What is a Clean Penis?

Avatar for islaywhisky
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2002
What is a Clean Penis?
5
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 9:48pm

Nine years ago on our old Circumcision Debate board I offered my own view on the subject of genital cleanliness.

I repeat it here because it is parents like you, bringing up intact boys, who are eminently able and entitled to answer this question. Your views will impact upon your sons' genital well-being. My opinion may be controversial but I ask you to read what I have to say, then freely comment with your own personal outlook and experience.

It's a lengthy treatise but I have tried to make it as 'readable as I can!

_____________________________________________________________________

 

I'd like to explain something which may be revealing to many Americans. I have touched on this before but perhaps not as fully as I should.

Until I began visiting and contributing to online websites discussing and/or debating male circumcision, I had not come across - ever in my life - the notion that a retractable foreskin/prepuce needed specific 'care'.

Initially, I noted North American anti-circ parents stating unequivocally that while the foreskin was still adhered to the glans, the penis needed no more cleaning than any other part of a boy's body. This I was pleased to see because I knew it already. I visited pro-intact support boards and the message was the same. But then I soon became aware of further advice regarding the retractable foreskin; and at this point I was left non-plussed and not a little shocked...

"Just retract - rinse - and replace," was quoted over and over again - often referred to as the 3 Rs. [The 3 Rs to me meant Reading, 'Righting and 'Rithmetic!] It smacked of a combination of well-meaning intent, of ignorance or (at worst) sexual abuse. Some advice told parents to do it for him at first, showing him how; other parents advised a verbal explanation on a DIY basis; yet others stated that the boy should be left alone to discover his retractable skin himself and encourage him to retract it when he is ready. But ALL maintained a single end-purpose - which was to wash away absolutely anything between the inner foreskin and glans. I'm sorry, but my reaction to this is an astounded: "WHAT?"

Who tells a little girl to discover her prepuce/hood and retract it to expose her clitoris and wash it? Put simply, it's her 'penis'. But, niceties apart, and silly as it may seem to equate one with the other, male and female genitals are there as nature made them for very good reasons.

Some will immediately think 'smegma' - a word that, by its sound when spoken, suggests something nasty. The word is derived from the Greek for 'soap'. Male and female, we secrete smegma naturally - an odourless, translucent substance with protective, beneficial bacteria... and an ever-ready lubricant. It is replenished cyclically. Stale smegma is generally flushed away when we urinate - males more effectively, perhaps - and fresh urine is sterile. The same is true of stale semen or stale female 'wetness'. All emit an unpleasant odour, but are usually eliminated after urination. And in any event, smells don't carry disease, as we used to think in Tudor times! Today we wash to rid ourselves of germ-laden dirt - and to smell 'nice'.

This brings me to my final point. In the UK our boys almost universally live with their foreskins until their life's end. We neither make them, instruct them nor encourage them to retract their foreskins for the purpose of 'cleaning'. Some parents may monitor their son's ability to retract and allow him to 'play' with himself freely (as boys do) to keep his foreskin supple. But most parents don't give a thought to the condition of his genital development. They are born as nature made them and they live with nature's sexual benefits with no more problems than any other part of their anatomy.

It distresses and confounds me that the US anti-circ community has reached a point of near total acceptance of a natural penis - but has somehow clung to a belief that it still requires our intervention. The 'cleanliness' issue is the last bastion of pro-circ advocates, yet its anti-circ opponents continue to give them the very fuel they need - a 'dirty' penis!

_____________________________________________________________


Please reply... frankly and honestly. We all love our children.

Christopher 

"Education is the discovery of our own ignorance." Will Durant


"Almost any manmade phenomenon i

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-18-2007
Fri, 09-21-2012 - 11:01pm

Thank you to :-)

Avatar for islaywhisky
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2002
Fri, 09-21-2012 - 10:49pm

Yes he can stand up in the bath, you are so right! He could also have a shower instead which means he would have to stand of course.

Thank you for your reply.

Christopher

"Education is the discovery of our own ignorance." Will Durant


"Almost any manmade phenomenon i

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-18-2007
Fri, 09-21-2012 - 4:25pm

Thank you for fixing my post you right about the " clean water, but you can have the boy stand up and rease off hes penis in the runing water to get off the sope if need. and you right can,t stop yong boys playing with themselves and it can help the foreskin out by starting the separation in a normal way . 

good day

jpmsave

"but bath water is only clean when he first gets in. Do you see my point? If soap and dirty water gets trapped under his foreskin it may do more harm than good. It's unlikely of course - and we can't stop boys playing with themselves!" 

Avatar for islaywhisky
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2002
Sat, 09-08-2012 - 7:28pm

Jpmsave, thank you for your reply.

I want to understand what you're saying, but English is probably not your first language and I don't want to misinterpret you. I will type below what I think you mean.

"I think all that's needed is to have a boy play with himself in a tub if his foreskin is starting to retract before puberty, but just with some clean water. Boys will play with themselves and that will let them see if their foreskin moves back. Just let it happen, it's OK. Let them rinse off in a bath and they will be fine."

Did I get that right? I hope so! If I understood you correctly you are saying that when a boy instinctively plays with his penis, sitting in a bath, the water will rinse his glans as he pulls his foreskin back. He won't be deliberately cleaning his penis, it just happens to be given a rinse! You're right - and there's no harm in that at all.

My only 'but' is that you correctly spoke of clean water, but bath water is only clean when he first gets in. Do you see my point? If soap and dirty water gets trapped under his foreskin it may do more harm than good. It's unlikely of course - and we can't stop boys playing with themselves!

Christopher

"Education is the discovery of our own ignorance." Will Durant


"Almost any manmade phenomenon i

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-18-2007
Fri, 09-07-2012 - 8:31pm

I think all need is have boy play with hem self in tube jest like Wall any if not tall not if start to retract be for puberty jest with in some clean water and boy wall play with them self and that let them if see the foreskin move back jest let new it OK and let them rise of in bath and are going be all set.