A Man's Penis Started Rotting After Getting Bitten During Sex

Rotting penis not pictured.
Photo: Getty Images

A harrowing medical case reported by doctors this month should remind everyone to keep their teeth away from each other’s genitals. It details how an accidental love bite during sex left a man’s penis on the verge of rotting away, though thankfully doctors intervened in time to save it.

The 43-year-old man visited the emergency room with a painful wound festering near the tip of his penis. His significant other had mistakenly bit it while having sex five days earlier, and by the time he sought care, the 3-centimeter wound had turned pitch black—a sign the infected tissue surrounding it had become necrotic and died off.

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The report was published last week in the Visual Journal of Emergency Medicine, and as you might expect from the journal’s name, there’s a very NSFW picture of the wound in question included in the report. Click that link if you dare.

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All things considered, though, the situation could have been way worse. The man didn’t have any signs of a systemic infection, such as fever. In other words, the infection was limited to his dick. But given the risk of a life-threatening, flesh-eating gangrene on his penis, doctors quickly hospitalized the man and gave him intravenous antibiotics.

The treatment seemed to do its job, and the man was eventually discharged with an extra course of oral antibiotics. A check-up a month later found that he had completely recovered, with only “minimal glans penis deformity.”

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This is far from the first case of a penis infection caused by a bite. But perhaps more surprising is that many people don’t visit their doctor or nearby emergency room soon after a sexy snafu.

“As in this case, patients who are bitten on the penis often do not seek immediate medical care, and the disease process often progresses,” the report notes.

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The report also makes a point to caution doctors against treating these cases lightly, laying out two other hypothetical scenarios where the correct medical decision is to start the patient on antibiotics, even if the wound seems to be minor. That’s because our mouths are filled to the brim with bacteria that might be harmless where they normally live but could quickly turn dangerous if they get into the body elsewhere via an open wound.

“Even unassuming human bite wounds are at risk for developing significant infections,” the report notes.

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Let’s all hope that’s a lesson none of us ever have to personally learn, especially during sex.

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About the author

Ed Cara

Science writer at Gizmodo and pug aficionado elsewhere