What’s That Sound? Approaching Urethral Play the Right Way

What’s That Sound? Approaching Urethral Play the Right Way

Sounding is a pleasurable form of urethral play worth trying. Find out how to stay safe while you play.
Hot Octopuss: A deep dive into the company that brought you the first GUYbrator Reading What’s That Sound? Approaching Urethral Play the Right Way 6 minutes Next Celebrate Singles’ Day!

“Sounding” is the act of inserting items into the urethra for pleasure (and maybe a little pain, if that’s your thing). 

The term itself is a medical one, used by practitioners to describe the objects used to probe and dilate various tubes inside the body. The practice of urethral sounding, particularly, is used by physicians to remove blockages from the urethra.

The genitals are rife with nerve endings, so urethral play offers an alternative to more traditional types of sensation. Due to the urethra’s proximity to the most sensitive parts of the genitals, sounding can stimulate the clitoris, the head of the penis, and even the g-spot or prostate in a totally novel way.

Done correctly, sounding should be a pleasurable but not a painful process. However, a wrong move or less-than-hygienic conditions can cause sounding to result in very unpleasant results. Here are steps to ensure you do it safely and enjoyably.

Select Your Tool

  • Penis plugs are perfect for beginners—small and short, like an anal plug, with a flared base, bar, or ring will prevent you from inserting the toy too far and losing it. Often made of stainless steel (intense) or silicone (soft and flexible, better for beginners), textures and patterns on the surface of the toy will provide varied sensations. Some plugs may vibrate or even incorporate electrostimulation. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with sounding, hollow penis plugs for advanced users allow urine and semen to pass through so the user can wear one for longer durations.
  • Urethral Sounds are long rods intended for full insertion. They’re most commonly made of stainless steel, but body-safe medical-grade silicone sounds are becoming more common. There are several different types of urethral sounds that gradually increase in intensity and difficulty.
  • Dittel sounds are a step up from a penis plug, generally a short, double-sided rod with a flat end and a round end.
  • Double-ended hank sounds have small bumps to prevent the user from inserting too far.
  • Rosebud sounds are shorter that have a handle and a bulbous tip for extra stimulation. 
  • Pratt/Hegar sounds have a soft, S-shaped curve most comfortable for intermediate users. 
      • Van Buren sounds are optimal for the most advanced users. They’re extremely so they can probe the prostate.
      • Sperm stoppers are small rings that are worn around the head of the penis, stimulating the frenulum, while a short plug rests inside the tip of the urethra. 


    Like most good things in life, urethral sounding does have some inherent risk. Inserting toys that haven’t been fully sanitized right before can introduce bacteria and germs into the delicate urinary tract, resulting in infection. 

    Purchasing toys specifically used for urethral is highly advisable. Inserting objects that aren’t manufactured for this specific intention is not recommended. Inserting household items could cause permanent damage to the tissue.

    You’d have to go out of your way to find urethral toys made of anything other than medical-grade silicone or stainless steel. Their non-porous surfaces won’t harbor bacteria and are able to be completely sanitized, unlike plastic or “jelly” toys. Urethral toys made of these materials should be discarded after each use.

    If you’re currently suffering from a UTI, bladder issue, any active sexually transmitted infection, or prostate conditions, avoid sounding. 

    You can sterilize your toy immediately before use by boiling in hot water for several minutes. It’s a good idea to also shower beforehand or cleanse your genitals with soap and water to wash away any sweat or body fluids that may be hanging around and have no business entering your urethra.

    Use Lube

    Yes, there’s that age-old advice again. Since this lubricant will be used internally rather than externally, select a body-safe lubricant that won’t irritate the sensitive tissues within the urethra. Sterile and long-lasting lubes will serve urethra play best since it’s difficult to re-apply. Most lubricants you’ll find at your nearest sex shop aren’t sterile, so seek a surgical lubricant from a medical supply store. It’s an extra step, but it’s worth it. You’ll want to generously apply the lube to both the toy itself and in and around the urethra. A lube shooter can ensure you make it inside—be sure to sterilize the applicator as well! Do not use a lubricant with a numbing agent; one must be fully aware of the sensations (since that is the point of urethra play) and be prepared to quickly respond to any warning signs like pain or discomfort.


    Start small. The reason sounds are often sold as a set is to help you gradually dilate the urethra to enhance sensation. It’s vital for your safety to start with smaller sounds and only increase the size when insertion is comfortable and pleasurable.

    Go slow. Your urethra has a natural curve, and it’s important to slowly guide the sound inside to follow that curve and resist poking or prodding that will cause pain and discomfort. Heavier toys, like those made of stainless steel, will naturally begin to glide on their own, so don’t use any more effort than is necessary.

    Use one hand to spread the head of the penis or the vulva to allow for easier insertion while the other hand gently inserts the toy. 

    Once It’s In

    For many, the act of insertion is the main source of pleasure. Various textures and patterns, like ripples, beads, or twists will add sensation to the gradual insertion and release. Very slow, careful manipulation can bring pleasure, or put a vibrating bullet to the tip of the toy to allow vibrations to carry throughout. Others may prefer to insert a hollow penis plug and masturbate. And more advanced users may simply insert and go about their day, washing dishes, writing articles about urethra play, and cooking dinner, all with a pleasurable little secret in their pants.


    Pull the toy out the same way you put it in—gradually and cautiously. Urinate as soon as possible to eliminate any lubricant or bacteria that may have entered (hopefully no germs hopped on, since you sterilized the toy first). Wash the toy with soap and water or toy cleaner, and boil to completely sterilize once again. Wash your genitals with mild soap and water. If you’re a beginner, you won’t want to sound every single day. Take long breaks to allow your body to relax and bounce back. Just as you gradually inserted, you can gradually increase use with patience.