Items Surgically Removed From Urethras



Safety pin, needle, thread, and various metal hooks


Razor blade bent at one end for maximum damage


Power screwdriver bit, needle, thread, and Christmas tree lights



Rough textured metal rod


Set of thick speaker wire


Tip of syringe and another metal rod



Various needles, pins and rods. Some needles bent on ends for maximum damage.


Clear tube with nail inserted diagonally as a barb


A large set of tweezers


Tweezers detail


Another tube with bent needle acting as a barb along with various wires and rods


No idea what this is


Sharp broken glass rods


I was asked to photographically document some items for a urologist who is about to retire. When it was explained that these items were things purposefully inserted into urethras, there needn’t be further explanation. I was in.

I believe there were about twelve to fourteen jars filled with items, each with a date of extraction. Every jar contained at least two items, sometimes up to eight or so. While there were a few patients these items were removed from, most of them were from just one very sick man. While this behavior, called Sounding, isn’t totally rare, I was told that what set this person apart from others is his intent on self-mutilation. Rather than insertion for pleasure, this man customized the items he inserted for the sole purpose of destroying his penis; a clear tube with a nail driven in to it diagonally to create a reversed-barb, a large set of tweezers, a razor blade bent at one corner. Many of these items couldn’t be backed-out and had to be removed through a lengthwise incision in his penis.

All the jars with items retrieved from this man were from a period of about four years, which would place him in the clinic for surgery every couple months or so. His habitual mutilation was so constant that there came a point where there was nothing left to save and his penis had to be removed. This didn’t stop him. Months later he returned with items stuck in the area where his penis once was. Soon after, he stopped coming in so one can only imagine what happened to him. I didn’t photograph every jar’s contents, but above is a collection of some of the more noteworthy objects.

As always, prints of all my work are available by contacting me here.


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  1. Pwag says:

    That one you can’t identify looks like a decorative cap from pull string on a hooded coat.

    Also, eww.

  2. D says:

    The unknown conical item looks very much like a tip from a soldering iron :/

    • Tyler says:

      The way it is deteriorating almost makes the inside look like Nerf foam. I’m just wondering what type of material breaks down like that within a seven year period, since by now I think that’s the amount of time it could be at the most. Thanks for sending me your ideas.

  3. Kate says:

    I’m fairly certain that the unknown object is the plastic lid and broken/decayed remains of a makeup (eyeliner/eyebrow/lipliner) pencil. The wooden pencil would decay like that when exposed to uric acid for an extended period of time, and you can just see the inner tube of brownish makeup running through the middle.

    • Tyler says:

      Nice observation, Kate. I think you may have it. It clearly isn’t metal all the way through.

  4. Rock 9 says:

    We must find and interview someone that does this to themselves. I have so many questions…

  5. Tyler says:

    That would be interesting, and very very difficult. Then again, you could simply post a craigslist ad and get a huge group of freaks you probably wish you never met.

  6. Michael says:

    Tyler I like how the objects are photographed without much context, which emphasizes they are foreign and do not belong anywhere, especially in a urethra. And how the close up detail of the decay and other details are vivid enough for us to have to imagine some very uncomfortable ideas.

    • Tyler says:

      I agree and love the color palette in this environment. The green tones really accentuate the orange rust.

  7. sandy says:

    im thinking the unknown looks like the tip of a ballpoint pen thats been removed an ink cartridge taken out,would be hollow inside an just corrosion on the inside.

    • sandy says:

      also being a pen tip it may have been used to hold the opening open so he could insert an object in the hollow opening .

      • Tyler says:

        That’s an interesting observation regarding using a hollow funnel to insert items easier, although this person doesn’t appear to want “easier.”

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