We could feel the collective winces of men everywhere when Mark "McSteamy" Sloan fractured his penis during an impromptu quickie on Grey's Anatomy.
Unlike the more manageable sex-related injuries (sore muscles, back scratches, a random bruise here or there) actually having the ability to cause a penile fracture washed over us in waves of curiosity, fear, and empathy.
Fracturing a penis? For real? Does that actually happen? It's not even a bone!
The answer is "yes." And not just "yes" but "hell yes."
''It's actually pretty common,'' says Dr. Daniel Ronel, a plastic surgeon in Santa Fe, New Mexico. "The literature reports about 2, 000 cases a year, which means there are probably more like 5, 000 to 10, 000 cases a year. It's underreported, for obvious reasons.''
Wow. OK. Well, here's our next question: How and why?
While it's true the penis has no bones, it's actually the spongy areas on both sides that get injured. However, in order to get even anywhere close to doing this, the penis has to be bent pretty severely to one side.
Visions of Kama Sutra experimentation and, yes, spontaneous sex in odd positions and places immediately rushed to mind. But some cases have also been reported from vigorous masturbation sessions gone wrong, he says.
(Let's all pause and try for the life of us try to not mentally visualize such violent moments of self-pleasuring.)
However, probably the most important fact we culled from this research is how important it is for a man to seek medical attention promptly if he finds himself with a fractured penis.
While some may try to tough it out with ice and tylenol, surgery is the safest and best fix, says Ronel. Without medical attention a penis or urethra could be permanently damaged.
During surgery, doctors stitch up torn areas and make sure the urethra isn't damaged.
If this isn't a public service announcement to be extra careful next time you try The Pair of Tongs position, we don't know what is.