What is Circumcision?

Male circumcision is the partial or complete removal of the foreskin (also called the prepuce).

The foreskin is a sheath that covers the penis. It has mechanical, sexual, and biochemical functions:

Mechanical functions of the foreskin

  1. The foreskin protects the infant’s glans (head of the penis) from feces and ammonia. In his first months, the foreskin functions as a one-way valve, preventing entry of contaminants but allowing passage of urine.
  2. It protects the glans from friction and abrasion.
  3. It keeps the glans moisturized and soft with oils.

Sexual functions of foreskin

  1. The foreskin increases sexual pleasure by sliding up and down the shaft, stimulating the glans by alternately covering and exposing it, which allows nerves time to fire and reset. This occurs during masturbation or intercourse. After penetration, the foreskin provides a gliding action that significantly reduces friction.
  2. It produces smegma, an oily substance which acts as a natural lubricant during intercourse.
  3. It provides a seal against the vaginal wall that retains a woman’s sexual fluids during intercourse.
  4. The foreskin contains most of a man’s erotic nerve receptors.
  5. It stimulates a female partner during intercourse.
  6. It makes the penis look bigger.

Biochemical functions

  1. The foreskin produces antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as lysozyme.
  2. It contains fibroblast cells that promote wound healing.
  3. It contains epithelial Langerhans cells, an immune system component, which are numerous in the foreskin’s outer surface.
  4. It secretes immunoglobulins, which are antibodies against infection.
  5. The foreskin might contain pheromones (odors that are sexual attractants), but this has not been proven.