I'm 18 and I'm worried about having sex. I'm worried because my foreskin hasn't detached from the head of my penis properly and I don't know if it's safe for me to have sex or not. I am going to see a specialist about it soon but in the meantime I just want to know if it's too risky or not.
The age at which the foreskin becomes retractable (i.e. can easily retract behind the head of the penis) differs from person to person. And it can take until the age of 17, or even older, for some men's foreskin to retract.
If your foreskin is tight you could try easing it back when you are in the bath using soap. Make sure you do this slowly and gently. This may gradually stretch the foreskin until it can pass back over the rim of the head. The trick to the 'gentle stretching' technique is to pull the foreskin back just a little further each day. This can be done easier in the bath because the warm water tends to make the skin more flexible.
It is very important not to try and rush the process. This applies to sex too. Pulling it back far enough to hurt can create small tears in the foreskin, which can make the problem worse.
You've said you're going to a specialist soon, in the meantime you can find out more about possible treatments, such as foreskin stretching from Norm UK. If you would like further advice about your situation you can speak to a nurse via the fpa helpline on 0845 310 1334, or NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. Or you can get medical advice from a doctor at Brook (if you're under 25), a Family Planning Clinic or from your local doctor (GP).
Question answered by YouthNet in association with Brook