| The sex position most likely to break your penis

Yes, you can actually break your penis – and some sex positions can put you at a greater risk for penile fracture than others, according to a recent study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research.

Read more: The 10 worst things that could happen to your penis

For the study, researchers looked at 90 patients aged 18 to 66 who had fractured their penises. They found that 77% of those cases were sexual-trauma related, so they took a closer look at the sex positions being performed during the time of their injuries.

The most dangerous sex position? A whopping 41% of men fractured their penis during doggy style, followed by missionary and woman-on-top.

The severity of the fracture was similar between doggy and missionary, but significantly worse when comparing doggy and woman-on-top, the study found.

Read more: The sex position 39% of women hate

Penile fractures occur when you put too much force on your erection. There are sponge-like tubes in the tissue of your penis that become rigid when filled with blood, urologist Tobias Köhler, MD, told us last year. Those tubes don’t bend when they’re hit with lots of force, which can cause them to “break”, leading to pain, swelling, blood blockages and, if it’s bad enough, a trip to the ER.

And yes, you may even hear a cracking or popping sound, the study’s authors note.

Recent Brazilian research concluded that woman-on-top is the riskiest sex position for your penis, since she’s in control of angle and speed.

If she accidentally slips out, your member can hit a bony area of her body, or she may sit back down on your penis (with her entire body weight) at a funny angle.

But what makes doggy style so severe in this case? The researchers speculate that when you’re entering her from behind, you may get overly excited and sex can become “extremely vigorous”.

If your penis slips out of her vagina and hits against her perineum or pubic symphysis – both of which are hard, bony surfaces – it can cause greater trauma to your rod.

Read more: 9 penis problems and how to deal with them

One way to reduce your risk? Opt for literally any other sex position, like one of these 12 hot sex positions.

And as hard as it may be sometimes, try not to overdo it in bed. When sex gets vigorous, you put your penis at risk.

Maintaining your cool will help you avoid any awkward slip ups or angles, says Dr Köhler.

If you do hear a cracking sound or experience pain during sex, here’s exactly what you should do if you think you fractured your penis.

This article was originally published on

Image credit: iStock

NEXT ON HEALTH24X | 7 mistakes you might be making in spin class

The calorie-torching qualities of indoor cycling are hard to beat – that is, if you’re making the most out of your session. Avoid these all-too-common speed bumps for the ultimate (and injury-free) ride.

1. Holding on too tight

While it sometimes might feel like it, we swear the bike isn’t going to derail and shoot across the room. So try not to cling to the handlebars with the grip of a champion rock climber.

“No white knuckles!” says Jessica Bashelor, owner of The Handle Bar indoor cycling studios in Boston, Massachusetts. “It’s a waste of energy as well as the beginning of a greater problem – supporting body weight on your hands and wrists.”

If yours are sore after a ride, that’s a sure sign. Next time, direct that energy toward tightening your core and balancing your weight over your midsection, glutes and quads.

2. Tensing up

Another spot riders tend to clench, especially when the class gets difficult, is their upper body. You can picture it: The shoulders scrunched up around the ears, like they’re doing their best turtle impression.

“The more you loosen your shoulders, relax the bend in your elbow, and keep your neck nice and long, the more you can focus your energy on your lower body and getting the most out of your ride,” says Bashelor.

3. Slacking on resistance

Sometimes, with those endless “add another quarter turn’s”, it can feel like your legs might just stop turning entirely or spin right off your body in protest. While most good instructors will tell you that your ride is what you make of it, it’s actually unsafe to zip along, hips bouncing all over the place, with no resistance at all.

“This mistake can lead to hip and knee problems,” Bashelor explains. “Not to mention the instructor notices this ‘cheating’ from a mile away.” Her advice: Don’t show up for a ride just to let the bike do the work.

4. Pushing too hard without pulling

The pedals have those toe cages for a reason and clip-in shoes make it even more clear. The rotation in your legs isn’t just about how hard you can hammer through the balls of your feet, but also the power you can exert as you bring each foot back up and around.

“If you focus on eliminating the pause at the bottom of your pedal stroke and really drive your knee up and out to complete your rotation, you’ll find more power as well as a better hamstring workout,” says Bashelor.

