phimos (Greek): a muzzle, or nose band of
| Phimosis indicates the inability to freely retract the foreskin.
Hidden behind this general term (as successfully as the foreskin
hides its conditions) are specifically, either the phimotic ring,
frenulum breve, epithelial adhesions, skin bridges, or infant
There are hundreds of different
individual degrees and combinations of frenular-phimotic variations
each causing specific physical effects when erect. All conditions cause
some restriction on the free movement of the foreskin during erection.
THE CONDITIONS - A SUMMARY
The pouting nozzle of an infant phimosis is easily recognisable.
This is normal and natural, and even babies will play and pull the
tube (the "dophin nose") forward. This is all common and
normal in infants, and possibly also a healthy first natural step
to releasing the epithelial adhesions.
Adults often retain a degree of this tube, when flaccid (non erect),
and it is usually no problem. Occasionally, and only when in combination
with other conditions, an infant phimosis remains unopened during
erection and then it plays part of a more complex sexual problem.
INFANT ADHESIONS - (EPITHELIAL
Among infants the foreskin may stick entirely or partially to the
glans. This adhesive layer is natural, normal and will generally
release by the age of three, (4).
Sometimes the adhesive layer does not release in childhood in which
case it is almost always recognised at the beginning of puberty
during erection when the foreskin is peeled (like elastoplast) off
the glans, occasionally any movement of the foreskin is so intensely
painful that it hinders further exploration and development.
Sometimes it does not release by itself a moment of pleasure and
pain discovery is sometimes reported at the beginning of puberty,
They must be carefully released. Not only can this cause intense
pain but the sticky skin surfaces can fuse together again causing skin
If the infant epithelial adhesions are separated and the fresh sticky
skin surfaces are allowed to rest in contact with each other again,
they can fuse together causing small connecting strings or bands of
skin tissue between the foreskin and the glans:
These unnatural secondary string like growths can occur singly,
in groups or even as a sheet of skin. Skin bridges usually occur singly
among uncircumcised boys, however they are particularly common among
infants given full circumcisions with no post operative check-up, when
they develop in groups between the circumcision scar and the glans.
Their effects are extremely varied depending on where they are.
They are sometimes no problem, at other times very painful and/or even
restrict the full erection.
The frenulum is similar to the joining ridge under the tongue. A
small sheet of skin underneath the glans joins the glans to the
foreskin. On the erect penis, when the frenulum is too short, if
one retracts the foreskin and then lets go, it slides or springs
forward again. The condition is well described as a "tether" (80), (81).
This condition is one of potential antagonistic pulls: during erection
the short frenulum tethers the foreskin forward, on the other hand
intercourse, and masturbation exert forces which pull the foreskin
The frenulum has various degrees of brevity and thickness and infinite
variations in positioning, causing a variety of pleasure/pain sensations.
When masturbating the erection is manually controlled, so the foreskin
can be kept in a forward position and painful movements can be avoided.
Conscious problems start during intercourse.when the foreskin is involuntarily
pulled backwards ... repeatedly (!)
The strain often causes pain, soreness, and bruising for some days
afterwards, or the frenulum can rip. Ripping occurs typically during
first love making often resulting in profuse bleeding. Subsequently
the bleeding surfaces can congeal and the frenulum rejoins even shorter
than previously, sometimes developing an ulcer like scar
A thin tough contour of vulnerable skin tissue curves around the front
of the inner foreskin, forming a noose around the glans.
A primary phimotic ring (from birth) will usually stretch; whereas
when a secondary ring develops, it will tighten. LSA, diabetes, old
age, and many other factors can be connected with the development of
a secondary ring.
The anatomical and the sexual effects are varied and depend on
the tightness of the ring. To start appreciating the phimotic ring,
imagine a ring which is either too small to fit the finger, or if
it does rub over the knuckle it hurts and gets sore often becoming
inflamed, or it gets stuck. . A phimotic ring can make retraction
of the foreskin over and behind the glans impossible, painful, or
difficult, the foreskin may even get stuck behind the glans.
Common effects are (tight) urinary complications or infections,
due to the closed warm moist environment;- (middle) penetration
is difficult or impossible as the foreskin bags up, or the foreskin
gets stuck behind the glans;- (loose) pain, soreness and infections
as the ring rubs over glans.
Frenulo-phimotic combinations are common.
The specific sexual effects of each condition are extremely varied
and depend on the positioning and/or the degree of elasticity involved.
Generally speaking whereas the phimotic ring is restrictive and
inhibiting, frenulum breve is a frustrating condition.
Only accurate diagnosis can ensure individual problem related treatment.
A doctor will usually only make a diagnosis in the flaccid state,
this is often inadequate. The bridge, tether and noose conditions
are by nature less elastic and expand relatively less than the rest
of the foreskin. Therefore while they could be diagnosed in the
flaccid state, the effects are far more remarkable and sometimes
easier to diagnose during erection.
A diagnosis of phimosis or "tight" or "narrow foreskin"
, will automatically lead to an insufficient understanding and inaccurate
If you are still unsure of which condition you have please go
Full circumcision is the treatment usually offered. However this
is only very occasionally necessary, (in cases of gangrene, cancer
This site contains detailed information
on the conditions, diagnosis and individual problem related treatment (often advising simple minimal specific surgery e.g. the time honoured
operations of partial circumcision, dorsal slit and frenular incision,
- with links where appropriate to anti-surgery and pro full-circumcision
Chapter 1: The
links to all anatomical matters
Chapter 2 From Innocence