There’s nothing queerer than fucking a hole you’ve been told you’re not supposed to fuck.
Usually, when we think of transgressive penetration — going in through the out door — we think of anal. Taking advantage of that concentration of sensitive nerve endings, the glands that swell under pressure, and of course the thrill of the forbidden. If you’re already indoctrinated into the cult of butt stuff, have I got some good news for you: there’s another out door you get enter with mind-blowing results: the urethra!
Sounding is the practice of inserting a dilating rod into the urethra. When performed for medical purposes of urological surgery, the goal of sounding is usually the removal of an obstruction in the urethra or bladder. As we know from our experiences with the rectum, penetrating the body’s waste management tubes can be an intensely erotic way to play with power and pleasure.
The precision, the delicacy, the exchange of control, the wonders of what an aroused body can do.
Sounding has so much erotic appeal, especially for those of us who are into medical fetish play, or MedFet. The re-appropriation of tools designed to be pragmatic for hedonistic purposes. The precision, the delicacy, the exchange of control, the wonders of what an aroused body can do. Penetrating holes that the heteronormative imagination forbids, whether it’s fucking a cock’s piss hole or entering the urethra instead of the vagina through the vulva.
With sounding kits on the market for the explicit purpose of pleasure and power play, it’s clear that many people are discovering the wonders of urethral penetration. So I decided to put out a call on social media to see who might be interested in discussing this fetish practice. I was delighted by the lusty and twisted responses!
Bettie Bondage is a sadist who has been practicing consensual BDSM for 10+ years. She likes to be addressed as Ma’am and her pronouns are she/her.
Anonymous 1: “Near 40, cis bi male, long time private kink explorer”
Anonymous 2: “White male 66. Retired from kink play after about 25 years. Was into mostly edge and creative play but corporal is my favorite.”
When did you first encounter the concept of sounding?
Anonymous 1: Early on, in my teens, I found it online and found non-dangerous alternatives to insert into myself. This created some unique pain that blended memorably with gentle pleasure.
The descriptions were lurid and gruesome, but the idea of the activity and the desires that inspire it absolutely fascinated me...
Mistress Odette Engle: I think I was first aware of sounding by reading about sounding mishaps in the “Darwin Award” books recounting horrific accidents. The descriptions were lurid and gruesome, but the idea of the activity and the desires that inspire it absolutely fascinated me at a young age. I sounded someone for the first time at the commercial dungeon where I first began working in NYC, a sketchy little hole that is thankfully defunct. I was given no introduction or training (as per usual in these establishments) and was just kind of tossed into a room with a sub and a set of sounds. I found it extremely intimidating, more so than any other kink activity that I’d encountered.
Goddess Nyx: The first time I heard about sounding was the first day I experienced it for the first time. It was at a play party at the dungeon I used to work at, and I was able to have a lot of hands-on experience as I learned the ins and outs (wink).
Mistress Shayla Lange: When I was 12, I was reading an interview where Marilyn Manson said he would “rather stick sparklers in his urethra” than do whatever it was the interviewer had listed. I didn’t know what a urethra was at the time, but it didn’t sound pleasant. Twenty years later, I HAVE stuck sparklers in a urethra, and it was quite pleasant for all parties involved.
Mistrix Sunmi: My first encounter with sounding was in the dungeon with my domme mentor! Did it for the first time that same day back in my domme training days.
I couldn’t believe that anyone would volunteer for that, but the submissive I got to practice on was an avid sound enthusiast...
Troy Orleans: I first learned about sounding when I was doing my domme training. I couldn’t believe that anyone would volunteer for that, but the submissive I got to practice on was an avid sound enthusiast: he was always looking for things to stick in his urethra!
Bettie Bondage: I was working in a commercial dungeon at the time. I was a professional switch and still learning about my likes and curiosities. It was maybe halfway through my first year, l was working an event, and a client there was into sounding. I was so intrigued and wanted to try it. There was an older, more experienced Domme there who was happy to show me, and he was more than willing to be the practice dummy.