5. Attacking a climb right from the start

When you approach a hill on a regular bicycle, your body position often shifts forward and backward a bit. Take this same tack on your indoor ride.

Begin a climb with hands on the lower outside of the handlebars (position 2) with a decent bend at the hips. When it’s really starting to feel like a slog, move your hands to the straight part of the bars right in front of you (position 1), which raises the torso and increases your hip angle.

You’ll notice an energy boost in your legs by the subtle change in your torso, says Bashelor.

6. Doing your own thing

It’s one thing to short-shift a tension increase a teeny tiny bit, but quite another to stand and accelerate when the instructor (and the rest of the class) are seated and slowly climbing a hill.

Believe it or not, there’s a rhyme and reason to the ebbs and flows an instructor puts into her lesson plan – and it’s not just to match Beyoncé’s beat – both in terms of calorie burn and muscle use.

“You may think going harder for longer than everyone else will give you a better workout,” says Cassie Piasecki, an indoor cycling instructor in Orange County, California. “But it won’t. You are burning out your muscles and disrupting the class.”

7. Not stretching afterward

You know how your hip flexors feel a wee bit cranky when you disembark your bike? Or maybe it’s your calves that are whimpering for a reprieve. Or your shoulders, despite your best efforts to keep ’em calm, are a bit peaked. And, of course, there are your quads, glutes and hams – donezo.

So do them all a favour and give ’em a good stretch (ideally, even longer than the two-minute break you get inside the classroom). Your future self will be grateful.

This article was originally published on

Image credit: iStock

NEXT ON HEALTH24X | 7 ways to nail your recovery rides

On paper, recovery rides should be the easiest rides to do. You saddle up, spin for about an hour and call it good.

All too often, however, we screw them up by riding harder than planned, which sets back the recovery process – or worse, makes you slower over time.

If you’re training and/or racing, true recovery rides are an essential component of your plan.

When you train hard you do damage – that’s part of the plan. Your workout breaks down your muscle, empties out your fuel stores and generally taxes your metabolism above and beyond its status quo.

When you recover, your body repairs the damage so you can come back stronger and ready for more.

If you skip the recovery part, you’re cheating yourself out of the maximum return on your hard work.

Along with eating well and getting enough sleep, recovery rides expedite the rebound process by sending more blood into your damaged muscles to deliver tissue-mending nutrients and flush out metabolic waste.

They can also help clear up post-race brain fog and help you maintain the general flow and habit of training and riding, so you don’t lose momentum.

Read more: Ride hard, recover harder

You should work recovery rides into your training schedule once or twice a week following super hard training days and/or races.

To do them right they should feel really easy – like ridiculously easy. You should pick the flattest route possible; keep it short – 90 minutes max, 30 to 45 is usually plenty; and maintain a very low level of exertion: a 1 to 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the hardest), about 60 to 65% of max heart rate, and/or no more than about 50% of your functional threshold power.

Your legs should feel a bit lighter and fresher when you’re done.

Here are seven ways to get your recovery rides right:

1. Go solo: It’s pretty much impossible to do a recovery ride with a group, because it takes too much willpower to resist getting sucked into going faster and harder than intended. Use the time to go out alone and spin your legs and clear your mind.

2. Get someone riding: If you’d rather not ride alone, you can use your recovery rides as a time to play on bikes with your kids or to get a new friend or family member riding. You won’t go very far or very fast and the focus is on them having fun.

Read more: 7 new rules of recovery

3. Go ahead and call it “Recovery Ride” on Strava: If you really hate seeing those super slow speeds on Strava, but you don’t want to lose those kilometres on your annual log, then go ahead and label your recovery ride something like “Easy Like Sunday Morning Recovery Spin”. That way you can feel proud of just how slow you can go.

4. Change bikes: Got an old beater or commuter bike? Recovery rides are the perfect time to break them out because they don’t scream, “Speed up!”

5. Dress down for it: Keep your club, team and/or fast, fitted kit in the drawer and pull on some casual riding-around-town attire instead. Then go spin around your neighbourhood or ride to your local rail trail or park.

6. Use your gadgets: It’s tempting to turn off the metrics when you’re out for a recovery ride. But this might be the time you need them most to keep you honest. If you have a heart-rate monitor and/or power meter, use it.

