Does your foreskin retract? Can you easily move it below your glans, and get it back up again? If not, you have tight foreskin (phimosis).
Babies are born with tight foreskin. It protects their penis from contaminants. Skittish parents and doctors often hurry toddlers along using steroid creams. Left on their own, 50% of boys will have full retraction by age ten. By age 17, 99% of men should have already stretched their foreskin all the way down.
If you are an adult and you have realized that you have phimosis, this page is for you. The discovery can be traumatizing. It was for me! I created this blog to help you. You can read about my story from the start.
- Top five types of phimosis. Which one describes you?
- I thought my penis was normal for 35 years until yesterday
- Circumcision and phimosis: A clear cut decision?
- “Normally we give this to two-year-olds…” You won’t believe what my doc told me!
Will it make sex better?
Yes. Phimosis can cause problems during intercourse.
- When your foreskin is forced down, it can be painful
- If you or your partner worry about your foreskin getting stuck down or causing pain, then you may be too anxious to enjoy sex.
- When your glans is covered, you will not experience the gliding action of the foreskin. This gliding makes sex more enjoyable with less lubrication from your partner, and the sensation will help you time your orgasm later or earlier as desired.
- Revealing your glans will give you increased sensitivity and better feeling sex.
Watch this video to see why the foreskin is important for good sex and preventing premature ejaculation.
How long will it take?
That depends on how often you stretch and how dedicated you are. Stretch several times each day, and you can expect to see some results within two weeks. Depending on the severity, it can be fully resolved in eight weeks. Others will need to stretch for many months.
Your foreskin should be able to retract and move back up, when erect, or flaccid, without squeezing into an hourglass shape. (Short video) When that happens, you are done. It is perfectly normal for a foreskin to offer some resistance to retraction, or not retract on its own when erect.
You should continue to stretch for four weeks afterwards, to lock the results in place.
How do I do the stretches?
Can you fit two fingers in? If so, perform this stretch. Touching the backs of your fingers together will allow you to hold the stretch longer without getting tired.
If you can’t fit two fingers in, try to grasp the edges, like this.
If you can’t even grab the edges, then you will have to improvise. You may use two Q-Tips (cotton swabs) as tiny fingers to pull apart. Do it gently, as the thin stalks tend to dig into your skin.
Can’t even fit in two Q-Tips? You can still do it. Look at what I did on my picture page for inspiration. (Warning: contains penis)
Once you can fit a finger in, you can save time by using a flesh tunnel, such as the Phimocure kit, which is designed to cure phimosis, or you can continue with the manual methods above.
Stretch gently, to just below the threshold of pain. Pain is a sign that you might damage the skin. Wounds will contract as part of the healing process, and cause your skin to become tighter.
If the opening is wide enough, but your frenulum is too short, you have frenulum breve. Stretch it using this method:
- Seven mistakes you’re making when treating your phimosis
- How Palmolive® ruined my sex life, and other things you need to know to treat phimosis
- Unboxing the Phimocure
What part do I stretch?
Find the tightest part and focus your stretching there. For stretching to work, you need to figure out a way to get inside and gently pull the tight ring in two directions. You can do that with your fingers or other devices that you feel safe to put into your body. Avoid items with sharp edges, and devices that snap open such as tweezers. Be aware of the risk of injury.
It is not necessary to pull in all directions. All parts are stretched even if you pull only horizontally.
Can I just stretch by retracting?
Most kids and teens will eventually retract their foreskins by repeated attempts. Some adults have reported success with this method. But it has some drawbacks, and there is a far better way.
- If it hasn’t worked already, it probably won’t work now. Penile tissue is too flexible to provide enough force to stretch adult skin.
- Accidentally retract too far before you are ready, and it might get it stuck. Paraphimosis can be painful, because you will then need to pinch your sensitive glans for a few minutes to reduce its size and carefully lift the foreskin back over it. Ice can help reduce the swelling.
- You probably have a short frenulum as well. Pulling backwards will then bend your meatus (the urinary opening), and then you might have problems peeing straight.
Do I need cream?
Although it’s not necessary, your doctor can prescribe betamethasone cream to help speed up the process. You can read about how it works here.
Apply a tiny dab of cream twice a day to the inside of the tight ring, after stretching, and rub it in. This will make your skin produce less collagen, so it is more likely to stay stretched out between sessions. Try not to get much on your glans, but it may be unavoidable.