Anonymous 2: I first experienced it from Mistress Marina Montague of the old Nutcracker Suite in NYC. I dearly miss that lovely lady. I went out and bought my own sounds after that. The standard ones are relatively straight, but I also bought the radically curved ones. The urethra was irritated after the first try, but since then, no problem. I regularly did it to myself. The Nutcracker had weekly open parties back then, and I’d do sounds and play piercing of the genitals with an open door for visitors to see.
It’s now on the top of my kinks list and something I have really only ever enjoyed thoroughly.
What’s your relationship to sounding now?
Goddess Nyx: It’s now on the top of my kinks list and something I have really only ever enjoyed thoroughly. I really love convincing people to try it because I honestly think it’s way less scary than people imagine.
Anonymous 1: I have my own set and occasionally sound myself. I prefer to be a Guinea pig for eager newbies who want to learn safe techniques and ideas. Or, I offer myself to those with reasonable experience.
Mistress Odette: My relationship to sounding now is a beloved part of My medfet practice. It’s something I am known for, that I teach, and that feels very natural to Me. I’ve been down thousands of urethras. I see it as a form of fear bondage and a shared state of total focus for both Domme and sub. Sounding should absolutely never be painful, but it contains the threat of pain if the body of the sub moves or the concentration of the Domme is lost. The Domme and sub work in tandem to maintain the safety of the extremely delicate procedure. I love how the body of the sub experiences total paralysis when the rod is inserted, focus is complete and unbroken. I don’t love passivity in My subs; I love tension and terror but mirrored by My extremely focused attention and subtle manipulation of the unforgiving rod.
It’s part of a sensory overwhelm or just to mess with someone’s head — it’s a wild thing to watch happen to you!
Troy Orleans: When I do it now, it’s part of a sensory overwhelm or just to mess with someone’s head — it’s a wild thing to watch happen to you!
What was your experience when you first tried it?
Bettie Bondage: It was the funniest fucking thing ever! All I could think was this penis is basically sucking a metal cock and loving every cold hard inch of it!
Goddess Nyx: I feel like the luckiest little freak sometimes. At the aforementioned play party, our sounding bottom was very experienced and incredibly stretched out, with a hole able to accommodate my entire pinky finger to the knuckle. I was mesmerized, I was overjoyed, I was totally hooked. While that guy still remains my most fun sounding experience and his urethra will probably always be my favorite, I still enjoy any and all opportunities I have to slip inside a cockhole, no matter how stretched.
I’ve also learned that different types of sounds require different techniques! It’s important to do your homework before purchasing or dabbling.
Anonymous 1: When I first tried it, I was dabbling in pain and pleasure, so it was definitely the perfect mix. I’ve learned more about safety, proper practices, and how to push limits without risking health/long-term damage. I’ve also learned that different types of sounds require different techniques! It’s important to do your homework before purchasing or dabbling. Dittel are my fave as they are long enough to not risk getting lost and straight so getting hard around them is possible. Curved sounds require a soft phallus and are fun for gentle external prostate stim but less versatile.
Mistress Shayla: I thought there would be more…forcing. I was surprised at how hungry the urethra can be, just sucking up sounds and sex toys. I was also surprised that most bottoms don’t see it as torture so much as another hole to be penetrated.
Mistrix Sunmi: We did a super fun med fet scene where my mentor was the doctor, and I was the intern. We played up the fact that I had never done it before & used a lot of his own fear against him. It was exhilarating. I really loved how clean and structured the sounding prep process was, and actually doing it for the first time was wild. It was sooo sexy to fuck my male client’s cock because I’m a big big fan of all things putting myself into holes. I love to peg, throat fuck, fisting; I love it all. When I learned sounding, it felt like discovering a new hole I could use, and the way the cock hole literally looks like two labias, it’s really hot to me. It’s like forced femme heaven psychologically.
Troy Orleans: It was so thrilling! What I enjoy about sounding is the combination of the utter foreignness of the act plus the assumed taboo of it because we’re taught that penises are so fragile and that this is an actual medical procedure I have in my skill set.
It feels like a reverse orgasm. No way else to describe it.
Anonymous 2: It feels like a reverse orgasm. No way else to describe it.
