Saturday, January 17, 2009
What is the foreskin there for?
"Its just a ghastly flap of extra skin."
That may be how you've heard a male foreskin described. But allow me to shed some light on what the foreskin really is.
Well, firstly, its not "extra". All guys are born with it, so that immediately begs the question, "if we were born with it, it must be there for a reason?" Well it is.
Foreskin comprises four-fifths of penile skin, and is full of specialized nerve receptors. These receptors play a role in sexual functions (as I will soon explain) and the way that it acts as a 'sheath' over the head (or 'glans' to be scientific) means that it protects it too.
Understanding how the foreskin plays a role in sex is something of a vague science.
So lets start with masturbation.
Don't frown; we all do it, and your son will do it too, especially when he starts 'growing up'! Doctors actually first started circumcising boys to STOP them from masturbating, because once-upon-a-time they thought it was harmful. The way the foreskin can be glided back and forth over the glans and shaft makes masturbation easier and, arguably, more enjoyable. Without the need for artificial lubrication, it seems as though boys can discover self-pleasure from a youunger age if they are intact.
In sex it is believed that this gliding action is what most stimulates the orgasmic elements of the penis. It also makes for smoother movement between the partners, and creates a pressure that enables enhanced pleasure for both.
Don't get me wrong. Circumcised men can still lead normal and very enjoyable sex lives. I do. But the prospect that it could be better if I had a foreskin certainly makes me wonder...
While not masturbating or having sex, the foreskin sits in its usual forward position, protecting the glans.
This protection keeps the glans soft and sensitive. Cut the foreskin off, and thousands of nerve endings are removed and the glans becomes tough and dry, in a process called keratinization.
So you see, the foreskin does serve a purpose. Several important ones, in fact.