Penis Piercings, Tattoos + Myths About Sexual Pleasure

How self-expression can get risky

Penis Piercings, Tattoos + Myths About Sexual Pleasure

There’s no limit to the creative ways humans will adorn their bodies — even the most sensitive parts. Yes, we’re talking penises here. Before you decide to tattoo or pierce your manhood, urologist Ryan Berglund, MD, has a list of places you just shouldn’t go.

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Piercing problems

You may think genital piercings are cool and sexy. But they can affect the way your penis functions. Keep in mind that nerve damage is a real possibility that can have a long-term impact on your sex life.

“If you compromise the nerves of the penis, this can lead to two problems,” Dr. Berglund says. “One is erectile dysfunction. The other is the potential for either penile pain, or penile anesthesia — a complete lack of sensation.”

Penis piercings can create other anatomical problems as well.

“There’s a specific type of piercing called a Prince Albert that goes through the urethra,” Dr. Berglund says. “The problem with this is that it can create a fistula, an abnormal connection between the urethra and the outside of the penis. This can create spraying of urine and infection.”

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Tattoo trauma possible

“The main concern with tattoos is the risk of infection,” Dr. Berglund says.

But it’s also worth bearing in mind that any potential regret associated with a tattoo gone wrong is likely magnified in such a sensitive spot.

“I once operated on a patient who’d had a woman’s name tattooed on his penis and then subsequently had it covered up,” he says. “Tattoo removal is not perfect. There can be scarring. You really wouldn’t want to try to remove a tattoo on a penis.”

Sex gone wrong

One of the most common causes of self-inflicted penis trauma is putting something around the penis that doesn’t belong there, particularly something you can’t easily remove.

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“People use constrictive bands to maintain erections, but these can cause damage if you can’t easily release them,” Dr. Berglund says.

“We’ve had people come into the emergency room who’ve used things like a wedding ring,” he says. “The blood goes into the penis and then it can’t come out. You could need a very painful surgery to remove the ring or device, or you could even lose your penis.”

If you’re having problems maintaining an erection, talk to your doctor about medication or a medical device as safe options.

While the penis is an organ that can bring pleasure, it is a sensitive body part. Express yourself, but be cautious and thoughtful to minimize health risks.

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