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Anatomical investigations have identified the prepuce as a primary erogenous zone in humans.[1]

For over a hundred years, anatomical research has confirmed that both the penile and clitoral prepuce (foreskin) are richly innervated, specific erogenous tissue with specialised encapsulated (corpuscular) sensory receptors, such as Meissner's corpuscles, Pacinian corpuscles, genital corpuscles, Krause end bulbs, Ruffini corpuscles, and mucocutaneous corpuscles. These receptors transmit sensations of fine touch, pressure, proprioception, and temperature.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][1][10]

Nerve types

The two primary sensory receptors in primate skin are free nerve endings and encapsulated or corpuscular receptors. While free nerve endings (pain, itch, and temperature receptors) are found in most skin, the encapsulated receptors are concentrated in regions that require specialised touch sensitivity, such as at the fingertips, lips, external genitalia, perianal skin, and transition areas between skin and mucous membranes.[11]

The Innervation of the foreskin is impressive [12] The foreskin is what's known as a specific erogenous zone.[1] This means that it is richly equipped with a high density and concentration of specialized and sophisticated nerve receptors that convey pleasure.The presence of specialized nerves, nerves that do no not exist elsewhere, make this part of the penis especially important. Consequently, this has been studied in detail by respected anatomists for over a century, who have transformed their knowledge by detailed empirical observation of the nerves that are present in the foreskin.

As the most richly innervated part of the penis, the foreskin has the largest number of nerve receptors, as well as the greatest variety of nerve receptors. These specialized nerve endings include:

  • Meissner's corpuscles,[13]
  • free nerve endings, end bulbs of Krause,[2][14]
  • Corpuscles of Ruffini,[14]
  • Pacinian corpuscles,[4]
  • genital and bulbs [15]
  • Genital bodies,[4]
  • Merkels disks, Golgi-Mazzoni corpuscles,[4]
  • and Vater-Pacinian corpuscles.[7]

These remarkable organs provide the foreskin with its amazing ability to detect the slightest sensations of touch, motion, temperature, and pressure. We are still unaware of all the facts about these fascinating structures. Future research may discover even more nerve receptors in the foreskin and help clarify what purposes they serve.The primary zones of erogenous sensitivity are the frenulum, ridged mucosa, and the preputial orifice and the external fold of the foreskin. All of these zones are orgasmic triggers. Continuous gentle stimulation of any one of these areas can elicit pleasure, orgasm, and ejaculation.

Meissner's corpuscle

Meissner's corpuscle.

Distributed on various areas of the skin, but concentrated in areas especially sensitive to light touch, such as the fingers, lips, nipples and foreskin.[16][17][18][19][20] They are concentrated in areas of the body denoted as erogenous zones, which include the foreskin, clitoris, lip and nipple.[1] J.R. Taylor (1996) noted their presence in the foreskin,[13] and C.J. Cold & Taylor (1999) reported "Most of the encapsulated receptors of the foreskin are Meissner corpuscles, as they contact the epithelial basement membrane."[21] Early observations were noted by A.S. Dogiel (1893),[2] D. Ohmori (1924),[4] and H. C. Bazett (1935),[22] reported the presence of Meissner's corpuscles in the foreskin. Haiyang et al. (2005) found and measured the density of Meissner's corpuscles on the foreskin.[23] Dong et al. (2007) reported that the quantity of Meissner's corpuscles on the fused smooth mucosa of the foreskin decline with age, but not on the ridged band.[24]

Gefurchtes Band

In 1991 the ridged bands of the male prepuce were identified as a concentrated area of corpuscular receptors.[25][13]

Fine-touch sensitivity

Fine Touch Pressure Thresholds in the Adult Penis.

The foreskin has important sexual nerve receptors that are removed during circumcision.[7][1][13][26] Circumcision removes the most sensitive part of a man's penis. The five most sensitive areas of the penis are on the foreskin. The transitional region from the external to the internal foreskin is the most sensitive region of the fully intact penis, and more sensitive than the most sensitive region of the circumcised penis.[27]

In a 2007 study, which was published in the British Medical Journal. They physically measured the sensitivity of all the parts of the penis. They used a very accurate pressure sensing probe while the test subject, who’s view was blocked with a screen, reported a sensation of touch. To demonstrate precision they took each measurement multiple times. To no surprise, their results corroborated with the nero-anatomy that has been discussed previously.

"Five locations on the uncircumcised penis that are routinely removed at circumcision were more sensitive than the most sensitive location on the circumcised penis[...] The glans in the circumcised male is less sensitive to fine-touch pressure than the glans of the uncircumcised male[...]The most sensitive location on the circumcised penis is the circumcision scar on the ventral surface [...] When compared to the most sensitive area of the circumcised penis, several locations on the uncircumcised penis that are missing from the circumcised penis were significantly more sensitive."[27]

AAP skepticism that loss of foreskin could actually affect sex.

AAP brushes off findings as inconclusive

In the AAP's 2012 Circumcision Taskforce report, the issues of sensitivity reduction were given obligatory mention but largely glossed over, and little space was devotes to the topic.

