Why do men put their dicks in things? Is it curiosity? An explorative impulse? Perhaps a deeply rooted patriarchal imperative to penetrate and conquer?
Those of us without the requisite equipment may never know the answer to this timeless question, but one thing is clear: Where there are dicks there will be dicks getting stuck. Fascinated by this penile phenomenon, I dove into the darkest depths of the internet, solicited personal stories on Twitter, and ransacked the cultural canon to explore the many ways in which and reasons why dicks have gotten caught in things throughout history.
1. Sex is a perennial topic of urban myths, from rockstars guzzling semen to actors abusing gerbils, so it’s no surprise that a stuck dick story ended up on Snopes. What is surprising is that this particular incident actually happened. In 1994, a Florida man named Robert Cheuvront was drawn to his hotel pool’s suction pump. He inserted his penis into it, resulting in an hourlong effort to pry his swollen genitals out of the pipe and later treatment at a local hospital for his bruised junk. (A Google search for Cheuvront provides this story as the top result, followed by an obituary posted this summer from the same city in which it took place.)
2. The allure of suction doesn’t always lead men to their hotel pool — sometimes, it takes them to their local sex store. On the “Today, I Fucked Up” subreddit, one user detailed a story that involves multiple penis pumps, a mistimed pizza order, and a misguided use of scissors. You can guess how this one ends: with a trip to the hospital and multiple stitches on a scrotum.
3. More famously, in 2015, a 4chan user publicly documented his struggles (with images, dicks ahoy!) to remove his dick from a roll of scotch tape. Users offered ridicule, questions, and helpful advice like “watch some cartoons,” “unroll all the tape off, then the cardboard tube your dick is in will be easily torn away,” and “smash with hammer.” Finally, after drawing a smiley face on his trapped cock, the user decided to call an ambulance and was never heard from again. The lesson: don’t put your dick in a roll of tape and if you do, certainly don’t seek advice on the situation from 4chan.
4. I would argue that penile mishaps are powerful fodder for both personal and news stories because of their simultaneous comedic and humanizing potential. We can laugh at these poor souls with their dicks stuck in camp stoves, toasters, wrenches and park benches even as we realize: There but for the grace of God go I. My editor Alana suggests that perhaps some of us also obtain a dark pleasure from seeing the penetrative urge deliver a twisted comeuppance.
5. If the tabloid media likes a good stuck dick story, then Hollywood absolutely loves one. A foundational example is 2001’s American Pie 2: In a callback to the original film wherein Jason Biggs’ character Jim makes amorous advances towards a pie, here Jim mistakes a tube of superglue for a bottle of lube and famously glues himself to… himself, trapping his penis in his own hand. Over a decade later, life imitated art as the incident played out almost identically on TLC’s Sex Sent Me to the ER.
6. Hollywood’s fascination with captive dicks shows no signs of fading. As recently as this year, Baywatch features a bizarrely complex scene culminating in Jon Bass’s character getting his dick stuck in a folding chair. After receiving the Heimlich maneuver from Kelly Rohrbach’s character (which is unmistakably shot as if she is fucking him from behind), he realizes he’s tenting and dives onto a folding chair to conceal said boner. “It looks like your dick is trapped between two slats of wood,” Hannibal Burress’s character reports, refusing to assist his friend. Rohrbach returns to help out, but fails to “deflate” the situation. Finally, Dwayne Johnson shows up, reassuring the helpless Bass that it’s happened to him too: “I was stuck in a woman for hours once. Couldn’t get out.”
7. It’s hard to tell whether penis captivus — the imprisonment of a penis inside a vagina caused by clamping muscles — is a real phenomenon, as it seems to be based on myth and fears of the all-consuming female void. A 1979 review of the literature on the subject points out that if a stuck couple had ever actually been admitted to the hospital, the event “would have been eagerly reported in a medical journal with as much detail and evidence as possible.” That hasn’t stopped tabloids from eagerly “covering” such “incidents”, e.g. a man allegedly dying while inside a sex worker, which Snopes notes is likely to be fabricated.
8. Though not an example of penis captivus in the strictest sense, 2002 Cameron Diaz vehicle The Sweetest Thing featured a scene in which two characters become attached during oral sex as a result of interlocked piercings. “Poor girl,” the morose officer sitting outside the apartment mumbles, “she never saw it coming.” Diaz’s character’s solution is to have the stuck woman sing a muffled rendition of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” around her paramour’s cock to relax her throat, leading the roomful of paramedics, cops, and firefighters to join in as a Hasidic Jew inexplicably embraces a man in a keffiyeh.
9. Continuing on the musical theme, one episode of Mr. Show features Senator Tankerbell telling a “humorous story” of a traveling salesman to a mostly empty House of Representatives in order to illustrate the issue of arts funding. In perhaps the only case of erectile ensnarement as metaphor for reckless government spending, Tankerbell argues that arts funding must be shut down lest it “rip our dicks right off.”
10. “The Joke” later became a full House of Representatives production: an eight-minute musical featuring David Cross as the salesman, Jack Black as the farmer, and Bob Odenkirk as “the hated milking machine.” Perhaps better than any other piece of media, The Joke dramatically illustrates the allure of sticking one’s dick in places where one should not. In this depiction, the reticent salesman is cajoled and tormented into exploring the holes by a duo of seductive devils, promising him that heaven could be on the other side of the tiny portals. When he inevitably arrives at hole number three, they depart cackling, leaving the salesman to pay the ultimate price for his libidinous curiosity.
11. A non-dramatized exploration of the psychology behind putting one’s dick where it shouldn’t go suggested that it is an attempt by chronic masturbators to introduce some novelty into their routines. One urologist quoted counseled against any kind of constrictive insertion, including purpose-made cock rings.
12. While cock-ring use is widespread and rarely seems to cause distress of the kind mentioned in the Tonic piece, it’s probably best to not reach for homemade alternatives in the heat of the moment. Alex, a 26-year old barista from Detroit, once enlisted a hair tie for this purpose whilst drunk and regretted it — removal was a long and painful process, and the resulting bruise lasted nearly a week. “It was very dumb,” he added, “but he was very hot and things weren’t cooperating.”
13. Makeshift sex toys are rarely a good idea, as a 50-year-old man discovered after attempting to use a plastic bottle as a homemade masturbatory aid. Having predictably gotten his dick stuck in the aperture, he waited four days to visit a hospital — during which time he’d suffered significant tissue necrosis, leading doctors to amputate.
14. James, a 24-year-old factory worker from Michigan I spoke to, got off significantly easier. As “a dumb horny little boy”, he put his dick into the wide-mouthed opening of a glass Sobe bottle and found he was stuck once he got an erection. “As soon as I started panicking I went limp and never tried again,” he added, having extracted both his penis from the bottle and a valuable lesson from the experience.
15. Finally, proving once and for all that anything men can do women can do better, a Cuban trans woman named Jennifer found herself stuck in an older man when he suddenly died during sex, leaving her with immense medical bills for a penile fracture — not to mention prostitution charges. Having been propositioned for the encounter by the man’s wife Sylvia, Jennifer sued for $20,000 on the Spanish-language television show Caso Cerrado. Sylvia ended up offering Jennifer $5,000 in exchange for keeping silent about the conditions of her hiring — maybe the producers hadn’t thought through that this was a publicly-aired television show — making it clear that even when they’re putting their dicks in things, women are the ones who get screwed.