Penis Captivus

It’s so rare, in fact, that anecdotal reports are the only way doctors and health experts know it happens.

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It’s unclear how often penis captivus occurs because couples may be able to disconnect from one another before medical attention is necessary. And they may never report the incident to a doctor.

In the event that you find yourself unable to disengage from intercourse, it’s important to stay calm. Knowing what’s happening can help you and your partner wait out penis captivus. Keep reading to learn more.

How does it happen?

For penis captivus to occur, a series of events during sex must take place. The penis, which fills with blood during an erection, may continue to grow in size before orgasm. The vagina’s walls, which are made of muscular tissue, expand and contract during sex. The muscles inside the vagina may pulse slightly during an orgasm, too.

On occasion, the vaginal muscles may contract more than typical. These contractions can narrow the vaginal opening. This narrowing could prevent a man from removing his penis, especially if he’s still engorged and erect.

After orgasm, the vaginal muscles will begin to relax. If the man also reaches orgasm, the blood will begin to drain from his penis, and the erection will ease. You may be able to remove the penis from the vagina as these events occur.

Most peopleTrusted Source who experience penis captivus can expect to be stuck together for just a few seconds. Staying calm and letting the muscles relax will help you unhook from each other.

Penis captivus is one manifestation of vaginismus. Vaginismus is a strict contraction of the vagina’s muscles that is so strong, the vagina essentially closes itself. When this occurs, a woman may be unable to have intercourse. It can also prevent medical exams.

What does it feel like?

Typical vaginal contractions may be pleasurable for the man. The increased pressure around the penis may intensify sensations. However, if your penis becomes stuck inside the vagina, the pleasing pressure may not be pleasant enough to overrule the worry about your predicament.

Penis captivus is unlikely to hurt you or your partner. As the erection eases, the pressure on the penis will fall, and any discomfort should stop. Likewise, as the contractions end, the muscles should relax enough for the vaginal opening to return to a normal size.

While you’re stuck together, it’s important you don’t do anything that could hurt you or cause additional pain. That means you shouldn’t try to forcibly pry yourself from your partner. Additional lubrication is also unlikely to fix the situation.

Instead, try to remain calm and let the muscles relax on their own. While it may feel much longer, most couples will only be stuck for a few seconds.

Is there clinical evidence of this?

Because penis captivus is so rare, there’s virtually no research or medical evidence of the event. However, that doesn’t mean reports of the condition haven’t appeared in medical literature.

Accounts of people working in hospitals are one of the only ways we know penis captivus is real. In 1979, the British Medical Journal published a storyTrusted Source about the allusive sexual snag. They quoted two nineteenth century gynecologists who claimed first-hand experience with penis captivus.

The next year, the medical journal published a responseTrusted Source from a reader that claimed to have been present when a couple was brought to the local hospital for the condition.

More recently, in 2016, a reputable Kenyan television channel ran a news segment that featured a couple who was carried to a local witch doctor after becoming stuck.

What should I do if it happens to me?

If you’re mid-romp and find you and your partner can’t disconnect, it’s important to remain calm. Panicking can lead to forcefully attempting to withdraw the penis, and that can lead to more pain and discomfort.

Most couples will only be stuck for a few seconds, so give yourself a break from the action. Take a few deep breaths, and the muscles will likely relax for you.

In the event that you remain stuck after a few minutes, call for emergency medical attention. A doctor or healthcare provider may be able to inject a muscle relaxer into you or your partner to help ease the contractions.

If this keeps happening, make a point to tell your doctor at your next visit. They may want to look for possible underlying conditions, such as vaginismus or blood flow problems, that could contribute to the unusual situation.

The bottom line

Penis captivus is a very rare condition. Indeed, most couples will never experience it, but if you do, remember to remain calm. Don’t panic and don’t try to pry yourself apart from your partner.

You could hurt the two of you, which will only make the situation work. Most couples will be able to separate after a few seconds, or at worst, a few minutes. While it may be uncomfortable, stop the action and wait it out. You’ll be unhooked soon enough.

Medically reviewed by Daniel Murrell, M.D. — Written by Kimberly Holland — Updated on October 10, 2019

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