What are your key dos and don’ts/tips and tricks of sounding?
Goddess Nyx: Do: Go SLOW! Use LOTS of lube (sterile surgical lube is the best option) and use *clean* tools that are designed for the job! Don’t: Overdo it in a single session, don’t panic if there is a little blood, and be wary of how slippery everything becomes when it’s all lubricated!
Anonymous 1: Sanitize EVERYTHING, the sounds, what you’re resting them on, your hands (or change gloves frequently), and sterile medical lube is preferable. The lube should be thick water-based gel that actually coats. Be liberal when applying to the sound itself and put a dollop on the urethral entry to pass through as you’re beginning with each size. Don’t force it in and out; with everything done properly, it should descend naturally using its own weight. When this stops happening, reapply lube. The same goes for dilating, one should never have to force in a bigger size as this could lead to tearing.
You need good quality surgical steel sounds. You need steady hands.
Odette Engle: You need good quality surgical steel sounds. You need steady hands. If you have a tremor, sounding isn’t an activity you can safely engage in. Your sounds need to be as close to sterile as possible, either fresh from an autoclave or boiled. Wash your hands thoroughly from nails to elbow. You should always wear clean, fresh gloves when sounding, and your space should be clean. Sounding is a clean procedure, not aseptic, but I prefer to use as many elements from the aseptic procedure as I can.
Lay out all your materials on a clean disposable drape. You will need 1-2 large iodine swabs, two alcohol wipes, two iodine wipes, a packet of surgical lubricant. Begin by swabbing the urethral opening with an iodine swab (or octinosept if you have a sensitivity) in a circular motion from the inside out. Even if My sounds are sterile, I still begin by wiping them down, from the tip to the end, with a single-use alcohol wipe. I rub hard, using friction both to clean and examine the tactile surface for burs or impurities in the metal. Repeat. Then I swab again with a single-use iodine wipe from the tip to the end. You can also place your sound in a basin of iodine until use, but most importantly, the iodine (or octinosept) stays ON.
The lube you use should be a SINGLE use surgical lubricant packet. If you buy a tube of surgilube be aware that it will only be sterile the first time it’s open; after that it is not ok to use for sounding. Rip open the packet a squeeze out a “bubble” of lube. Pass 3 inches of the tip of the sound through the bubble, avoiding contact with the packet. You can drop the remainder of the bubble on the urethral opening.
The urethra is self-cleaning but fragile. It cannot withstand friction or puncture.
The urethra is self-cleaning but fragile. It cannot withstand friction or puncture. Oftentimes, the smallest sound in a kit is dangerously thin and sharp. Use two or three sizes up, and be prepared to abandon a sound and start over if there is any discomfort.
For a penis: hold the sound vertically above the opening with your dominant hand, and grip the shaft gently with your non-dominant hand. Place the sound at the opening and tease the urethral sphincter until it opens naturally, do not push. Never push or force a sound, the sound should want to slip inside, and you should be gliding and supporting it. Sounds have a tendency to “drop” if you lose your grip, which can be dangerous. Hold the sound like a pencil from the side, allowing it to move but not losing your grip.
For a vagina, spread the outer labia and locate the urethral opening. The vaginal urethra is generally very short, and the sphincter of the bladder is very close to the urethral opening. Any penetration of the bladder is considered a high-risk, aseptic procedure requiring advanced sterility practice. Vaginal sounding is very, very shallow, please err on the side of caution, only inserting the sound a tiny bit. The clitoral tissue surrounds the urethral opening, and sounding can be intensely pleasurable.
TALK to your sub and ask them if it feels ok, if it burns, or if it feels like the angle is wrong.
TALK to your sub and ask them if it feels ok, if it burns, or if it feels like the angle is wrong. Sounding is not a time for gags or silence, it is a collaboration between Domme and sub seeking weird pleasure, not pain.
These guidelines are extensive and unforgiving. Sounding is complex and should be approached as a high-level BDSM practice.
