Turtleneck, penis beanie, magician’s cloak – the foreskin seems to bear the brunt of a lot of ridicule. People either love them or hate them, but either way you should know how to keep it clean and infection free.
So what exactly is the foreskin? The foreskin is the bit of skin that covers the head of the penis. It protects the head and some people believe that it keeps it ‘super sensitive’ which increases pleasure during sex and masturbation.
Other people believe the foreskin makes little difference and remove it for religious or cultural reasons. This is called circumcision and it’s usually done on babies based on the parent’s choice. Occasionally it’s done later in life for health reasons too.
While foreskins come in all lengths, all foreskins should be able to move back and forward over the head of the penis easily. Tight foreskins can split and bleed when the penis is hard, and if it gets trapped behind the head it can cause serious swelling and pain. If yours doesn’t move easily, make sure you check in with your doctor.
It’s also normal for every penis to produce a whitish-yellow substance (delightfully known as ‘smegma’) to keep the skin soft and supple. If you have a foreskin, this can collect under it. If not looked after properly this can cause an infection. In fact, the warm, moist conditions can be a fungal infection’s dream.
When it comes to smegma, this needs to be washed away when you have a shower. Pulling the foreskin back gently, washing with warm water then drying with a towel so extra moisture isn’t trapped is enough.
If you have an infection, washing with some salty water can fix most minor ones, but if things are getting red and painful, see a doctor for a cream to clear things up.
The tissue on the foreskin is particularly sensitive so you may want to consider using lube during masturbation or sex. If you’re with a partner who hasn’t seen an uncircumcised penis before you might need to show them the ropes too, to make sure they’re not too rough.
What else to look out for? The old foreskin in the zipper trick. Ouch. This is the stuff of nightmares and may require a trip to the hospital if you can’t free yourself by cutting the zipper open with scissors.
The bottom line…foreskin care isn’t something you should neglect!