5 Things To Know About Uncircumcised Penises

Just like vulvas, penises look different from person to person. And just like people with vulvas, the needs of those with penises vary from person to person, depending on their anatomy. When it comes to uncircumcised penises, there are some things you need to know to help you get over any fear you may have of the unknown — and the uncut.
Male circumcision refers to the surgical removal of the foreskin, and it's usually done shortly after birth. Some families have their children circumcised for religions reasons, predominantly in Judaism, but it's also common within Islamic and Christian faiths. While circumcision rates are declining — and anti-circumcision activism is on the rise — it's still extremely common in America. The circumcision rate in newborns has gone down from 83% in the 1960s to 77% in 2010.
Advertisement
On average, 81% of men between the ages of 14 and 59 in the U.S. have been circumcised, according to the Mayo Clinic, which could account for much of the stigma surrounding uncircumcised penises. But porn is likely part of the equation, too: Sex educator Kenneth Play, proud owner of an "average-sized" uncircumcised penis, says that the prominence of (large) circumcised dick in porn adds to the shame surrounding being uncircumcised.
Fortunately, there's a lot to love about uncut penises. Ahead, what you need to know about uncircumcised penises and how they can make sex hotter.
1 of 6
They are more sensitive.

A 2006 study of 163 subjects found that uncircumcised penises had increased sensitivity compared to circumcised penises. And in a 2013 survey of 1,000 men, respondents with foreskin reported more sexual sensitivity. However, this is an area of research that is still debated within medical circles — while research has found uncircumcised penises to be more sensitive to touch, it's unclear how that affects sexual pleasure.

The important thing to remember is that no two uncircumcised penises are the same (just like no two circumcised penises are the same — sensing a theme here?). Some have more foreskin than others, which means that uncircumcised people will feel varying degrees of sensitivity based on how much foreskin they have.
2 of 6
They do require more cleaning.

Foreskin is a fold of skin which covers and protects the head of the penis — and it needs to be cleaned, since it can become susceptible to bacteria while doing its job. Specifically, the smegma needs to be cleaned. Smegma is a naturally occurring substance that the body produces to lubricate the area under the foreskin, which makes for a more comfortable experience for the uncircumcised person (it's also a really fun word to say). However, if it's not cleaned regularly, smegma can build up and lead to an excess of bacteria, which can lead to infections.

To clean an uncircumcised penis, you simply pull back the foreskin all the way and wash the area underneath with soap and water, says Alex Shteynshlyuger, MD, Director of Urology at New York Urology Specialists. If your partner has an uncircumcised penis, we suggest you offer to help them clean their penis while taking a shower together. This is a fun way to demonstrate how much you love their body, and it could lead to pretty hot shower sex.
3 of 6
You'll have to practice safer sex techniques.

Just like with any penis you encounter, you should always make sure to practice safer sex techniques, like using condoms and getting tested for STIs regularly. That said, there's some research that suggests that adult men with circumcised penises have a lower risk for HIV (anywhere from 30-50% lower), as well as HPV. But the bulk of this research was conducted in Africa, so it's hard to say how applicable it is to penises in the U.S.

"Circumcision is a valuable tool from a public health perspective, but not so much to an individual," Dr. Shteynshlyuger says. So basically, if you live in the United States and practice safer sex methods, you don't need to freak out about increased STI risk when dating someone who is uncircumcised.
Advertisement
4 of 6
People with uncircumcised penises can be bullied.

Outside of porn-based penis insecurities, a 2015 study suggests that a lot of bullying regarding penis appearance comes from other men during childhood. This study surveyed 290 undergraduate men at the University of Iowa and found that one third of the bullying was directed at students who weren't circumcised or had a penis that looked "strange." While this study was pretty small, it does bring up a good point: If you find yourself dating someone who is uncircumcised, keep in mind that they may have been teased for how their penis looks and may be sensitive about it.

"Lots of teasing happens in the locker room," says Barbara Greenberg, PhD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in family, teen, and relationship issues. "Since circumcision is the norm in our country, an uncircumcised penis is different — and something different is going to be teased."

And regardless, it's never cool to shame a sexual partner for their body.
5 of 6
Taboos are hot.

The bullying and body shaming of those with uncircumcised penises (not to mention, the lack of representation in porn) is certainly problematic. But that doesn't mean we can't turn that stigma on its head: Getting off on taboos can be mega hot.

"If you’ve been socialized in the circumcised cock world, there could be some front-end intrigue, like, 'Well I haven’t done that before,'" says Galen Fous, a kink-positive sex therapist and fetish sex educator.

However, keep in mind that getting off on the taboo of uncircumcision can risk getting into the dicey territory of fetishization, so check in with yourself to make sure you're also attracted to the person for who they are, and not just their penis, Dr. Greenberg says. "It's fair and honest to explain what you find stimulating to see if your partner is comfortable with that," Dr. Greenberg says. If it's a casual sex situation, simply ask your partner if they are okay with the fact that you get off knowing they're uncut. If they give you the green light, then by all means, get off (literally) from their penis appearance.
6 of 6
And remember: It's just a dick.

Like we said, penises (and vulvas!) aren't all the same shape and size, and that's awesome. At the end of the day, an uncircumcised penis is just a dick. It may be unfamiliar to you if you've never encountered one before, but it's not scary; it's a sexual organ attached to your partner that can provide delightful pleasure for both of you. So relax and enjoy it.
Advertisement