Beyond the Hoodie: Uncovering the Truth About Foreskin - ONE®

Beyond the Hoodie: Uncovering the Truth About Foreskin




Anything can be scary when you scream it, or in this case bold it in CAPS LOCK. But there’s something truly scary out there, something that doesn’t need to be screamed from the rooftops to elicit a reaction, something that has the potential to impact the lives of millions of people... 

In our latest survey, this time focused on foreskin, we found that 33% of people with a foreskin have been treated differently by a sexual partner because of their natural ‘hoodie’.

A cornerstone of the ONE® Condoms mission is promoting physical and emotional health by encouraging open conversations about sex and sexuality. That is why we were absolutely flabbergasted by the above survey result. From looks of confusion and last minute rejection, to straight up body shaming, so many people shared truly eye opening personal experiences through our survey. Unfortunately, there are a myriad of myths and misconceptions that impact people’s perceptions of foreskins. We know how much you all love busting, but now -- in honor of our Foreskin Day campaign -- it’s time for us to do a little busting of our own…myth-busting!

ONE Condoms Foreskin Day

 This isn’t happening in a vacuum, so much of the stigma surrounding foreskins is reinforced and spread through popular media. For example, one of you sent us this clip from the 2016 movie ‘Bad Moms’.

To be fair, the movie is called Bad Moms, and these characters are definitely living up to that description. But even throwaway jokes in a crude comedy can have an impact, especially when popular review outlets like Rolling Stone suggest “guys should also check out Bad Moms — you just might learn something.” These messages imply that the ‘something’ you should be ashamed of is your body. Now imagine if the roles were reversed. It's a movie called ‘Bad Dads’ and they include a scene where they are body shaming and insulting women with smaller breasts, saying “RUN” and suggesting that without a breast enhancement operation they’re untouchable and repulsive. “Ladies, you should check out Bad Dads – you might just learn something”… Doesn’t sound right, does it?

“The most important thing that helped me was learning that foreskins are not weird, dirty, or ugly. Bullying is a problem for some people with foreskins, especially in younger ages, and this can cause lasting trauma that affects us when we start having sex. It is important to explain that foreskins are functional, provide pleasure, and look awesome!” - ONE® Foreskin Survey Participant 

"On the negative side I have had female friends who have been pretty outspoken about their dislike of the appearance of uncut penises. Which kind of sucks hearing a friend trash talk about people like yourself even when it’s not directed at you." - ONE® Foreskin Survey Participant 

Big budget comedies with star studded casts attract many individuals who do not have a reservoir of sexual health and educational information available to them. These viewers may be on the younger side, and body shaming narratives can have a long lasting impact on their perception of sex and intimacy. 

The power movies and television have influencing not only adults but also minors is well-documented and has huge ramifications for our society as whole. The only way we can beat this stigma and ensure it’s a relic of the past is to educate, to provide the facts and the truth – that all penises are beautiful, foreskin or no. We can do this by addressing the main misconceptions that our survey revealed. 

"Speaking as an American, the most important thing that helped me was learning that foreskins are not weird, dirty, or ugly. Bullying is a problem for some people with foreskins, especially in younger ages, and this can cause lasting trauma that affects us when we start having sex. It is important to explain that foreskins are functional, provide pleasure, and look awesome!” - ONE® Foreskin Survey Participant 

Misconception 1: Penises with foreskin are dirtier than those without. 

We received a great deal of feedback highlighting the perception of foreskin hygiene. There are many people out there that believe an uncircumcised penis is inherently more unclean or ‘stinky’. 

“I've had female friends that say they won't have sex with guys that have foreskins because of hygiene.” - ONE® Foreskin Survey Participant 

“This is the most common sexual stigma I've faced as a cisgender man. Even though the majority of the male population of Earth is not circumcised, in America, circumcision is the norm and there is a vocal disdain for foreskins. The usual reasons are given: unclean, unhygienic, leads to increased risk of STDS/HIV, looks and feels ‘weird’.” - ONE® Foreskin Survey Participant 


ONE Condoms Foreskin Day

We’re here to tell you that is simply not true. In fact, according to Adam Ramin, M.D., Urologic Surgeon and Medical Director of Urology Cancer Specialists in Los Angeles, “uncircumcised penises aren’t inherently dirtier than circumcised ones. As long as good hygiene practices are followed, this shouldn't be a problem.” 

