Over on the Looker 02 review, someone asked if I could address the risk of contracting a urinary track infection from the device. Of course, I cannot. I’ve only just started wearing it, after all, and most of my medical knowledge comes from watching St. Elsewhere when I was a kid (it was on after The Cosby Show and Family Ties – maybe the best night on TV ever…but I digress).
This UTI thing follows conversations about devices like the Looker 02 all around the internet. I guess that’s to be expected and I admit leaving something up your dick for a while must statistically increase your risk of getting an infection to some degree. But, since all we have is anecdotal information in the first place, I have to say the only people I’ve read talking about this eventuality are those who haven’t worn the device. Those who have (including a commenter here on my blog who wore a similar Steelworxx device for two months solid) haven’t, as far as I saw when looking into it, reported problems. All I do know is I urinate about eight times a day, presumably flushing the tube of contaminates each time. Some even leaks around the tube which seems to help keep it lubricated and probably cleans it a bit. But in the end, I just don’t know.
What we’re really talking about here is a risk/reward calculation.
If you downhill ski, you’re running a risk of ending up like Sonny Bono. If you swim in the ocean, you’re running the risk of ending up like Chrissie (or of just drowning). If you ride a motorcycle, you run the risk of becoming an organ donor. In our society, we indulge in risky behavior all the time and, while the behavior may or may not be acknowledged to be risky, it’s generally accepted as OK (and even cool in the case of the motorcycles). It’s only when we get to sex that the giant RISKY hammer comes down hard. Yes, you can contract all kinds of diseases from sex (some easily dealt with, some chronic or deadly without treatment) and you can create new life and all the super unsexy responsibilities that come with it, but you can also experience intense pleasure from sex. Sexual contact is one of the great gifts of humanity. Diversity of sexual expresion is one of the things that defines us as human beings (and the freedom to express our sexuality is one of the things that defines a great society).
I’m not saying everyone should feel free to have unprotected sex of all kinds with whoever they want all the time. I’m saying there’s a risk/reward scenario at work in every sexual situation. Should you let that guy you just met fuck you bareback on the first date? No, that’s stupid. You could get HIV or pregnant or something (depending on your gender combinations – I’m trying not to presume). Should you give him a blowjob? Well, you could get a desease that way, but the chances are low. Would you rather give him a blowjob through a condom? Ew. You decide. Should you have sex on a picnic table? You could get arrested, you know. Should you let that top put a ball gag in your mouth? You could choke on your own vomit and die. Etc, etc. Similarly, should you practice long-term orgasm denial? I, for example, haven’t come since July and won’t until January (hopefully). Some research says that might be bad for my health, but other research says it’s nothing to worry about. Personally, I’ve decided to risk the consequences for the reward.
Same goes for the Looker 02. I might end up with a UTI or I might not. If I do, it’s an easy thing to get rid of (though it sounds like a bummer of a thing to have). I’m OK with that.
To me, the excessive bias against “risky” sexual behavior in our culture has more to do with a built-in prejudice against anything that’s not male-female monogamous/married missionary-style sex than an actual evaluation of any given activity’s chances of doing you harm. Each degree of movement away from that basic starting point ratchets up the risk sirens and we’re taught that risk in sex IS NOT WORTH IT. Do nothing risky! Play it safe! It’s not worth the consequences!
Well, I say it is. Sometimes. Sex is worth the risks.
Note that this post is not directed at the commenter who asked the original question. I didn’t perceive any kind of judgemental bullshit from them. Their comment was just the catalyst that eventually led me to write this.
10 thoughts on “Risk”
I have played with sounds and catheters for years and only had a UTI once. Since you are not entering the bladder and the tube is only in you a few inches and I assume you are healthy I would guess the odds of contracting a UTI as very slim! Also there should be no restriction to the flow of urine so healthy urine should flush everything each time. I would think that you would be more apt to develop an irritation spot or dryness over time than anything else. I’m not a doctor or anything, just from my own personal experience and lots of reading!
Hi Thumper: I’m a fairly new follower of your blog and i must say i really enjoy it. your articles are well written and very informative. I wish i had the nerve to try a chastity device like your newest. I use the CB6000s and I find it suits my purpose for chastity albeit short term 1-2 weeks. I wish i could adapt to your style of abstainence but i would never make it. look forward to hearing more from you. Bondagebuddy.