7. Do something else: If you really don’t feel like riding slow, do something else. Activities like easy laps at the pool, gentle yoga, walking the dogs, even going for a light jog (assuming you regularly run) can do the trick. Easy cross-training can also help you get stoked to get back on the bike after hard days in the saddle.

Read more: 4 simple steps to start training with power

This article was originally published on

Image credit: iStock

NEXT ON HEALTH24X | 6 foods that can give you runner’s trots

When it comes to running, there are few things more painful – physically and emotionally – than runner’s trots.

If you’re unfamiliar with the trots, consider yourself lucky. Essentially, it’s running-induced diarrhoea and, while it’s most common with long distance workouts, it can attack at any time, in any place. (Trots are nondiscriminatory – and evil – like that.)

As a registered dietitian and avid runner, Lauren Slayton puts it: “If you don’t have a runner’s trot story to share, you probably haven’t been running that long.”

Read more: How to avoid loo breaks during a race

One source of solace: there are certain foods that can trigger the trots more than others, so steering clear of them before your runs can lessen the likelihood of a GI attack.

Slayton and two other registered dietitians detail these dangerous eats and provide suggested swaps.

1. Avoid: Caffeine

“Coffee is notorious for keeping us regular, but caffeine in general can really expedite the transit time of food through the GI tract,” explains registered dietitian Cara Harbstreet.

While obvious sources include coffee, tea, energy drinks and soda, there are also trace amounts of caffeine in certain foods, like chocolate and gum.

Says Slayton: “I’m definitely pro-coffee but upping caffeine before a long run isn’t always wise.”

Her advice: limit intake to one cup of coffee and budget “transit time” before a run.

Replace with: If you’re looking to cut back the caffeine, opt for decaf in the three to four hours before your run. And be sure to check your food labels to ensure you’re not consuming hidden sources that could put your bowels in the danger zone.

If you want to switch away entirely, try eating an apple – yes, an apple. Studies show it can be just as effective as that pre-run cup of coffee.

2. Avoid: High-fibre cereal with berries

Although healthy, a heaping bowl of pre-run oatmeal (or other fibre-filled cereal like bran) can spell a serious case of the trots, especially when sprinkled with fibre-packed toppings like berries and chia seeds.

“Go low fibre before a big run. There’s a time for fibre of course – but it’s not pre-race!” says Frances Largeman-Roth, registered dietitian nutritionist, runner and author of Eating in Colour.

Replace with: Toast, peanut butter and a banana is Largeman-Roth’s better bet. Both bread and bananas are easy to digest and the protein in peanut butter will sustain – not sabotage – your workout.

Read more: 6 foods you should NEVER eat before s run

3. Avoid: Sorbitol

Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol commonly used in products like gum or beverages to replace actual sugar and reduce calories, explains Harbstreet. The issue: sorbitol is not fully absorbed and used for energy the way actual sugar is, meaning it remains in the GI tract and can cause a number of digestive dilemmas, including cramping, bloating and diarrhoea.

Replace with: Plain old H2O or an electrolyte replacement drink, depending on your training needs.

“Both will keep you adequately hydrated without stimulating any misbehaviour from your colon,” says Harbstreet.

Read more: Can you run without sugar?

4. Avoid: Spicy foods

Capsaicin – the chemical that makes spicy food spicy – is also known to irritate the lining of the small and large intestine, explains Harbstreet. Combine that with the fact that exercise quickens digestion and you could be in for an explosive workout.

Replace with: If you plan to run post meal, tone down the heat and select a milder menu option, advises Harbstreet. Fill up on complex carbs like non-starchy vegetables and brown rice, and then allow two to three hours for digestion before hitting the pavement.

5. Avoid: Dairy products

“I’ve often seen the jostling of running shine a light on a dairy intolerance,” explains Slayton, who warns the combination of fat and lactose in milk, cheese and other dairy products can upend the GI system.

Replace with: If you struggle with trots but are craving a creamy beverage, consider an alternative milk source like almond milk.

Just be sure that it’s made without the thickener carrageen, as some findings suggest the additive could be linked to inflammation and gut irritation. 

Read more: What types of milk are best for runners?

