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Rectal Foreign Objects

Not just an urban legend...

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IN A probing article headlined "Everything but the Gerbil," Nerve.com writer Leif "Trials of a Gay-Seeming Straight Male" Ueland surveys the current medical literature on RFOs — Rectal Foreign Objects. Forget the urban legends you've heard about rodent-stuffing celebrities. Far more interesting — even if they're "as unbelievable as folklore" in some instances — are the documented reports of actual objects extracted from patients' rectums by emergency room physicians (an oven mitt, for crying out loud?).

The whole topic is apt to evoke titters from lay readers, but, as Ueland soberly reminds us, it is no laughing matter to the doctors charged with repairing the often serious tissue damage that can result from such activities. And such activities, by all accounts, are on the increase.

"Ludicrous as it seems," Ueland concludes, "the time may have come to confront the culture's love of placing things up their behinds and raise public awareness of the practice's inherent dangers."

Agreed. In fact, speaking as a U.S. citizen, perhaps it's time the federal government set an example by putting a Surgeon General's Warning on certain items — actually, on everything smaller than a breadbox, from the sound of it — to the effect that inserting such in one's rear-end may be harmful.

If that sounds nutty, consider the alternative: being known the world over as a nation of inflamed rectums. Can you imagine? Write your Congressman today!

Update: Rectal Foreign Bodies: Eggplant Edition - Discover Magazine blog, 29 March 2013

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