The foreskin of your penis works as a sheath to protect the sensitive glans (head) of the penis from friction and dryness, maximizing the sensitivity of the glans and the man’s pleasure during sexual activity. As the foreskin slides back with erection and penetration, the glans is left uncovered to come into direct contact with the soft, moist vaginal walls.
Hence, as you penis elongates, the double fold of skin (foreskin) provides the skin necessary for full expansion of the penile shaft. The complex tissue of the foreskin responds to stimulation during sexual activity. Stretching of the foreskin over the glans penis activates nerve endings, enhances sexual excitability, and contributes to the male ejaculation.
What kinds of foreskin problems may occur?
- Phimosis: Phimosis means tight foreskin. In this condition, the foreskin cannot easily be pulled over the head of the penis. This is normal in toddlers and infants. Usually, the foreskin becomes loose enough to be pulled back as you get older. In adult boys, however, phimosis can make it difficult to clean the head of the penis. Occasionally it causes problems with urination and ejaculation.
- Balanoposthitis: It refers to inflammation to the head of the penis and foreskin that results from irritation or infection. Infection can be either bacterial or yeast. Poor hygiene can be part of the problem.
- Paraphimosis: It is a problem in which the foreskin gets pulled over the head of the penis and cannot be pulled back. This can cause problems with blood flow in the head of the penis, and there is a risk of permanent damage. Paraphimosis can be an emergency requiring immediate treatment.
Tips on maintaining healthy penile foreskin
- Stretch your penile foreskin daily. If you encounter pain you should stop and wait until another day. They advise that you not stretch or pull too hard.
- Never force the foreskin back over the head of the penis.
- Shower every day. Roll the skin back and let the water run over it for a few seconds, making sure the head and the area under it are both wet.
- After the foreskin has been soaked, take some very light, harmless baby soap and rub a little around the base of the glans (head). Roll your skin up and down a couple of times to cover it well. Pull the skin back and rinse it thoroughly. Sometimes, leftover soap can also cause irritation.
- After you have finished your shower and dried, put a little baby powder on the outside of your penis and around your pubic area, including the scrotum. This encourages silky dryness rather than moisture and bacteria growth, thus eliminating jock itch as well. As you go throughout the day, the baby powder will keep the foreskin softer, rather than having it dry out and become irritated as it rubs against your briefs.
- Keep the genital area clean. Do not use abrasive soaps with antibacterial compounds or pumice. Do not rinse harshly.
Remember, your penis is a very sensitive piece of your body that needs attention like any other. Therefore, proper and regular hygiene of your penis including its foreskin is a must for healthy living and enjoyable sexual experience.