Ross Asdourian broke his penis. Badly. In fact, it was one of the worst penis-breaks on medical record. The break happened the way you might expect (during sex) and the pain felt as though you might also expect (excruciating). Asdourian was pretty tight-lipped about the whole ordeal for a while. He didn’t say anything to friends or extended family, save for his mom, who knew and helped with the recovery.
But at some point, Asdourian, a comedian and author, realized the service (what does it feel like to break your penis?) and humor of his story and thought that his ordeal and the way he decided to process it (with a wink) might help some guys who are going through some similar stuff. So, he wrote a book about it. Called Broken Bananah, it’s, as the description states, an honest journey through severe genital trauma. It’s also quite funny.
We spoke to Asdourian about what it was like to break his penis, the recovery process, and why he thinks his story is worth sharing.
Let’s just go right to the question of the hour: how did you break your penis?
I was having sex and we were getting close to the end. I came out, just a little bit, and went back in, not knowing that I was out, and didn’t hit the target. In that moment, there was a pop. We obviously weren’t having some Usher slow jams, but it was a freak accident, a combination of other factors — a lack of elasticity, to put it lightly.
What did it feel like?
The pain was like, a shockwave of needles through my body. As anyone who has ever been in any sort of instant pain, it’s a paralyzing feeling. But also, your adrenaline kicks in to go into survival mode.
And you went to the hospital right away.
A lot of people who have a fracture or a tear, they’re embarrassed, so they don’t go. If you wait a week, your body starts healing improperly. I do not have time for that shit. The reason I have a job is because I have insurance so that when things happen to me, I can go to the doctor.
So yeah, I went immediately. When the doctor opened me up, he immediately knew that there was a lot worse damage than they had anticipated. He called one of a handful of urethra reconstruction specialists in the country, that happened to be down the street. Only in New York would that happen.
He cancelled all of his appointments, came in, and did the second half of the surgery on me. Because of those things: because I went in immediately, because I was lucky enough to have the appropriate surgeons nearby, I made as good of a recovery as you’re going to make.
What was the most painful part?
There was the break, and then the hospital and there’s walking around with a catheter, then there’s getting the catheter out, getting it back in, and then taking it out again. All of that presented a unique set of pain points. I mean, getting an erection with a catheter, was extremely painful. A good end to a bad thing. Because at that point I didn’t even know if I was going to get erections. So, getting one, and being upset, was kind of a contradictory situation.
The biggest pain point that I remember was actually getting the catheter back in. Because a lot of the other stuff, almost felt muddled in my memory. There were so many other synapses firing off in my brain, whereas towards the end of this, when I was getting the catheter back in after realizing I hadn’t healed, I was fully conscious. I had no pain medicine. There was nothing else to distract me.
How long was your recovery process? From hospital to I am now ready to engage in sex again?
I had a catheter in for a month. After I had the catheter out, I couldn’t masturbate for another month. In reality, I had pretty severe discomfort for another year and a half, because the shape of my penis basically changed. The scar tissue would pull the shape of it down a little more — it can cause a huge change in the curvature to the point where your urethra is pulling one way, but your skin isn’t really allowing it. It’s just this really painful erection. And, so, that lasted for quite a while.
That must’ve been painful.
Eventually, it went away. It’s skin. It stretches. Even learning to pee again was quite funny. It was like turning a firehose when I was trying to pee.
How scared were you that you were permanently damaged?
The severity of my break literally happens once or twice a decade. It’s super rare. The reason that I was able to recover well, is that I went to the hospital immediately.
Like any injury, like if you tear your ACL, you’re never going to be 100 percent again. When you get back on the field, you’re going to think a little harder before you take a hard right turn. But all that being said, I wouldn’t be laughing about it if I hadn’t made a full recovery.
Breaking your penis I imagine is much worse than breaking an arm.
Yes and no. At the end of the day, when you lose something that you’re used to having overnight, it changes the way you see things. It changes the way you think. It changes the way that you keep your relationships.
It’s just a lot harder to talk about. If you break your arm, I can see you broke your arm, and be like, “Hey, let me help you carry that bag.” No one sees you with a broken penis and goes, “Hey man, let me empty your urine bag.” Well, maybe they do. But that didn’t happen to me.
You didn’t want to tell anyone about your injury at first. That makes sense. But what was your thinking?
