How to put a condom on an intact penis

Most of the world's sexually active men are happily intact for a lifetime. And because the majority of today's parents in the United States are also keeping their sons intact, future generations of men in the U.S. will come into maturity with all they were meant to have as well -- making the following useful information to know.

How to put a condom on an intact penis:

Catheterization Without Retraction

By Adrienne Carmack, M.D. board-certified urologist, in practice in Texas, and author of The Good Mommy's Guide to Her Little Boy's Penis and Marilyn Fayre Milos, R.N. Executive Director of Genital Autonomy America, California.

Catheterization Without Retraction
Canadian Family Physician. 2017 Mar; 63(3): 218–220.

Over the past century, numerous boys born in Canada and the United States have been circumcised. (1) However, this trend is changing, with neonatal circumcision being performed less commonly than in years past. (2,3) Because of these historical practices, many physicians and nurses have limited experience treating patients with intact foreskins and engage in ill-advised procedures such as premature foreskin retraction for purposes of “hygiene” or catheterization. Premature retraction of the foreskin can lead to tearing of healthy tissue, which is painful and increases the risk of preputial scarring and infection. (4–6) We describe a method for catheterization in which premature retraction of the foreskin is not necessary.


The foreskin should first be gently manipulated to determine if the meatus can be easily visualized. Pressure used for this should be gentle to avoid tearing of tissues, similar to the amount of pressure that would be used when spreading the labia to visualize the meatus of a girl. If the natural attachments of the foreskin to the glans (head of the penis) remain, the foreskin should not be forced back to expose the meatus.

If the foreskin can be gently moved such that the glans and meatus can be seen, catheterization can be performed under direct vision using a sterile technique. The foreskin should never be retracted past the point where it has already naturally separated. (7)

If the meatus cannot be seen, the genitals can be prepared and draped in a sterile manner without retraction. The catheter can then be lubricated and gently inserted through the foreskin opening and guided into the meatus, much like an intravenous catheter is guided into a vein by feel. Gentle pressure with the thumb along the dorsal aspect and the fingers along the ventral surface of the penis can keep the catheter from slipping between the glans and inner lining of the foreskin into the preputial space (Figure 1).

When catheterization is being performed for the purpose of collecting a urine specimen, the foreskin should also not be forcibly retracted. In both boys with an intact prepuce and girls, the initial urine obtained during catheterization should be discarded, as this will contain preputial and periurethral flora. The latter urine should be saved for culture. (8)


An understanding of the normal anatomy and development of the foreskin illustrates why the technique of catheterization without retraction is an important skill for health care practitioners. Physiologic phimosis is the normal state of young boys. (9) This finding is characterized by a closed preputial outlet with the inner mucosa of the foreskin beginning to evert through the preputial opening, which is healthy with no scarring. The glans cannot be seen without retraction. This is in contrast to pathologic phimosis, in which the glans and meatus can often be seen, as the scarred ring of the preputial orifice is held open and no mucosa is visible at the preputial outlet. (10)

In a Danish study, 8% of healthy boys aged 6 to 7 still had complete physiologic phimosis preventing visualization of the meatus, and only 23% of boys this age had fully retractable foreskins. (11) In a Japanese study, 84.3% of boys aged 6 months to 1 year had a tight ring preventing any retraction, and this decreased gradually with time to 40% at ages 1 to 2 years, 28% at ages 3 to 4 years, 20% at ages 5 to 7 years, 16% at ages 8 to 10 years, and 8.6% at ages 11 to 15 years. (12)

The term phimosis is Greek and means “a muzzling.” Physiologic phimosis simply means the foreskin cannot be retracted and the glans is “muzzled.” Ballooning during urination is a common finding and part of the normal developmental process of foreskin separation. (10) It occurs because the opening of the immature foreskin is not yet lax enough to accommodate a full urine stream or passage of the glans through it. The foreskin and glans separate naturally as the child develops, has erections, and manipulates his foreskin. When a young boy manipulates his foreskin naturally, he tends to pull his foreskin away from his body, not toward it, as is done with retraction. As he gets older and more curious, he begins to pull his foreskin toward his body as well. (10) In most boys, physiologic phimosis resolves naturally by the end of puberty. (11)

The foreskin and glans are connected by the balanopreputial lamina, a membrane similar to the synechial membrane that connects the nail bed and the fingernail. The balanopreputial lamina is sometimes called the synechia. This membrane and the small preputial opening prevent retraction in boys with normal physiologic phimosis. The attachment might be forcefully disrupted, just as the fingernail can be torn from the nail bed, but this causes pain, is unnecessary, and can lead to infection, scarring, adhesion formation, or iatrogenic phimosis. There is no functional need for the glans to be exposed, and there is a protective effect of having the foreskin attached to and covering the glans.

