Some people in the U.S. might consider cock rings kinky, but men in Cuba have taken penis enhancement to a whole new level. The practice of pearling—literally implanting a pearl in your penis—has become a trend in the country.
Arianna Villafaña, a general practitioner at the Móstoles University Hospital in Cuba, told Vice that it's common for Cuban men to surgically implant small, usually plastic balls under the skin of their penises in order to increase their partners' sexual pleasure.
A woman living in Cuba told the news site that she once noticed this "pearl" in her partner's genitals.
Sex researcher Dr. Candice Nicole told NTRSCTN in a statement that "pearling" originated from the Kama Sutra and has since taken off in Western Europe, Australia, Thailand, and the U.S., particularly in military barracks and prisons.
But how safe is the practice, and can it actually affect a man's sexual performance?
"In a piercing parlor, done by a professional, the safety is comparable to any other piercing or body modification. There is minimal risk for infection with sterile tools and proper aftercare," Nicole said.
But DIY penis pearling can get dicey.
"An at-home job has an increased risk of infection and injury or bodily rejection of the implant," Nicole said. "Cutting too deeply or using makeshift tools and beads typically increases the risk."
As to whether or not the procedure improves sexual performance, Nicole said reports have actually shown that it works: "The reason some men believe it is worth the risk speaks to a rather altruistic desire to please sex partners."
However, she added, "In the same way some people do not like dildos with beads, pearled penises may not increase pleasure. For men with smaller penises, they may be able to take up more vaginal space with beads or pearls, but this isn't a guarantee of pleasure for every partner they meet."
Nicole recommended that anyone thinking about the procedure first get a pearled dildo to gauge a partner's reaction.
"Getting pearled for the sake of someone else's pleasure is a gamble," she said. "But, if you like it and it pleases you, it may be a jackpot."
This post originally appeared on NTRSCTN.com