Tether Products, Male Expression and Self-gratification Thru Innovation

 

Frequently Asked Questions & Useful Tips

Q: What the heck is a tetherspout anyway and why should anyone be interested?
A: A tetherspout is a novel intra-urethral device for men that can take the place of a Prince Albert or other type of penile piercing through the glans and which will allow you to inexorably attach virtually anything you can imagine (like jewelry, chastity devices, bondage restraints, or torture implements) to the end of your penis without requiring an actual piercing or modifying your penis in any way. To understand how tetherspouts work and the numerous novel ways they can be used, you should start by viewing Album 1 of the TetherSpout Chronicles from the beginning. At the very least, a tetherspout is a tremendous masturbation aid that can help you get far more use and enjoyment from your penis than you ever dreamed possible.

Q: Precisely how do tetherspouts work?
A: Men’s urethras differ from women’s urethras in that surrounding the male urethra, just below the meatus or opening, lies an embedded ring of extremely tough tissue that strongly resists stretching, and that below this ring the male urethra uniquely widens to form a tiny bulb-like chamber, medically known as the fossa navicularis, that lies within the glans and can comfortably hold large objects without needing to dilate or stretch, effectively making the tough ring of tissue surrounding the urethra at its terminus seem like a constriction.
     Tetherspouts are designed to take advantage of these two unique characteristics of the male urethra. They are 2-part assemblies consisting of a spout and a retainer that together work exactly the same way as the button on a garment and utilize the constriction at the end of the urethra like a buttonhole. The two pieces are inserted individually and are then assembled blindly inside the fossa navicularis to make up what is then known as a tetherspout.
     The tubular spout is inserted first. Functionally it is analogous to the thread or rivet that holds a button and it later becomes the means by which things are attached. The retainer is inserted next. It is functionally analogous to the button itself (it even looks like one) and, like any button, is sized to be just barely small enough to pass through the urethral opening edgewise, the same way a button passes through the narrow slit of a buttonhole. After it has done so, it is turned 90 degrees sideways inside the fossa navicularis and the spout is then pressed or drawn thru it from behind. A raised rim or flange on the spout engages the retainer and prevents the spout from going all the way thru.
     With the spout now slightly protruding like a nozzle and accessible for attachment to whatever you want, and with the retainer now unable to turn because the spout is holding it and facing the urethral opening flat-on from the inside, the way a button faces a buttonhole, the whole assembly, which is now a tetherspout, becomes virtually impossible to pull out. It functions exactly like a button, inexorably attached to the penis at its very end like an unyielding fastener and able to safely sustain far more tension than any PA piercing ever could. And thanks to the roominess of the fossa navicularis, which generally obviates any uncomfortable dilation or distension, there is essentially no limit to how long it can be kept there for whatever purposes you want.

Q: Can anyone use a tetherspout?
A: No... but almost anyone can. In order to use a tetherspout, the tough ring of inelastic tissue surrounding your urethra just inside the meatus or urethral orifice must be normal and intact and cannot have been cut or torn at any time in the past. This excludes men who have undergone a meatotomy, subincision or glans split. Men with hypospadias or other abnormalities may also be excluded, but this will depend on the severity of the condition and can only be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The rest, which includes even those who may have a prior Prince Albert piercing or some other type of piercing or modification, provided it has not affected the tough inelastic ring of tissue surrounding the urethra at the end, will have little or no difficulty in getting a tetherspout to fit and work as intended.

