The prepuce, also known as the foreskin, is a retractable fold of skin that covers and protects the glans penis in males or the clitoral glans in females. It is an integral part of the genital anatomy and varies in size, shape, and appearance between individuals.


The prepuce is comprised of three main components:

  1. Inner Layer: This layer is made up of mucous membrane and is in direct contact with the glans penis or clitoral glans. It contains specialized nerve endings and is highly sensitive to touch and stimulation.
  2. Outer Layer: The outer layer of the prepuce consists of regular skin and is continuous with the skin of the penile shaft or clitoral hood. It provides protection and serves as a barrier against friction and injury.
  3. Frenulum: The frenulum is a band of tissue located on the underside of the penis or clitoral hood. It helps to anchor the prepuce to the glans and aids in retracting and covering the sensitive areas during sexual activity.


The prepuce serves several important functions:

  1. Protection: It acts as a natural protective covering for the glans penis or clitoral glans, keeping it moist, sensitive, and shielded from external factors.
  2. Sensitivity: The prepuce contains numerous nerve endings and is highly responsive to touch, enhancing sexual pleasure and arousal.
  3. Self-Lubrication: The inner layer of the prepuce secretes smegma, a naturally occurring lubricant that helps reduce friction during sexual activities and promotes gliding movements.
  4. Immunological Defense: The prepuce harbors immune cells that help protect against microbial infections and maintain genital hygiene.


Circumcision is the surgical removal of the prepuce. It is a cultural, religious, or medical practice performed on males in some societies. Circumcision has associated benefits and risks, and its necessity or appropriateness varies depending on individual and cultural perspectives.