Dear Kiki: Can a well-endowed man pass out from getting an erection?

Questions about love and sex in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area can be sent to (queries can also be sent anonymously using this form). Questions may be edited for clarity and length, and may appear either in print or online.

Dear Kiki

Dear Kiki,

My husband and I were discussing dick size the other night. I asked if he’d ever measured his size. He said, “Probably; who wouldn’t? All I know, though, is at least it’s not so big I pass out.” “What?” I exclaimed. “Yep, some dudes dicks are so big the blood rush makes them pass out.” I am convinced this is an urban myth. Thought you would be more fun to ask than Google!

Love, Cock Curious

Dear Curious,

Well, I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this before if it is, in fact, possible. So, I asked Google, but only after I did some very unscientific speculation because that is what makes me fun!

My experience with my own blood pressure makes me think it can happen. Although I do not have a penis, I have had blood rush to and from areas of my body causing me to pass out or get incredibly dizzy. Let me share with you a personal story. After having my second baby, I started noticing that my heart would palpitate while having a bowel movement. I’d feel dizzy and think I was dying. Thankfully, I see my doctor regularly, and I feel comfortable sharing anything with her even when I’m being a complete hypochondriac, which I figured was the case. However, she assured me it could sometimes happen for multiple reasons. One reason is anxiety (with which I am of course diagnosed, so there’s that) and another is that when pooping, there are changes in blood flow, which can cause changes in heart rate. Whew. I probably wasn’t going to pull an Elvis on the toilet anytime soon.

I imagine when a man is getting aroused and his heart is beating fast, his breathing quick and anxious, that blood engorgement during an erection could be quite a rush. According to the Sex M.D., “You almost never find a penis so large that a man would pass out when erect. That would require about a liter of blood to be displaced by his erection alone, and his body would already have accommodated over time by maintaining a larger than average blood volume.” I would assume that strict mathematical equation works on a perfect control subject, but add in potential dehydration, anxiety, low blood sugar or a medical condition such as a bent or curved penis, and yep, if you have to support a large boner, it might take a toll every now and again.

Now, if this is happening all the time, whether you have a penis or not, please see a physician. My speculations are just for fun.

–xoxo, Kiki

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 228.

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