own thrusting, he's more in control of the angle of penetration, and is better able to stop in the event of slippage. When the guy's partner is on top, on the other hand, she may be less sensitive or less immediately responsive to the need to stop …until she hears a loud crack, I suppose.

Does this information mean that woman-on-top sex should be avoided? Hell no! At a rate of only eight fractures a year, I'm inclined to think it's worth the risk. But then, I don't actually have a penis (nobody look in my night stand drawer, please). It's nice to have access to accurate information even on a subject as distasteful as penile fractures. Before these stats, the last study on penis fractures, conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center in 2011, actually concluded that extramarital affairs were the main cause of penis fractures. Really. Ultimately, penis fractures are uncommon enough that it shouldn't be an every day worry for most people. Still, you crazy cowgirls be careful out there!