My one and only memory of seeing a man have something shoved into his (frighteningly stretchy) dick hole — a sex act that I later came to know as “sounding” — involved a gnarly fetish video called Two Kids, One Sandbox. (Warning: Link isn’t just NSFW, but will ruin your chances of living a normal, wholesome life, similar to the legendary Two Girls, One Cup.) The video, which is no longer than a few seconds, shows a woman savagely cramming a dildo (or vibrator?) into a man’s dick hole while he moans in agony, ecstasy or some depraved combination of the two.
Years and years later, the memory of this video (and the nagging thought of putting anything at all into my own sensitive dick hole) continues to make me cringe and question the very forces that make this world go round. In an attempt to understand this intense fetish and the community of people who engage in sounding, or urethral play (also very, very, very NSFW!), and maybe stop some of the semi-regular night terrors I’ve had since seeing that fateful video, I contacted a few dick hole-stuffing experts regarding the matter.
Here’s what I learned…
How exactly does one engage in sounding? And is it safe to put stuff in your dick hole?
“The safest way to engage in urethral play (sometimes called urethral sounding) is to use devices called urethral sounds and plugs,” explains urethral play connoisseur and male sex blogger Dave Burns, whos runs the site Mr. Racy. “These are tools designed specifically for being inserted into the urethra. I only use devices made from stainless steel — never silicone or any other material. That’s because steel isn’t porous, can be cleaned easily and also lasts a lifetime with proper care.”
“When it comes to the actual urethral play, I’m very conservative,” Burns continues. “I take extra precautions to make sure I don’t hurt myself: I sterilize my tools before using them, I always go slow and I never use items that don’t belong inside my penis.” To that last point, Burns adds that some guys push the urethral envelope, so to speak, stuffing toothbrushes and even glass thermometers into their pee-holes. “That’s insane, and I’d strongly discourage anyone from trying these things,” he emphasizes.
Clinical sexologist and certified sex coach Sunny Rodgers agrees that starting slow and using equipment specifically designed for urethral play are of the utmost importance. “Safety should be a top concern with urethral play, especially since it comes with more risks than other types of sex play,” she emphasizes. “Beginners should start with shallow urethral play that focuses on the tip of the urethra before exploring deep or stretching urethral play.”
Rodgers also recommends boiling your urethral toys or placing them on the top rack of the dishwasher both before and after sticking them into any of your holes, especially if you’re a woman (yes, ladies can indulge in urethral play, too). “Please also note that, while urethral play can be enjoyed by any and all genders, female urethras tend to have a higher risk of getting a urinary tract infection with this type of play.”
Last but not least, don’t forget the lubrication when sounding. “Trying to insert the toy into a dry urethra could result in a tear to the sensitive skin,” Burns warns. “That’s not good.” Rodgers specifically recommends surgical lubricants (like Surgilube).
So, uh, how does one choose the right toy? Does it depend on their unique dick hole?
As Burns mentioned, there are two main types of toys used for urethral play: Urethral sounds and urethral plugs. “The basic difference between urethral toys is their length,” explains Rick Vermunt, owner of AdultSmart sex toy retailers. Urethral plugs are usually less than 10 centimeters in length, he explains, while urethral sounds can be upwards of 30 centimeters.
“Urethral players all have their own journey, and there are variations in the way these devices can be used,” Vermunt continues. “Beginners should start with a simple instrument that will generally widen along the shaft. As the sex plays progresses, variation of shape and design take place, as well as material they’re made from: Steel, silicone, timber, perspex and even glass urethral toys are available in cum-through, as well as solid designs — even double-ended plugs are available for couples’ play.”
Using your pinky is also an option — albeit a less sanitary one. “Pinky play, also known as ‘pee-hole play,’ is used to describe a BDSM fetish practice, where women insert their pinky finger into their urethral canal,” Vermunt explains. “Variations of this play involve the woman placing the pinky inside the eye of her partner’s penis. Both are a form of ‘finger-fucking’ the urethra.”
Rodgers, however, has her reservations about pinky play: “I wouldn’t recommend using a finger for urethral play, because fingers and nails aren’t smooth and are hard to completely sterilize,” she says.
Rodgers also recommends communicating with your partner if you decide to engage in urethral play together. “Have an open dialogue about needs, boundaries, desires and what you’re comfortable with,” she says. “Determine whether this type of play is pleasurable for you and for your partner, begin with a small-sized product, start slowly, explore slowly and don’t overdo it. Also, inserting a penis plug or urethral sound into a flaccid penis is easier, because there’s less resistance.”
I fully acknowledge that I may not want to know the answer to this, but: What does urethral play feel like? And will it result in a big load?
“In a nutshell, it feels similar to masturbating, except from the inside of the penis instead of the outside,” Burns explains. “The skin on the outside of the penis is sensitive. The urethral wall is significantly more sensitive. This allows for an even more pleasurable, unique experience that just can’t be matched by any external stimulation. For me, when a plug or rod is inside my penis, simple light strokes on the outside are much more intense.”
“It feels differently for every person,” Vermunt adds. “The ‘coupe de gras’ for men is to insert the plug or sound, and be able to masturbate with it inside — either through normal technique or by plunging the plug in and out and experiencing the ‘inside-out’ climax. What happens there is, rather than ejaculating from the eye of the penis, the plug forces the sperm back into the urethra and then slowly escapes.”
Rodgers adds a more scientific explanation of the sounding experience: “This unique pleasure can be caused by the sensitive nerve endings that are located in this region,” she explains. “For men, the head of the penis, where the urethral opening is located, has about 4,000 nerve endings, making it highly sensitive.”
Women can experience greater stimulation with urethral play, too. “For females, this is called a ‘U-Spot’ or urethra orgasm,” Rodgers explains. “This type of orgasm isn’t too surprising, given the female urethra is located under the clitoral hood: With the urethra in the middle of the clitoral region, stimulating the U-Spot helps trigger a clitoral-type of orgasm.”
Why would someone choose to engage in urethral play over, say, something that doesn’t involve inserting a large metal rod into their dick hole?
“When a sound or plug is inserted, it makes my penis very sensitive and responsive to external stimuli,” Burns explains. “For example, a light brushing of the hand across my erect member feels magnified. Even more intense is the light masturbation with the rod inserted — when I say light masturbation, I mean applying a very light grip, with a hand, and slowly stroking up and down.”
“This is the perfect activity for folks who want to push the envelope a bit,” Burns continues. “Traditional masturbation can get very boring: This is a great way to experience something new and a bit wacky.”
“Everyone has different tastes and different types of pleasure-play that turns them on,” Rodgers adds. “I’ve found, speaking with clients about their use of urethral play, that most are trying to explore new pleasure options that will unlock greater sexual satisfaction.”
So is this some recent invention because people are bored with regular old, not-inserting-metal-rods-into-their-dick-holes sex and have moved on to sounding?
Nope! “Urethral play is often mistakenly aligned with being a modern-day, male-dominated activity utilizing penis plugs and sounds,” says Vermunt. “In fact, sexual excitement through the urethra dates back to the Paleolithic Era, when Greek and Roman physicians used medical equipment to ‘clear’ the urethra, and unwittingly, as a side effect, many patients experienced pleasurable feelings, with women experiencing orgasms.”
“The first recorded use of sex toys designed to stimulate the urethra was in 1,200 A.D., when cock rings and penile inserts were used by Chinese nobility,” Vermunt continues. “It was thought that the insertion of a plug into the penis would restrict the release of semen during ejaculation, increasing the length of climax.”
Guess I’ll see you guys in the dick-hole rod aisle…?