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Urology/String Around Penis


QUESTION: Dear Dr. Leslie,
Earlier tonight, I experimented with tying a usb chord around my penis (not super tight) while masturbating. While my penis was becoming erect and bulbous and the superficial veins were getting big, I decided "this is idiotic" and promptly removed the chord. It had been there for only 2 minutes. This would not cause any sort of damage would it?


ANSWER: Perry:

Look, if you are going to do something stupid, you can't come here with only a brief description and expect us to reliably predict or guarantee that no harm was done.  Using a cord around the penis has the potential to do great harm especially if the cord is non-elastic and gets trapped inside the swollen tissue.   While I can't guarantee no harm was done, it seems unlikely from your description.  If there are any issues going forward, consult a urologist.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Dr. Leslie, what do you mean "trapped inside the swollen tissues of the penis?" I don't believe there was any trapping or anything. I simply loosely tied the USB chord around the base of my penis. I did not actually make a knot, just enough to compress slightly. Then I began to touch the top of my penis while watching pornography. As one would expect, the superficial veins of the penis began to expand and then the penis began to get turgid. It did not turn purple or cold or anything like that. The erection had not even fully developed. The cord was around my penis for a max duration of 2 minutes. Then in one move I released the pressure from the cord and the penis went back to its normal  shape and state etc. I continued to masturbate normally until ejaculation. There was no bleeding, popping, pain, struggling to get the cord off, tingling, numbness, etc. none of the above. To me it seems extreme unlikely that any permanent damage would have been done. Does this description give you a better picture of the situation? Can you give some advice on the likelihood of damage?  I woke up this morning with a weak erection. My morning erections range from weak to fully rigid. But judging by this mornings erection I do not have peyronies.


The answer is the same; that I cannot give you any guarantees.  

Men who have used various cords and strings have found that the material can cause some real damage with swelling of the penis that causes the string material to become embedded in the tissue of the penis and sometimes needs to be removed surgically.  While it doesn't sound like you caused any harm, we cannot guarantee that from here.  If you are having continuing problems with the erections, consult a urologist.  If things are working fine, then you probably did no damage.


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Stephen W. Leslie, MD


Questions concerning erectile dysfunction, kidney stones and prostate disorders including prostate cancer. I have a special interest in kidney stone disease prevention.


Full time practicing urologist with 30 years experience. Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of Urology at Creighton University Medical Center. Editor in Chief of eMedicine Urology internet textbook. Author of only NIH approved book written for patients by a urologist on the subject of kidney stones "The Kidney Stones Handbook". Inventor of the "Parachute" and "Escape" kidney stone baskets and the "Calculus" stone prevention analysis computer program.

American Urological Association, Ohio State Medical Association, Sexual Medicine Society

Men's Health, Journal of Urology, Urology, Healthwatch Magazine, Emergency Medicine Monthly, eMedicine, "The Kidney Stones Handbook", and numerous articles in various newspapers. He is also the editor of the Urology Board Review by McGraw-Hill used by urologists to study for their Board Certification Examinations.

Graduate of New York Medical College with residencies completed at Metropolitan Hospital New York, Albany Medical Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Awards and Honors
Thirlby Award of the American Urological Association. Rated as one the country's Best Urologists by the Independent Consumer's Research Institute

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