What is it?

Urethral sounding involves inserting a toy into the urethra — the tube that drains urine out of the bladder.

This practice actually started as a medical procedure to clear obstructions from the urethra.

And when done safely and properly, it can be a satisfying form of sexual play.

Intrigued? Read on to learn more about why it’s done, what objects are used, and (most importantly) how to do it safely.

Why do people do it?

The genitals are dense with nerves.

The urethra passes by particularly sensitive areas in the penis head (glans), the clitoris, and the G spot. Sounding stimulates these nerves directly.

A sounding toy can also directly stimulate the prostate if it’s inserted deeply enough.

And it’s taboo! Sounding can be exciting purely because it’s new and different to you, as well as somewhat risky and non-traditional.

Are there any benefits?

There aren’t any health benefits to sounding itself, per se.

But sounding could provide sexual fulfillment, which may help you feel happier and even less anxious or depressed about your sex life.

And if you connect with other practitioners through online forums or workshops, you may find that being a part of a community can have a positive impact on your practice and overall sense of self.

How does it feel?

Whether it feels good or not is entirely subjective.

Your sexual tastes, sensitivity to pain, and openness to experiencing it can all affect how it feels for you.

It may feel strange at first, like you have to pee or that something’s scraping the inside of your urethra.

But once you learn what toys and techniques work for you, it may feel increasingly pleasurable.

Is it safe?

Yes! But only if you do it properly.

This involves:

  • sterilizing toys before sounding
  • finding the right-sized toy for you (not too thick or thin)
  • doing it slowly and gently
  • seeking medical help if necessary for injury or toys that get stuck

Will the urethra stay stretched out?

The size of your urethra won’t be affected if you only practice sounding every once in a while.

But if you practice regularly — think weekly — and use increasingly larger or more textured toys, your urethra may begin to stretch out. For some, this is part of the fun!

If you plan to do this, take your time and be careful not to stretch it to the point that it hurts or causes other discomfort.

Will it affect how you urinate?

Safe sounding has no long-term effects on how you urinate.

It may sting when you pee after a sounding session, but this is usually temporary.

The only real risks come from injury from using toys that are too big or being too rough when the toy’s inserted.

Are there any risks to consider?

There are a few major risks to consider before trying this practice out:

  • urinary tract infections (UTIs) from bacteria on your toy getting into small cuts inside your urethra
  • tissue damage from being too rough or using an instrument with abrasive textures
  • toy getting stuck if it goes too deep in the urethra or you don’t use enough lube

Is there anyone who shouldn’t try it?

You shouldn’t try sounding if you have:

  • any abnormal discharge coming out of your urethra
  • an active outbreak of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as herpes or gonorrhea
  • a history of frequent UTIs
  • history of injury to the urethra
  • a prostate condition like prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or prostate cancer

What objects are used?

Here are some things to keep in mind while you’re choosing a toy.

Types

The most common types are:

  • plugs, which only go an inch or so into your urethra and may have a ball or hoop around them
  • sounders, which are long, thin, and cylinder-shaped to go deeper into your urethra
  • catheters, which are used in medical procedures and designed to go into your urethra

Material

Most plugs or sounders are made of:

  • surgical-grade stainless steel or titanium
  • silicone
  • plastic

Titanium sounders are easier to insert and heavy enough to slide in on their own, but are inflexible.

Silicone sounders are flexible and softer, but may be hard to slide in because of their textured surface.

Length

Sounders range anywhere from half an inch to as long as you can imagine, up to about a foot in length or sometimes more.

The most common length is between 3 and 6 inches.

Girth

Girth is measured in millimeters. Choose a small one if you’re just starting out, and gradually increase the size by small increments.

Shape

Most sounders are long and thin. Some are completely straight. Others curve slightly or have bulges in the middle or at the ends.

If you have a penis, some can wrap around your glans like a hoop with a ball attached that goes into the urethral opening.

Texture

There’s a wide variety of textures, including:

  • smooth
  • ribbed
  • studded
  • wavy
  • ridged

How do you do it?