6. Avoid: Beans, lentils and legumes

These foods (collectively called pulses) became trendy last year and continue to gain popularity, thanks to their many health benefits. But one of their greatest strengths – a high-fibre content – can also be your mid-run nemesis, warns Harbstreet.

Again, high fibre equals higher chance of bowel movements.

Replace with: Pre-run, seek out alternative carbohydrates with less fibre. Think mini bagels, English muffins, sourdough bread, potatoes (white or sweet), pasta or rice.

“It’s one of the few times I don’t recommend the whole-grain or whole-wheat version of these foods, simply because those options do contain additional fibre that might upset the GI tract during intense exercise,” says Harbstreet.

This article was originally published on

Image credit: iStock

NEXT ON HEALTH24X | 5 Gynaes share the sex tips that have changed their patients’ lives

Even though your gynae is your go-to for things like birth control consultations and STD scares, you might not think to turn to your lady doc for pointers on how to spice things up in the sack.

But sexual health is an umbrella term that covers everything from how to protect yourself from pregnancy and STDs to the best sex toys and positions to get the job done.

“Never be afraid of speaking with your gynaecologist about your sex life,” says gynae Dr Mary Jane Minkin. “And if you are afraid, find a new gynaecologist!”

Gynaes are strong advocates of their patients pursuing pleasure, and their advice can help you do so in the healthiest, safest ways possible.

So what advice do gynaecologists find themselves dispensing the most? Funny you should ask:

1. Lubrication is everything

Though vaginal dryness is most common during menopause, it can also strike because of low libido, stress levels and as a side effect to certain medications. If using straight-up lubricant isn’t sufficient, try GynaGuard Lubricating Moisturising Gel, a vaginal moisturiser. Another way to increase moisture down yonder is to use a vibrator on the regular.

“Vibrators increase pelvic blood flow and blood flow leads to lubrication,” she says. They can also ward off muscle weakening in the pelvic area that, over time, can lead to sexual dysfunction and painful sex.

Read more: Exactly how gynaecologists treat their own cramps

2. Give yourself a hand – literally

If you struggle to reach an orgasm during sex, think about whether you orgasmed the last few times you masturbated, says gynae Dr Kelly Culwell. If the answer is yes…  yes… yes (sorry, had to), then touching yourself during sex or mutual masturbation may help decrease the tension and anxiety linked to successfully reaching O-town with your partner.

“It can also help you and your partner learn the best ways to make sure sex is pleasurable for both of you,” she adds.

3. Wash your hands

Sometimes, the best thing to do for a dirtier sex life is getting really, really clean, says gynae Dr Sherry Ross, author of She-ology.

“Hands and fingers need special attention before being sexually active, as they’re overwhelmingly dirty with unwelcome bacteria,” she says. One of the most common bacteria found on your hands and fingers is E. coli, which comes from, well, poo.

“If E. coli is passed into the vagina, it can cause a vaginal or urinary tract infection,” she says. That ultimately puts your sex life on pause until it’s cleared up (and who wants that?). Wash your hands with warm water and soap before you hit the sheets (this goes for both of you, obviously), and your vagina will thank you for it later. Trust.

Read more: 6 signs your sex life is on point, according to experts

4. Switch things up

When you’re with the same partner for a while, you might start to feel like you’re on autopilot (which, let’s face it, is one of the unsexiest feelings ever). But you don’t need whips and chains to spice things up again, says ob-gyn Dr Michael Krychman. Obviously, if you’re both willing to try some kink, go for it.

But if you’re looking for a more subtle way to improve your sex life, Dr Krychman recommends switching up your usual position, location (like the kitchen table, perhaps?) and the time of day. He also suggests trying In The Mood, a dating app for couples that makes it more fun to plan hot dates with your significant other including specialty stickers, emojis and even hidden and disappearing photo and video options.

5. Know your angles

“For women who have deep internal pain with intercourse, playing around with different positions can help,” says gynae Dr Sara Twogood. She says you can adjust the angle of the penis for more comfortable penetration by trying new positions or just adjusting your pelvis as he thrusts.

However, which position and angle feels best varies from woman to woman, so experiment to find what’s best for you.

These are eight things that can seriously mess with your sex life. Plus: This might explain why your sex life sucks lately…

This article was originally published on

Image credit: iStock