The vagina is the elastic, muscular part of the female genital tract. It extends from the vulva to the cervix. The outer vaginal opening is normally partly covered by a membrane called the hymen. At the deep end, the cervix (neck of the uterus) bulges into the vagina. The vagina is moisturized and lubricated by Bartholin's glands. The vagina allows for sexual intercourse and birth.
The vagina receives the penis during sexual intercourse. To accommodate smoother penetration of the vagina during sexual intercourse or other sexual activity, vaginal moisture increases during sexual arousal in human females. This increase in moisture provides vaginal lubrication, which reduces friction. The texture of the vaginal walls creates friction for the penis during sexual intercourse and stimulates it toward ejaculation, enabling fertilization.
Knowledge of the overwhelming superiority of the intact, foreskinned penis over the circumcised penis in assuring the pleasure and orgasm of the female partner is of long standing. Rabbi Isaac ben Yedaiah, who lived in Southern France in the late 13th century, wrote effusively of the pleasures that the foreskin provided to the woman. Marc Saperstein (1980) provided a translation:
A man uncircumcised in the flesh desires to lie with a beautiful-looking woman who speaks seductively to attract him. He vexes his mind to be with her day after day, growing weary in his attempt to fulfil his desire through lovemaking with her.
She too will court the man who is uncircumcised in the flesh and lie against his breast with great passion, for he thrusts inside her a long time because of his foreskin, which is a barrier against ejaculation in intercourse. Thus she feels pleasure and reaches an orgasm first. When an uncircumcised man sleeps with her, and then resolves to return to his home, she brazenly grabs him, holding on to his genitals and says to him, "Come back, make love to me." This is because of the pleasure that she finds in intercourse with him, from the sinews of his testicles—sinew of iron—and from his ejaculation—that of a horse which he shoots like an arrow into her womb. They are united without separating, and he makes love twice and three times in one night, yet the appetite is not filled.
Function of the male foreskin
Warren & Bigelow (1994) reported the foreskin "provides slack skin on the shaft of the erect penis allowing it to glide within its own sheath of skin during intercourse, one effect of which is to conserve vaginal lubrication. The gliding of the foreskin eases penetration and provides for more enjoyable intercourse for both partners and avoids problems with vaginal dryness."
Effect of the male foreskin on female sexual pleasure
O'Hara & O'Hara (1999) obtained surveys from 139 sexually experienced women. One survey was excluded. Of the 138 women included in the survey, 118 (85%} preferred their male partner to have a complete penis.
The authors reported:
When the anatomically complete penis thrusts in the vagina, it does not slide, but rather glides on its own 'bedding' of movable skin, in much the same way that a turtle's neck glides in and out of the folder layers of skin surrounding it. The underlying corpus cavernosa and corpus spongiosum slide within the penile skin, while the skin juxtaposed agaist the vaginal wall moves very little. This sheath-within-a-sheath alignment allows penile movement, and vaginal and penile stimulation, with minimal friction or loss of secretions. When the penile shaft is withdrawn slightly from the vagina, the foreskin bunches up behind the corona in a manner that allows the tip of the foreskin which contains the highest density of fine-touch neuroreceptors in the penis to contact the corona of the glans which has the highest concentration of fine-touch receptors on the glans. This intense stimulation discourages the penile shaft from further withdrawal, explaining the short thrusting style that women noted in their unaltered partners.
The authors explained the loss of vaginal lubrication:
As stated, circumcision removes 33-50% of the penile skin. With this skin missing, there is less tissue for the swollen corpus cavernosa and corpus spongiosum to slide against. Instead the skin of the circumcised penis rubs against the vaginal wall, increasing friction, abrasion and the need for artificial lubrication. Because of the tight penile skin, the corona of the glans, which is configured as a one-way valve pulls the vaginal secretions from the vagina when the shaft is withdrawn.
It is now clear that the foreskin works within the vagina, to improve sensation, reduce friction, and conserve vaginal lubrication.
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