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Cleaning under the foreskin

November 19 2006 at 6:52 PM
Jim  (no login)

What is the proper method of cleaning the penis under the foreskin? I have been pulling back the skin and rinsing with plain warm water. My penis stays moist and shiny under the foreskin. There is a mild scent which is not at all unpleasant after rinsing. Between showers, the scent under the foreskin becomes a bit stronger, but rinsing eliminates the strong odors. Some people advocate using deodorant soap under the foreskin to eliminate the scent completely. What do you advise?

(Premier Login jimsplacetofixthings)

Do what you're doing

November 19 2006, 8:14 PM 

Your method will assure better hygiene. The area inside is inhabited with certain organisms which keep everything in a healthy state. When bactericidal and bacteriostatic products are used, they upset the natural balance, allowing infection from those organisms that are normally kept in control. Yeast is one such organism. In the absence of its natural enemy, it takes over the space and causes problems which often require medical attention. The result is all too frequently a circumcision, a socially acceptable and profitable procedure.

All parts of the body develop odors. So what? On trails in Yosemite park, I've encountered Europeans who obviously didn't use underarm deodrants. Now, that's something which gets your attention a lot faster than the odor to which you refer. I didn't have to get very close to notice it either, but my guess is that nobody has ever noticed your foreskin odor without getting pretty darned close and personal. Have they?

Quite a few young guys are overly concerned that during particular forms of sexual participation, that the odor might be offensive to the partner. Just wait till you return the favor! Let me assure you that the opposite sex also has certain odors. Most guys find it quite attractive and enticing. In theory, the opposite should also hold true. In reality, you'll find varied reactions, but you know what? A quick rinse ahead of time will easily take care of the matter.

(no login)

cleaning under foreskin

December 2 2006, 2:54 PM 

am a little confused. I feel better when I clean the skin with soap and then oil message it. That a way I save myself from cutting and it does get some of its elasticity back. But lately the head of my dick is infected.. as though a rat bit off a little peace. open wound feeling and there are days even touch hurts. On better days when I can muster courage to clean. feel better. So the Q is damn the odour - clean with soap or not?

(Premier Login jimsplacetofixthings)

No Soap

December 2 2006, 10:45 PM 

Your infection most likely is from using soap. Now that you have the problem, try putting some yogurt on the area infected. Quit using soap and clean with just plain water. If you have no results, get a product at your pharmacy for treating yeast infections.

This message has been edited by jimsplacetofixthings on Dec 10, 2006 9:04 PM

Paul B.
(Login Paul_B.)

Causing trouble just as likely

December 3 2006, 3:20 AM 

The matter of soap used under the foreskin is subject to some confusion. The fact that you may get away with using soap much of the time, does not mean to say it is a good thing, but the point most certainly is that as soon as you begin to have problems, the most important step is to cease the use of soap.

And the point is that soap is most likely the cause of excess smegma production and odour in the first place - these actually indicate the body's attempts to protect itself from the soap!

Oil is generally more acceptable - though you still have to be careful - perfumes and so-called "essential oils" could cause irritation and worse.

If the inflammation looks like yeast (Candida) - distinct red "droplet" spots and/ or soft white "curds" or "cottage cheese" material, then an over-the-counter antifungal as Jim has suggested might be in order. Otherwise, or even if it is a Candidal problem, my favourite soothing application remains the Zinc and Castor Oil cream that is sold for use on nappy (diaper) rash in babies. Hardly surprising, is it, that that should be appropriate?

(no login)

use of soap to clean foreskin

December 19 2006, 10:30 AM 

I find that if I wash the penis with lots of soap lather the glans becomes really inflamed and painful to the touch for many hours. I therefore only use warm water which is more than adequate

Paul B.
(Login Paul_B.)


December 19 2006, 7:56 PM 

This is precisely the point.

One of the major arguments offered for the practice of circumcision, is the incidence of balanitis (balano-posthitis) in intact men. But it seems this is very much a 20th-21st century phenomenon, resulting from public health education - valid in itself - on the need for regular washing with soap, and the availability of inexpensive soap, mass-produced and marketed to a populace who (in some cases guilty about their immoral behaviour,) wish to be socially acceptable, "clean".

We have however, a very prudish society (and I speak for the general Anglophone "Western" cultures), which regards matters sexual as an embarrassment, albeit a tantalising one, so that this shame, the perception of being "dirty" is focused on the genitalia, and people (of both sexes) are motivated to and regrettably do use soap on the genitals, where it is entirely inappropriate.

The consequences of doing so, particularly including the use of a singularly foolhardy concept called "bubble bath" on infants and children, is indeed to cause - in both sexes - genital irritations and allergies which may become quite severe, and test the competence of a doctor presented with such a condition.

Paul B.
(Login Paul_B.)

Some people advocate?

November 21 2006, 5:16 PM 

OK, perhaps it gets repetitious, but I almost always answer this (as Jim has) by direct reference to what a woman would or should do with the corresponding situation - hygiene of her vulva. This is an extremely apt analogy as for starters, the question really is the same in terms of the physiology of the areas - not only are they "kissing cousins" during sex, but they are basically the same embryologically - that is, as they originally develop prior to birth.

Viewed from that perspective, it is notable that women do commonly have problems in this area, and that the "answers" are well understood, though the existence of such problem still indicates that many people are not aware of appropriate hygiene.

In general, women learn - eventually - that soap or anything resembling it - is the enemy. "Feminine deodorants" have come and gone - well, they still market them furiously, but on the basis that "there's a sucker born every minute" and they supplement the income of gynaecologists to a degree. An astute doctor will inquire about and deal with such things early in the course of investigation of "vaginal" (vulval) irritation.

The other aspect of course, is the seemingly different expectations that men and women have, of the genitalia of the opposite gender. In general, women are supposed to be "pickier", demanding absolute "cleanliness" if they are to offer oral sex to a fellow, whereas men would appear to be far less critical in the converse situation, arguably reflecting the degree of motivation in each case.

In reality, I would personally consider it very reasonable to expect a shower as a prelude to oral sex (and preferably even for "only" vaginal), but many would doubt whether the lack of same is any reason not to enjoy any of these activities, and note that on the one hand the natural lubrication that is the result of sexual anticipation is quite effective in cleaning these areas, while such sweatiness as may remain is in fact harmless, and vanishes promptly on commencement of such activity.

And of course, people should certainly take note that such superficial considerations of "hygiene" have little or no relevance at all to the presence or infectivity of sexually-transmitted diseases.

When someone says to me "Some people advocate ...", I always answer - just who are these people and is there any reason to suppose them to have competence in the area in question? Might they be ... Marketers? Politicians? Bloggers on the Internet?

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