Functions of the Foreskin

Last Updated 12/23/2022

The foreskin has protective, sensory and sexual functions


The foreskin starts right behind the glans (the head of the penis), moves forward to cover the glans, then folds back on itself to form an outer layer that connects to the shaft skin behind the glans. It varies greatly how much of the glans is covered by skin.

The amount of covering that remains while the penis is erect is another variable. A very sensitive erogenous mucosa that is ridged and particularly erogenous right inside the foreskin opening makes up the inner lining.

How does the Intact Penis Function?

The frenulum, sometimes known as the “banjo string,” is a fleshy attachment to the underside of the glans that collects the ridges that sweep over the glans. The length of this varies a lot. It severely restricts how far the foreskin may be retracted and risks being torn if it is too short (frenulum breve).

For many people, the frenulum is the area of the penis that is most sensitive to sex. Additionally, it helps the foreskin retract back over the glans. The part of the penis where the frenulum originated is frequently the most erogenous when it is removed following circumcision.

Depending on the length of the penile shaft, the foreskin makes up 50% to 80% of the penis’s skin system. The average foreskin contains about 20,000 nerve endings, 240 feet of nerve fibers, and over three feet of veins, arteries, and capillaries. The mature foreskin is 10 to 15 square inches when unfolded. This basically corresponds to the size of a £5 note.

Erogenous Sensitivity

The foreskin is just as delicate as the lips of the mouth or the tips of the fingers. Compared to other penile parts, it has a wider variety and higher concentration of specialized nerve receptors. These specialized nerve endings are capable of detecting texture variations, minute temperature changes, and motion.

The Ridged Band, which extends from the frenulum and encircles the tip of the foreskin just below the junction between the outer and inner skin, is where they are concentrated. Erogenous sensations in the foreskin are brought on by stimulation of the Ridged Band.

Protective Function

The foreskin safeguards the glans and keeps its surface soft, moist, and sensitive, just as the eyelids protect the eyes. Additionally, it keeps the pH balance, cleanliness, and ideal warmth. Sebum is thought to be produced by the foreskin and maintain the glans’ healthy surface.

Coverage During Erection

The penile shaft lengthens and thickens when it becomes erect. The larger organ requires additional skin, which the double-layered foreskin offers. This additional skin also enables the penile skin to glide easily, smoothly, and pleasurably over the shaft and glans. Coverage at erection can be zero to 100 percent. These variations are all common.

Immunological functions

The body’s initial line of immunological defense are the mucous membranes that line all body orifices. Lysozyme, which is also present in mother’s milk, and other antibacterial and antiviral proteins are produced by apocrine glands in the foreskin.

Sexual Functions in Intercourse

By rolling along the shaft and over the glans during intercourse, the foreskin helps to facilitate gentle, supple movements between the mucosal surfaces of the two partners.


Werker PMN, Terng ASC, Kon M. The Prepuce Free Flap: Dissection Feasibility Study and Clinical Application of a Super-Thin New Flap. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1998; 102:1075-1082.

Taylor JR, Lockwood AP, Taylor AJ. The Prepuce: Specialized Mucosa of the Penis and its Loss to Circumcision. BJU Int. 1996; 77:291-295.

The intent of all NORMUK content is to provide knowledge for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be interpreted as medical or legal advice . Always speak with a physician before applying any recommendations seen on NORMUK, or anywhere else on the internet.

5 thoughts on “Functions of the Foreskin”

Leave a Comment