There’s not much difference, except for the length, between the LO2 and having a curved barbell in a PA piercing, probably. I’ve been wearing a titanium barbell (only titanium will do) virtually continuously for a year, with no UTI.
I think you and Belle have a healthy attitude Thumper. In any discussion of risk it’s important to remember the reward is also a part of the equation.
Urethral play is something I enjoy on occasions. I’ve never had a UTI. But I also don’t do stupid shit like use saliva as lube (precum works fine for me). On the other hand my partner got a urinary tract infection just from fucking me without a condom (we’re both tested, have been with each other for years and don’t fuck others).
I’ve copied my reaction from your review to here, which seems more appropriate. Can you just ignore the other entry ? Thanks and sorry =)
I’ve read quite a few scary things about UTI due to urethral plugs all over the web on various forums, so here are my thoughts and conclusions about it :
First, I agree with Thumper when he says that there’s no zero risk. Hell, you even risk UTI without ever wearing a plug. I also agree with him when he says that the device doesn’t go all the way to the bladder, and stops somewhere near the root of the visible penis instead, which greatly reduces the risk too. I personally would NEVER play with something up my urethra that goes all the way to the bladder. The length of the Locker02 tube Thumper is using seems pretty decent to me without invading the body too much. I think nothing non-medical should ever get near the place where the semen tube joins the urethra, and even less up the bladder of course.
I’ve also seen some devices with a mix of plastic tube and metal cap at the end. That’s something I wouldn’t use either. Disregarding the risk of using non-surgical grade plastic, imagine that for some reason the metal end gets lose inside your body… yeah, I let you imagination work on that.
To me, the risk comes from 2 main points :
1) Insertion of the device.
Obviously, that’s the moment when the device goes into your urethra, along with everything that covers it… including the nasties.
I think two precautions here can greatly reduce the risk again :
– Keep the item clean. After removal, clean it throughly, and maybe put it a few minutes in boiling water. Also, keep it in a clean box, not just on some dusty shelf.
– Before insertion, use cold liquid antiseptic cleaner to coat the plug and also the cap which will be in contact with the penis head. I’m using “Swiss Navy”, but there are other reliable brands.
2) When the device is inside the uretha.
There are two liquids that will be in contact with the plug.
Urine is antiseptic, that’s actually a good thing. It will keep both the inside and the outside of the plug clean, like it does normally for the inside of the urethra. Drinking normally and regularly going to the toilets will do just fine.
BUT urine is usually not in contact with metal, and it may crystallize on the inside but also the outside of the tube, making the surface rough, which may cause lesions during insertion or removal. For this, cleaning the device with soap and water as soon as removed, shrubbing it to remove any residue, is a good idea, before you boil it.
Pre-cum fluid WILL happen. The tube is inserted in your penis, which is highly sensitive, and some semen will be produced and pass the tube. Semen can dry inside, turning it into a nasties nest. This said, as it does for the urethra, the urine flowing through should clean that up before the semen can dry, just like it does for the urethra, so I’m not too worried about that personally, yet since the tube is open unlike the urethra which retracts, the chance of stuff drying in the tube is still higher. This also means you have to clean both the outside but also the inside of the tube. Boiling the device should remove some of the residue, but using something to scrub the inside would be ideal. I’m using pressurized air after washing it and before boiling it to push out anything that would have stayed inside.
Well, point 1 seems to bring to the conclusion that removing and reinserting the device too often is more dangerous, while point 2 says quite the opposite, and that the device needs regular maintenance to stay as safe as possible.
I personally think that the period between two insertions should not be less than a week. If you remove and insert it every day or two days, you greatly increase the risk of getting nasties in your body. But it should also not be much longer, since then you take the risk of having crystals forming on the tube, and you may have difficulties removing the device, eventually harming yourself. The crystal thing depends on the composition of your urine, so experiences may vary as usual.
I think a wearing period of one week between two cleanings, or one week between two insertions (if you only wear it two days and can’t hold it any longer, wait next week before inserting it again), is a reasonable value to limit risk to a minimum. For more long term wearing, I definitely wouldn’t exceed two weeks, but for me that’s already too much.
I’m eager to read your reactions and own thoughts about this.
I said urine is antiseptic. That’s true UNLESS you already have UTI, or bladder infection, or worse. But then the plug isn’t really your problem I guess =P