Alice,

My uncircumcised boyfriend and I recently started having sex. However, I am his first and he has had tremendous pain while penetrating and even during intercourse. He says the pain is caused from the foreskin being pulled down too far. Because of this, he has never had an orgasm during sex. What can be done to correct this so that we can both start enjoying sex?

Dear Reader,

Penis pain putting a pause on your penetration pleasure? Pain can quickly zap the fun away from sex, as you've experienced. There are a few possible explanations behind your boyfriend’s discomfort, but a first step in addressing the issue may be to take a step back — both literally and figuratively. Pain is one way the body signals that something is wrong and it’s a good indicator that an issue likely needs further attention before any action between the sheets can safely and comfortably resume. As such, you and your partner may want to put your sex life on hold (or stop, in the name of love!) until you figure out the answers to the issue at hand.

So, what might be causing your boyfriend's penile predicament? While it’s not possible to know the cause for sure without a physical examination, there are a few conditions that can be a real pain in the penis and put a damper on physical intimacy:

  • Balanitis is a condition that can result in redness, rashes, and pain in the foreskin and penis. It's commonly caused by poor hygiene, especially in uncircumcised penises. However, there are a number of other conditions and diseases that it's associated with as well. Treatment usually includes keeping up with proper hygiene and antibiotics or medicated creams. In more severe cases, circumcision may be in order. If left untreated, there are some complications that may develop, including phimosis or paraphimosis.
  • Phimosis occurs when the foreskin is too tight to be completely pushed back over the head of the penis. In adult men, it typically results from repeated irritation and inflammation of the penis and foreskin. Circumcision is often suggested as treatment.
  • Paraphimosis also occurs when the foreskin of an uncircumcised male cannot be pulled back over the head of the penis. Paraphimosis differs from phimosis because once the foreskin is pulled back behind the rounded tip of the penis, it stays there — and it's considered a medical emergency. The retracted foreskin and glans become swollen, making it difficult to return the foreskin to its extended position and dangerously constricts the blood vessels in the penis. Anyone experiencing these types of symptoms is advised to seek medical attention immediately.
  • Frenulum breve or tight penile frenulum is a condition characterized by a foreskin that retracts partially, but not all the way. If the penile frenulum (the piece of skin that connects the penis to the foreskin) is short, it can pull on the foreskin and cause it to slide forward. This pulling can be painful, especially during ejaculation, masturbation, and during intercourse, when the frenulum can actually tear and bleed. Surgical procedures, including circumcision and frenuloplasty, may be utilized to address this condition.

This list is certainly not exhaustive and it’s possible that the pain may stem from an entirely different source. To know for sure, you might recommend that your boyfriend book his next date with a health care provider. That way, he can get a definitive diagnosis and appropriate treatment — and you can get back on his dance card in the near future.

Here's to putting pain in the penis into your boyfriend's past!

Alice!

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