Psychological Impact of Phimosis

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Jim 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #38320 Reply


    I developed phimosis as a young child when, at the direction of my parents, I forcefully retracted my foreskin at the age of 5. It was an incredibly traumatic incident that would have a profound impact on my life.

    As I grew up, I gradually became aware that I was different. I started masturbating and I didn’t look like the guys on screen. When I realized I had a problem (around the age of 11 or 12, in the early 2000s) I couldn’t find any information to even properly identify the issue. I had no idea phimosis was something that affected other boys, and so I was sure I was alone in my struggle. With seemingly no information at my disposal, and no way I could muster the courage to discuss my problem with my parents or anyone else, I became suicidal.

    I was convinced that I was broken and could never had sex and therefore never have a meaningful relationship with a girl. I was a popular kid and got on well with girls, but I soon learned to push them away and avoid any sexual contact for fear of them seeing my penis. I was convinced that I would get to a point in my life where I could no longer reasonably push women away and I would then have to kill myself. The shame I felt about my body was that strong.

    It wasn’t until a friend of mine killed himself when we were 17 that things changed. I saw the outpouring of grief at his death and I thought maybe there was reason for me not to give up. I was finally able to build up the courage to talk to my mother about my problem, and she set up an appointment with a urologist. Seeing the urologist was the first time I’d ever heard the term phimosis or had any idea that others had had the same struggle as me. At first, he prescribed a steroid cream and advised me to try and stretch my foreskin, but he did not give me any real direction on this and he did not explain how long it could take. I tried for several months to stretch the foreskin, but made little to no progress. I went back to the urologist and he then suggested circumcision. I agreed, not knowing what else to do. I was circumcised at 18.

    I recovered, that is to say the head of my penis became desensitized to the point of general comfort, in only a few months. Only then did I begin interacting with girls, finally loosing my virginity at 19. With the physical problem dealt with, then began the lifelong task of dealing with the psychological impacts of what I’d been through. I’m 28 now and I still think about it almost every day.

    I have no idea how this will sound to any of you. Looking back, I feel ashamed that I didn’t speak up sooner, but I just didn’t feel like I could. I wish I’d sought information earlier, though I don’t think there was much available online when it would have made a difference for me.

    On top of that shame is the deep regret of lost adolescent relationships. I pushed girls away because I couldn’t handle what I was going through and I was too ashamed to share any of that pain with them. Thoughts of what could have been haunt me to this day.

    Though there is so much information available online now, information that is no doubt saving lives, there seems to be very little information/discussion of the psychological impact that phimosis and related issues have on men and boys. I cannot overstate the impact phimosis has had on my life. And while all the information and discussion of the physical problem is critically important, I think discussion of the profound psychological impact these things can have on boys and men is lacking. 10 years after circumcision, I’m still traumatized.

    I can’t be the only one.

  • #38347 Reply


    I’m not sure where to begin, as you haven’t clearly definec what the real issue is. To begin, early retraction itself is not a cause of phimosis. Phimosis is naturally congenital, so if you achived retraction, did not have phimosis. Was there an injury which led to discontinuing retraction?

    How did you perceive yourself as different? Different to whom? Were comparisons actually made?

    Do you resent your circumcision? Millions do, and that is legitimate and understandable.

    I’d guess that most men with phimosis neither suffer nor care. Furthermore, I suspect most intact teen boys don’t allow for feelings either way about retractions. They just accept and live with it unless someone else points it out.

    Regret og circumcision is well known, and for valid reasons as it robs of sexual satisfaction.

    That having been said makes your feelings no less valid nor genuine. I advise you to find counsel with a psychologist who can help you to sort out the root cause of your problem.

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