Anna Ismagilova

Sexuality in Conversation

An Introduction to Sounding, the Kink That Started in Operating Rooms

The act of sounding didn’t start as a fetish, but rather a legitimate medical procedure. Sounds—which are instruments used for probing and dilating passages within the body—are commonly used to stretch the male or female urethra to remove obstructions and unblock “strictures,” a narrowing of the urethra caused by injury or disease, such as urinary tract infections.

Today, sounding instruments are much less common in the medical field in lieu of newer techniques like ultrasound, which are much less intrusive and more efficient. In recent years, however, sounding has become popular as an extreme form of sexual play. In this capacity, the act of sounding (also known as “urethral sounding” and “cock-stuffing”) involves inserting a sounding instrument into the urethral opening and down toward the bladder for sexual stimulation.

It’s unclear how or when this activity made the jump from medical procedure to recreational fetish, but John C. Luna, sex educator and podcaster, assumes that, like the inauguration of most fetishes, people were simply curious to try something new and push their personal boundaries. Basically, they saw a hole and figured, “Why not shove an object in there? That might feel nice.”

But how does such a seemingly archaic technique promote sexual satisfaction? “The skin inside the urethra is exceptionally sensitive. Therefore, having a well-lubed sound stretching and sliding inside the urethra can be very pleasurable,” Luna tells Playboy. He explains that men can sound much deeper than women and even reach the prostate providing almost direct stimulation. “A vibrator or small electrical current can be applied to the sound, which can cause very intense orgasms,” he adds.

When seeking objects for sounding, Luna insists those who practice always use medical grade stainless steel or silicone sounds designed specifically for the urethra. In porn, you can find individuals using household objects as a sound such as a fork, pen, toothbrush or even a nail. This is extremely dangerous and can cause serious damage, so steer clear. “The devices you use may be completely smooth or slightly ribbed but should not cause any scratches or tears,” Luna advises. “You should also use a water-based medical grade lube, such as Surgilube, as lubes that contain glycerin increase the chances of contracting a UTI.”
Why not shove an object in there? That might feel nice.
Urethral sounds and plugs should be purchased at fetish retailers or medical supply stores. (Broadly recommends MedicalToys.com.) Recently, these items have been appearing on Amazon and similar sites, but it’s imperative you’re cautious with big box sites. For instance, do not purchase metallic- or plastic-plated sounds from these sites as some are manufactured overseas and do not meet proper safety standards. As a rule of thumb, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Although women are more prone to UTIs due to the short length of their urethra, men can get them as well, especially if you are sounding deep. To avoid potential infection, Luna advises sounds be sterilized by either steam, boiling water or a betadine bath before and after using.

While everybody’s preferred sounding procedure varies, Luna offers Playboy his own technique, which has been fine-tuned over many years with fellow sounders and medical professionals to ensure safe and pleasurable scenes. “However,” he cautions, “sounding is not supported or endorsed by any medical personnel.”

First, one must assemble the necessary items. That includes: a set of medical grade sounds (Luna prefers “hegar sounds”), surgical lube, gloves, sterile water, betadine solution, betadine swabs, two metal or plastic sterile containers, gauze and anti-bacterial soap.

Have the “top” (the person performing the sounding) and “bottom” (the recipient) wash their hands as well as the bottom’s genital area with antibacterial soap. Next, fill the two aforementioned containers with sterile water and add the betadine solution to one. Then, place a generous amount of lube on the gauze and open the betadine swabs.

At this point, the bottom should be reclined so the genitals are easily accessible, and the top should adorn their gloves. Next, use the swabs to clean the area near the urethral opening (this step is especially important when sounding women). During the entire process, the top should use one hand to touch the genitals while the other is kept sterile, only touching sterilized materials.
In porn, you can find individuals using household objects as a sound such as a fork, pen, toothbrush or even a nail.
Select the desired sound and place it in the betadine bath, shaking off excess liquid. Then dip the tip of the sound into lube. Place the sound at the urethral opening and gently slide the sound in. From here, gravity should be doing most of the work. For a vagina, the maximum penetration is only two to three inches. For a penis, however, the sound can penetrate to the base, which, of course, will vary depending on penile length. Once there, maneuvering the sound toward, then away, from the body will help locate the correct angle and allow the sound to drop further down the urethra and close to the prostate. From here, sounding can be done until orgasm is achieved.

“Don’t start with the smallest sound available as this increases the danger of puncturing,” Luna advises. “Use a comfortable size, and only increase in size as your body allows (most kits come with eight of varying diameters). Always use a generous amount of lube, and stop immediately if there is any pain or blood.”

When finished, place the used sounds in the betadine bath, then rinse and clean for storage. Dispose of gloves, gauze and excess lube, and clean the containers thoroughly. Soon after sounding, urinate (know that a burning sensation is normal), as it will help flush out any remaining debris or bacteria.

By reading this, you could probably discern sounding is not for the faint of heart. But if the idea of sounding interests you, it’s important to prioritize safety. Obviously, sticking medical instruments into your urethra is a precarious procedure that, if not approached properly, could tear open your urethra or even damage your prostate. So while sounding is a popular fetish, the actual sound of tearing open an important part of your sexual function will not culminate in orgasm. Just an embarrassing visit to the hospital.

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