However, it is true that people with foreskins do have to pay a little extra attention to their meat. Cleaning the penis should be part of the daily shower routine for everyone, not just people with foreskins. Professionals suggest retracting the foreskin daily and cleaning the glans as well as foreskin itself with mild soap and water. It just makes sense that those with more moving parts would have to dedicate a few extra seconds to hygiene.

If someone with a foreskin neglects to clean frequently, smegma—dead skin cells and oils that combine to form a white substance—can build up which can cause an unsightly appearance and carry an odor that is most likely the source of this myth. The sad truth is that some people just don’t keep up with their hygiene, foreskin or no, which can reinforce these stereotypes and lead to a misconception like this taking hold.  

Misconception 2: People with foreskins are more likely to have health issues and spread STIs

Something we heard repeated again and again through our survey was that prospective sexual partners were oftentimes ‘scared’ of their foreskin. No, not because it was wearing a hockey mask or something sinister like that, but because there is a common fear that having a foreskin means you are more likely to have health issues and spread STIs. 

ONE Condoms Foreskin Day

“I noticed i get asked if I'm clean more often than when I’m with a partner who also has foreskin. I've also been turned down outright by guys just because of my foreskin. It's disappointing that the natural state of the penis, which is normal in most of the rest of the world, is treated like a defect.” - ONE® Foreskin Survey Participant

While there are studies that suggest this, many of them were conducted with the goal of justifying circumcision. Scholarly reviews show that the findings of said studies are questionable at best. They were often done with small and uniform sample groups in locations without consideration of societal and cultural implications.  Dr. Robert Van Howe, Professor of Pediatrics and former Chief of Pediatrics at Michigan State University, tackled the common misconception that circumcision lowers rates of STI transmission and penile diseases in a paper published in 2013

He found that, “in studies of general populations, there is no clear or consistent positive impact of circumcision on the risk of individual sexually transmitted infections…Most specific STIs are not impacted significantly by circumcision status. These include chlamydia, gonorrhea, HSV, and HPV” and that, “consequently, the prevention of STIs cannot be rationally interpreted as a benefit of circumcision, and a policy of circumcision for the general population to prevent STIs is not supported by the evidence currently available in the medical literature”. 

Even so, there will always be debate within the medical community regarding circumcision. This topic has passionate voices on both sides and the dialogue is still open. Ultimately, the best protection against STI transmission is still condom use and practicing safer sex on a personal level. However, there is enough evidence that you should not be afraid of foreskins, and that it’s never okay to shame or make fun of somebody because of their body. 


Misconception 3: Penises with foreskins are ugly and not as pleasurable.

This misconception seemed to have the most negative impact on the people who completed our survey. While aesthetics and pleasure are personal preferences, it’s never okay to belittle someone or insult them with that intent. Many people wrote about experiences where they were judged by sexual partners before, during, or after sex because of their foreskin. Several respondents were directly told or even commanded to undergo a circumcision based on nothing more than their partner's personal preference. 

More feedback from ONE® Foreskin Survey Participants: 

“Some didn't want to be with me because of having a foreskin. One girlfriend wanted me to get it removed. That didn't happen.”

“I was born in the US, and the expectation it seems is that everyone should be circumcised. There's nothing more humiliating than someone reacting with surprise, disgust or even a lecture on hygiene. Really ruins the mood.”

“Some partners have expressed their preference of having my foreskin removed for their personal pleasure during oral sex.”

These are just a small selection of the feedback we received, but many more people have been unfairly judged and shamed for the natural state of their penis. And don’t forget, this is all in addition to hyperfixation on length and girth. 

It’s no wonder penis owners out there can feel self-conscious, unsure, and afraid to ask questions. Everyone is entitled to their own personal preferences, especially when it comes to sex, but sometimes it’s best to keep those preferences discreet in order to protect the self-esteem of your partner. Respect is a two way street and it’s important that we work together to ensure all forms of body shaming are not accepted. 

While the above misconceptions are prevalent, there is still good news. Many potential partners do find the foreskin aesthetically pleasing and pleasure enhancing. If you take one thing away from this, know that having a foreskin does not decrease pleasure for you or your partner but in fact it gives you both more opportunities for a pleasurable experience in the bedroom. 

“The head of an uncut man is more sensitive than a circumcised man, so be gentler; focus on areas like the ridge of the dick head and play gently with the frenulum, where the foreskin attaches to the head.”

“People need to know that foreskin makes no negative effect on sex, and it makes masturbation simpler actually.”

And now, don't miss our Foreskin Pleasure Enhancement Guide.

ONE Condoms Foreskin Day


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