January 19, 2012

Q&A: Concerns About My Uncircumcised Penis

Although most men have retractable foreskins by the time they are 18 years old, some men have conditions that keep the foreskin from retracting.

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Question: I’m a 25 year old man who is not circumcised, and my foreskin has never retracted—from what I know, this is uncommon. The opening is much smaller than the head of my penis. Are there health concerns I should be aware of? I’m asexual, so I’m less worried about discomfort during intercourse, which I might never engage in, than I am about hygiene.

Although most men have retractable foreskins by the time they are 18 years old, some men have conditions that keep the foreskin from retracting well into adulthood.

Very often, men want to be able to retract the foreskin as part of their masturbation or sexual behaviors with a partner. Being asexual, I can understand that you may never envision yourself engaging in these types of sexual behaviors if you don’t have the desire to do so.

Hygiene Is A Concern

However, you make a good point about hygiene. Even though the opening at the top of your foreskin in very small, there is still an opening – and this means that it is possible that irritants could make their way through the opening or that you might otherwise have smegma, which is build up of skin cells and oils, that may cause a bad odor or irritation over time.

Then again, you may be one of the lucky ones to avoid any problems.

The good news is that, should you choose to want to be able to retract for foreskin for cleaning purposes, there are often non-surgical options available.

Some doctors will prescribe creams that can reduce inflammation, if that is an issue, or make the foreskin more flexible.

Some healthcare providers also recommend stretching of the opening which can make the opening larger and help make retracting the foreskin easier to do. Less often, surgical interventions are recommended.

If you’d like more information about your particular case, including finding out why you’re unable to retract your foreskin and what your treatment options might be, you might find it helpful to speak with a urologist.

Urologists specialize in issues related to the male reproductive tract and are often good resources for health issues related to the penis and foreskin, as well as issues related to erections and ejaculation.

I hope this is helpful and best of luck to you.

Next Question: Dry Vagina During Sex–What Can I Do?

My girlfriend’s vagina gets very dry during intercourse. I have to use a lot of lubricant in order to have sex with her and then it get dries again after 10 minutes. She is not taking any medication or birth pill. Sometime it is so dry that it damages the condom. In foreplay she is wet for a few minutes, but then she gets dry when we have sex. Any ideas?

Read Dr. Debby Herbenick’s response.

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