Because the foreskin protects the glans penis and urethral meatus, premature exposure of the glans, as occurs after circumcision, commonly leads to meatal stenosis, in which a substantial part of the circulatory system in the glans penis is damaged (the frenular artery), and the glans tissue is exposed, denuded, and inflamed, which can lead to ulceration and subsequent scarring of the urethral opening. This inflammation and ulceration are caused by disruption of the normal attachment between the glans and foreskin, the absence of the protective foreskin, interruption in the normal circulatory system, or blisters from ammonia burns. (13–15) The blisters and ulceration at the opening of the urethra are caused by contact of urine-soaked diapers with the urethral meatus, which is no longer protected by the foreskin.

Retracting the foreskin of a prepubescent boy with physiologic phimosis, although still a common recommendation by many health care practitioners, has been shown to increase problems such as scarring and infection. These might result in iatrogenic pathologic phimosis and lead to a higher likelihood of circumcision being performed at a later date. (16)  If the prepuce is unable to retract, there is nothing to clean under. The foreskin should not be retracted for cleaning until the foreskin has naturally separated and the child can do this himself. In fact, the owner of the foreskin should be the first person to retract his foreskin. Forceful retraction causes microtears that can lead to pathologic phimosis. (10)

An additional danger of premature retraction is paraphimosis, a condition in which the retracted foreskin becomes stuck behind the glans penis, cutting off circulation and leading to ischemia and possibly penile gangrene if not treated promptly. Retracting the foreskin and cleansing with soap, commonly believed to be important for proper hygiene, not only exposes the child to the risks of premature foreskin retraction, but also to the risks of infection such as balanitis, which has been shown to be associated with the use of soap on the delicate mucosal tissues of the male genitalia. (17) Soap dries out mucosal tissue and should never be used on the glans or inner foreskin. The foreskin should be left alone until it demonstrates the ability to retract. (10) Once this is possible, foreskin care is simple: retract (gently and only to the extent possible), rinse, replace. Warm water and fingertips adequately clean the tissue.

Besides false beliefs about hygiene, one of the main reasons boys are subject to premature foreskin retraction is that many health care professionals believe that the foreskin must be retracted to obtain a clean specimen for urine culture. Fortunately, this is not the case. With proper technique, as described above, urine specimens can be obtained from boys with intact foreskins without exposing these patients to the risks of premature foreskin retraction. Although the focus of this article is on a technique for catheterization, it must be remembered that catheterization is an intervention that carries risks. The risks of catheterization include discomfort and introduction of bacteria into the urinary tract, which could lead to infection. Indications for catheterization include the need to monitor urine output for medical management, emptying the bladder in patients who are unable to do so, introducing contrast material for imaging procedures such as a voiding cystourethrogram, and obtaining a urine specimen for analysis in patients who are unable to provide one.

If a patient can reliably void into a collection container, catheterization for monitoring urine output can be avoided. Patients who cannot empty their bladders have the options of clean intermittent catheterization, indwelling urethral catheterization, and suprapubic catheter placement. Other options for collection of a urine specimen for analysis and culture include a midstream voided sample and suprapubic aspiration, and these should be considered when determining the optimal approach for specimen collection.8 Suprapubic aspiration is significantly more painful than urethral catheterization in premature male infants (P < .001). (18) Contamination is possible with catheterized samples as it is with voided samples.19 This suggests that catheterization for urine specimen culture should be reserved for those patients who are unable to provide a voided specimen into a clean container, and suprapubic catheterization should only be used if previous efforts to obtain a specimen have resulted in contamination.


In boys with intact prepuces and physiologic phimosis, catheterization without retraction minimizes potential long-term problems and is an effective technique. Understanding how to catheterize without direct vision of the meatus and discarding the initial urine if culture is desired allow this procedure to be performed with high validity and minimal risk of iatrogenic problems for the child.


1. Weiss H, Polonsky J, Bailey R, Hankins C, Halperin D, Schmid G. Male circumcision. Global trends and determinants of prevalence, safety and acceptability. Geneva, Switz: World Health Organization, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS; 2007.

2. Maeda JL, Chari R, Elixhauser A. Circumcisions performed in U.S. community hospitals, 2009. Rockville, MD: Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2012. Available from: Accessed 2015 Jun 15.

3. Fetus and Newborn Committee, Canadian Paediatric Society Neonatal circumcision revisited. CMAJ. 1996;154(6):769–80. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

4. Kaplan GW, McAleer . Structural abnormalities of the genitourinary tract. In: Mac-Donald MG, Mullett MD, Seshia MMK, editors. Avery’s neonatology. Pathophysiology and management of the newborn. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005. p. 1088.

5. Roberton NRC. Care of the normal term newborn baby. In: Rennie JM, Roberton NRC, editors. Textbook of neonatology. 3rd ed. Edinburgh, UK: Churchill Livingstone; 1999. pp. 378–9.

6. American Academy of Pediatrics . Newborns: care of the uncircumcised penis. Guidelines for parents [pamphlet] Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 1984.