Q: Will Tether Products ever make a smaller spout and retainer? The smallest ones that are currently sold are still too large to fit in my urethra.
A: No... for several reasons. If TP were to make a smaller spout and retainer, it would likely restrict ejaculation and urination too much to be very useful and likely also wouldn’t allow very much tensile force to be comfortably applied or provide enough contact area for safe or comfortable electro-stimulation (e-stim). The minimum size 26Fr retainers and corresponding size 25.5Fr spouts that TP currently sells pretty much define the practical lower limits of size in terms of their utility. With tetherspouts, bigger is always better.
     There is also no guarantee that a smaller spout and retainer would even fit the way they are supposed to and be of any use. If you cannot currently insert anything as large as 26Fr into your penis, it may not be because the ring of tough tissue surrounding your urethra is too small to allow it, but rather because you may unknowingly have a condition known as meatal stenosis.
     Normally, if you blow it open with a soft stream of air like from a straw, the meatus or urethral opening resembles a somewhat squeezed-together shallow funnel that is substantially larger than the critical constriction beneath it. The critical constriction that tetherspouts depend on occurs at the bottom of this flattened V-shaped funnel and coincides with a tough embedded ring of tissue that surrounds the urethra at this point like an inelastic O-ring. You can see an example of this typical shape in Photo 004 of Album 1 of the TetherSpout Chronicles. Meatal stenosis is a condition where the meatus or urethral opening has grown smaller over time, possibly becoming much smaller than the critical constriction coinciding with the inelastic embedded ring that occurs further in. That is to say, the top outer edge of the funnel may have grown smaller over time and closed up, posssibly having become even smaller than the critical constriction beneath it. It happens mostly in circumcised men and is thought to occur because they lack a foreskin to protect their urethral openings from constant friction and irritation. In severe cases, where urination or ejaculation is affected, it can require medical intervention. In most cases, however, the condition is mild and circumcised men usually are not even aware that they have the condition until they compare their urethral orifices to those of others and/or do something out of the ordinary like sounding their dicks for the first time or fitting a tetherspout.
     If you have meatal stenosis, which could quite easily be the case if you cannot insert say a 9 mm sound and if your urethral opening looks more like a sharp edged hole than it does a flared funnel, a smaller spout and retainer isn’t going to help. The only solution will be to permanently stretch and enlarge your meatus (the outer funnel), preferably until it is as large as the embedded ring of tough tissue immediately beneath it. But don't dispair. Besides being quite enjoyable, it is reportedly also quite easy to do (it’s the ring underneath that’s hard to stretch), especially if you are using one of TP’s sizing sounds & dilators. In fact, home dilation has supplanted surgical meatotomy and is now the medical establishment’s preferred method of correcting most cases of meatal stenosis.
     Men who are circumcised and who are currently using TP’s smallest retainers should double check to ascertain that the size they are using is truly the size indicated by the embedded inner ring of tough inelastic tissue surrounding their urethras and not because they have meatal stenosis. Tether Products had expected the smallest retainers to be the least popular in sales, but instead the opposite has been true. TP suspects that this may be because meatal stenosis is more prevalent than previously thought and is perhaps leading some men to order a smaller retainer than the size of their embedded inner ring of tough tissue would indicate. In most cases the retainer will likely still work, but it could be that many men should actually be using a much larger retainer if they want to optimize retention for such things like applying strong tension.

Q: During the installation process, what is the best way to get a retainer to turn and slip onto a spout while both are inside your penis?
A: Installing a tetherspout can sometimes seem like an exasperating and tortuous task, even for the experienced and especially if your penis is erect or even just slightly turgid, as penises are often want to be. TP has found that the consistently most reliable and gentle way to assemble a tetherspout successfully inside your penis on the first try, without a lot of fumbling around and missteps, is by using thin forceps.
     First make sure that you insert the spout deep enough into your urethra that it will leave adequate room and won’t interfere with the retainer that follows. Then, after you have inserted the retainer into your fossa navicularis, gently probe for its hole with the tip of the closed forceps, feeling for the hole and the end of the forceps from the outside with your fingers. Now insert the forceps more deeply and rock them gently, thereby forcing the retainer to turn and squarely face the urethral opening flat side out. Retract the forceps slightly so that they are end-to-end (not overlapping) with the spout, feeling for the ends of the spout and forceps with your fingers thru the relatively thin skin surrounding your urethra on the underside of your glans. Blindly insert both tips of the forceps into the end of the spout by feel, using your fingers to guide and align the forceps and the spout by touch, and then unlock and put continuous opening force on the forceps to firmly grip the spout from inside its bore. Continue keeping opening force on the forceps to grip the spout from the inside while you draw the spout out through the retainer.
     If you have followed these directions, the forceps will naturally keep the two pieces in alignment and the spout should pull thru easily with just some minor wiggling, without its leading edge getting hung up on the hole of the retainer, like it might if you use a pull string. This method is especially effective when using tight fitting nitrile retainers in combination with threaded spouts.

Q: The threaded spouts scare me. Although you say the threads have been rounded during the polishing process, they still feel dangerously sharp to the touch. Is there any way this can be remedied?
A:
Before you let your instincts prevail and dismiss the threaded spouts as potentially too dangerous, you should cautiously try them. Provided you use a good lubricant like KY jelly or your own pre-cum, you may be pleasantly surprised by how little irritation (if any) they actually cause, particularly because the threads are only exposed to the urethral lining for a very short time during the installation process. Most people underestimate what their urethras are capable of.
     But if it still worries you, or if you actually feel irritation and discomfort during insertion and while you are installing a retainer onto the spout, TP suggests that you temporarily fill the threads with the wax from a candle, either by simply rubbing the candle on the threads or by dipping the end of the spout into the melted wax of a burning candle. The wax won’t prevent you from later screwing on an attachment.
     You could also try rounding the threads further with a piece of fine wet sandpaper, but TP doubts that would help much. If it really is a problem, it is likely to still be just temporary until your urethra toughens up and you gain experience in installing tetherspouts with threaded spouts. In the interim, your best bet is to use the candle wax suggestion and follow the directions for using thin forceps to gently install tetherspouts that are outlined above.

