Am I Allergic to My Husband's Foreskin?


Judy Dutton
Photo from Judy Dutton
A CafeMom had a question about sex, pain, and her husband's penis. He's the only guy who's ever caused her pain -- and there's just one thing different about him:

Is it possible that my husband's foreskin irritates me? I've only had sex with two men, and my husband is the uncircumcised one. After about five minutes, it feels like I'm being pulled and pinched inside. We've tried lubrication. Why would his uncircumcised penis cause me so much pain?

Judy Dutton, author of How We Do It: How the Science of Sex Can Make You a Better Lover, had this to say about foreskin friction. 

Judy Dutton says: "Since the foreskin is an extra layer of skin around the head of the penis, it's possible that it could cause friction inside the vagina, resulting in discomfort for you and him. Using lubrication is certainly a step in the right direction, but you could also consider holding off on intercourse for longer and spending more time on foreplay. As a woman becomes aroused, her vaginal walls loosen somewhat and become more flexible. So holding off on intercourse until you’re good and ready can help.

"Another tactic he can try is to vary his thrusting technique. Rather than thrusting deep, he can try shallow thrusts, so that only the top half of his penis enters your vagina. This has the added benefit of focusing stimulation on the most sensitive areas of your anatomy. The head of a man’s penis and the outer one-third of a woman’s vagina contain many more nerve endings than other parts of the genitals."

I'd suggest also trying some different tactics: Try having him wear a condom and see if you have the same issue. If so, it's not his foreskin -- and may be his technique, in which case the above advice still might work.

Maybe you need a better lube, or maybe your estrogen is low? Breastfeeding and post-menopausal women get something called "vaginal atrophy" (isn't that a lovely term?) that can be treated with a prescription estrogen cream.

Have you experienced irritation from a foreskin? Got other thoughts for this mom? Tell us in the comments!

Got a question? Ask me in a comment below or send an email here, choosing Love & Sex as your subject. I'll work on getting an expert answer.

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nonmember avatar Hugh7

It doesn't sound as though your correspondent has "tried lubrication", either natural or artificial, very seriously. Five minutes may be enough to dissipate an inadequate supply.

The foreskin is not "an extra layer of skin" it is standard equipment. It was designed/evolved to be there and to roll back and forth over the glans, a unique natural rolling bearing.

"The head of a man’s penis ... contain[s] many more nerve endings than other parts of the genitals." - except the foreskin. It contains about ~20,000 specialised nerve-endings (Meissner corpuscles) like those of the fingertip or the lips. I suggest she ask him to move more slowly and savour the sensations it is giving them both.

At least you never suggested the c-word, though your correspondent may have been hoping you would. All over the world, literally billions of intact men and their partners never have this problem, yet she is blaming his foreskin based on a sample of just one.

SoCalMel SoCalMel

Hugh7, you took the words right out of my fingertips!

nonmember avatar Tabby

My husband has foreskin and, for those of you who have never seen a penis with foreskin, there is not any extra skin when it is fully erect. The skin is streched along the entire length of the shaft and about all it does is more more smoothly so that it is possible to give a hand job without a ton of lube. There is pretty much no way that it is his foreskin that is causing the problem. It could very well be the lack of lubrication and/or technique, but let's not blame the poor foreskin.

nonmember avatar rsduvgzu

Ok, so I've never slept with a circumsised guy (I'm from Europe - what a stereotype) and I've been with four guys, so I really think it's ridicioulous that you're trying to blame it on the foreskin only because you've never seen it before. It's a natural, tiny little thibg with a bunch of extra nerve endings that doesn't make any difference if the Penis is errect.

Although I personally have to admit, I would probably find a circumsised guy a bit weird :)

nonmember avatar Leslie

I sooo agree with the first commenter. Extra layer of skin? Umm no. Who wrote this flipping article? It amazes me how uncomfortable and UNEDUCATED Americans are about the NATURAL male body, ie: the NATURAL, AS NATURE/GOD INTENDED male genitals. Jeez!

nonmember avatar jmholmesjr

I notice there was no mention of either the length or girth of the penises possibly being different between the two men? Odds are that that could be an issue too.  Read this Judy Dutton's bio to find out why she has no clue as to what she's talking about. Absolutely no medical background whatsoever. Probably should be getting better sources...

nonmember avatar Jackie

All these comments are fine, but Judy Dutton should be allowed to have an opinion too, don't you think?

nonmember avatar David

Pahahaha.. Foreskin?!.. Really?! OK. Sorry.. Yes, Judy is allowed to have her opinion no matter how..  Anyway, funny enough i read an article in the papers today about a couple with the almost the same problem. She would feel intense pain "like somebody sticking needles up inside of me a real painful burning."

So her rational self along with the husband went to get MEDICAL TESTS! Eventually it showed that she suffered from SEMINAL PLASMA HYPERSENSITIVITY. Which basically means she's allergic to the husband's sperm and her body reacts to it with swelling, itching and inflammation of the nerve endings..

Now that I'm done with that.. Over to the issue of circumcision.. I am a circumcised guy (well mainly due to tradition and culture etc.) but even if out of my free will, i would still get circumcised. Mind you research has shown we are less likely to contract STD and more so HIV/AIDS and numerous ladies have disclosed personally to me that they prefer going down on circumcised men. Apparently we 'taste' better... Go figure.

nonmember avatar bogart4017

@David--if foreskin had anything to do with stds/hiv a whole lot more people would be infected than exist now. Uncircumsized penises are more common than you think. And any woman can tell you that she cannot feel the difference between the two.

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