What’s the Difference Between Uncircumcised And Circumcised Penises?

What are the parts of the penis? What’s the difference between uncircumcised and circumcised penises? Get the basics here.

What’s the Difference Between Uncircumcised And Circumcised Penises?

What’s the Difference Between Uncircumcised And Circumcised Penises?

What’s the Difference Between Uncircumcised And Circumcised Penises?

3 minute read

When it comes to understanding pleasure, penises and circumcision, it’s important to understand the anatomy of the penis. So here’s your quick penis primer!

Basic Penis Anatomy

The penis has two primary parts: the shaft and the head.

The shaft attaches to the pubic bone and is made of erectile tissue. When sexually aroused, this tissue fills with blood and becomes hard. The head of the penis (also called the “glans”) is at the end of the shaft.

On an uncircumcised penis, the head is covered by foreskin which can be pulled back. On a circumcised penis, the foreskin has been surgically removed and the head is exposed. The hole at the end of the penis is the urethra, and semen leaves the body through this hole when a person ejaculates (urine also leaves the body from this hole, but not at the same time!).

Penis Nerves And Pleasure

There are a lot of nerves in the penis, which means the penis has a lot of potential for sensation and pleasure. All parts of the penis can be sexually sensitive, but some more so than others. The head of the penis is the most sensitive part for the majority of people, especially the frenulum - the V-shaped area on the underside of the head. The foreskin is also a sensitive area (for those who are not circumcised).

On an uncircumcised penis, the head is covered by foreskin which can be pulled back. On a circumcised penis, the foreskin has been surgically removed and the head is exposed.

The shaft also has plenty of nerve endings, although not as many as the head and foreskin.  In a nutshell (no pun intended!), the head and foreskin are typically sensitive enough to respond to light touch - like licking, whereas the shaft generally needs a firmer pressure - like the grip of a hand - to feel much sensation.

Techniques To Pleasure The Penis

The penis can be stimulated by: wrapping a hand around it and stroking up and down (by a partner or as part of masturbation); using the mouth to lick and suck; using a sex toy designed for the penis; or through intercourse. On a circumcised penis the head can be stimulated directly, whereas on an uncircumcised penis stimulation may be from direct touch of the head as well as by the foreskin moving up and down over it.

No matter what your circumcision status or the techniques you’re using, lubricant is your friend. Lube makes the stimulation feel better, helps sex last longer, and reduces your risk of getting discomfort and skin irritation from friction.

What About Penis Size?

Given society’s intense focus on the matter it’s common for people to worry about the size of their penis. People who have only seen other penises in porn might think that theirs are too small, but most penises in porn are bigger than average, so it’s not a useful comparison.

The head of the penis is the most sensitive part for the majority of people, especially the frenulum - the V-shaped area on the underside of the head. The foreskin is also a sensitive area (for those who are not circumcised).

So, how big is the average penis? The average length of an erect penis is 5¼ inches (13-14cm), and the average circumference (size around) for an erect penis is 4⅗ inches (11-12cm). Circumcision (or the lack thereof) does not affect penis size.

Find Condoms That Are Comfortable

No matter your size or circumcision status, it’s important to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies. Condoms are one of the best ways to do both, and come in an array of sizes and varieties. Take the time to try different sizes, shapes, and brands to find the condom that feels best for you, or your partner’s, penis. Having condoms that fit right makes all the difference for pleasure and protection. Ill-fitting condoms are one of the biggest factors in condom breakage and failure: A condom that is too small can tear with friction, and a condom that is too large can slip off the penis.

Lube also makes condoms more enjoyable for both partners, and makes them less likely to tear. You can apply as much lube as you like to the outside of the condom, but place just a small drop inside the condom to lubricate the head. This will give more sensation to circumcised and uncircumcised penises alike.

Circumcised or uncircumcised, everyone’s genitals look different, and we all have our own turn ons and preferences. Take time to experiment with your (or your partner’s) penis to find techniques, condoms, lubes or toys that work best for you.

Louise Bourchier, MPH

Reviewed for Medical Accuracy

Louise Bourchier is a sex educator and sex researcher with 8 years experience in the field. She teaches about sexual health, sexual pleasure, and communication in relationships through workshops, live-streams, and with written content. Using a sex-positive approach, a dash of humour, and bag full of fun props, Louise’s style of sex education for adults is not what you got in high school! Since 2011 she has taught over a hundred workshops to a wide range of audiences, from university students, to refugees, to medical professionals, to adult store clientele. She has a Masters of Public Health, and is currently a PhD candidate.

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