Here’s our step-by-step guide to sounding safe.

Sterilization

Wash everything.

Sterilize toys in boiling water or a betadine solution before you use them.

Use gentle, unscented soap and warm water to wash your hands and your outer genital areas.

Position

  1. Get comfortable! Stand, sit, lie down, or whatever you like.
  2. Apply a lot of lube near the urethral opening and to your toy. Use water-based, chemical-free lube.
  3. If you have a vulva, spread your labia and keep them apart so that you have easier access to the urethral opening.
  4. If you have a penis, get partially erect. Being fully erect can make the urethral opening tighter or make the penis too sensitive for insertion.

Insertion

  1. Use one hand to gently spread the urethral opening and the other hand to guide the toy in.
  2. Go slowly! Don’t force it in if you feel pressure or rush the toy through the urethra. Some heavy toys, like steel or titanium plugs, slide in on their own.
  3. Shake your genital or pelvic area gently if it stops moving to help move it along.
  4. Don’t force it in if it’s not going in as far as you want it to. Gently remove it and add more lube to the toy and your genital area. You may also want to try a smaller or thinner toy.

Manual stimulation

After you feel comfortable with how far it’s in, try moving it a few directions to see what feels best and what nerve endings you can stimulate. Try to gently pull it in and out, too.

You can also gently massage your genital area to add some extra pleasure. And of course, you or a partner can put lips on the sounding device and hum to vibrate the inside of the urethra.

Removal and clean-up

Once you’re done:

  1. Gently and slowly remove the toy from your urethra. Take your time! Stop or go slower if it feels painful or uncomfortable. Add more lube near your urethral opening if you need to.
  2. Pee right away to remove any bacteria or lube in your urethra. It’s normal for it to sting or burn a little bit for a day or two afterward.
  3. Again, wash everything, including your hands, your genital area, and the toy you used.

What precautions can you take?

Urethral sounding is a safe practice as long as you take the proper precautions.

Use lube

There are a lot of muscles in the urethra meant to help push pee out of the bladder. You won’t be able to get the instrument in the urethra without a lot of lube to help the instrument glide in and out.

Don’t use lube with a numbing agent. This could decrease both the pain and pleasure you feel, which can be dangerous — feeling discomfort is the only way you’ll know to stop or adjust what you’re doing.

Pull the toy out and stop right away if you notice:

  • pain
  • numbness
  • cold sensation around the genitals or throughout your body
  • unusual changes in the color of your genital area, such as becoming pale or bluish
  • unusual discharge
  • swelling
  • redness
  • bleeding

OTHER PRECAUTIONS

Take the following into consideration, too:

  • Don’t use objects not meant for sounding, such as your fingers, forks, straws, etc.
  • Don’t use oil-based or scented lubes.

What if you can’t get the object out?

Here are some tips to help remove a toy that may have gotten stuck or gone too deep:

  • Stay calm and focus on what you’re doing.
  • Try to relax your genital muscles. This will help loosen the urethral muscles and make the toy more likely to slip out.
  • Try to feel for the toy from the skin above. Then, try to push the toy out by gently squeezing the tissues around where the toy entered.
  • Sit in warm water to make your skin more flexible and expand the urethra.
  • If a warm bath doesn’t work, spread some lube around the urethral opening and try to drip some down into your urethra. This can make it easier to slip the toy out.
  • Not coming out? Get to urgent care or an emergency room right away. Keep your genital area as still as possible to prevent any sudden or abrupt movement that could injure your urethra.
  • Be honest and direct with your medical provider. It’s okay to feel embarrassed, but don’t leave any details out when you’re speaking with a nurse or doctor. They need to know what kind of tool you used and how it got stuck there so that they can provide the most effective treatment.

The bottom line

Sounding can be a fun way to switch up your sex life.

But it’s not for everybody, and it needs to be done with the consent of everyone involved.

Make sure you take the proper precautions, choose the right toy for you, and experiment until you find the technique that you like best.

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