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Sounds are medical instruments designed for insertion into the urethra, the tube connecting the bladder with the outside world. Basically, they are highly polished stainless steel rods with a handle and a rounded tip, and they come in sizes which are very close to each other (differing in diameter by less than half a millimeter). In a medical setting, their purpose is to gradually and gently enlarge the urethra. In  the BDSM medical fetish setting they can be a source of exceptional sexual stimulation and an instrument used in 'power exchange' or submission/domination experiences.

Incidentally, the name sound is used in the sense of 'to find the depth of' in the same way a lead weight on a line is used by mariners to sound the depth of the water.

We will only cover male sound play, here. Women's sounds are shorter, for the shorter urethra, differently shaped and have their own difficulties of insertion. Women are also even more prone to infection. Some of this information may be of relevance and interest to women, but the technical aspects are largely inapplicable. Obviously, sounds intended for use on women should not be used on men, and vice versa.

A word of caution: This kind of play is not something you should engage in with someone who is inexperienced or who does not understand all the necessary precautions. Carelessness can result in infection, injury, or other traumatic problems. You should be introduced to this kind of play in the right setting by an experienced, careful person who cares enough about you to exercise all the cautions set forth herein. This document is intended to be informational, and to discourage carelessness.

The Sounds

There is a curve in the male plumbing system; the Curve on which the Van Buren sound is designed to accommodate that curve, allowing the sound to slip down the penis and into the bladder easily. The problem is that if the bottom gets hard during the process of insertion one has to wait until the erection subsides, as the curved sound cannot be inserted (or removed!) if the penis is hard. It is not recommended to negotiate the curve with the any other sounds except  the Van Buren for the prostate stimulation. The Pratt Sounds can be used for the deep dilation. The Bakes Sounds, also known as Bud Sounds are great for a unique stimulation due to their bullet/rosebud shaped tip and the Hegar Sounds are the best set for beginners, since their sizes start very thin, but graduate to very thick diameters.  

The diameter of sounds, catheters and some other medical instruments is expressed in the French system. One French unit (Fr) is .33 millimeters (.3 mm for ease of discussion). Thus, an instrument which is 20 Fr is 20 x .3 = 6 mm in diameter (0.24").

Most men can, without discomfort, take a much larger sound than you might imagine. That being said however, for first timers, or those who haven't done it on a regular basis, starting out with the smaller sound diameters (i.e., 10 Fr or 14fr) and work up to the larger diameters as it feels comfortable to do so. The idea, of course, is to stretch the urethra just a bit.

 The following procedure for proper cleaning and "sterilizing" the sounds is based on the fact that the sounds are used by only one person**. The sounds need to be cleaned properly before and after use to prevent bladder infections. Before actual insertion, using a tissue, scrub each of the sounds with alcohol to kill any bacteria or fungi from the air or inadvertent touching.

    1. After use, the sounds are washed in a hot water/soap solution (detergents remove surface Surgical Lubricant and help break down viral coats).

    2. To further clean them as sterile as possible (especially for your first usage), use a long Pyrex-type "casserole" dish that should fit the longer sounds like the Buds and Sim. Never use water straight out of the tap because it contains too much chlorine and it will immediately tarnish the metals. Use a distilled water (like used in irons for ironing clothing). Boil the water in a tea kettle first, then pour the boiling water over the sounds.

   3. Then rinse the sounds and allow to dry thoroughly on a clean dry towel.   

   4. After processing,  keep the sounds in their carrying case or in a plastic container until used again. Always wipe down with an alcohol swab before using next time.

Special NOTE to clarify about sterilization: 
Sterilization using a Dynaclave (or similar "pressure cooker" type high temperature vapor cleaning systems) to sterilize instruments which are used on others, such as in a doctor's office or hospital, is always a necessity. However, you will be the only one using these (we highly recommend**!!) therefore, a complete sterilization process like this is not vital.

