Dear Drs. Lewis and Gail Wyatt:
I am a 24-year-old woman dating a 31-year-old man. I like him, he likes me, and we have a chance for a long-term relationship because we get along and the sex is great! There is one strange thing about him, and it is his penis: It’s really crooked. I have never seen a crooked penis before. It is almost L-shaped! It doesn’t seem to affect his sexual performance, or mine, but I wonder if it will eventually interfere with our sexual pleasure. Should I be worried? —Tiffany B.
Many men have a penis that has a slight bend and there is no cause for concern. However, some men have a penis that is bent from a condition called Peyronie’s disease, where scar tissue causes the penis to bend forward or sideways. Blood gets blocked in the lower part of the penis and has difficulty traveling all the way to the tip. This condition can result in three consequences: 1) Your partner can have pain with his erections, 2) He can lose an erection prematurely or 3) He may avoid sex altogether. Any of these possibilities can lead to stress and anxiety for both of you.
Why would this happen? Peyronie’s disease is caused by repeated trauma to the penis from excessive masturbation, sex, some kind of physical activity or medical treatment. It’s more prevalent as men age. It sometimes, but rarely, goes away on its own. Treatment can be an oral medication or an injection to break up the scar tissue.
If your partner is not complaining about pain with his erections or with sex, and he is not avoiding having sex, he probably does not have Peyronie’s disease. Your question is a good one: Will he eventually have symptoms that could cause sexual dysfunction? You need to find out.
Here are some things you can do to begin to address this question:
Check to see if you feel a lump or mass along the shaft. Does he complain that his penis hurts if you squeeze along the shaft over any area with a lump, especially at the site of the bend?
Does he lose his erections because of pain? If he has a mass or a lump; loses his erections, especially before ejaculating; or complains of pain, ask him if he knows what is wrong and suggest that both of you go to a urologist for a thorough examination. Support your partner as he does whatever the doctor recommends. Get a second opinion to make sure that the diagnosis and treatment are correct. It is important to get this right.
Your attention to your partner’s body is a good sign that you care enough about him to make sure that he stays healthy. Hopefully, he will do the same for you. A condition that made you curious may result in both of you knowing a lot more about how his penis works and what he needs to do to get his blood to flow where it needs to.
Finally, your partner may need counseling to discuss past experiences that may have resulted in the blood not flowing properly in his penis. He may not have discussed these experiences with you, but sometimes the inability to perform sexually to expectations can take a toll on self-esteem. You can only suggest counseling and support him if he goes, but it is important to encourage him to seek counseling when and if he is ready.
For answers to your questions about sexual health, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your age, gender, any medications you’re taking and the nature of your sexual problem.
Gail Wyatt, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and sex therapist. She is also a professor at UCLA and director of the university’s Sexual Health Program. Lewis Wyatt Jr., M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist in private practice in Beverly Hills, Calif. He specializes in sexual health and bioidentical hormone treatment.