In Praise of Docking, the French Kiss of Gay Sex

Our fucking is often defined by its intensity — which is why docking stands out as an intimate and almost poetic act

If you’d asked me as a kid what I thought sex between two adult men looked like, I would have described something similar to docking: two erect dicks pressing into one another, with all the erotic implications of a Chinese finger trap. As an adult, docking — a sex thing where one or both partners wraps their uncircumcised foreskin around the other’s penis — seemed like more of a comical idea about gay sex, rather than gay sex itself. 

Then, late one night while scrolling through Pornhub-dot-com-backslash-gay, I landed on a video called “Buddies Docking Penises and Cumming.” With a staggering 1.6 million views, the nearly five-minute clip is shot with the mise-en-scène of all good amateur porn: the empty plastic bottle next to the toilet, an errant camera strap, etc. Filmed from above, the two “buddies” stand facing each other, penises erect. I watched as penis No. 1 wrapped its uncut foreskin around the head of penis No. 2, as if it were hibernating for winter, and then as the foreskin of penis No. 2 jerked over the head of penis No. 1, producing a visible suction effect as the foreskins threatened to separate. Visually, their nearly identical girths and matching skin tones created one long virtually seamless penis: a penis No. 3. 

As a circumcised person myself, there was an aesthetic appreciation to penis No. 3 that I recognized almost immediately, similar to the platonic admiration I experience watching fisting porn: Bodies can do that? But as the hands belonging to penis No. 2 delicately jerked the conjoined foreskin of penis No. 3 back and forth and back and forth, that admiration turned shockingly erotic. “I’m going to cum,” penis No. 2 exclaimed, between ASMR-like panting. 

And as he did, so did I. 

At first, I felt silly getting off on the penile equivalent of scissoring. But like the narrative arc of that vulvar sex position — which went from being a comical manifestation of the male gaze, to something queer women were proclaiming was actually really pleasurable — I discovered that docking delivers a distinct kind of erotic pleasure. “It’s the French kiss of gay body contact,” says R.J., a pseudonymous uncircumcised gay man from North Carolina. “It’s frottage” — a non-penetrative form of gay sexual activity— “with a passport.”

He stresses docking’s tenderness, particularly in a gay community whose seventh most searched for Pornhub category last year was “rough sex.” “There’s not a lot of poetry in gay sex,” he says. “In so much of what we do, there’s this intensity — you don’t just get fucked, your hole gets destroyed. There’s a lot of banging and pounding; it’s this very insistent, aggressively hungry sex. But [docking] isn’t any of those things, right? It’s nice. It’s this moment of true intimacy.” 

The mechanics of docking are tricky, he explains — it requires both penises to walk an erotic tightrope. If either penis gets too erect or too flaccid, the foreskins detach. “So it only has this moment,” he says. “And if it turns you on too much, it ends.” Docking’s ephemeral nature is all part of its charm, though; R.J. compares it to sprinkles on a cake rather than the icing. “You’re already getting icing if you’re having sex, but this is a little extra,” he says. Coupled with the sensitivity of the foreskin, “it’s not like there’s a half hour of docking. It lasts like a few minutes.” 

He also relishes being able to offer uncut partners a rarefied sexual experience, particularly in a country like America where circumcision rates hover around 75 percent, one of the highest in the world. (Docking with one circumcised penis is known as “half-docking.”) “In a community where everyone is sort of trying everything, it’s one of the only things people haven’t tried yet because there’s a systemic limitation on it,” R.J. explains. 

At the same time, he stresses the importance of maintaining agency over his foreskin, particularly with cut partners. “If there was a Grindr profile that said ‘Looking to dock,’ I’d be like, Hard pass. There are definitely people who respond too eagerly. I don’t want to be fetishized,” he says. 

As a circumcised kid growing up in Seattle, self-described “reality hack turned porn star” Jack Mackenroth recalls seeing uncircumcised penises in the swimming pool locker room, and thinking they were “kind of gross.” But over time, owing in part to a relationship with an uncircumcised man from New Zealand 15 years ago, he’s developed what he calls a “foreskin fetish.” “I don’t want to fetishize any group of people specifically,” he says. “But some people like feet, I like foreskin. I love to play with it. I just do.”