   **HIV and AIDS viruses are basically impervious to "normal" sterilizing procedures (even Dynaclave/high temperature systems), therefore, we highly recommend that Urethral Insertables, Penis Plugs, Sounds and Sound Sets be used by only one person, always! Therefore, if you play with multiple partners, use only your own set and don't let anyone else use it!

Other Equipment for Sound Play

As well as the sounds themselves, you will need:

     Generous amounts of lubricant without preservatives or nonoxynol-9, which is highly irritating to the
     urethra. Surgical Lubricant or any water based lube without preservatives, additives or nonoxynol-9 is recommended.
     An ordinary serving tray
     A sterile, or at least freshly laundered, hand towel.
     A small disposable syringe approx. 10 ml
     Alcohol swabs or alcohol and cotton balls or paper tissues.
     Disposable gloves.
     A clean washcloth and soap.

All these items are available here on see our Products section.

A quote from one of our customer's log who recently discovered urethra sound play for himself:  "Yeah, I know, many of you are thinking ..."no way"..."there can't possibly be a pee hole fetish. obviously haven't experienced the orgasmic power of having something shoved several inches deep inside your pee hole. That initial feel of terror will give way to pleasure when you sink the following device deep inside your begging pee hole."

Sound Insertion Procedure

    Before Beginning:

     -Relax comfortably on the back on a fairly firm table or bed; being flat is better than being in a sling. If using a bed and another person is doing the insertion, position "the patient" diagonally, genitals at the very corner, legs spread and off the bed, for easy access and close proximity to the groin. Obviously, a table is easier for another person to do the insertion. If doing this alone, the bed or table will be more than adequate!
     -Wash the genitals with warm water and soap; dry gently. The objective is to remove surface bacteria.
     -Spread the towel on the tray; if you have used the sterilizing technique I described above, just open the
     bundle. The towel in which the sounds are wrapped is ideal. DO NOT touch the sounds except by their
     handles or with clean latex gloves on.
    - Arrange the sounds in order of size so that you do not have to fumble around one-handed later.
    - Even with the latex gloves on, be careful what you touch after this point.
     -Using a swab, scrub each of the sounds with alcohol to kill any bacteria or fungi from the air or
     inadvertent touching.

   Insertion Technique

The technique cannot really be learned by reading about it. This article is intended to give you an idea of what is
involved and of the pleasures which are possible. It would be best for you to attend a demonstration to actually
see the procedure, and ideally to work with an experienced top to try it out, whether you are a top or a bottom.

If you are right-handed, you will manage the instruments with your right hand; your left hand will hold the penis.

As you begin, examine the penis carefully; spread the opening gently. Estimate what is the largest size
sound which will obviously fit into the opening. You want to begin with the best fitting size possible because the larger sounds are less 'pointy' and are more gentle as they slip in.

Place a small blob of surgical lubricant right at the opening of the urethra to lubricate the passage way, then place the plastic luer tipped syringe  or Lube Shooter filled with Surgical lube (or your preference of lube) into the tip of the penis. There may be some sensation from the lube, however, this sensation will pass within a minute and is nothing to worry about.

Holding the penis straight up (at a 90-degree angle from the body), gently insert the first sound about an inch.
Aim slightly toward the bottom side of the penis. The sound will have a tendency to slip in just by gravity alone.
Your job is to hold it back and guide it -- don't push! If the sound stops slipping in, stretch the penis slightly by
holding onto the loose skin; this will straighten out the urethra and allow the sound to find its way.

Never push a sound in. Gravity is the only force used. Your job is merely to guide the sound and to prevent it
from dropping in too suddenly; this is especially true until you have some experience with the technique. ALWAYS remember: the penis needs to be flaccid (NOT ERECT) during insertion and removal!

When the sound has entered about an inch more than the length of the penis, change the angle of the penis:
slowly lower it toward the testicles to form approximately a 45 degree angle; gradually raise it again. This will
negotiate the curve in the plumbing and the sound will drop into the bladder. Guide the sound with gentle
manipulation of the handle; don't push! Remember, this technique is for the Van Buren J-Style sounds.
The other style of sounds do not "drop into the bladder" because they are shorter and/or designed for urethral
stimulation and dilation only. These are the Pratt, Bakes (a.k.a., Bud or Rosebud), Hegar, etc. sound sets.

