healthHealth and Medicine

A Lot Of Men In Iran Are Ending Up In Hospital After Cracking Their Penis Like A Knuckle


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

clockJul 14 2021, 17:35 UTC

Doctors treating penile fractures have often remarked how much they resemble an eggplant. Image credit: Deon Black/Unsplash

Penis fractures are, unfortunately, very much a real thing. The human penis is boneless, so the fracture actually refers to the rupture of the tunica albuginea, the rubbery sheath that covers the spongy erectile tissue of the penis. Victims will hear a “crack” noise (no doubt followed by a blood-curdling scream) and can expect to suffer from a swollen, purple-bruised penis for the immediate future. Doctors sometimes refer to this appearance as the "aubergine sign" as the penis gains an uncanny resemblance to an eggplant. 

Estimated to affect 1 in 175,000 people per year, this cringe-inducing injury is, fortunately, relatively rare. Rare, that is, except for certain corners of Iran. 


Between April 1990 to October 1999, a doctor working in Kermanshah, a city in the Kurdish region of Iran, documented 172 cases of penile fractures, as reported in a 2000 case study in the Journal of UrologyWhat could possibly explain this unlikely outburst of penis fractures, you’re no doubt wondering? Well, brace yourself.

Elsewhere in the world, the majority of penis fractures typically occur during sex. A Brazilian study in 2014 found the most high-risk position was the “cowgirl” position, which was responsible for half of the penis fractures, followed by “doggy style” (28.6 percent) and the man on top “missionary” position (21.4 percent).

However, in this Iranian case study, just 14 of the cases (8 percent) were related to sexual intercourse. Nineteen cases (11 percent) were caused by rolling over onto an erect penis while asleep and a small number were caused by physical injuries endured during sport or a fight. As per the report, one case occurred because a "brick fell on erect penis", one was due to "inadvertently striking the penis with an adze while cutting loaf sugar into lumps", and another was caused by a "donkey bite to erect penis" – all certainly the unlikely result of unfortunate "accidents" 

Nevertheless, these freak injuries should not overshadow the 119 cases (over 69 percent of the total cases) that were due to taghaandan. For those blissfully unaware, taghaandan is a practice that’s reportedly practiced in parts of the Middle East and Central Asia whereby people forcibly push down or bend the erect penis. The word “taghaandan” comes from the Kurdish phrase “to click,” referring to the "cracking" noise often reported during the injury. The case report explains the motivation to perform taghaandan on oneself is usually to suppress an erection or sexual desire, which others have suggested may be a symptom of the lack of sex education among the general population in the area.


If this case study has struck fear deep into your loins, fear not. Penis fractures are no doubt an unpleasant experience, but they are relatively easy to treat with surgery to repair the ripped penile tissue. However, it's important to act fast – if the injury is not operated on within 24 hours then people are put at a higher risk of erectile dysfunction, as well as an excessively curved penis. So, if you are unfortunate enough to experience this injury, don’t be shy and get yourself to a hospital ASAP. 

[H/T: MEL Magazine]



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