What Is the Frenulum of the Penis?

Uncircumcised men may notice a small V-shaped band of skin on the underside of the penis that attaches the foreskin to the head of the penis. This is called the frenulum. Even when a penis has been circumcised, part of the frenulum may remain and be visible to an individual. (To see an illustration of the frenulum, click here.)

This piece of anatomy is similar to the V-shaped bridges of tissue that connect the lips to the gums in a person’s mouth or the one that attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. All of these are also called frenula. As a rule, a frenulum is a fold of tissue that exists to secure and anchor a mobile part of the body such as the lips, tongue, or foreskin to another part of the body.

Specifically, the purpose of the penile frenulum is to help pull back the foreskin over the head of the penis (glans). However, sometimes, the penile frenulum can be too short or tight, which can lead to pain during erections. When this is the case, tearing and bleeding may occur, especially as a result of rough sexual activity.

Fortunately, there are treatments available for a tight frenulum. In mild cases, a health care provider may recommend using a topical steroid cream or lotion to gently stretch the skin over time. If a person frequently experiences problems with their frenulum tearing or bleeding, their provider may recommend a simple surgical procedure called a frenuloplasty in which a small incision is made in the frenulum to lengthen it. Therefore, if you sometimes experience tearing or bleeding of the frenulum during sex, make sure to talk to your health care provider or a urologist about the situation and ask for their guidance regarding treatment options.

The frenulum is not always cause for concern. In fact, it is perhaps the most sensitive and oft-overlooked part of the penis when it comes to sexual pleasure. Since it is very responsive to light touch, some individuals who have penises find the stimulation of the frenulum to be very enjoyable. Nevertheless, it is important to start slowly if you have never incorporated stimulation of the frenulum into your sexual routine before, especially because it requires far less pressure than the shaft or other parts of the penis during stimulation.




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