Mistress Shayla: Do: LUBE LUBE LUBE. If you think you have enough, add more. Do: try different shapes/materials; while a hegar sound might be uncomfortable or too much, a ribbed silicone one might hit all the right spots. Don’t: lose your sound. A urethra sometimes surprises you with how much it wants to eat toys – they sell ones with wider bases, so you don’t “drop” it inside the body. But if you do lose it, squatting and sneezing can get it out, or you can try to gently press it out by putting a few fingers into the anus and wiggling it out from there.
Mistrix Sunmi: Take cleaning, sterilization, and prep very seriously. Fully explain the medical risks to the bottom (infection, may hurt to pee after, UTI, so forth). When you’re gliding the sound into the body, hold the phallus as flat & straight as you can in your left hand, and guide the sound as straight as possible to avoid hitting the sides. Go slow! Also, the deeper you put the sound, the more sterile the procedure has to be. But for people, the stretching wide feels best, so you don’t actually have to go deep.
This is not the time to buy sound sets from a kinky metalsmith on Etsy.
Troy Orleans: Go slow! Use sterile surgical lube! Never force the sound into the shaft. While sounding is definitely RACK play, you can mitigate the risk by only using instruments that are expressly designed for that purpose, ideally by medical professionals. This is not the time to buy sound sets from a kinky metalsmith on Etsy.
Sounding felt like a new way to feel the steel as an extension of my own body to fuck my bottoms.
What fascinates you about the gender implications of sounding?
Mistrix Sunmi: As a lesbian/queer and non-binary person, I’ve always felt deeply connected to fucking other people’s holes w/ my strap-on, my hands, and humping for my own sexual pleasure. Sounding felt like a new way to feel the steel as an extension of my own body to fuck my bottoms. It’s similar to scalpel or needles where it’s erotic to put new holes into someone or put new use to the ones they already have.
Goddess Nyx: I think there is something very cool and interesting about inserting something into a hole we would socially claim is not for penetration. From the top and bottom perspective, it is just always fun to subvert the expected and do something “weird”.
I do find that most cis men I meet are wary of sounding because they are very protective of their dicks and are generally resistant to trying anything that might hurt or upset their very precious package. Funny thing is, the vast majority of sounding bottoms I’ve met wouldn’t consider sounding to be torturous at all. But there are many cis men who are very unwilling to hear that perspective and spend the entirety of our conversation clutching dearly at their jeans and wincing.
I don't know if I really feel the "penetrating the phallus" type of glee, but more of an "alien probe euphoria".
Odette Engle: I just love fucking holes! For Me, I enjoy sounding because of the self-discipline that must be shared between the Top and bottom to keep it safe and pleasurable. I don’t know if I really feel the “penetrating the phallus” type of glee, but more of an “alien probe euphoria”.
Mistress Shayla Lange: Everybody’s got urethras; the only gender implication is that AFAB folks get more UTIs as a result of this type of play, so thanks patriarchy, for that one.
Troy Orleans: It’s an explicit power exchange: the act of being a woman penetrating a man’s genitals in this super intimate, unique, and very finessed way … just feels right. Like the yin to the yang of penis/vagina penetration. Whenever I’d try to convince a newbie to let me sound them, I’d sell it as a way for me to penetrate them and the power exchange inherent in that. I’d then point out what a visual it is to watch this stainless steel rod go in and the intense mix of sensations when it comes out. “It’ll be like you’re the T-1000 Terminator having an orgasm!”
Can you describe the sensation of performing sounding on another person and/or being a sounding bottom?
Goddess Nyx: For me, as a top, there is really nothing quite like it. With one hand, I experience a similar sensation to using a dildo on someone, though usually slower, softer, and more controlled. The other hand, though wrapped tightly around their cock, is able to feel the metal rod as it slides into them, feel it slipping past my hand, filling them up, making it more rigid in a way that is so different from the rigidity of an erection. It is wholly unique and, for me, very erotic. I love feeling it through their skin, especially when I use larger sounds. Don’t even get me started on the sensation of my finger knuckle deep inside of someone’s urethra; that is even more unique, even more erotic, even more, impossible to describe. While I have never experienced this from the other side, I will tell you my favorite hole’s favorite quote to describe the sensation he feels: “It feels like I’m being fucked from the inside.”