Q: Is there any danger of a spout or retainer accidentally disappearing down your urethra and getting lost?
A: No! In the 25+ years that Tether and others have been using them, nothing like that has ever been known to happen. The spouts and retainers generally remain trapped in the fossa navicularis, where there is room, even when the spout is pushed in deeply to hide it, and once the two pieces are together it is actually quite difficult to separate a spout from its retainer, which would likely be necessary before the pieces could migrate further down, unless separation is done deliberately with a probe. But people are known to do weird and unpredictable things. As a precaution, to eliminate the slightest possibility that a spout or retainer could ever irretrievably end up in a place where it is not wanted, all spouts and metal retainers are therefore made of stainless steels that are magnetically permeable. This makes DIY retrieval possible, even from the bladder (God forbid), with nothing more complicated than a tiny neodymium magnet stuck into the end of some thin vinyl tubing. Tether Products sells such a magnet in the Accessories section for those seeking absolute peace of mind.

Q: Is it advisable and safe to use a tetherspout as an electrode for electro-stimulation (e-stim)?
A: Yes! You will find that nothing can beat the focused totality and directness of the electrical stimulation you can achieve by using your tetherspout as an electrode. Neither a glans cap, immersion in conductive solutions, nor any combination of coronal ring and/or urethral plug can function as well in efficiently putting the electricity where it is most effective. TP can’t say enough about how ideal tetherspouts can be for e-stim. But to always be comfortable and safe, there are a few precautions you should take.

  1. Number 1, you should always use the largest oval stainless steel retainer that will comfortably fit, to maximize the contact area between flesh and steel that the electricity passes through. Indications are that even the smallest round retainer that TP sells will provide enough surface area to safely spread out the current and avoid burns or neurological damage in the area of contact, but why take chances. Besides having the advantage of comfortably spreading tensile forces over a larger area, a large oval retainer will also do the same for the electricity. It is worth taking the time and making the effort to train your penis to happily accept the largest oval retainer in your set, or perhaps even to permanently enlarge your orifice to take a larger French size. With tetherspouts, bigger is always better.
  2. Number 2, you should always thoroughly clean your urethral orifice to remove any slime and dead epithelial cells from the lining of your urethra before each e-stim session and prior to installing your tetherspout. If you feel the slightest stinging sensation or prickliness in the area of contact as you turn up the power of your e-stim device, it is a sure sign that the electrical contact is not as good as it could be and is causing the current to concentrate at needle points. When done correctly, you should only feel the electricity very smoothly begin to take your entire penis into its magic grip as you turn up the power, without any actual physical sensation at the contact site. To avoid stinging and potential burns, TP recommends that you follow Tether’s example and swab out your urethral orifice with a Q-tip or something similar, soaked in a concentrated solution of baking powder or salt, before each e-stim session. A cheap way is to make your own Q-tips by saving the cotton that you often find packed inside pill bottles and wrapping small tufts of it around the tips of your forceps.
  3. And number 3, you should always keep your tetherspout under light tension so that the electrical contact is never diminished or interrupted, which can otherwise easily occur, and so that the electrical resistance of your penis stays uniform thru thick and thin, so to speak. TP recommends that you follow the suggestions given in Albums 11 & 12 of the TetherSpout Chronicles and use a tensioner like those shown, but with the ring either clad in foil or made of metal to act as the base electrode. It usually requires drilling just one 1/8-inch diameter hole in a metal ring or shackle for the fiberglass rod. If you find drilling in metal difficult and/or don’t want to risk ruining a shackle, plastic bolts like those sold in plumbing departments to fasten toilet seats can easily be found and substituted for the shackle’s pin. It is hard to find words to adequately describe the pleasure when your penis, and perhaps also your scrotum, is simultaneously being stretched while you are e-stimming it. At the very least, you won’t have to worry about loosing electrical contact as you move about or if your penis momentarily becomes flaccid.

