Foreskin Facts And Information

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-borns) and boys.

“The foreskin tends to shorten during development and the glans remains completely covered in only 45% of men, partially covered in 32% and is completely uncovered (auto-circumcision) in 23%. The fact that without surgery at least half the male population have the appearance of being partially or completely circumcised should allay the wrath of those who would regard operation on anyone with a persistent long infantile foreskin as an unnatural mutilation. There is also variation in the length of the prepuce in different races, the foreskin being typically rather long in Negroes, and very short in Chinese and Japanese. It has been suggested that the purpose of the foreskin is to protect the glans from urine during the time the child is in nappies, but it does not seem to have any essential function in the adult apart from retracting out of the way for sexual intercourse.” Dr John Smith


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