by Judy Simone
Intaction Research Writer
July 7, 2022
Everyone is born with foreskin. In males it covers the end of the penis. It can also be called the prepuce. In females it’s called the clitoral hood and surrounds the clitoris. Some cultures or religions advocate cutting off the foreskin, a procedure or ritual known as circumcision. It can also be called genital mutilation depending on perspective. For those that have undergone a traumatizing circumcision, there are no do-overs. That child will have to live his or her entire life never knowing what it would have been like to have this body part. Therefore it is crucial for Americans to fully appreciate the incredible foreskin. It’s a gift embedded in our genetic heritage and what we humans are born with — the foreskin.
What is Foreskin?
The foreskin is a thin sheath of highly specialized skin that extends from the penis shaft and covers the head or glans. Fully adhered to the head of the penis (glans penis) at birth, as a child matures the foreskin separates from the head and can then be retracted or pulled back. There is no specific time this happens as every child matures at a different rate. The foreskin can remain attached through childhood, but by puberty most foreskins are naturally retractable.
It’s comprised of a double-layer fold of skin (epidermis/dermis), muscle tissue (dartos), blood vessels, nerves , and a internal mucous membrane. The foreskin is responsible for protecting the head of the penis and the urinary meatus, which is the urinary opening at the tip of the penis. Stretchable and retractable, the foreskin acts just as the eyelid protects and covers the eye. During an erection the foreskin stretches to become some of the thinnest skin on the human body.
Sometimes men with an intact foreskin are incorrectly called “uncircumcised.” The proper term should be “intact” or “natural.” Depending on the foreskin length, coverage of the glans in the flaccid and erect states vary between individuals. The foreskin is a natural body part and medical experts around the world state that in most children and adults it never represents a health issue. Fortunately medical foreskin issues are rare, if they arise, are easily treated.