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This is a circumcised penis

This is a penis with a foreskin

If you socialize with penises in the United States, chances are pretty high that you have never seen a real live foreskin.  The circumcision rate in this country, while declining, is very high:  ~91% of 70’s penises and ~83% of 80’s penises were circumcised; other Wikipedia statistics can be found here.  Muslim countries, Israel, Canada and South Korea share our zeal for taking the foreskin off our babies, but most other countries have almost the exact opposite demographic, with uncircumcised penises making up the majority of the penises tucked away in pant legs on any given morning commute.

Foreskins have become the stuff of myth and legend, and thus profound confusion and anger, in our popular culture.  Howard Stern of raunchy radio renown spreads the message that penises with foreskins are more sexually sensitive, and also the parallel message that he is pissed off that his foreskin was removed before he could try it himself.  Amateur forums like this are all over the internet saying that foreskins are “disgusting” and “dirty”.  As if we needed one more reason to hate ours and each others’ bodies!  Valiant sexpots, a Tour de Foreskin is in order.

“Foreskin” refers to loose skin that covers the glans (that’s the head) of the penis.  Sometimes it doesn’t cover it all the way, sometimes it covers it all the way and makes a little tip.  Some people call it a “turtleneck” because it looks like a turtleneck sweater.  When a penis becomes erect, the glans usually pokes out from the foreskin, as in this picture:

Doo doo doo, hiding in my foreskin…// I’m ready to go!!

If the foreskin doesn’t come all the way off the head when the penis is erect, it can be slid down carefully.  This sliding-down comes in handy for putting a condom on a foreskinned penis, which people all over the world must do every day but which is a skill that some  penis-owners in the U.S. have not mastered.  Hints that I found on le internet: pull the foreskin down, get a longer condom and leave more of the condom hanging off the end, put lube inside the condom (good choice for anyone!), make sure the condom actually fits you around the base so it doesn’t slide off.   Foreskin-owners/lovers?  Any more tips?

Have you ever heard the term “dick cheese“?  Apparently “dick cheese” is one of the reasons that people think foreskins are dirty (Dick Cheese’s given name is Smegma).  The foreskin, which is a mucous membrane (meaning it’s the same type of skin on the inside as a mouth or a vagina), collects dead skin cells and other dirt and if foreskin-owners don’t clean their foreskins as part of their daily hygiene routine, this whitish stuff can appear around/inside the foreskin.

Foreskins aren’t dirty if you clean them, just like you would clean your ass and wash your armpits.  For those foreskin-owners who want to make sure they are cleaning their foreskins in the recommended manner, there are useful articles like this and there are video tutorials of charming men teaching other men using a pillow with pillowcase as a prop like this gem of a video, “How to Wash Your Uncircumcised D*ck”.  The dude takes about 4 minutes to actually get to the dick-washing section, but he’s totally entertaining.   At one point he gets some basketballs and then he’s sitting with a pillow and two basketballs in his lap pretending to wash them and it’s adorable.  Plus, he spars with negative commenters and has funny comebacks.

Howard Stern and other hearsay aside, sex with a foreskin has not been conclusively shown to heighten or dampen sexual sensation for foreskin-owners.  According to studies, penises with foreskins tend to add natural lubrication and reduce vaginal dryness.  According to copious internet forums like this one, HJ/BJ skills for foreskinned penises are the same as those skills for the circumcised, with the added skin being just one more thing with nerve endings to explore/play with/nibble/lick.  It can get hurt of you tug too much, though, so watch out for that!  Here is a video of someone masturbating his uncircumcised penis: it looks like pretty much the same technique as if he were circumcised.  Once again, readers with foreskin are welcome to share more!

Are foreskins dirty?  Not if their owner cleans them like any other body part.  Are they dirty-dirty though, like are they less safe than circumcised penises?  There have been studies and campaigns recently in Africa to circumcise men because circumcision has been shown to be associated with a lowered risk of H.I.V. infection and penile cancers, but doctors advising parents in the U.S. say that the benefits of circumcision are small and the risks (like infant death from the procedure) are also small, so it’s kind of a stalemate.  The anti-circumcision movement, represented by organizations such as Intact America, is growing.  People in the U.S. are becoming more concerned about the right for penis-owners to choose whether or not they would like to undergo what many see as a merely cosmetic surgical procedure.

Some penis-owners, like our “How to Wash Your Uncircumcised D*ck” friend, are very proud of their foreskins, but some are embarrassed by them because of a reputation for uncleanliness/abnormality that comes from misinformation and the general lack of uncircumcised penises making the rounds among sexually active adults.  Since foreskins are a dime a dozen other parts of the world, I’m sure there are many penis-owners out there who never considered their foreskin to be an issue, and they absolutely should not start being insecure about it based on something like the recent H.I.V. press, for example.  If you have not yet come in contact with a foreskin but think you may one day, I’d suggest familiarizing yourself with images of uncircumcised penises like the ones I showed above so as to limit any facial expressions or reactions that could be interpreted by the penis-owner as negative.  Happy image searching, and again if you know your way around the world of the foreskin, let me know!

References:  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevalence_of_circumcision

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smegma

Mario Lopez on Howard Stern:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1W-xcnKaYc

foreskin-haters: http://www.datingish.com/698238007/hooking-up-with-an-uncircumcised-guy-was-gross/

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=dick%20cheese

Blowjob tips: http://www.steadyhealth.com/Blow_job_to_an_uncircumcised_penis_t104712.html

New York Times article “Circumcise or Not?  Quandary for Parents”: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/health/23consumer.html?_r=1

New York Times article “Obstacles Slow an Easy Way to Prevent H.I.V. in Men”: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/27/health/27circumcision.html

Intact America: http://www.intactamerica.org/