What do you do if your husband’s penis is sloped downward?
Every Monday I like to post a reader question, and this one is a really sad one–and one that I hope every parent will read, because it’s important for our sons.
A woman writes:
I got married recently, and we were both virgins. But we’re both having a really difficult time because my husband’s penis is curved downward. I didn’t really realize anything was strange until I read your description of what an erection looks like in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. My husband’s erection doesn’t point up; it’s curved downward. The only position we can make love in is rear entry, and I feel like I’m missing out on the intimacy you talked about in the book. But anything else is really painful for both of us. Do you have any suggestions?
I talked to my husband about this question because he’s a pediatrician, and he gave me quite a bit of information.
What this woman’s husband has is actually relatively common.
If an erection is sloped downward it’s called chordee, a congenital (birth) defect that affects the development of the penis.
A chordee often associated with hypospadias, where the opening from the urethra (the hole that you pee out of) is on the underside of the penis, rather than the tip.
Hypospadias affects about 1 in 200 boys, and it can be corrected with plastic surgery which is usually performed early. Chordee can also be corrected, but it often isn’t noticed as much UNLESS it’s associated with hypospadias. So if you simply have a malformation of the penis without the corresponding urinary issues you may not see it. It is, however, very obvious when the boy gets an erection. Since baby boys and toddlers do get erections, hopefully a parent would notice.
The good news is that chordee (a sloped penis) can usually be repaired with surgery.
Chordee surgery, however, is best done before two years of age. It doesn’t mean it can’t be done later, but as you can imagine, it’s quite debilitating and painful.
So the message that I would have for this woman is that they have to go see a doctor, and ask for a referral to a urologist and figure out if his chordee can be fixed. It isn’t as rare as people think, and the urologist will likely have some very good information (It also isn’t the only condition we should look out for in our husbands).
(You can also have a chordee associated with trauma. Usually, though, the trauma would have been obvious and parents and doctors would have picked up on it. When it’s associated with trauma it’s harder to fix. )
But the message to parents is: please notice your little boy’s erections and watch for things like chordee. It is so much easier to fix when they are young.
I think many of us are so embarrassed of sex or anything sexual that we try to shy away from it, or become embarrassed by it. And as women raising sons, we may not realize that what an erection looks like when a baby is 6 months old or 18 months old is still important. Because we’re women, we don’t understand male anatomy ourselves. And we may not notice that when our son’s penises get hard but slope downward that this is a problem. It actually is an erection, but it’s going in the wrong direction.
And if dad doesn’t change diapers much he may never know, either.
My son only lived for a month, and so I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to change boys’ diapers. But I do remember that while getting used to changing Rebecca’s diapers was quite simple, because I knew where to wipe, getting used to changing a boy’s diaper was different. I wasn’t used to having to clean around those places. I’m a woman, and it’s just plain different. And so I can see how easy it might be to miss something like this.
So, please, if you fear something is odd, do mention it to your pediatrician. Or at least ask your husband about it. Now you all know it’s a real thing, so let’s be on the lookout.
I just feel for this couple so much because this must have been such a blow. I do hope the physicians can help them.
But for everyone else reading this, remember: if you fear that there’s something “off” with your little boy’s private parts, ask a doctor.
There’s so much they can do now, and it’s so much less traumatic and so much easier to fix if you catch your child’s chordee in infancy! I’m glad this woman reached out for help. I’m sorry, though, that it took a description of an erection in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex to signal to both of these people that something was wrong. It just shows me again how important it is for parents to not shy away from sex or to hide information. When we do that, we often ignore those parts of our kids’ bodies, too, and we may inadvertently miss something.
Have any experience with chordee? Or any other comments about how difficult it is to get used to boys’ anatomy when you’re a mom? Let’s talk in the comments!