Scent of an uncircumcised penis

Originally Published: August 27, 1999 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: August 13, 2012
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Dear Alice,

I'm a foreign gay man with an uncircumcised penis. In my country, being uncut is the norm, so it was not strange for me to have contact with other penises like mine. Yes, all of them had a characteristic smell, but it was part of the natural odor that comes with your own skin and, in fact, it was very arousing. When I started having sex with Americans, I felt the opposite of what they complain about: I missed the "dick smell." Most of them smell like either soap or plain normal skin.

I'm not saying that's a problem, I'm just raising the question: Is the uncut penis really stinky (urine, smegma, or any infection) or is it just a perfectly normal "dick smell" that feels bad to someone's senses because they are not used to it?

Thanks,

FGM

Dear FGM,

The "dick smell" of an uncut, or uncircumcised, penis is produced by sweat or smegma. Smegma is a cheesy secretion from under the foreskin that acts as a natural lube. Some people do not like the distinctive smell smegma produces, whereas others find it agreeable and even arousing. Besides personal preferences, one's like or dislike of smells, scents, and aromas can also be culturally related. Read Bathing — how often? for more information on this topic.

Regardless of your penis's particular perfume, pulling back the foreskin and washing away excess smegma is important for hygiene. In addition, if smegma gathers without being washed away, it can prevent the foreskin from easily moving back and forth along the head of the penis. To prevent infection, uncircumcised men should retract their foreskin and wash with soap and water every day. Be sure to rinse away all of the soap underneath the foreskin when you wash your penis — any soap left there may lead to inflammation. If your foreskin can't be pulled back, or if pulling it back is uncomfortable or painful, you may want to see a health care provider or urologist.

Alice

November 22, 2002

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Dear Alice, Re: SCENT OF AN UNCIRCUMCISED PENIS The last part of your advice was: If the foreskin cannot be pulled back, see a health care provider or urologist. It might not be necessary to see a...
Dear Alice, Re: SCENT OF AN UNCIRCUMCISED PENIS The last part of your advice was: If the foreskin cannot be pulled back, see a health care provider or urologist. It might not be necessary to see a health care provider about this. When foreskin hygiene and infection risks were explained to me (I was about 12), I found that mine was rather tight and could not be pulled back. From then on, every time I took a bath or shower, or visited the toilet, I pulled my foreskin back as far as I could without causing real pain. Before too long — I don't remember if it was a couple of weeks or a couple of months — I could pull it all the way back. If that method doesn't work, then yes, go and see a health care provider or urologist. Dick