What You Should Know Before You Have Sex With Someone With An Uncircumcised Penis

American women don’t come across uncircumcised penises that often. This is so much the case that a 2014 study by Adam & Eve found that 54 percent of American women prefer a circumcised penis, while only three percent said they prefer an uncut one (33 percent had no preference). It’s not that Americans are opposed to uncircumcised penises, but rather that we're so unfamiliar with them that we're unable to give them a legit high-five when they come our way. With 91 percent of white men and 76 percent of black men in the United States having been circumcised, it’s just easier to stick with what we know. We can’t be blamed for that.

But outside the United States, circumcision is less popular. Although it’s practiced for religious purposes, especially in the Jewish and Islamic faiths, a lot of other cultures scoff at this decision. When you think about it, it does seem very barbaric. Why would you cut away that’s supposed to be there? It seems that more people are moving toward this train of thought, as circumcision rates in the United States are on the decline.

Since circumcision rates aren’t what they used to be, and statistically, not all men are circumcised, there’s a good chance you may come across an uncut penis in your sex life. So what should you do if that happens? Freak out? Treat it like the weird little alien it resembles? No way! Uncircumcised penises are awesome! But here’s a little heads-up about what to know before you have sex with someone who has an uncircumcised penis.

1. Uncircumcised Penises Look Different

Although the difference is minimal when a man is erect, there’s a noticeable difference when he’s soft. Depending on how long the foreskin is ― and length can vary a bit ― it can be startling to see, especially the first time around. When it’s not erect, you can’t see the head of the penis at all, because it’s hiding out under the foreskin, which resembles a saggy turtleneck. When a guy gets hard, the foreskin retracts and is less noticeable.

2. Handjobs Are Easier

Having dated a handful of men with uncircumcised penises, and then marrying one with one, I’ve found that hand stimulation is far easier. Foreskin brings the added benefit that lube can offer, but without the stickiness/sliminess. You're definitely less likely to get a tired arm if your partner is more sensitive to handjobs.

3. You May (Or May Not) Feel The Difference During Sex

I can say that I’ve felt a difference and enjoyed uncircumcised penises more, and many others agree. A 2011 study found that women with circumcised partners “more often reported incomplete sexual needs fulfillment and frequent sexual function difficulties overall, notably orgasm difficulties.”

Personally, I can feel the difference the most when I'm on top, because the retracted foreskin creates a bit of a cock-ring-type situation that hits my clitoris when I angle myself just right. But as I said, this isn’t the case for everyone, and some women may find it less fulfilling.

4. Guys With Uncircumcised Penises Are More Prone To STDs

As much as it pains me to write this, it's true. According to findings from the World Health Organization, circumcision reduces the chances a man will contract HIV by 60 percent in parts of Africa. The Centers for Disease Control has also found that men with uncircumcised penises have greater risks of contracting other STIs, like herpes and HIV, and are more likely to get UTIs and penile cancer. Does this mean that all uncircumcised penises are basically petri dishes of bacteria and STIs? Hell to the no. It’s just something to keep in mind, and if you practice safe sex, then it shouldn’t be something you should stress over.

5. Uncircumcised Penises Are Not "Dirty"

If you’re dating an adult male who showers regularly, and knows that the foreskin needs to be pulled back and cleaned properly to avoid any nasty smells or tastes, then an uncircumcised penis will not be “dirty.” Also think about it this way: All the folds in your vagina can also make for a stink fest if you don’t want wash properly. No matter your gender, hygiene is important all around.

6. Foreskin Can Tear

Although it's not super common, vigorous sex can tear the foreskin. The best way to prevent such an uncomfortable situation is to use lube so that things are as wet as possible. Some tears will heal on their own in time, but others might need stitches. In either case, it's important to consult a doctor. And yes, sex will be off-limits until the tear has healed, so that neither you nor your partner end up with any unnecessary infections.

7. Guys With Uncircumcised Penises Are Far More Sensitive

If we break it down by nerve endings, the clitoris has 8,000, a circumcised penis has 4,000, and apparently, an uncircumcised penis has between 10,000 and 20,000, thanks to its foreskin (although the exact number varies, depending on if the person giving the number is pro-circumcision). What this means is that your uncircumcised guy is going to be more sensitive to your touch — whether it’s your hands, your mouth, or your vagina. So it’s important to communicate with him and ask if you’re being a little too rough.

Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new video on sex positions for small penises.

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