Dr Zac Turner on common sex injuries of Australians

Welcome to Ask Doctor Zac, a weekly column from news.com.au. This week, Dr Zac Turner answers a question about sex injuries.

QUESTION: Hi Dr Zac, I’ve got a curly topic for you today – sex injuries! Let me explain. My gay friend burnt himself while inhaling the sex drug amyl and thought his world was crashing down! He told the story at a dinner party and then everyone decided to share their secret sex injuries. I heard everything from lube burns to penis tears. I think nearly everyone had at one point been injured during the naked tango! This got me to thinking, how do you mend sex injuries? Is there such a thing as a sex doctor? Hayley, 34

ANSWER: I think it’s fantastic that your friends opened up to each other and shared, especially sex injuries. We are all human. There’s nothing shameful about injuring yourself while having sex but there are some things you need to know.

So, picture this: you and your partner are in the throes of passion, the mood is set, the stars align, and suddenly … OUCH! You find yourself nursing an unexpected injury that’s putting a damper on your sexy time. Like all things in life, practise makes perfect. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is the perfect sex life. If this is a serious goal for you and your partner, you should be practising! Just like with exercise you need to start in small increments and work your way up to the heavy weights.

Let’s start with the curious case of amyl injuries. Now, for the uninitiated, amyl nitrite – also known as poppers – is a popular party drug known to heighten sensation. So, if you find yourself in a tango with amyl and end up with a peculiar injury, remember: safety first, folks. Amyl can leave scabs underneath your nose, or on parts of skin it touches. You should always be washing it off with cool water and wiping it with a clean towel. If your affected skin becomes infected, see your doctor straight away.

Next up, we have the slippery slope of lubricant burns. Ah, yes, nothing ruins the mood quite like a sizzling sensation where it definitely shouldn’t be. Whether you prefer silicone-based, water-based, or something a bit more unconventional (pro tip, never use amyl as a lubricant), always remember to test a small patch before going ‘all in’. Nobody wants their love life resembling a fiery inferno.

And speaking of amyl/poppers, let’s address the elephant in the room (or should I say, the elephant in the ER): inhalants. While they might offer a brief moment of euphoria, they can also lead to some serious complications. Stick to safer alternatives, like communication and consent – the ultimate aphrodisiacs.

Now, onto a topic that’s sure to make even the bravest among us wince: penis tears and fissures. Gentlemen, listen up: just like any other appendage, your manhood requires proper warm-ups and cool-downs. So, before you embark on a bedroom marathon, remember to stretch, hydrate, and maybe invest in some high-quality lube. Your nether regions will thank you. I need to say this now: you will not be the first or last person in the ER with a penis injury. Do not be too embarrassed to seek medical help, and do not try to sort yourself out with a Google search! If it is bent in a way that looks different to before, seek help as bends can become permanent if untreated.

And let’s not forget our trusty sidekicks in the quest for mind-blowing pleasure: toys! But beware, my friends, for these mischievous gadgets have a tendency to go rogue and disappear into the abyss of … well, you know where. Pro tip: always opt for toys with a handy retrieval string, unless you fancy a trip to your local hospital ER where the infamous bum box lives. That’s a box kept by doctors and nurses that contains an assortment of X-rays and objects from anal sex injuries. Yes, it’s a real thing, and no, you don’t want to be featured there!

Now, onto how to have great sex without ending up in the emergency room. The secret sauce? Practise, practise, practise! Just like honing your fitness routine, a healthy sex life requires dedication, experimentation, and a willingness to try new things (safely, of course). So, aim for at least 30 minutes of quality time between the sheets, three times a week, and don’t be afraid to get creative. Remember, this doesn’t have to be penetrative or even with anyone; practising by yourself is a great way to build up confidence and make your next ‘foray in the fray’ more likely to be successful. In fact I recommend starting new routines in the spirit of Eminem’s ‘round the outside, round the outside’.

And last but certainly not least, communication is key! Whether you’re discussing boundaries, desires, or the occasional mishap, open and honest dialogue with your partner can make all the difference. And hey, if you ever find yourself in need of some extra guidance, there’s no shame in seeking help from a GP separate from your family GP. I know many people who have a sex GP, and then a GP for non-sex related advice. Open disclosure is just as important as full exposure so try out chatting about sex the next time with your GP so at least you can ascertain if they’re right for you, if anything does ever happen.

Embrace the highs, navigate the lows, and always remember: when it comes to sex, a little laughter goes a long way. Until next time, stay safe, stay sexy, and may your bedroom escapades be filled with more pleasure than peril!

Got a question? Email askdrzac@conciergedoctors.com.au

Dr Zac Turner has a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Sydney. He is both a medical practitioner and a co-owner of telehealth service, Concierge Doctors. He was also a registered nurse and is a qualified and experienced biomedical scientist along with being a PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering.

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