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Why Do Men in One Iranian City Keep Cracking Their Dicks?

In one hospital alone in Kermanshah, the largest Kurdish-speaking city in Iran, there were 172 cases of penile fractures

If you ever find yourself near the Zagros Mountains, in Kermanshah, the largest Kurdish speaking city in Iran — and if you stay really quiet — you may find yourself privy to a peculiar popping sound. 

What is it? 

Merely the sound of men bending the top part of their erect penis to one side while holding the lower part of the shaft in place, until they hear a click or pop. This little-known practice is called “taqaandan,” which is Kurdish for “to click.” The practice, according to DNB Stories, leads to the rapid loss of an erection, accompanied by said loud “pop.” 

But… why?

In one particular hospital in Kermanshah, approximately 40 percent of the 172 patients who practiced taqaandan said they did so because it was a habit — just dudes being dudes. “Others did it to overcome an erection or unwanted desires,” reports DNB Stories (according to a 2017 study on the issue, the higher rate of penile fractures in Kermanshah is related to a lack of sex ed). However, about a quarter of the men surveyed found it “pleasurable,” “refreshing” or simply “enjoyed the sound,” similar to that of cracking knuckles.  

UrologyHealth.org explains that the popping sound that’s often heard during the practice comes from the tearing of the tunica albuginea, the fibrous envelope running the length of the urethra. This leads to the sudden loss of an erection due to the fact that the tunica albuginea, as well as other spongy erectile tissue — normally filled with blood when you’ve got an erection — are ripped open, causing the blood to spill out and bleed under the skin, creating an eggplant-like color at the site of the tear. For some context, during an erection, the thickness of the tunica albuginea decreases from two millimeters in the flaccid state to 0.25 to 0.5 millimeters, thus making the penis more prone to injury, so naturally, you can only crack your dick so many times before you find yourself in the emergency room suffering from a worse tear than you expected.

Outside of Kermanshah, the most common cause of cracked dick occurs when the penis slips out of the vagina and strikes against the symphysis pubis or perineum. “In some reports 60 percent of cases occur during consensual intercourse, and is more likely when the partner is on top,” according to a 2017 study on penile fracture epidemiology, diagnosis and management in Iran. 

Interestingly, however, penile fracture patients appear to be a unique population of men who are having sexual intercourse under stressful situations, as per one 2011 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. “Extramarital affairs and out-of-the-ordinary locations appear common in patients sustaining this relatively rare injury,” report the study’s authors. In fact, of the 16 patients who experienced an acute fracture of the penis, seven were in the midst of an extramarital affair, two were in the backseat of a car, two were in a bathroom, three were having sex while at work and one occurred in the confines of an elevator. Nice!

Thankfully, modern medicine has evolved to the point where men who experience severe consequences of a cracked dick don’t have to walk around with a deformed-looking eggplant for the remainder of their lives. Instead, they can opt to have surgery to help repair the tear of their penile fibers. And though immediate surgery is ideal, if you find yourself with a case of, “Holy shit, I cracked my dick but I’m up a mountain,” well, don’t panic, because you’ve got roughly seven days before your frankfurter is doomed to a limp life.

That said, in that instance at least, I’d definitely still get crackin’.

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