When Stretching Isn’t Working
- Use proper techniques. Are you stretching by pulling up and outwards? That is more effective than pulling it down. Make sure you are stretching the tight ring that prevents retraction.
- Have patience. Did you give it enough time? You should start to see changes after two weeks of stretching every day. A full cure can take one month to a year, depending on your starting condition and how often you stretch.
- Heal your skin. Do you have a yeast infection? Even if you aren’t aware if it, your skin may be irritated by the fungus and can be cured by using a over-the-counter clotrimazole vagina cream.
- Give it a rest. Are you stretching too often? Give it 48 hours of rest before resuming. Over-stretching can cause a puffy, thickened appearance that takes a couple of days to heal. The condition comes on so gradually that you may not have noticed.
Can I just get surgery?
Partial circumcision, dorsal slit surgery, and preputioplasty have a high failure rate. In a small study of 22 boys, 8 were unhappy with the result, and 3 went on to further surgery. Preputioplasty is not even offered in Canada due to its poor results. After consulting with his physician, one blogger writes:
He was very down-to-earth when it came to explaining to me why preputioplasty isn’t a service typically covered by government health insurance in Canada. Apparently it was at one point, but men who had it done kept coming back for second and third surgeries because of complications associated with partial circumcisions. He explained that three complications are possible: scar tissue could form, causing a new case of phimosis; foreskin swelling could occur because of disruptions to normal lymph drainage from erectile tissue; and erectile dysfunction could occur (at a higher probability than with circumcision). The government had decided that the risk associated with preputioplasty was too great to offer it as a standard procedure when circumcision leads to the same (or better) functional results.
On the other hand, daily stretching with steroid cream is proven to have a 96% success rate in children. Many men on the Phimosis Discussion Board have treated themselves without the pain and worry of surgery.
- Circumcision and Phimosis: A Clear-cut Decision?
- YouTube: How the foreskin lets you have great sex
- YouTube: What happens to the nerves after circumcision removes most of your feeling.
Why did I suddenly get phimosis?
The most likely cause is a yeast infection. Yeast is present naturally all over your skin, but it is held back by beneficial bacteria. If you upset the natural balance of bacteria in your body, or you keep it wet more than normal, then the yeast will win the war and grow.
Never use soap on your penis. Wash it using only water.
To cure yeast, go to your pharmacy and pick up a tube of vaginal cream containing clotrimazole. Use the nozzle or a kid’s medicine syringe to inject a small amount into your foreskin every night for six nights.
Stretching is hurting!
Stretching should never hurt. Pain, burning urination, a bad smell, or tiny cuts are all symptoms of yeast. It is important that you make your skin healthy first, because healing skin will not stretch.
My glans is super-sensitive
Many men, especially those without a foreskin, would be glad to have your sensitivity. Your foreskin is a protective environment that keeps your glans moist and sensitive throughout your entire life.
When you have intercourse, you will not notice pain because your glans is designed to glide smoothly from your foreskin into the lubricated smooth environment of a vagina.
Oral sex requires a different technique. Saliva is not a good lubricant. Instead, ask her to use her hands more to move your foreskin back and forth, and put it in her mouth with the foreskin forward. The more practice your partner has, the better it will feel.
You can gradually introduce your glans to touch by running water over it in the shower. For fast results, keep it uncovered all the time, and the sensitivity will normalize within a few days.
I’m happy the way I am.
You don’t have to fix your tight foreskin. It’s part of what makes you unique. Here are some tips.
- Use a condom during intercourse to prevent the foreskin from being pulled back. You may put on the condom with foreskin forward if you prefer.
- Use extra lubricant both inside and outside of the condom.
- Talk to your partner how she feels about it. Worrying about hurting you may be causing her more anxiety than you realize.
I need more help!
Post to the Phimosis Discussion Board. For several years, the anonymous moderators Jim and Paul B. have been helping men with their phimosis and frenulum breve problems.
If you are over 18, you can upload an image to imgur.com and include a link in your post. Do not use the image upload feature of the board itself because your post will not be readable.
Over time, many men on the Phimosis Discussion Board have shared the fastest and safest ways to treat their phimosis that worked for them. I created this site to help share this information in a more readable format. I am not affiliated with the discussion board.
Are you a doctor?
No. I am just good at reading. I am aware of NO medical studies of treating phimosis in adults. In children, the success rate is over 90% within three months. Most doctors will prescribe the same steroid cream to adults as they do for children, but they may be unaware of the need to stretch.