Whether you call it a penis skirt, banana hat, worm in a turtleneck, full sleeve, or "what the..?", more and more American men are sporting it: it's foreskin, the fold of skin that surrounds the penis head of an uncircumcised man.
If you have yet to come across a guy's junk before the snip, you might soon. In part due to a decrease in insurance coverage of the procedure, circumcision rates in the U.S. have dropped from 79 percent to 55 percent over the past two decades. And because, studies have shown, uncircumcised men are more likely to contract sexually transmitted infections, lower circumcision rates can lead to greater risk for you and higher associated healthcare costs for all. In fact, if circumcision rates continue to fall to 10 percentÃ¢â‚¬”the average in Europe, where the procedure is typically not covered by insuranceÃ¢â‚¬”the annual net increase in U.S. healthcare costs could be reach a half-billion dollars a year, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins researchers.
So how does a little bit of extra skin wreak such havoc on uncircumcised men and their partners? The tissue under the foreskin, which sits against an uncircumcised penis, is very delicate, and therefore vulnerable to microtears and abrasions (especially during sexual activity). Ã¢â‚¬Å“The organisms that cause STIs can accumulate under the foreskin of the penis, and this may allow them to survive there longer and reproduce, potentially increasing the risk of infection in that male or his partner,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Deborah Nucatola, MD, senior director of medical services at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Moreover, studies suggest that the foreskin contains more of the cells that are targeted by the HIV virus. (Concerned about your guy's hooded member? Learn how to talk to your man about STIs.)
Regardless of the risks, there's no need to kick your uncircumcised man out of bed. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just important for both of you to be tested, wrap it up, and follow these otherÃ¢â‚¬”maybe less obviousÃ¢â‚¬”safe-sex tips for sleeping with the uncut man.
Pull it back: ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a reason you arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t supposed to put on a condom until his little general is at full attention: it keeps the condom from sliding up, down, and even off. For some (not all) uncircumcised men, this can be an even bigger issue, according to recent studies. So before you put on the condom, make sure that he is not only erect, but if the foreskin is still covering any part of the penis, gently have himÃ¢â‚¬”or help himÃ¢â‚¬”pull it back, according to Planned Parenthood. Not only will it help keep the goods in place, but it can actually help heighten his sensitivity, since more of the penis is exposed to contact.
Lube up: Keeping things slickÃ¢â‚¬”both inside and outside the condomÃ¢â‚¬”can help keep condoms exactly where you want them while youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re in the throws of passion. First, place a very small drop of a water-based lubricant inside the condom so that his foreskin can move as it likes. (According to Avert, an AIDs and HIV charity, it's important to use very little to prevent the lubricant from from taking up space in the condom's reservoir tip that semen will need later.) Then, you can lube up however you like. Remember to use only water-based lubricants, such as K-Y jelly or AstroGlide, with latex condoms. Oil-based lubricants like petroleum jelly, cold cream, or mineral and vegetable oils damage latex and will make the condom ineffective at preventing pregnancy and infection. (Check out these lubricants for better sex.)
Have bath time: While itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s important for everyone to keep their nether region squeaky clean, uncircumcised men need to take an extra step every day to keep that aforementioned bacteria from cavorting between the foreskin and the penis. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t worryÃ¢â‚¬”itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy peasy. And you can give him a hand for an extra steamy shower: While in the shower, gently pull back the foreskin so that the tip of the penis is exposed, and clean both the foreskin and penis with mild (unscented) soap and water, according to Mayo Clinic. When you get out of the shower, make sure everythingÃ¢â‚¬”especially the inside of the foreskin and the penis underneath itÃ¢â‚¬”is completely dry.
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