The Sex Position That's Most Likely To Injure Men

When the ancient Hindu Sanskrit text of "Kama Sutra" became a topic of interest in modern times, it was mainly for its intricately illustrated sex positions. There was a general question on people's lips — "Have I tried them all?" It also opened up the conversation about sex positions — some of them particularly adventurous, others less so.

Woman on top, also known as cowgirl, can't necessarily be classified as one of the most daring sex positions but according to a 2014 study published in the journal Advances in Urology, it is the leading cause of penile injury in men. Talk about weird things that can happen to men during sex. The 2014 study focused on penile fractures to be specific — an injury that is thought to happen with an audible snap. It also results in severe pain, swelling, bruising, a bend in the penis, and of course, an instant loss of erection. Heterosexual sex was found to be the common cause of penile fractures. 

Woman on top is popular for a number of reasons. For one, it is a shift in power dynamics. In a heterosexual relationship, this means the woman gets to sit on top and has most of the control when it comes to sexual stimulation and movement. With reverse cowgirl (where the partner is on top but facing away from the person on the bottom), there's an added plus where the person lying down has a full view of their significant other's back profile (derrière enthusiasts alert). Additionally, the angle can be particularly pleasurable for the partner with the G-spot and for the one lying down.

How does woman on top cause penile fractures?

For anyone who's tried the cowgirl or reverse cowgirl, you also know that the person on top is resting almost all of their weight on the person on the bottom, more specifically, on their penile area, as explained by physiotherapist, Saila Insua Lopez (via New York Post). 

This is not only a workout for the "cowgirl," whose knees, leg muscles, and joints can start to hurt after a while, but it is also dangerous in terms of the person on top coming down hard on an engorged penis and potentially bending it the wrong way. A penis crashing into firm pubic bone doesn't sound pretty (ouch). If you thought the death grip was problematic for a man's sexual health, try a fractured penis because of a sex position gone wrong. 

Plus, with the reverse cowgirl, there's the added danger of not being able to have eye contact, a shared urologist at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Dr. Nikolaos Pyrgides (via The Guardian), who has conducted similar research into sexual activity and penile injury. For individuals who visit the doctor after this injury has occurred, "their penis often looks like an eggplant," said Dr. Pyrgides.

Does this mean you should avoid woman on top?

You may be wondering if this means you should swear off woman on top altogether. Not necessarily. Part of the fun with intimacy is being able to mix things up and woman on top can become a favorite, especially when the visuals, stimulation, and resulting orgasms become hard to beat compared with other sex positions. Unlike the pile-driver sex position, which requires a much more challenging anatomical feat and is also considered dangerous for men, the cowgirl and reverse cowgirl are relatively easy to accomplish. 

The key is to know what it takes — lower body flexibility and strength for the person on top and careful guidance with your hands from the person on the bottom. It might also be important to know when to stop, take a break, and switch things up again. Tired legs can easily become a recipe for disaster and in this case a painful penile fracture. Or you could stick with safer and simpler positions like missionary.

How should you handle a penile injury? "If it does happen, you should present to your doctor as an absolute emergency, because if you are not treated you could suffer long-term complications," urged Dr. Nikolaos Pyrgides (via The Guardian). Penile fractures, most commonly, require surgery. 

Now that you know of one of the most painful things that can happen during sex, you might also want to know about what happens to men when they have sex on an empty stomach