I’m often asked questions about sounding for cis women and other female-assigned folks, because it’s a bit different than sounding a penis.
This started as a post I made on my reddit profile to consolidate my answers, and I posted it on my blog May 26th of 2021. It’s now August of 2022, and I’m making a few edits and updates, though my opinions & recommendations are largely the same.
If you’ve run into problems, you might also find my post Urethral Sounding Troubleshooting to be useful.
I’m not a doctor, I’m just a pervert. This is not medical advice.
I have, however, been playing with my peehole for several years! For much of that time, I was just sounding now and then, without really trying to maintain any stretching progress. Then, in 2016, I decided to work toward the goal of a cis male play partner being able to fuck my urethra. In 2019, after three years of steady work on stretching, I was finally able to experience that! Currently I try to maintain my peehole in a state where it can stretch to take objects of about an inch and a half in diameter.
The following advice is for people new to sounding, rather than specifically about advanced stretching.
Links to places to buy things are US-based, but I tried to include enough info that you’ll be able to find them elsewhere.
In no particular order, what I think you need to know to get started with sounding:
What toys will you use?
A set of Hegar sounds is the best place to start for most people. The basic set ranges from smaller-than-anyone-needs to really-big, so you’ll be able to figure out the right size to start with. (Fun fact: hegars were created as cervical dilators; they’re not made for urethras at all.)
Hegars have a gentle curve, and are often double-ended, so that a set which has 8 sounding rods will have 16 sizes. Most sounding rods commercially available are measured by diameter, rather than circumference, and measurements are typically given in millimeters. You might also like to try other shapes, like rosebud sounds, but I think hegars are the most straightforward to start with.
On the other hand, you might prefer to try a catheter first. If you’re particularly worried about accidentally hurting yourself, or if you know for sure that you’ll want vaginal penetration at the same time, a catheter could be a better choice. If you don’t know for sure if you’ll want to do this more than once, a disposable catheter is cheaper than a set of surgical steel sounds. Catheters also make it really obvious when you’ve reached your bladder… because piss will start coming out the other end.
I usually find the best catheter prices at shopmedvet.com, but you do kind of need to know what you’re looking for there- you don’t want to wind up with an IV catheter by mistake, or a urinary catheter for horses. Catheters are measured in French sizes, with 3 French being 1mm, so 18Fr is a sensible place for most people to start.
If you use an intermittent catheter, the only additional thing you’ll need is sterile lube. However, it won’t stay in on its own. If you’d like your catheter to stay in place, you’ll want a Foley catheter, which is held in place by a small balloon. For that, you’ll need a small syringe to inflate the balloon, and ideally you’ll fill it with sterile saline or sterile water.
If you find that you really like flexible toys like catheters, you might want to try silicone sounds. (I’d still get hegars first, so that you’ll know what diameter you want.) A couple fun silicone sounds that aren’t too long for short afab urethras are this one and this one. If stretching isn’t your kink, there’s no real reason you’d need to go bigger than that, either.
If you decide you do want to get into stretching, hegars are the best tools until you get to about 15mm. After that, fingers work well, and I also enjoyed a Killian nasal speculum- you can find those on ebay.
Penis plugs may or may not be suitable toys. Because they’re made for longer urethras, they aren’t always designed with a base wide enough to make absolutely certain it stays outside the body. In a penis, after all, if a urethral plug went entirely inside the urethra, it could generally just be squeezed out again. In shorter urethras, there’s more of a risk here. If a toy goes entirely into your bladder, it will be difficult or impossible to get it out again on your own. Please do seek medical attention if this happens, because foreign objects left in the bladder can harbor bacterial colonies and lead to very nasty infections.
You’ll definitely want lube.
The best and safest option is sterile water-based lube. Some people like to use silicone lube because it stays slick longer, but there’s more risk of a UTI because it doesn’t rinse away easily. It’s wasteful in terms of packaging, but when I was using the small- to mid-range Hegars, I found the individual packets of lube really handy, because I could just tear them open and dip the sound in. Something like this is good.
Cleanliness and safety
Keeping toys clean is the biggest way to avoid a UTI. Boiling toys or soaking them in a diluted bleach solution in between uses is best. Some folks use alcohol wipes, but do keep in mind that alcohol isn’t a high-level disinfectant. Through experimentation, I’ve found that I can get away with just washing toys with soap and water, but I don’t necessarily recommend that- a lot of people are more sensitive to UTIs than I am.
Go slowly and gently. If it hurts, stop and reassess.
The urethra is only a couple inches long in afab folks. Some people choose not to go into the bladder, to decrease the risk of UTI. I personally really like the sensations at the bladder sphincter, so I pretty much always go into the bladder.
You’ll probably have a little stinging afterward the first couple times you try it. It’s delicate tissue, and it isn’t used to this kind of thing! Being rinsed with piss frequently mean the urethra heals much more quickly than most places on your body, so just drink lots of water and make sure you’re peeing a lot, and the stinging should fade fast. If it lasts more than a day or two, and especially if you develop a fever, then go see a doctor- you probably have a UTI. (I don’t mean to sound dire about this! I’ve never gotten a UTI from urethral play in the many years I’ve been doing it. But it’s the most common risk, so I feel like it’s important to talk about how you’d know there was a problem.)
The “g-spot” is part of the urethral sponge- it’s a bunch of erectile tissue that goes around the urethra, a lot like the prostate. Sounding stimulates that area, whether what you’ve got is a prostrate or a g-spot. Sounding can be a good time for all kinds of bodies!