A rod dating history
When I began to think about trying a sounding rod, most of my male friends recoiled in horror, either overwhelmed by the thought of ruining their penises or flashing back to the painful chlamydia-testing chore of inserting a Q-tip into the urethra and twisting it to obtain a lab sample.
The scattered available information seemed to affirm the practice as recklessly deviant, associating the very impulse with mental imbalance.
In ancient Rome, catheters, tubes, and probes were used to explore the bladder and remove adhesions and calculi from various ducts and orifices.
In the last century, however, the practice of sounding for pleasure seems to have become increasingly common, with examples of men having used everything from pens to knitting needles.
Taken all together, these fragments left me with the uncanny understanding of how sex should be, before I ever thought I was capable of experiencing it.
When I finally began having my own sexual experiences that adolescent mysticism lingered on, and left me feeling like I was missing something even while there was nothing specifically displeasing about any particular encounter.
Which is how I came to be sitting in my bedroom one night, sliding a long metal tube into my penis.
The thicker ones not only stay in place, but discourage the user from moving too quickly.
Intellectually, that all made sense, but the calming advice evaporated when I looked back down on the rods.
These fragments are spooky and prejudicial, using loose correlation between a specific act and broad-sweeping lifestyle habits to create the aura of taboo while ignoring the pre-existing biases that make the stimulation of one’s variously located nerve endings seem irrational. In my neighborhood in Manhattan, there are a number of sex-toy shops and peep show venues, but the thick black curtains hung across the front doors and the intimidating “NO MINORS” signs create a sense of a world of endangerment, where pastimes ensure perils.
These shops always seem to be one step away from bankruptcy, their crooked shelves and cramped aisles one police siren away from abandonment.
The urethra’s depth and narrowness make it especially vulnerable to infection from outside bacteria, which is exactly what’s at risk when inserting foreign objects into it.