Our sexuality as men isn’t something we talk about that much. In terms of overcoming something with your sexuality, straight men don’t really jump through too many hurdles. This forced a dialogue with me, not only to be open with the girl I had actually had sex with, but also the girl who I had been New York dating, and really liked.
The difference between breaking your penis and breaking your arm is that the conversation is different. It’s a lot more uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable with your friends, family, your job. I was in this place, where you say, do I just tell the absolute truth and ignore the consequences, or do I not tell the truth, and circumnavigate what I believe the consequences are? I would say that in this scenario, I did a combination of both.
What did that combination of truth look like?
My brother is, for sure, my rock. I was basically like, “Hey man, I’m in the emergency room right now, I think I broke my penis, I’m going into surgery in a couple of hours, I obviously want you to know and I’ll let you know when I come out on the other side.” With my roommate, I told him what happened and said, I’m probably going to need you to come and get me. That became a whole other story. That night, after I went to the hospital, he basically walked into the apartment, my door was open, there was blood all over my bed, and he was kind of drunk, goes to sleep, the girl I was with went back to the place, she wakes him up, and he immediately thought “She killed my roommate.”
My rule was, if you came and visited me, I would tell you the real story. If you didn’t, then you’d get the fake story. The fake story was that I was riding my bike in the city, and got impaled by a pole or a piece of wood on the street. There’s something about the world impale, and it’s like, this area, somewhere around your testicles. It was one of the first things I asked my doctor: so what’s my cover story? That’s what we ended up with.
How did people react?
The people who knew the truth were a lot more intrigued. There were a lot more follow up questions. And any of my friends in the medical field knew I was lying, almost immediately.
Up until doing the book, I was pretty reticent about it. But I just found that it made people laugh and people can laugh at our expense and that’s fun. We should laugh more. The story opens the door to both of those conversations, and it provides a forum to be more open about expectations, sex, how terrible or good we are. It allows that conversation to come up in a way that isn’t holier than thou, and also can be tangible, like, there I was, having sex.
So how did your mom react?
It is weird that we hide our sexuality from a person who’s vagina we came out of and whose breast we sucked. The dynamic of our relationship with our parents when we get older is difficult, because it’s always a Catch 22. You want them there, but you don’t want them there. We have a tough time grasping how much our parents put into raising us, and how much they sacrificed for us, to be the people we are.
My mother worked a bunch of jobs and was home for most of my childhood. It is in her nature, to, no matter what, come and take care of me. And who am I to deny that? And at the end of the day, our family is the ones who are going to be there when shit hits the fan. I can’t tell you how much of a wanted and unwanted scenario it is to have your mother be there when you’re getting your first erection at 28 years old. But it’s part of the comedy of it: part of grappling with, look, we’re going to get old at one point, and someone is going to have to help us put our pants on, wipe our ass. That dynamic, for me, was a challenging one but also an understanding one. We need help! It’s hard to ask for help. No matter what that is. That relationship with her, and even my brother and my friends. You enter this new echelon of humility. And like any injury, you realize how fragile you are. And in an instant, what you have can be taken away. And that’s universal for everything.
So when did it take you to be comfortable having sex again?
Well, it’s taken me 30 years to be comfortable having sex. But yeah, about a year and a half. The penis is similar to a muscle in that you kind of have to exercise it even if you’re not using it. But my doctor’s orders were 20 minutes a day, and I couldn’t masturbate, so I was basically watching porn for the plot.
Did you feel like your relationship with your penis is different?
Stronger, funnier, way less serious. Before, I think that I was much more reserved. My old penis was way better than my new penis, if that’s what you’re asking. It didn’t change incredibly, but my old penis curved up a little bit, and my new penis is pretty straight. My new penis doesn’t stay as hard as my old penis would. Again, is it the surgery? Is it the age? I don’t know. But you just adjust to it.
And what about your relationship with sex?
The combination of getting older, confronting penis issues, isn’t uncommon. People battle E.D. and all that stuff without what I went through. What I went through makes it easier for anyone who is going through something like that to say that it could be a lot worse.
So you appreciate your penis more now than you did before?
Oh my god. I don’t think you’ve met someone who has more appreciation for their penis. Every time I pee, I’m thankful. Life is weird, and it almost erases everything else I’ve done in my life, because now I’m that guy who broke his penis, and I’m okay with that!
Do you have any advice for the dudes out there who might be uncomfortable ask questions?
If you do hurt yourself, go to the doctor. Don’t wait.