Anonymous 1: It falls into a pretty extreme category for most. So there’s a taboo limit pushing factor that is alluring. Edging myself with a surprisingly large steel rod inside me is gorgeously intense. As a bottom, a painful tingle so long as the depth is controlled properly. If lubed properly, I often wonder if I could cum only from internal urethral stim but have yet to accomplish this. Stroking myself around the sound is incredible as I can get fully hard and edge around the sound. I love playing edging games like this. It is much, much safer to remove the sound immediately before ejaculating but more delightfully painful to cum with it in place. Either way, the pain and pleasure mix is hard to beat.
I love that it feels like no other form of sexual penetration; it feels taboo and disconcerting. It feels like the wrong thing to do to genitalia.
Odette Engle: Sounding as a Top feels meditative. I love the amount of careful preparation and medical ceremony involved. I love that it feels like no other form of sexual penetration; it feels taboo and disconcerting. It feels like the wrong thing to do to genitalia. I love to see the sub’s face seized in a fear that slowly enmeshes with pleasure, but the fear always remains. It isn’t relaxing, it’s tense and active and difficult and very dangerous.
Mistress Shayla Lange: My clients have described it as “peeing and cumming at the same time,” a feeling of intense need but also intensely physical and sexual relief. The thing I love about medplay is the complete and utter violation of the human body, as well as going against Mother Nature in every way. We enter holes that are marked as exit only, we take things outside of the body that belongs inside. We make new holes where there were none before. It’s hugely invasive, and on some base level, I feel like I’m playing god when I take that sort of control over a bottom’s body.
Mistrix Sunmi: The sensation for the sound-er is that visually it’s absolutely stunning and arousing. There is shared energy in the air of “omg, here it comes, this is crazy” lol. I’m always stunned by how far the hole can actually stretch, it’s so sexy. Sensation-wise, it glides in much easier than I would have thought before actually doing it.
This person trusts you so much they wanted you to penetrate them in such an invasive way and be vulnerable.
Bettie Bondage: It feels like power and trust. It’s a thrill. This person trusts you so much they wanted you to penetrate them in such an invasive way and be vulnerable. That energy exchange is wonderful.
Can you see a future where sounding becomes more mainstream?
Goddess Nyx: I think it’s possible. I mean, we saw the rise of “pegging” for a variety of reasons, but many of them are linked to the fact that anal bottoming for someone with a prostate feels fucking GOOD and is really hot and fun. And while sounding, much like anal, might not be for everyone, those who enjoy it seem to think it feels pretty fucking GOOD. So it’s not an impossibility in my mind that it could become more mainstream than it is now. But, sounding does require a bit more prep work, specific tools, and clean-up, and also comes with a different set of risks and potential complications. So that could be a big hurdle or could lead to some injuries if it did become more popular. I hope it does become more popular. I would love to be able to teach more people/couples all about it.
Anonymous 1: Mainstream no, more acceptable? Possibly! Probably, hard to imagine it being on the same trajectory as pegging, but you never know!!!
Odette Engle: I’m not sure, and I don’t know if I want that. I want people to stay afraid of it. I want people to learn it from people with experience and understand that it is a risky procedure. It’s also too fucking weird to go mainstream: it’s a rod in your pee hole; it should make most people queasy.
I just REALLY hope Cosmo never suggests “sticking a finger in” that could be fairly catastrophic.
Mistress Shayla: I mean, we have cishet dudes on TikTok begging for a pegging over the last few years, so yeah, definitely see a future where this is a little more mainstream. I just REALLY hope Cosmo never suggests “sticking a finger in” that could be fairly catastrophic.
Mistrix Sunmi: It’s a bit more advanced (mostly in terms of the cleaning/prep process and cost) for most “BDSM bedroom sex” people are having. Will I think it will be *as* mainstream as spanking or handcuffs? Probably not. But as they say, “surgery is the new sex”- so hey maybe it will! I love picturing an even more perverted future. It’s also a new avenue for people to access pleasure, so it’d be beautiful to see more people doing it.
Bettie Bondage: One can only hope and dream, right?