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Some Men Claim Penis Exfoliation Is the Key to Better Sex

But how far will they go for a ‘silky smooth’ member?

Is it just me or does it seem like every year, another batshit wellness trend swoops down from the ethers to trick us into torturing our genitals for someone else’s profit?

First there was vaginal steaming. Then there were Goops’s much-maligned jade eggs, foreskin facials and penis whitening. And now, there’s this year’s unbelievable trend du jour, the Jamu Stick. Half stone dildo, half chemical rod, it tore a hole in the internet’s space-time continuum earlier this year for its patently ridiculous claim that it could “tighten the vagina” by providing “biological exfoliation of the callus inside of [it].” According to the company, exfoliating with their product “balances the vaginal microflora, increases sensitivity and even improves the odor and consistency of vaginal secretions.”

If you know anything about vaginas, you know how absolutely pointless, scientifically incorrect and sadistic such a “vaginal exfoliator” is. According to sexuality teacher, author and gynecological nurse practitioner Sheri Winston, the vagina is a self-cleaning organ that does a pretty bang-up job of sloughing off its own dead skin cells (which is why they don’t ever get “calluses”). Exfoliating then wouldn’t only be brutal, but completely unnecessary.

Thankfully, people quickly saw through the charade and took to social media to warn others not to excavate their most delicate body cavities with a stick that promised to make sex “always feel like the first time.”

But what about dicks? Being that penises aren’t self-cleaning, do they need to be gently polished every now and then so their inner radiance can shine through?

According to a surprisingly large number of men on Reddit and Your Brain Rebalanced, the answer is resoundingly “yes.” And while there’s zero credible academic research to support this practice (I looked, believe me), these men seem to swear by penis exfoliation as a cure-all for everything from dry skin to uneven tone to a lack of sexual pleasure brought on by desensitization. To be clear, good dick health does include regular washing and moisturizing to keep the skin clean and flexible, but as Winston explains, exfoliation isn’t typically something she — or most doctors — recommend.

Nevertheless, it’s got its stans. One of the most outspoken — and most elusive — is John Dugan, a mysterious man who has written what appears to be the internet’s largest repository of articles about well-exfoliated, “silky smooth” penises. And though he doesn’t have a personal website, social media or any sort of identity-affirming internet presence, he — or whoever his pseudonym actually belongs to — is extremely outspoken on the topic of penile softness.  

One of his contributions to the smooth dick discussion is a slideshow called “Exfoliating the Penis: How to Get a Smooth Member the Right Way” (this is actually the first thing Google brings up when you search for “penis exfoliation”). In it, he advises softness-seeking men to stay away from abrasive exfoliators like apricot scrubs, pumice or loofahs, but prescribes a surprisingly nuanced regimen of dietary interventions, oil applications and grooming methods intended to give men a “smooth penis to be proud of.”

One way he recommends men attain such a penis — aside from eating a shit load of cheese and “working oil in with the hands until the dead skin goes bye-bye” — is to use his own proprietary dick-softening product, Man1 Man Oil. A “nutrient crème to soothe dry, red, cracked or peeling penile skin and increase penile sensitivity,” this dick oil is revered on Amazon for its ability to help men recover from maladies such as death grip, erectile dysfunction and loss of pleasure.

But perhaps more importantly, it makes people’s girlfriends think their dicks “look great.”

This is a pivotal explanation for why many men take up a penis-exfoliation routine: ladies apparently love a baby-soft penis. So much so, Dugan claims, that they’ll actually change their behavior in bed when they encounter one.

In a separate article called “Silky Smooth Penis Skin — How to Keep Penis Skin Smooth and Supple to Increase Sexual Pleasure,” Dugan writes, without citing a single source, that softening the penis through gentle exfoliation and moisturizing can not only improve the quality and duration sex, but “increase the likelihood of fellatio,” make your partner “more adventurous in the bedroom” and inspire them to take more time to “stroke, fondle and tickle your penis.” Why? Because, as Dugan explains, “Silky smooth penis skin is just so touchable and luxuriant.”

