What a Review of Sex-Injury Data Reveals

(Image via Shutterstock)

To mark the occasion of Valentine’s Day, Vice News and MedPage Today dug into all the horrific ways that lovemaking can potentially go wrong. Their cautionary tale stems from a review of about 450 sex injuries logged from 2009 to 2014 in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which is run by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission—meaning a consumer product was somehow involved in each of these injuries. (Injuries related to drugs like Viagra live in a separate FDA database.) 

Six takeaways:

  1. February may be the month of love, but it ranks third in terms of reported sex injuries. The most dangerous month: July, followed by April. March is the tamest, relatively speaking.
  2. Sex injuries made up less than .02% of the 2.3 million injuries filed during the six-year span, though it’s believed that “most” sex injuries go unreported.
  3. Among the less expected objects that became lodged in an orifice: pencil, pool ball, toilet plunger handle. Other product categories that made a showing as causing the injury: “lawn mower, not specified,” go-carts, and coins.
  4. The most commonly injured areas are the pubic area and lower trunk, but there are certainly exceptions; one dental injury occurred when a 19-year-old’s sex swing broke loose from the ceiling. The database includes entries for parts like “arm, lower (not including elbow or wrist).”
  5. “Foreign body,” was the most common diagnosis, but burns, conjunctivitis, nerve damage, and poisoning also made the list.
  6. “None of the injuries were fatal.”

Meanwhile, a new analysis by Flowing Data uses NEISS data to review the 17,968 ER visits for foreign bodies stuck in a rectum over the same six-year period. About three-quarters of patients were men, with 41% of the visits involving sex toys. That article is here; If you want to read the sex-injury-specific article, MedPage Today’s version lacks the NSFW photo. Or read about the “most dangerous” sex position.

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