A Beginner’s Guide to Safe, Pleasurable Urethral Sounding

Traditionally, sounding refers to a medical procedure that involves using a probe (called a sound) to dilate the urethra prior to urological surgery or to locate an obstruction. But these days, sounding is also a sexual practice enjoyed by approximately 10% of men according to a 2012 sexual wellness survey. This kink is often associated with the BDSM community, but isn’t necessarily about inflicting pain or asserting dominance.

Sounding may feel a little strange at first, but when done properly (and safely), any initial discomfort can give way to intense pleasure. Learn more about how to get started sounding with this guide from FunLove.com.

Why Sounding Feels So Good

At first glance, sounding may seem more like medieval torture than a source of sexual gratification. In reality, the urethra is packed with ultra-sensitive nerves that can feel amazing when stimulated, especially in conjunction with external penis stimulation. Some have compared it to the satisfaction of peeing after holding your bladder for a while, or like an extended or repeating orgasm. 

In addition, if you enjoy prostate stimulation from pegging or other types of anal play, there’s a good chance you’ll also like sounding, which stimulates the prostate more directly and can result in seriously intense prostate orgasms.

For other practitioners, sounding also has psychological appeal. Sounding is still considered quite taboo and kinky by more mainstream crowds, which may be a turn-on for some. For others, the act of being penetrated with a sound by their partner is a novel experience that heightens their submissive dynamic with a dominant partner.

Urethral stimulation isn’t just for penises, either. In people with vaginas, the urethra is positioned directly below the clitoris, making it a hot spot for powerful orgasms. However, additional precautions should be taken since the female urethra is much shorter and thinner than its male counterpart. People with vaginas are also more susceptible to injury or infection and should only use sounds specifically designed for the female anatomy. You can learn more about female sounding here.

Health Risks Associated With Sounding

Before you experiment with sounding, it’s very important to understand that using sounds incorrectly can result in injury or illness. In rarer cases, injury or infection can result even with proper usage and sterilization of sounding devices. Possible injuries and complications of sounding you should be aware of include:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Scarring and narrowing of the urethra (also called urethral stricture)
  • Urethral bleeding
  • Foreign objects getting stuck in the urethra

The good news is that you can minimize the risk of sounding injuries or illnesses by maintaining good hygiene and common sense safe sex practices. That being said, individuals with a history of recurring UTIs, prior urethral injuries, or prostate conditions should consult their physician before inserting anything into the urethra.

What You’ll Need: Sounding Tools and Accessories

There are several key items you’ll need for safe and pleasurable urethral sounding. It is absolutely not recommended to use anything other than a sound sold and distributed by a reputable sex toy retailer. Using items like pencils, paintbrushes, screws, or any object with an abrasive texture is a surefire way to unintentionally injure yourself, expose yourself to infection, or end up in the emergency room trying to explain why there’s a fork stuck in your pee hole. 


sounding lube

Anytime you’re putting something into a bodily orifice that has never been penetrated before, you’re going to want lube—and a lot of it. Without lubrication, sounds can cause pain or injury and even get stuck.

The type of lube you choose for sounding matters. Ideally, you want a lubricant that is long-lasting and won’t increase the risk of bacteria being introduced into the urethra. You’ll also need to make sure the lube you use is compatible with the material of the toys used. For example, you wouldn’t want to use silicone-based lube with a sound made from silicone, as this can degrade the material and make it unsafe to use.

For sounds made from silicone, opt for a water-based lubricant that is glycerin-free. Although it may require more frequent application, it is compatible with silicone toys and also easier to clean up than silicone-based lube. If your sounding implements are made from metal, you can try a silicone-based lube, but keep in mind that it may stay in the urethra longer, which can increase your risk of a UTI. 

Pro tip: You may be able to reduce your risk of UTI or other urethral infections by peeing right before and after sounding. If you are particularly sensitive or just want to be as careful as possible, the safest option for sounding lube is one that is sterile, such as Surgilube or Wicked Simply Aqua

Toy Cleaner

All sex toys should be thoroughly washed and sanitized before and after use, but the cleaning process is even more important when it comes to sounds. You can start by rinsing your sound in warm soapy water or with a specially formulated toy cleaner. To really sanitize your metal sound, you’ll then want to boil it in water for around 10 minutes to kill any lingering bacteria. For those on the go, a portable UV sanitizing case can also come in handy. Be sure to properly store sounds in their own separate containers in a cool, dry place.

Sounding Implements

urethral sounding

As with lube, you want to make sure you choose the right type of urethral sound in order to have a good time. For beginners, this means a thinner sound that is not too big and isn’t ribbed. The urethra is extremely sensitive, and although it can be stretched to accommodate larger sounds, this should be done slowly and carefully over time. 

At the same time, starting with a sound that is too thin can also pose problems. Although a thin sound may be easy to insert, a less-than-snug fit means the sound can move around too much and potentially tear the delicate tissue of the urethra. 

Ideally, beginners should start with a sound that is about the diameter of their own urethra. The male urethra is 8 to 9 millimeters wide on average, but this may vary from person to person. For this reason, a set of urethral dilators may be a good place to start, as you’ll have multiple options to find the right fit. The Master Series Dockers Silicone Urethral Sound Training Set is perfect for newbies, as it comes with three sounds ranging in diameter from a little over 5 mm to 9.9 mm. Each sound is also tapered to gradually increase in size as it is inserted.

How to Insert a Urethral Sound for the First Time

You’ve picked the right sound for you, chose the perfect lube, and thoroughly cleaned your new toy and hands. Now for the fun part: inserting a sound for the first time. We’ve made it easy with this simple, step-by-step process.

  1. Relax and take your time. Inserting a sound is not the kind of activity you want to rush through. Whether you’re playing solo or with a partner, set aside several hours with no interruptions and don’t push yourself. The goal here is exploration, not immediate mastery. 
  2. Get in the mood. It is generally easier to insert a sound when you’re semi-erect as opposed to flaccid or fully erect. Need some inspo? Try some of these foreplay ideas.
  3. Lube up. Apply a generous amount of lube to the tip of your penis and your toy. (Keep the lube nearby, because you’ll want to reapply throughout the process.)
  4. Spread your urethral opening carefully with one hand while you guide the sound towards you with the other hand. A partner may be helpful for this step.
  5. Gently insert the tip of the sound into the urethral opening. Do this slowly and patiently, remembering to breathe and relax your genital muscles as much as possible.
  6. Let gravity do most of the work. There’s no reason to be shoving or pushing anything. Instead, try moving your pelvis slightly side to side as the sound works its way down your shaft. If it feels okay, you can continue guiding the sound further into the urethra in small, even strokes. 
  7. If you’re feeling pressure or pain, back off. It’s totally normal for the urethra to tense in response to penetration, and it may take more than one session to get used to. Whatever you do, don’t force anything. And if you’re feeling frustrated, take a break. You’ll have the most success when you’re feeling at ease and comfortable. 

After the sound has been inserted, you and/or your partner can experiment a little bit to see what feels good. Remember, you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) insert the full length of longer sounds, especially your first time. Add more lube for comfort and try moving the sound up and down for stimulation, massage your penis with the sound inserted, or have your partner put their lips directly on the sound and hum. The vibrations will knock your socks off.

When you’re done, be sure to remove the sound as slowly and as carefully as you inserted it. Remember to pee afterwards to help prevent infection and wash your hands, penis, and sound thoroughly. Your urethra may be a little tender after your first few times sounding, so some burning while peeing is to be expected for the next few days. However, if you experience significant pain, discomfort, or bleeding, be sure to see a doctor right away.

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