I’ve long been aware that sex toy companies sell an impressive and intimidating array of urethral sounds. Indeed, they sell whole kits of them in differing sizes. Inserting these things in your penis is probably safer than stuffing Gummi worms up there, but I’ve never been tempted to try either one. (Call it a gap in my sexual imagination if you must.)

twirl penis plug for urethral sounding

I am therefore delighted to discover that Nerve ran a detailed piece of urethral sounding last spring. The why, the how, the what-it-was-like, perhaps too-thickly buttered with intellectualism, but nothing in life is perfect: Sensible Sounding: Why I Inserted a Metal Rod into My Penis on Purpose.

Some of the why:

I began to wonder if something in my penis and its stupid tripwire emissions system was preventing me from climbing the ecstatic ladder into the stars. Whenever a partner rolled her head in pleasure or grabbed a fistful of bed sheet while arcing her pelvis upward, I wondered why my own arousal never made me do any of that. Sex inspired in me a suspicion that there were even better forms of it that I would have to travel outside of myself to discover. Which is how I came to be sitting in my bedroom one night, sliding a long metal tube into my penis.

A bit about sounds:

Urethral sounding rods are a relatively obscure and intimidating member of the sex toy family, usually a long, slender metal cylinder meant to slide into the urethra to create a pleasing dilation effect. Sizes range from 4 to 17 millimeters in circumference, though there is some variation. The rods come in a variety of shapes – some have a gentle S-shaped curve, while others have large cylindrical dumbbells on their tips. Some come with flat, rectangular ends, some have repeating spherical ridges, and the most intimidating have severe fishhook curves.

A bit of the physiology:

The tissue in the urethra is embryologically the same as the labia minora, and it’s filled with sensitive nerve endings all the way down. Just moving a smooth, well-lubricated object along these tissues can be pleasurable, but there are deeper wonders to be touched in sounding. The urethra is divided into four parts that connect the bladder to head of one’s penis, the last of which runs directly through the prostate, a sensitive organ that’s central to the ejaculatory spasms men experience during orgasm. Sudden dilation of the prostatic urethra can trigger ejaculation and the enlivening sensations that accompany it.

And finally, a very small bit from the author’s account of actually sounding himself:

When I finally closed my bedroom door and held the rod in my hand, an over-abundance of clear lube clotting around its narrowest half, I thought for a moment about the fact that I was now going to be fucked by a purely machined object. Most of the sex toys I’d known were fetishized reflections of another human body in some abstract way. Dildos and Fleshlights were direct analogs of genitalia, while cock rings and vibrators evoked in some distant way the intensified gestures another person might do to you. But I was on my own with the rod – there was no fantasy of an idyllic shadow lover when I felt the metal spread open my penis. There was no pantomime of acting out love for any other body. There was no projecting; I was alone with a piece of metal.

Though not necessary, I decided it would be easiest to start if I had an erection. The rod went in softly and smoothly…

As usual, you know the drill: there’s much much more.

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