Erectile dysfunction

Updated 19 June 2014

Your foreskin

Some guys have one - some guys don't. Either way, the foreskin is an interesting piece of the male anatomy.


At some point in human history, some guy thought it would be a great idea to have men chop the ends of their Jerry’s off at birth. Since then, circumcision has become a part of human culture, and the supreme nemesis of the humble foreskin.

History shows that circumcision goes back even further than we may assume, before recorded history, and originating in East Africa somewhere. It also features in the bible as a religious ritual for cleansing, and has been adopted by Jewish culture as the norm.

The foreskin is an extended and retractable double layered section of mucous membrane and skin that covers your glans. If folded out on a table, it would be about the size of a playing card.

When you were a kid, your Helmet Lotti covered your glans completely. In fact, it was fused to the lower section of your glans. But as you got older, it separated, and eventually became fully retractable.

Foreskin facts
Loosing your Billy-beanie isn’t the end of the world. Circumcised men still retain full sexual function and normal erections. However, you do loose a section of your penis containing more than 15,000 nerve endings, which may mean you’re getting less pleasure when getting your groove on.

But for those of us that have them, the foreskin performs many important roles. It helps keep the glans protected and moist with emollient oils, and produces lubrication during sex or masturbation. The foreskin provides a gliding mechanism during intercourse, and also prevents possible friction and chaffing.

It can also play an important role in foreplay, as it gives her a little more to work with. All in all, your raincoat plays an important role, not only in protecting your sensitive glans, but increasing your pleasure in the bedroom.

Don’t forget that having a foreskin means you need to look after it. If not cleaned on a regular basis, a smelly build up of oils and dead cells called smegma can develop which may lead to infection – or worse – having to drive her home in an awkward silence.

Did you know?

  • Some interesting individuals pierce their foreskins with small studs.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Americans have sold their foreskins to bio-research laboratories.
  • A foreskin protects the glans of an infant from faeces and urine in their nappies.
  • The sniffing, touching and eating of smegma has become a recognised fetish.

    (Warren Vonk, Health24, February 2006)


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    Ask the Expert

    Erectile Dysfunction Expert

    Dr Kenny du Toit is a urologist practicing in Rondebosch, Cape Town. He is also consultant at Tygerberg hospital, where he is a senior lecturer at Stellenbosch University. He is a member of the South African Urological Association, Colleges of Medicine South Africa and Société Internationale d’Urologie. Board registered with both the HPCSA (Health professions council of South Africa) and GMC (General medical council UK). He has a keen interest in oncology, kidney stones and erectile dysfunction.

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