Sex

A Sex Expert’s Guide To Uncircumcised Penises

All those nerve endings make sexual experiences extremely pleasurable for your partner.

When you're pleasing uncircumcised men, give the foreskin extra care.
Oleg Breslavtsev/Moment/Getty Images

We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. All genders, sexual orientations, or questions are welcome, and all questions remain anonymous. Now, onto today's topic: what you need to know about pleasing someone with an uncircumcised penis.

Q: I’m dating my first uncircumcised man. I feel pretty confident about my skills in the bedroom, but this foreskin thing is really throwing me for a loop. I don’t know what the heck to do with it. It feels like I have to start all over again. And, if I’m being completely honest, I’m even a little weirded out by uncircumcised penises. It looks so different from what I’m used to. Help!

A: Thanks for your question. We all have our aesthetic preferences, but we have to be careful not to make other people feel bad about how their bodies look (more on this below). Circumcision rates have been on the decline for a while, so you’re likely to see more and more uncircumcised men and people with penises. Here are five tips for encountering your first uncircumcised penis.

1. Learn The Uncircumcised Penis Basics

Let’s talk about what the heck a foreskin even is in the first place. It’s a thin piece of skin that covers the head of the penis. If the person is circumcised, the entire flap is surgically removed, leaving the head of the penis exposed.

If they’re not circumcised, the foreskin grows as they grow. During puberty, the skin loosens up a bit, to the point where it can be retracted down to the base of the head. You know how cartoon penises are usually drawn to resemble little mushroom heads? An unretracted foreskin typically covers up the head, so the penis looks like one smooth shaft. When the foreskin is retracted, the “mushroom cap” is exposed, and the foreskin gathers around the base of the “mushroom.” The foreskin typically retracts on its own when the person gets an erection, but some people have to gently pull the foreskin back.

And just to debunk the myth: there's nothing inherently "unhygienic" about having a foreskin. People with penises have to clean their foreskins just like they clean the rest of their penises, but it's really not a big deal.

2. Treat The Foreskin With Care

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The good news about foreskin is that it’s filled with nerve endings, so uncircumcised men and people with penises generally feel more stimulation than people who are circumcised. The trade-off is that the foreskin can require a tiny bit more caution than an uncircumcised penis. You never want to forcibly yank back on a foreskin, or pull it forward too hard (this likely isn't something you would do anyways!).

Most people who are uncircumcised like to keep the foreskin retracted when they put on a condom, but some like to pull it forward once the condom is on. Let your partner take the lead in putting on the condom, or ask about their preference. You should also use lube when you’re giving a hand job or having sex, to help the foreskin slide along (but you should be doing these things anyways, so it’s not a big deal!).

In general though, you usually can play with an uncircumcised penis in the same way you would with a circumcised penis. No special technique required. Everything in our guides to hand jobs and blow jobs will work just fine!

3. Ask Your An Uncircumcised To Teach You What They Like

Your new partner is the expert on their foreskin, so take advantage of the experience they already have! In general, you want to get a sense of how they usually treat their foreskin. Does your partner like paying extra attention to it, or do they just treat it like the rest of their penis? Does your partner like to keep it retracted, or pull it forward? You want to pay attention to the way your partner treats the head of their penis too. Some people who are uncircumcised don't like direct contact on the head of their penis because it's too sensitive, while others love it. Keep in mind that getting to know your partner’s body is something you would do with any partner.

If you’re feeling a little unsure about giving them a hand job, ask your partner to masturbate in front of you. Say something like, “I want to learn what you like” or “I want to watch you pleasure yourself.” Watch if their foreskin retracts naturally when they get erect, or if they have to nudge it along. As your partner’s moving their hand up and down on their shaft, watch to see what he they do with the foreskin. Do they hold it in place with one hand and stroke up and down with the other? Does your partner leave the foreskin in the retracted position? Do they touch the head of the penis or not? If your partner feels a shy or put on the spot, offer to masturbate in front of them too. That will turn it into a sexy two-person play session instead of a one-sided clinical demonstration.

Again, there's no need to get overly fixated on the foreskin, but you can always try a couple of things out and ask your partner for feedback. Try pulling your partner’s foreskin forward and gliding your fingers over it, then slide the foreskin back and touch the head of their penis. Ask what they like better. Put your partner’s penis in your mouth and compare swirling your tongue over the foreskin with over the exposed head of their penis.

4. Don’t Body Shame A Partner Who’s Uncircumcised

It’s really important not to make your partner feel like a “freak” because they have a little flap of skin that never got cut off. Most of us are already self-conscious about our genitals, and don't need our partners to add to the angst. The bottom line is that your partner’s foreskin is simply a part of their body. Treat it with the same respect that you would treat any other part of their body. It’s OK to let them know you’ve never been with a circumcised partner before and have a few questions about how to please them, but you don’t want to make them feel like there’s something wrong with them, because there’s not!

Try putting yourself in your partner’s shoes. Imagine they told you, “wow, I’ve never seen labia like yours. I don’t know what to do with them and they kinda weird me out” That would feel horrible, wouldn’t it? Instead, imagine he said things like, “What makes your body feel best?” “Can you show me what you like?” or, “Do you like it better when I touch you like this or like this?” Way better, right?

5. Give Your Partner’s Foreskin Love

There’s actually a lot to love about foreskins! All those nerve endings make sexual experiences extremely pleasurable for your partner. Feeling foreskin slide around while you give a hand job or blow job can be quite erotic (and even make things smoother). If you get to the point where the two of you are having sex without condoms, you’ll also get some extra sensation from their foreskin gliding back and forth inside of you.