Peyronie’s disease, a condition of uncertain cause, is characterized by formation of a plaque (a hard lump) on the penis, causing it to bend during erection. A plaque on the top of the shaft (most common) causes the penis to bend upward; a plaque on the underside causes it to bend downward. In some cases, the plaque develops on both top and bottom, leading to indentation and shortening of the penis.
The condition is named for Francois de la Peyronie, a French surgeon who, in 1743, described a patient who had “rosary beads of scar tissue to cause an upward curvature of the penis during erection.”
Different treatment modalities have been tried over the years, none successful. The newest advent (March 2010) is a drug by the name of Xiaflex – you may want to check it out.
Depending on the severity of the condition, the bend in the penis may make sexual intercourse difficult, or even impossible:
- The bend will make the penis “wider” at its tip (a bigger initial penetration) instead of it being straight and pointy, thus requiring more stretch by the vaginal opening, which is not always possible.
- During penetration, the bend may rub against the urethra or the rectal canal (depending on the angle of the bend) causing great discomfort/pain to the woman.
- When inside the vagina, the action of thrusting (the penis’ motion during intercourse) may pose a problem because of the odd shape of the penis and potential discomfort to the woman.
- Typically, couples will seek a sexual position that will facilitate penile penetration. They may also need to modify penetration depth and intercourse duration to avoid further discomfort and distress to the woman.
Naturally, such sexual problems will disrupt the couple’s sexual intimacy and lead to lowered self-esteem in the man. Proper medical and mental management for the man are recommended, as is guidance to the woman who often “feels bad” for her partner and will accept vaginal pain/damage attempting penetration.
Vaginal health advocates the avoidance of injurious activities, and emphasizes the fundamental belief that “I have the right to say NO.” Unfortunately, women are often being blamed for failure to have penetration and are pressured to “house” the (bent) penis so as to accommodate the man and his needs.
And about vaginismus: a bent penis WILL NOT cause vaginismus. Vaginismus is about fear of penetration, not about being compassionate and understanding of the man who suffers from Peyronie’s Disease. Even failed or painful penetration attempts should not provoke vaginismus, but rather the choice of saying NO to vaginal intercourse, limiting sexual intimacy to outercourse (non-penetrative sexual activities, i.e. oral sex, manual sex, etc.).