Why you could get stuck together when having sex

Penis captivus is often mistaken for vaginismus.

Penis captivus is often mistaken for vaginismus.

What you need to know:

  • Most people believe getting stuck together is a form of punishment for engaging in illegal sex or an affair.
  • A woman will experience vaginismus if her vaginal muscles involuntarily or persistently contract when vaginal penetration is attempted.
  • Penis captivus occurs when vaginal muscles contract more than is typical to a point of narrowing the vaginal opening.

In June 2017, residents of Tanners area in Nakuru were treated to a rare spectacle after a 55-year-old man and his sister-in-law allegedly got stuck together while engaging in sexual relations. The couple was carried by residents to a self-declared witch doctor who had allegedly cast a spell on the couple. One year later, yet another couple was found stuck together in Kisii. These two cases are just a fraction of multiple cases of couples getting stuck together during sex.

Reality or myth?

Most people believe getting stuck together is a form of punishment for engaging in illegal sex or an affair. The treatment is a ritual by a witch doctor to disengage the couple. While many of these cases are a front for marketing witchdoctors, the reality is that it is possible to get stuck together while having sex. “It is not always a myth that couples can get stuck together during sex,” says Professor Joachim Osur, a sex medicine expert. He points out that the most common cause of couples getting stuck together during sex is a condition known as penis captivus.

Penis Captivus vs Vaginismus

Penis captivus is often mistaken for vaginismus. Professor Osur says that these are different conditions. This is echoed by physician Dr. Patrick Kihiu who says that even though penis captivus is considered to be associated with vaginismus, the two conditions are not the same.

The difference

Vaginismus: According to Dr. Kihiu, a woman will experience vaginismus if her vaginal muscles involuntarily or persistently contract when vaginal penetration is attempted. These contractions can prevent sexual intercourse or make intercourse painful. Vaginismus can kick in when penile penetration is attempted, if the woman attempts to insert a tampon, or if the woman is touched near her vaginal area. “Although this condition does not affect sexual arousal, it can prevent sexual penetration,” he says.

According to Professor Osur, vaginismus is one of the reasons why some women keep off sex up until their late thirties or early forties when they seek medical help because they want children. “If a young woman suffers from vaginismus, she can go up to her thirties or forties while still a virgin. These women only present their health condition when they realise they want to have kids but are not sure how to go about it because of the condition,” he says. This implies that when it comes to getting stuck together during sexual intercourse, vaginismus is not the cause.

Penis captivus: On the other hand, Professor Osur says that penis captivus occurs when vaginal muscles contract more than is typical to a point of narrowing the vaginal opening. This results in the penis being captured, and pain and discomfort when a withdrawal is attempted. “It is rare for this condition to occur. However, it does occur, and requires medical attention to resolve,” he says.

Professor Osur explains that penis captivus tend to occur when a woman is at the peak of her orgasm and there is an intense reaction that causes vaginal contractions. “When a woman has an orgasm, her pelvic floor muscles contract rhythmically, resulting in vaginal muscle contractions. If these contractions occur when the man has a strong erection, it is possible for the penis to get stuck inside the vagina,” says Professor Osur. Normally, it is expected that when a man relaxes and begins to lose his erection after orgasm, his penile circumference will narrow and make it possible to withdraw.

While this is possible, Professor Osur says that penis captivus can take time and require medical attention. “The base of the penis could be deprived of blood while the shaft and head are full of blood, prolonging the erection,” he says.

This being a medical condition, the solution will be better provided by medical experts. “If a couple suffers this type of medical condition and is unable to resolve itself, have an ambulance transport them to the nearest medical facility where the condition can be resolved by a qualified professional,” says Professor Osur.

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