While I’m not sure any of his unsubstantiated claims hold up, or that any partners of men with penises give two shits about how soft they are, lots of men appear to be chasing the smooth dick dragon in hopes that it’ll lead to the sort of sexual renaissance Dugan speaks of. Spencer (not his real name), a friend I used to work with at the adult store The Pleasure Chest, tells me he regularly buffs his dick with a loofah then covers it in jojoba oil so that it’ll “feel better” for his partners. “I want to be as smooth as possible down there,” he says, making sure to mention that he also shaves his pubes, chest and back as well. “Everything feels better when it’s smooth. Plus, I’d like to think my penis is as worthy of good skincare as my face or my hands.” When I ask him if it hurts to scrub his dick, he tells me it’s only really sensitive around the tip of his penis. The shaft, he assures me, is “safe to exfoliate.” His partners do tend to take notice. One apparently told him he had the “softest dick she’d ever felt.”

Having such a velveteen member seems to really enhance men’s own sensitivity, too. As Sad_J writes in a forum about penile exfoliation on Your Brain Rebalanced, using a gentle exfoliating scrub immediately made him feel “more sensation down there” and “made sex more pleasurable a few days later.” A redditor named xenolinguist whose penis had become desensitized as a result of too much friction said using exfoliating hand lotion twice a week on the head of his penis so completely reversed the lack of pleasure he’d been feeling that it brought him to tears. “It was like an epiphany,” he writes. “I was ecstatic.”

However, while there are mountains of anecdotal confirmations that penis exfoliation greatly increases sensitivity and pleasure, there’s no credible medical evidence that it actually works. Nor is it something most doctors recommend. As Winston explains, sensitization is largely a mental process that happens in the brain, not the skin itself, so sanding down your dick is unlikely to solve the underlying problem. Likewise, Robert Seltzer, a dermatologist, warns against using exfoliants to resensitize the skin because it could easily lead to “microtears and cause infection.” This is especially true if the head of the penis is the target of such self-love; the skin is thinner there than it is on the shaft, so it’s particularly prone to injury.

“If that were my patient and they had some sort of desensitization or thickening of their penis skin, I wouldn’t exfoliate it, I’d try to see what was causing that thickening and alter the behavior,” he tells me. “Exfoliating isn’t going to solve the root of the problem.”

It may make your dick prettier, though. In a Reddit thread about “exfoliating a sensitive area,” sollipse writes that he’s begun using “fairly nice masks and scrubs” on his dick twice a week. So far, he says he’s noticed a marvelous “effect on tone and smoothness.” ErectionQuest, whose penis is covered in tiny, white papules, recommends acne products and pumice stones. Writing on a BodyBuilding.com forum, MetalMonarch says he uses an exfoliating scrub to make his dick feel “cool as a cucumber.” Meanwhile, a redditor named Pm_Me_Books_Podcasts uses glycolic acid on his penis and balls to make them “smoother” and more “radiant.” In the comments section, he says it’s “fabulous” and that his wife “definitely noticed,” but that it also burned the living shit out of his dick. “There was a fire downstairs that day, and no one could put it out,” he writes.

Beyond that, there are many other even more elaborate ways men go about buffing their penises from basalt into diamonds — we’re talking almond scrubs, honey masks, Aztec clay, exotic oils and specialized balms. Then there are the Amazon products. One called Dry Skin Penis Doctor bills itself as “The EXACT TREATMENT Which You Can Use To Halt the dry skin on your penis” (grammar entirely theirs). Applying these products doesn’t seem to hurt anyone or make them regret taking giving their dick a spa day — most people just seem impressed with the results.

I can’t pretend to know everything, but I do know one thing: spa-like penile radiance alone doesn’t make sex good. But you know what? If it makes you feel good, fuck it — throw a nice mud mask on your member and go to town because, as Seltzer says, “If it’s not hurting you, so what?”

Pamper yourself, you silky penis man. You’re worth it.