A Danish study found that 50% of foreskins became retractable (desquamation) before 10 years of age and 99% of foreskins were retractable
by the end of puberty through the vigorous erections of adolescence, helped by masturbation. Therefore the foreskin should be left
alone whilst a boy is growing up and should not be forcefully retracted for any reason whatsoever, because it may tear or harm the
penis in some way. The only person to retract a child's foreskin should be the child himself, when he has discovered that his foreskin
is ready to retract.
The Foreskin 1
The foreskin, also called the prepuce [Latin: prae = in front & putium = penis] is the protective sheath of penile skin, which
covers the head of the penis, otherwise called the glans [Greek: balanos = acorn & Latin: (pl) glandes (pen[i]um) = acorn (of
the penis)]. The skin of the penis is continuous, forming a cylindrical double layer of tissue consisting of the outer foreskin tapering
at the acroposthion, which inverts into itself becoming the inner foreskin. Upon erection it may retract and unroll of itself into
a single layered cylinder, but not necessarily and can be retracted manually. Some foreskins however are tight, retracting with difficulty
and some foreskins don’t retract at all. This condition called Phimosis [Greek: muzzling] is the natural state for neonates (new born)
and boys. The synechia, also known as the balano-preputial membrane or the balano-preputial lamina is the membrane that attaches the
inner surface of the foreskin to the glans.
The space between the foreskin and the glans is called the preputial space whilst the preputial sphincter of the foreskin is the “drawstring”
of the acroposthion (the overhang tip of the foreskin), is formed of the temperature sensitive smooth muscle sheath called the dartos
muscle. The frenulum [Latin: fraenum = bridle] is the membrane which attaches the foreskin to the glans and the shaft of the penis
and is a highly erogenous web-like tethering structure on the underside of the glans. It’s laden with nerve endings called Meissner’s
corpuscles, which are also found in the frenar band (the Ridged Band) a delicate belt or zone of densely innervated soft ridged, corrugated
tissue or ridged bands running from the frenulum around the inside of the foreskin. There are around 20,000 coiled, fine touch mechanoreceptor
nerve endings (Meissner's corpuscles) concentrated in the peaks of the ridges, making them the most important sensory component of
the foreskin. Specialized erotogenic nerve endings of several types are encapsulated there including the Vater-Pacinian cells, Merkel's
cells, nociceptors, and branches of the dorsal nerve and perineal nerve. These receptors can feel slight motion and stretch, subtle
changes in temperature, and fine gradations in texture that are responsible for the perception of fine variations of touch and pleasure. The
foreskin has more blood cells and nerve endings than almost any other skin on the body which makes it the most erogenous zone of the
male body. If it were unfolded and spread out, the average foreskin would cover an area of 15 square inches or 100 square centimetres,
which is about the amount of skin lost to circumcision.
Adult Phimosis, these days referred to as preputial stenosis [Latin: praeputium = foreskin & Greek: stenosis = narrowing] can
be treated non surgically through training by stretching and traction of the foreskin. Preputial stenosis was and still is to an extent
‘managed’ by circumcision, which is the cutting off of the foreskin. There are ongoing debates whether circumcision is the answer
to dealing with adult preputial stenosis, but certainly a phimotic foreskin is preferable to a circumcised penis altogether. Paraphimosis
is when the ridged bands of the foreskin are trapped behind the glans and cannot go forward. This condition if it occurs needs to
be resolved rather quickly to prevent any tissue damage from lack of oxygen to the glans.
Preputial Stenosis shown on adult erection.
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