Q & A: Caring for my son’s intact penis

    Question from a mother:

Obviously our little guy is not getting circumcised (unless he decides he wants to when he’s older and can make that decision independently) but I was wondering how to go about cleaning him, moreso when he is a bit bigger, but like I have heard you are not supposed to pull the foreskin back, but surely at some point that will need to happen to clean in there right? I don’t want to hurt/harm him, but i want to make sure that area doesn’t get full of bacteria. What is your advice on this?

    Answer from Gloria:

Oh, so glad you asked, Karin. Right now, and until he is about 4 years old, his foreskin is actually attached to the glans just as the fingernails are attached to the nail beds. You only clean what is seen. Never retract the foreskin or you could damage that natural attachment and don’t let any medical professionals do it either.

When he’s about 4, he’ll reach into his pants and find his “toy” and then he will start playing with it. (They continue that till about age 80). That is the only way that the foreskin should come back—the boy doing it himself. The age that the foreskin is retractible can vary from early childhood to very late teens. There’s lots of variation. Most boys/men simply retract their own foreskin in the shower and rinse with plain water and replace the foreskin back over the glans. That is all the cleaning that is needed. It’s very easy.
ColoradoNocirc.org is a good resource place for medical reassurance on the care of boys’ genitals. https://www.coloradonocirc.org Congratulations on your new little son. Love, Gloria


Additional comment, June 12,2015 Bodies are designed for pleasure. Only a big meanie would deprive anyone of having fun with their own body. Part of my education on boys having fun with their toy came from my brothers. When we were little, my mom would plunk all 5 of us kids (we were 18 months apart in age) in the bathtub. My brothers would do very impressive tricks with their toys,– popping out the shiny purple surprise from inside the foreskin. There was no need for my mom to clean anything, All that bathtub play took care of things. Gloria

7 thoughts on “Q & A: Caring for my son’s intact penis

  1. I’d like to correct the statement about boys playing with the skin until age 80. We males never really stop…

    • I agree with you, Dolores, men don’t seek out genital cutting any more than intact women do. I’m going to leave it as is, tho, because that’s exactly how the woman wrote it to me. Want to keep it authentic. BTW, thank you for all you do to end male genital mutilation. I know your work and I appreciate your partnership so much.

    • Kelly, that’s the vast majority but many boys do not retract until well into puberty. It’s a bit like saying girls start their period around age 11—we know that some girls start at 9 and some start at 18, there can be a big variation in the normal.

  2. Hey. My son is intact too. But i think i might have pulled back forskin b4 4. He’s never really have any big problems hygiene wise.

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