Ridged Band

In 1996 John Taylor described the ridged band of the foreskin. The ridged band is the transitional area between the outer skin of the foreskin and the inner mucosa of the foreskin, which is normally missing from circumcised men.

Taylor wrote: "Missing tissue included a band of ridged mucosa located at the junction of true penile skin with smooth preputial mucosa. This ridged band contains more Meissner's corpuscles than does the smooth mucosa and exhibits features of specialized sensory mucosa." (1)

Taylor described this area as being intensely vascular and highly innervated and containing a high concentration of Meissner's corpuscles. These corpuscles are nerve endings responsible for sensitivity to light touch.

Photo by deviantArt user ~tottus, used with kind permission - illustrates the ridged band
In 2007, Sorrells et al. performed a study on Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis. Among the conclusions of this study it was said that "The glans of the circumcised penis is less
sensitive to fine touch than the glans of the uncircumcised penis. The transitional region from the external to the internal prepuce is the most sensitive region of the uncircumcised penis and more sensitive than the most sensitive region of the circumcised penis. Circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis." (2)

With such strong conclusions, one would expect these two studies to at least be strongly mentioned in the recent 2012 American Academy of Pediatricians Policy Statement on Circumcision. However, it's interesting that the statement made no mention whatsoever of the anatomy of the foreskin (ignoring Taylor's studies), and they reduced Sorrells' study to this cryptic paragraph:

"There is fair evidence that men circumcised as adults demonstrate a higher threshold for light touch sensitivity with a static monofilament compared with uncircumcised men; these findings failed to attain statistical significance for most locations on the penis, however, and it is unclear that sensitivity to static monofilament (as opposed to dynamic stimulus) has any relevance to sexual satisfaction." (3)

It seems to me that this paragraph purposely obscured the intention and significance of Sorrells' study, when a more responsible (and unbiased) task force could at least have acknowledged the scope of the study and indicated the need for further studies to either confirm or disprove those conclusions.

Two circumcision advocates, Brian Morris (a molecular biologist) and Jake Waskett (a computer programmer), tried to discredit Sorrells study (4), but in doing so they committed two evident and obvious mistakes:

a) The most obvious mistake is explicitly expressed in this sentence which explains their readjustment of the data: "Positions 2–5 and 13–16 are not shown, as these are for the prepuce and thus not present on a circumcised penis." It's quite clear that you can't compare the differences between two organs (the circumcised and the intact penis) if you remove those parts that make them different.

b) The second mistake is to apply the Bonferroni method to the data. While this method is good to remove false positives, it often returns false negatives.

Back to the ridged band, if what's described by Taylor and Sorrells is accurate, every circumcision removes an area that is extremely sensitive, with a different type of sensitivity from that of the glans. Fleiss, in "What your doctor may not tell you about circumcision"(5) explains:

"Eversion and reversion of the foreskin during erection and sexual play cause the pleats of the ridged mucosa to expand and contract like the bellows of an accordion. This movement allows every surface of the pleats to come in contact with the rim of the glans. The unfolding and refolding of the ridged mucosa over the glans allows all the erotogenic nerve endings to be stimulated, increasing sexual pleasure."

Further in the book Fleiss also explains:

"The glans is nearly incapable of detecting light touch."

"The nerve receptors of the corona are designed to be stimulated through the medium of the foreskin. Direct stimulation of the glans of the intact penis is most pleasant when the stimulus mimics the moist, massaging action of the foreskin."

"The moving ring of pressure created by the lips of the foreskin and ridged mucosa stimulate the nerve receptors in the rim of the glans. While pleasurable stimulation of the frenulum and ridged mucosa is instantly perceived, sensation of the corona is slow and gradual. When fully stimulated, the erotic sensations felt in the corona are perceived as having a slow, warm and rich quality. As nice as this is, it hardly compares to the erotic sensations generated by the foreskin. Circumcised males have been robbed of a normal body part. They have also been robbed of a normal level of sexual sensation. Just as a person whose lips were amputated could never reallly appreciate the sensations that the lips can convey, so a circumcised male can never understand what his genitally intact friends experience. This helps explain why some circumcised males defend circumcision so vehemently. They have no idea what was taken from them and are psychologically unprepared to deal with their loss."

What this indicates is that the ridged band has both an active and a passive role. It actively stimulates the glans with circular pressure. Passively, it feels the fine touch -which the glans does not experience. The glans and the ridged band interact as part of the sexual system. Removing one of them causes the body to adapt to different circumstances, and reduces the array of sexual experiences and intensity available to the male.

Every circumcision removes the ridged band.

(1) http://www.cirp.org/library/anatomy/taylor/
(2) http://www.nocirc.org/touch-test/bju_6685.pdf
(3) http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/3/e756
(4) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1464-410X.2007.06970_6.x/full
(5) http://books.google.com/books?id=c-M54SXc1EMC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

Morris L. Sorrells M.D. discusses the penile sensitivity tests he and other doctors conducted that studied circumcised and intact penises. They concluded that circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis.


  1. My foreskin doesn't give me any sensation though. But still 100% against circumcision.

    1. I appreciate that you are against circumcision.

      I think that it is difficult to differentiate what sensation comes from the glans and what sensation comes from the foreskin. If you masturbate by gliding your foreskin over the glans, then both parts are sending you pleasure signals at the same time.

      One way you could verify this (partially) would be to retract and then hold the skin tightly at the base of the penis with one hand to prevent it from gliding, and then trying to masturbate with the other hand (without gliding motion). This should give you an idea of the difference.

      Or you can retract and stimulate only the area of the ridged band -without touching the glans and without rubbing the shaft- and see how that feels.