Does it even serve a purpose? Should it be removed? Read on to find out the answers to these questions, and more.
What Is Foreskin?
Foreskin, also known as “prepuce,” is the skin that covers the head of a person’s penis. It’s also not exclusive to humans, as all male mammals have foreskin or what is called a sheath. Now, given the fact that all male mammals have this part of the body, it only makes sense that it should serve a biological function, right?
But for many years now, doctors have been debating whether or not the small piece of skin covering the penis has any function.
Some believe that it’s a vestigial organ. This means that it might have served a function for early mammals, but as we evolved, it now serves no purpose1. Supporters of circumcision cite this as one reason why it’s perfectly fine to remove the prepuce.
In contrast, others believe that it serves a very important function. One often-cited reason is that at birth, the prepuce is fully attached to the head of the penis2. And as the person grows older, it slowly separates from the penis. Doctors who oppose circumcision say that the prepuce protects the penis from injury and keeps it clean when a child soils themselves. So this means that it does serve an evolutionary function.