The head of your penis, the glans, is a sensitive part of your penis - usually the most sensitive part. When you’re born, the head of your penis is covered and protected by the foreskin.
Some boys and men are circumcised. This means the foreskin is cut away.
The foreskin is attached to the head by a band of skin called the frenulum. It is very sensitive to touch, particularly the bottom ridge.
If you’re uncircumcised, when you get an erection, the foreskin usually slides back and the head is uncovered. But in some men the frenulum can be very short. So when you have erection, it’s painful because your foreskin may be stopped from sliding right back over the head of your penis. A doctor can free it with a minor operation.
Whether you’re circumcised or not, it’s important to clean your penis carefully. Read more on how to care for the uncircumcised or circumcised penis.
Whether you’re circumcised or uncircumcised you should wash your penis every day.
If you're uncircumcised, gently pull back your foreskin and use warm water to clean the head of your penis. You can use soap on the shaft of your penis, but it’s probably not a good idea to use soap to clean under your foreskin.
Soap can upset the natural balance of bacteria and actually make you more likely to get fungal infections. If you do choose to wash the head of your penis with soap, use a gentle one without strong perfumes.
It's important to wash away smegma. This is a white or yellowish sticky substance made up of skin oil and shed skin cells. It’s perfectly natural, but it can build up under your foreskin and smell, irritate, and cause infection.