7. Lacroix LE, Vunda A, Bajwa NM, Galetto-Lacour A, Gervaix A. Catheterization of the urethra in male children [video] N Engl J Med. 2010;363(14):e19. [PubMed]

8. Schaeffer AJ, Schaeffer EM. Infections of the urinary tract. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, Partin AW, Peters CA, editors. Campbell-Walshurology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders-Elsevier; 2007. pp. 238–9.

9. Smeulders N, Wilcox DT. Urology. Disorders of the kidney and urinary tract. In: Rennie J, editor. Rennie & Roberton’s textbook of neonatology. 5th ed. London, UK: Churchill Livingstone–Elsevier; 2012. p. 949.

10. McGregor TB, Pike JG, Leonard MP. Pathologic and physiologic phimosis. Approach to the phimotic foreskin. Can Fam Physician. 2007;53:445–8. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

11. Oster J. Further fate of the foreskin. Incidence of preputial adhesions, phimosis, and smegma among Danish schoolboys. Arch Dis Child. 1968;43(228):200–3. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

12. Kayaba H, Tamura H, Kitajima S, Fujiwara Y, Kato T, Kato T. Analysis of shape and retractability of the prepuce in 603 Japanese boys. J Urol. 1996;156(5):1813–5. [PubMed]

13. Canning DA, Nguyen MT. Evaluation of the pediatric urology patient. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, Partin AW, Peters CA, editors. Campbell-Walsh urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders-Elsevier; 2007. p. 3215.

14. Elder JS. Abnormalities of the genitalia in boys and their surgical management. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, Partin AW, Peters CA, editors. Campbell-Walsh urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders-Elsevier; 2007. p. 3749.

15. McGrath K. The frenular delta. A new preputial structure. In: Denniston GC, Hodges FM, Milos MF, editors. Understanding circumcision. A multi-disciplinary approach to a multidimensional problem. New York, NY: Springer; 2001. pp. 199–206.

16. Metcalfe PD, Elyas R. Foreskin management. Survey of Canadian pediatric urologists. Can Fam Physician. 2010;56:e290–5. Available from: Accessed 2017 Feb 2. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

17. Birley HD, Walker MM, Luzzi GA, Bell R, Taylor-Robinson D, Byrne M, et al. Clinical features and management of recurrent balanitis; association with atopy and genital washing. Genitourin Med. 1993;69(5):400–3. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

18. Badiee Z, Sadeghnia A, Zarean N. Suprapubic bladder aspiration or urethral catheterization: which is more painful in uncircumcised male newborns? Int J Prev Med. 2014;5(9):1125–30. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

19. Lau AY, Wong SN, Yip KT, Fong KW, Li SP, Que TL. A comparative study on bacterial cultures of urine samples obtained by clean-void technique versus urethral catheterization. Acta Paediatr. 2007;96(3):432–6. [PubMed]

Related Reading

Urine Samples and Catheter Insertion for Intact Boys:

Using a Catheter Without Retraction: My Nurse Did It, and So Can Yours!

How the Foreskin Protects Against UTIs:

UTI and Circumcision Resources:

Circumstraint Patent and Origin

By Brian Brown © 2016

Is the Olympic Circumstraint a medieval torture device or piece of modern medical equipment? It is difficult to tell, but one thing is for certain: the grave horrors this board has witnessed pale most other traumas that are needlessly inflicted upon the bodies of newborn babies in North America.

Pictured above is the original blueprint of the circumstraint - a retraining board used most often for forced genital cutting of infants. Although the design has changed since its inception in 1953, the intent has not - it is an effective way to immobilize a small infant. 

The patents reads (in part): 
An infant immobilizing device particularly suited to the performance of circumcision and other operations upon small infants for which general anesthesia is not necessary or advisable.  
...substantially complete immobility is achieved.  
[The size is ideal.] This is true since operations of this type are usually performed in the first two weeks of life but not until the infants weight has increased to about seven pounds. It is found, therefore, that a retaining depression 10b cupped approximately to fit an average eight-pound infant will do well for the majority of cases. 
While fairly close conformity of the depression walls to the body contour is desirable to minimize freedom of movement of the child, nevertheless a small amount of clearance from the infants body along the depression walls is not objectionable in that regard and is actually preferred to an excessively tight fit creating discomfiture for lack of air circulation around the skin. The walls of the depression should extend well up around the sides of the body members to furnish lateral restraint against physical movement, but should otherwise leave the body exposed as much as possible for access by the surgeon.

Interestingly, the patent makes no mention of the sex of the child that this device is appropriate for. In post-war America, it was perfectly legal to immobilize any infant for the purpose of cutting their genitals – male, female, or intersex. Females finally gained legal protection in 1997 from this medieval practice in the United States. Isn’t it time we extend the basic right of genital autonomy to all? 

Related reading: 

Author and genital cutting survivor, Patricia Robinett, speaks about her own forced circumcision: 

An anonymous nurse describes the horror of genital cutting upon the circumstraint:

FGM Bill of the United States:

Olympic Circumstraint patent:

Also by Brown: 

Circumstraint Product Description

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...