I saw a video of a 20+ year old man who was challenged with an offensive odour and lots of smegma. And toyed with the idea of writing this post. But after realising many men and young boys don’t know how to properly clean their penis and scrotum I decided to go right along!
First let’s talk about the anatomy of the external male reproductive area.
The difference between the circumcised and uncircumcised is the prepuce, and what that is is the foreskin. The urethra is where sperm and urine comes out, the glans is the ‘head’ of the penis and the testes are what make and hold the sperm… otherwise know as ‘balls’ here in Jamaica, and are held within the scrotum.
When the external male genitalia isn’t cleaned properly it can start to smell, this is because of smegma which is a natural lubricant used to keep the penis moist and is usually found under the foreskin and on the glans. When it builds up it looks similar to cheese- in fact in Jamaica we call it… cheese. Not washing properly also puts you at risk for infections such as balanitis (swelling and redness of the head of the penis) and sexually transmitted infections.
When to wash your penis:
- Everyday when you take a shower
- After sex
- After masturbating
- After exercising
How to wash your penis:
- Use a gentle soap. Avoid soaps which are perfumed and an antibacterial soap is unnecessary.
- Use warm water and create a gentle lather.
- For those who are uncircumcised gently pull back your foreskin and wash the shaft underneath
- Wash off the soap with warm water
- Replace your foreskin if uncircumcised.
- Don’t forget your pubic area and scrotum!
- Dry gently
There is no need for powder or deodorants in this area.
I have not addressed babies and young children in this post. However, their foreskin may still be attached to the shaft of the penis and may be unreducible (phimosis). Forcing it may cause tearing and injury to the area.
Reducing foreskin with too much force can put you at risk for phimosis ,which is when the foreskin is too tight to be pulled under the head of the penis. This can result in swelling and redness of the area. If this happens a visit to your doctor is needed.
If the foreskin is not replaced after washing it can cause a paraphimosis, which is when the foreskin cannot be pulled over the head of the penis- this is a medical emergency as this can cause death and loss of the penis because it blocks off the blood supply.
Read more about male external genitalia hygiene on NHS and Healthline!
If persons are never taught, they will not know. Take the time to educate yourself and the men and young boys around you so that everyone can have better hygiene practices.
Samantha C. Johnson
Feature photo from Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash