How to Protect Your Penis From Peyronie’s Disease

While the occurrence is rare, most men don’t know that sexual intercourse can damage their penis. Even worse, this damage can cause a deformity that makes further sexual activity difficult or even impossible.

Peyronie’s disease—which makes the penis bend or curve when erect—affects an estimated 0.5% to 13% of men, with the risk increasing with age. Researchers believe the incidences of Peyronie's disease are underreported because of embarrassment and lack of awareness. While called a “disease,” it’s actually the most common injury of the penis.

Other penis traumas you may have heard of, such as zipper injuries and athletic injuries, are far less common. When you’re playing sports, hormones trigger a fight-or-flight response in your body, causing your penis to shrink and withdraw. This action protects your penis, even if you’re not wearing an athletic cup. During sex, however, your penis enlarges, putting it at risk for damage.

Understanding how Peyronie’s disease can help you learn how to better care for your penis and reduce your chances of getting the condition.

5 tips for protecting your penis from peyronies disease

Verywell / Laura Porter

Erectile Dysfunction

Men in their 20s typically have highly rigid erections—a nine or 10 on a 10-point scale. As you age, your erections become less rigid. When your erections aren’t rigid enough for sexual intercourse at least half the time, you have erectile dysfunction (ED).

If you have an erection that is a five or six on a 10-point scale, you still may be able to have sexual intercourse. However, during regular thrusting, your penis may not stay straight. This bending during sex can damage the elastic tissue inside your penis.

You probably won’t see or feel this damage at first. And further sex may cause more damage over time—all painless.

As your penis heals, scar tissue forms inside around the erection chambers. That scar tissue isn’t as elastic as the normal tissue. That means it doesn’t stretch as well during an erection, which can make your penis look bent or shorter or dented.

Not all cases of Peyronie's disease are caused by issues during sexual intercourse, and in many cases there is no known cause.

Protect Your Penis

There are several things you and your partner can do to help protect your penis from Peyronie’s disease:

  1. Take ED medications: Most men who see a doctor about ED do so once it becomes nearly impossible to have sex. But that may be too late to prevent Peyronie’s disease. Men should seek treatment as soon as they begin to notice weaker erections, around a five, six, or seven on a 10-point scale. This “erectile insufficiency” is a precursor to ED, which usually happens gradually, over time. The firmer you can keep your erections, the less likely you’ll get Peyronie’s disease.
  2. Lubricate: If your female partner doesn’t have enough natural vaginal lubrication, use an over-the-counter lubricant. If your penis slips out of the vagina during intercourse, use your hand to guide it back in.
  3. Stay on top: When you’re on the bottom and your female partner is on top, your penis may be forced to bend more.
  4. Go straight in and out: Avoid movements that could cause your penis to bend during thrusting.
  5. Be alert: Avoid sex when you’re too tired or have had too much alcohol. Your erection may not stay as firm.

It’s Bent. Now What?

If you develop Peyronie’s disease but the bend doesn’t cause pain or make sexual intercourse difficult, you don’t need to treat it. The deformity may be permanent, but if you can still function with it, it’s not a concern.

Even in the case of functional Peyronie's disease, you don’t want to damage your penis more and make the deformity worse. Follow the guidelines above. You may need to improve your erections to prevent further damage.

If you have mild pain during erections, it could mean the tissue inside your penis is still healing. It can take one to three years for healing to be complete, depending on how often the damage is aggravated.

For severe deformities, there are surgical treatments to straighten the penis. An outpatient procedure called “plication” can shorten the long side of the erect penis. (Your erection will be a little shorter, but your penis will be straight). Or a surgeon can remove the scar tissue and replace it with a graft collected from somewhere else on your body. This procedure requires a longer recovery and can worsen ED. 

The best option is to take precautionary steps during sex so you keep your penis healthy and reduce your risk of Peyronie’s disease.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Dibenedetti DB, Nguyen D, Zografos L, Ziemiecki R, Zhou X. A Population-Based Study of Peyronie's Disease: Prevalence and Treatment Patterns in the United States. Adv Urol. 2011;2011:282503. doi:10.1155/2011/282503

  2. Zheng X, Ji P, Mao H, Wu J. Evaluation of penile erection rigidity in healthy men using virtual touch tissue quantification. Radiol Oncol. 2012;46(2):114-8. doi:10.2478/v10019-012-0012-4

  3. Hatzichristodoulou G. Grafting techniques for Peyronie's disease. Transl Androl Urol. 2016;5(3):334-41. doi:10.21037/tau.2016.03.16

Additional Reading
  • Dibenedetti DB, Nguyen D, Zografos L, Ziemiecki R, Zhou X. A Population-Based Study of Peyronie's Disease: Prevalence and Treatment Patterns in the United States. Adv Urol. 2011; DOI 10.1155/2011:282503.