Q: Some people are saying that the spouts are susceptible to rust and corrosion unless the center bores are polished to remove mill marks left over from the machining process. Is that true?
A: To any practical or meaningful degree... No! The spouts and retainers are made from 410 grade stainless steel: the same metal commonly used to make dental and surgical instruments, cutlery and kitchen utensils, steam turbine blades and nozzles and water pump shafts and valve parts, to mention only a few common applications. When have you ever seen anything like that rust or visibly corrode? Depending on your body chemistry and the acidity of your skin, the worst that may happen is that your spout or retainer may stain and slowly darken with time, turning a dark shiny gray. A little chrome or metal polish with some vigorous rubbing will quickly brighten it back up. But it is extremely unlikely that you will ever see any pitting or physical signs of corrosion.
     Technically, all stainless steels will indeed corrode or rust, but it occurs only temporarily at the microscopic and molecular level until a protective layer of oxide is formed and is generally invisible to the naked eye. The only explanation that TP can give for the yellow or orange rust-like deposits that some people have reported seeing and have posted pictures of, is that they come from reaction to residual cutting fluids and lubricants left over from the machining process. TP has confirmed that such deposits may exist. If you look very closely, you can see orange-ish traces of them in the product photo for threaded spouts that appears on the website. Obviously, all products should be thoroughly cleaned before first use. The black gunk that others have seen is likewise thought to be of organic origin and not from corrosion. If you are not convinced, you should store your spouts and retainers in water, perhaps even with various added cleaning agents, as a test. Besides putting your mind at ease, it will condition them and allow an invisible protective layer of oxide to form. You will see that corrosion does not occur.

Q: Those same people are saying that polishing the center bores, to remove the mill marks, is also essential to making the spouts more sanitary. Is that true?
A:
Technically yes, but whether it makes any practical difference and is worth the effort is debatable. By removing the mill marks and polishing the center bore, microorganisms theoretically have less of a chance to attach to the inside wall and multiply, and are also more easily flushed out by urine. The question is whether it makes any meaningful difference, and if so, whether it is worth the effort and cost.
     There is no doubt that when the center bores are polished, under magnification the spouts look far more attractive and are obviously easier to keep clean, but keep in mind that you are looking at differences that are physically difficult to see with the naked eye and that are only theoretical. There is no empirical evidence that polished spouts result in fewer infections. Indeed, the incidence of UTIs when wearing an unpolished tetherspout is empirically already very low and, if it occurs, is much more likely to come from the outside introduction of an organism into the urethra than it is from growth of that organism within the spout. It is far more important to practice good hygiene and exercise common sense in keeping pathogens out in the first place.
     Tether Products’ conclusion is that if you are willing and able to polish the bores yourself, you should by all means do so, if only for the personal satisfaction and peace of mind. The method that a certain blogger known as Zorglub has developed is ingenious in its simplicity and effectiveness and he is to be applauded for his diligence and inventiveness. But TP believes that polishing the bores is not likely to have much more than a placebo effect. It certainly can’t be justified commercially from an economic standpoint. It is estimated that if Tether Products had its own supplier polish the spouts, the price would increase at least tenfold. That's if it is even practical. Based on the difficulty it had just in getting its supplier to adequately finish the exteriors of the spouts,TP has doubts that any quality control criteria could even meaningfully be quantitatively established and enforced during production.

Q: Will Tether Products ever make longer spouts?
A:
Not likely. Due to lack of interest, probably not even the tentative Model SSS-6-B60 blank spout will ever be offered. In all the years that TP has been in business, only a few customers have inquired about longer spouts and they all did so, not because their urethras were atypical and physically required a longer spout, but because they were trying to connect a spout to a chastity device like a cock cage. If this is your problem too, and the extension nut that is now included as part of TP's Nuts & Caps set does not provide a convenient solution, TP suggests that you search the Internet using key words like "rivet nuts", "knurled thumb nuts", “barrel nuts” or “rod couplings” together with other descriptions like "M6 stainless" and "flat head" or "hex head". One thing will usually lead to another. If you look hard enough, you can find many stainless steel fasteners and other sundry hardware that will fit the M6x1.0 threads of the threaded spouts and that can be used to conveniently adapt a tetherspout to a chastity device with a little innovation. At worst you might have to make some modifications to the chastity device itself like enlarging the end hole or tapping in threads. Usually the problem isn’t that the spout is too short, but rather that you are missing a suitable coupling nut or other fastener that can connect your spout to the chastity device. TP would love to carry a larger assortment of fasteners to help chastity aficionados, however there are just too many styles and sizes of chastity devices to make this feasible.
     And before you think that a threaded spout can't posibly provide as good security as a padlock and spend a lot of time trying to make a padlock work... just try a threaded spout first. Most small padlocks can be easily picked in just a few minutes with nothing more complicated than a couple of safety pins, whereas you'll find that nothing in your toolbox can substitute for the special 3.5 mm hex key needed to loosen a tightly screwed-on spout. Those hex keys are a standard metric size, but are not easy to find, even in countries where the metric system is common. They are rarely included as a part of sets and are usually only available by special order or from TP directly. So if you have any thoughts of cheating, you better plan ahead. Because if your mistress has the key and you don't have a spare, you'll be out of luck.