At right is an easy-to-understand illustration of the Sorrells study showing the loss of tissues. Tissues show in color their relative sensitivity thresholds to light touch. sensitive tissue. On the infographic's opposite side: The AAP's expressed skepticism (quotes from their 2012 Circumcision Taskforce report) on whether loss of all that erogenous tissue could really affect sexual enjoyment.

Arguably, claiming there's no evidence that circumcision diminishes sexual enjoyment is essentially implying the obverse: that it's perfectly safe and reasonable to assume that the human foreskin, despite evolving over millions of years, has no anatomical significance in sexual mechanics, and has zero relevance to sexual pleasure and satisfaction. That statement sounds immediately absurd, however.


  1. a b c d e REFjournal Winkelmann, R.K. (1959): "The Erogenous Zones: Their nerve supply and significance." Proceedings of the staff meetings of the Mayo Clinic.. 34 (2): 39-47, PMID. Abgerufen am 10. September 2019.
  2. a b c REFjournal Dogiel, A.S. (1893): Die Nervenendigungen in der Schleimhaut der äusseren Genitalorgane des Menschen [Nerve endings in a mucous membrane of external genital organs of the human] (German), in: Archiv für Mikroskopische Anatomie. 41: 585-612.
  3. REFjournal Dogiel, A.S. (1903): Über die Nervenendapparate in der Haut des Menschen [About the nerve end apparatuses in the human skin] (German), in: Ztschr Wiss Zool. 75: 46-111.
  4. a b c d e REFjournal Ohmori, D. (1924): Über die Entwicklung der Innervation der Genitalapparate als peripheren Aufnahmeapperat der genitalen Reflexe [About development of the innervation of the genital apparatuses as a peripheral recording device of the genital reflexes] (German), in: Zeitschrift für Anatomie und Entwicklungsgeschichte. 70 (1): 347-410.
  5. REFjournal Yamada, K.: Studies in the innervation in tenth month human embryo., in: Tohoku J Exper Med. 54: 151.
  6. REFjournal Yamada, K.: On the sensory nerve terminations in clitoris in human adult, in: Tohoku J Exper Med. 54: 163-174.
  7. a b c REFjournal Winkelmann, R.K. (1956): The cutaneous innervation of human newborn prepuce, in: Journal of investigative dermatology. 26 (1): 53–67, PMID.
  8. REFjournal Winkelmann, R.K. (1957): The mucocutaneous end-organ, in: Arch Dermatol. 76: 225-235.
  9. REFjournal Krantz, K.E. (1958): Innervation of the human vulva and vagina: a microscopic study, in: Obstet Gynecol. 12: 382-96.
  10. REFbook Butler, AB / W Hodos (1996): Comparative Vertebrate Neuroanatomy: Evolution and Adaptation. Ausgabe: 26. Wiley-Liss. ISBN 0471210056.
  11. REFbook Stenn, K.S. / J. Bhawan (1990): The normal histology of the skin, in: Pathology of the Skin. Farmer E.R. / Hood A.F. (Hrsg.). Norwalk, CT: Appleton and Lange.
  12. REFjournal Moldwin, R.M. / E. Valderrama (April 1989): Immunohistochemical analysis of nerve distribution patterns within preputial tissues, in: J Urol. 141 (4): 499A.
  13. a b c d REFjournal Taylor, J.R. / A.P. Lockwood / A.J. Taylor (1996): The prepuce: Specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision, in: British Journal of Urology International. 77 (2): 291-295, PMID.
  14. a b REFjournal Bazett, H.C. / B. McGlone / R.G. Williams / H.M. Lufkin (1. März 1932): Depth, distribution and probable identification in the prepuce of sensory end-organs concerned in sensations of temperature and touch; thermometric conductivity, in: Archives of Neurology and psychiatry. 27 (3): 489-517.
  15. REFjournal Halata, Z. / B.L. Munger (23. April 1986): The neuroanatomical basis for the protopathic sensibility og the human glans penis, in: Brain Res. 371 (2): 205-230.
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  18. REFjournal Bongiorno, et al. (27. Dezember 2010): Neurofibromatosis of the nipple-areolar area: a case series, in: Journal of Medical Case Reports. 4 (22), DOI.
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  22. REFjournal Bazett, H.C. (1935): Methods of investigation of sensation in man and the theoretical value of the results obtained, in: Proc. A. Research Nerv. & Ment. Dis.. 15: 83-97.
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  24. REFjournal Dong, et al. (2007): Observation of Meissner's corpuscle on fused phimosis, in: Journal of Guangdong Medical College.
  25. REFbook Taylor, J.R.: The prepuce: What, exactly, is removed by circumcision: a preliminary report, in: Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Circumcision 1991. Milos M, Richter L, Hodges F (Hrsg.). San Anselmo: NOCIRC.
  26. REFjournal Cold, C.J. / J.R. Taylor (1999): The prepuce, in: British Journal of Urology International. 83: 34-44, PMID.
  27. a b REFjournal Sorrells, Morris L. / James L. Snyder (22. Oktober 2007): Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis, in: BJU International. 99 (4): 864–869, PMID. Abgerufen am 10. September 2019.