Mackenroth, who competed on Season Four of Project Runway, recently experienced his first docking session, which he filmed for his OnlyFans account with an uncircumcised man he met on the site. “We were taking his enormous foreskin and jacking off my dick, like a Fleshlight sort of thing,” says Mackenroth. “It’s a turn-on, but it doesn’t really feel like you’re having anal sex or that someone is masturbating you. It’s more of a visual turn-on for me.”

Today, he considers circumcision “genital mutilation,” and, as such, he’s been aggressively attempting to restore his own foreskin for the last year. He describes the process of stretching — at first using a device specifically made for the process, then switching to a homemade contraption he’s constructed out of fishing weights and duct tape — as “not super comfortable,” though it also provides a particular kind of thrill. “It’s the fantasy of Oh, I’ve got this big pendulous cock, which I don’t. But when you add a pound-and-a-half to it, it feels like it,” he says. Before he started this restoration process, Mackenroth felt excluded from docking. “It does say in the Urban Dictionary, which we all know is god’s word, that both guys have to be uncut,” he explains.

I Grew Back My Foreskin, and You Can Too

But over the last couple of decades, he’s become less judgmental and more sexually expansive, the rules he once clung to slowly dissolving. The day before we spoke, he filmed a docking scene with a man whose penis was injected with medical-grade silicone, a form of body modification that once turned him off. Inserting his penis between the man’s engorged foreskin was “basically like fucking his dick,” he says. “His foreskin was like a warm fleshy donut.”

It’s hard to talk about docking without talking about the politics of foreskin, particularly as it relates to “intactivism,” the anti-circumcision movement that developed in the 1990s. A sense of grief fuels many intactivists, who see circumcision as a form of  “genital mutilation” that’s hindered them emotionally, spiritually and sexually — and has even altered their sexuality. 

“I’m bisexual with a fetish for uncut cock. I can’t help but wonder — if I wasn’t cut, would I still have that fetish, and would I be fully straight?” says a 21-year-old student named Sebastian (not his real name) on Reddit. “I don’t really know what to do about it, but it’s taking over my life, and it totally could’ve been avoided if I just wasn’t fucking circumcised. I want kids and a family, I don’t want to be craving foreskin when I’m old.” 

Though he usually considers himself the dominant partner in bed, Sebastian takes on more of a submissive role with uncut guys. “They have something that I don’t,” he tells me. “Which makes it more attractive.” Docking is one of the ways he fulfills his fetish, in part because he says having another man’s foreskin wrapped around his penis approximates the feeling of being intact. He’s also — surprise! — a big fan of docking porn.

According to statistics provided by Pornhub, docking remains an incredibly niche category, accounting for only 0.002 percent of daily searches, or around 3,000 searches per day. To my surprise, women are disproportionately interested in it, and are 46 percent more likely to search for docking than men. After “cock docking,” the second most popular docking related search is “futa docking,” which is short for “futanari”: a form of 3-D anime porn depicting women with humongously enlarged penises that also became popular in the 1990s (what a decade). 

To find out more I went — where else? — to Reddit, where I solicited insight into futa docking and its relationship, if any, to regular ol’ dick docking. I gratefully received this response, which I’ll paste here in all its glory, because I can’t think of a better way to end this piece:

“At least for me, futa docking is a sort of erotic absurdism — taking sexual ideas and warping and exaggerating them. There’s a gradual progression to reach this point: normal porn leads to hentai, which leads to futa, which leads to larger futa, until the girls have dicks large enough to stick another dick inside of it. I personally don’t think it’s as outwardly ‘sexy’ as it is just interesting, although I’m sure there are certainly people who do find it completely arousing.

“As for its relation to cock docking, I think they’re two completely different fetishes. Cock docking, from what I’ve seen, is more about the foreskin in a somewhat more advanced form of frotting. Futa docking, being unbound by the laws of nature, is all about the insertion — the aforementioned absurd and impossible nature of it. If you want a real-life equivalent, futa docking is more like r/sounding (a link I recommend the faint of heart to avoid). 

“Again, this is all my own opinion. Don’t assume I’m trying to speak for everyone here in my reply. This seems like a really fucking weird subject for an article, so, uh, good luck, I guess.”