Remove the sound slowly. (One bottom told me that the removal felt like "an orgasm in slow motion.") You can
move it in and out slowly if you enjoy the sensation.

After removal, if you are ready to try the next size larger, add more Surgical lubricant as before, and go on to the next larger size. Continue in this manner, going to larger sizes until feels discomfort, which is most often due to the size of the sound. This discomfort sensation will be felt as slight burning at the tip of the penis. You can tell that you have reached the optimal size when the skin at the tip of the penis begins to stick to the sound during insertion and removal, even though well lubricated. The tissue forms a slight funnel-shape as the sound is moved. Going to a larger size after this will actually stretch the urethra (It will shrink back to its original size unless this treatment is done three or four times).

When you have removed the largest sound you intend to use, gently milk the penis to remove some of the excess Surgi-lube. Prepare the sounds to be cleaned and sterilized before subsequent use.

With the Van Buren Sounds you will discover great pleasure when the sound is inserted to a certain depth and with a gentle manipulation of the sound at this point stimulating the prostate gland intensely in a way not possible through any other sexual technique.

Most enjoy seeing the insertion, especially the sound vanishing into the penis by its own weight. Many
have expressed amazement that such a large object could go so far in without pain. There is a sense of complete submission of the most intimate orifice and a voluntary vulnerability beyond any previous experience.

If sounds are used correctly, with plenty of lubrication and without exceeding the appropriate size, there should be no real pain. There may be some initial discomfort which will give way to great pleasure after the first anxious moments.

There may be some small discomfort afterward, especially if there has been stretching: there will be a slight
burning upon urination, caused by irritation of the urethral tissues. This will pass within 24 hours, and remember to drink a lot of fluids to keep the system well flushed out.

Health and Safety Problems

What if a constriction is encountered inside the penis? If the sound obviously fits through the opening of the
penis but will not pass easily when it is inserted an inch or two, the likely cause is a band of scar tissue caused
by a previous bout of gonorrhea. This scar tissue in the urethra doesn't stretch easily; so it's recommend to use
only sizes of sounds which will pass this constriction easily. There are many tiny capillaries which surround the
urethra, blood vessels finer than a hair. When capillaries are stretched, they will sometimes leak a few blood
cells; these tinge the lubricant a light pink. This is not something to worry about. But it is a good sign that you
should probably stop for this session and resume another day.

One important caution: many often feel a strong urge to masturbate when a sound has been inserted. This must be avoided because of the likelihood of injury. The insertion of sounds produces such unusual and erotic feelings, however, control is important. Control the reflex for masturbation and do not use the sounds roughly or with force.

Infection is the most likely complication; but following the above procedures rigorously should prevent any infection problems. Shortly after the session, there will most likely be a strong urge to urinate; there may be only a little urine. This suggests only that you have stimulated the nerves which signal a full bladder. By drinking a lot of fluids, this will allow the bladder to flush out any potential bacteria. There may be a slight burning sensation upon urination for the first 12-24 hours; this signals only that you have irritated the urethra a bit. But if the burning continues, or if there is a strong need to urinate which continues for more than 24 hours, there may be a bladder infection.

If infection does occur, it can be unpleasant, but is rarely a problem if medical help is sought and normally
responds well to antibiotics. The symptoms, normally developing within a couple of days of play, include
discomfort in the bladder, a constant urge to urinate, cloudy urine and maybe feverish or a feeling of being
under the weather. Visit a doctor or a genito-urinary/STD clinic, swallow your embarrassment and tell them what
the most likely cause is. Don't put off going: infections can cause serious problems if allowed to take hold.
Make sure you're fully recovered before indulging in sound play again, and indeed any other sort of urethral or
piss play.

Compiled and edited by Medical Toys, with thanks to The Deviants Dictionary and the BDSM f.a.q. list for this info!

Basic BDSM credo: Safe, Sane and Consensual!

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