(Latin Frenulum: a small bridle. Breve: short)
The frenulum is similar to the joining ridge under the tongue.
A small sheet of skin underneath the glans joins the glans to
the foreskin. On the erect penis if the frenulum is too short,
when one retracts the foreskin and then lets go, the foreskin
slides or springs forward again. The condition is well described
as a "tether" (80), (81),
This condition is one of potential antagonistic pulls. During
erection the short frenulum tethers the foreskin forward, on the
other hand intercourse, and masturbation exert forces which pull
the foreskin backward. This causes a variety of pleasure/pain
sensations. The various degrees of brevity and thickness, and
infinite variations in the positioning, make it difficult to give
a simple description of the effects.
When masturbating the erection is manually controlled, so the foreskin
can be kept in a forward position and painful movements can be avoided.
Conscious problems start during intercourse when the foreskin is involuntarily
and repeatedly pulled backwards .
The strain often causes pain, soreness, and bruising for some days
afterwards, or the frenulum can rip.
Ripping occurs typically during first love making often resulting
in profuse bleeding. Subsequently the bleeding surfaces can congeal
and the frenulum rejoins even shorter than previously, sometimes developing
an ulcer like scar.
NEW pictures of frenulum
pictures of frenulum breve (unsuitable for under 18s)
Some men are born without a frenulum, sometimes the frenulum spreads
out like the roots of a tree; often the frenulum forms one prominent
ridge. This prominent frenular ridge runs from the foremost point of
the shaft in the "V" shaped cleft between the two cloves underneath
the glans, and runs back along the shaft and inner foreskin. A healthy
frenulum allows the foreskin to retract freely when erect. (This sheet
or ridge of tissue can be of any thickness. The thickness of the frenulum
appears to be independent of the length.)
The frenulum itself is not very sensitive, however it is attached
underneath and behind the glans and this area has a particularly abundant
network of nerves.
This is a most confusing condition, far more enigmatic than the
phimotic ring. The condition is so well hidden behind the foreskin
and underneath the glans, that the men themselves usually don't
recognise it until well after sexual activity has started. - they
frequently identify their difficulty as redundant prepuce or phimosis.
Public information and medical studies rarely acknowledge the condition
or describe the effects inaccurately or insufficiently. In the literature
there appears to be only rare indications as to what exactly the problem
is which is considered as necessary to surgically correct.
And there are no reliable statistics - (except on beef cattle
and pigs where early checks are performed for breeding soundness).
This incredible situation is shown fully in "The Frenulum Studies"
Clarification of the effects
A simple description of the effect of frenulum breve during erection,
is that when one retracts the foreskin and then lets go, the foreskin
slides (or springs) forward again. If one holds the foreskin back
it bends the glans downwards. The condition is well described as
a "tether" (80), (81),
The tethering effect of this short "bridle" holds the foreskin
When masturbating, the erection is manually controlled, so the foreskin
can be kept in a forward position and painful movements can be avoided.
Though afterwards some men express a feeling of soreness and being
bruised; pain or ripping are only occasionally reported during masturbation.
Generally problems occurs during intercourse. Lubrication is necessary
(e.g. the natural lubrication) or during penetration, ejaculation,
or if the vagina tightens, it will be painful as the foreskin is pulled
backwards on the frenulum. Often at these times the frenulum will rip.
Among men who are circumcised there is sometimes no foreskin for
the tension of the short frenulum to displace, and during erection
the glans bends downwards, or under this unavoidable direct strain
it may rip. It has been suggested that in the circumcised state,
if the frenulum does not rip this can lead to a permanent deviation
of the phallus (82).
Various Degrees of Brevity
There are various degrees of brevity. Anatomical and sexual effects
are related to the thickness and shortness of the frenulum breve,
and where it is positioned.
I believe we can define 6 different sorts of frenulum. Some men
have no frenulum. When a frenulum is present, we can define 5 different
lengths of frenulum
- extra long: some men have a frenulum which is so long and pleasurable
that they can pull on it to acheive orgasm.
- adequately long: among some men it is long enough to allow
easy retraction with no feeling of tension.
- border line: some feel it pulling during intercourse among these
some complain of premature ejaculation whereas others feel without
this stimulation they would not ejaculate - this could be as much
due to the length of frenulum as individual psychology
- too short: when it is too short it will either rip or cause
pain either during or after intercourse - whether it rips or not
probably depends more on the thickness of the frenulum than its
- Sometimes the frenulum is so short that there is actually no
frenulum and the foreskin is attached directly to the glans, even
directly underneath the meatus (the urinary opening of the glans).
These very short degrees will presumably either totally hinder
penetration or cause pain and rip when attempting this.
It appears that with less tight degrees, if the foreskin can be
retracted and penetration can be accomplished, this is more likely
to cause pain or rip during ejaculation, or to cause soreness and a
feeling of being bruised afterwards for a period of several days. Reports
suggest that some, (presumably milder degrees or thicker frenulum),
may rip eventually after several years of active sex.
Some men feel the frenulum pulling during intercourse; among these
some complain of premature ejaculation, whereas others feel that without
this stimulation they would not ejaculate. These attitudes could well
be due to different lengths and positioning of frenulum rather than
Frenulo-phimotic combinations are frequent. When frenulum breve
is combined with other conditions this has more complex effects. When
combined with a relative phimosis it is reported latching behind the
corona, creating a true spring mechanism for the foreskin.
WHEN THE FRENULUM RIPS
Without any warning to the young men who have the misfortune of
this membrane being too short, our cultures curious tradition is,
several years after puberty, to let it rip of its own accord. When
the frenulum rips it is usually accompanied by pain and bleeding
- this is the most commonly reported symptom of the condition.
Dr. Porst describes the experience : "Among a percentage
of men... on erection it tightens to its limit, and then can even
rip Furthermore, this mostly happens unsolicited, during the first
sexual encounter. A moment of great alarm follows for both participants
at the resultant bleeding." (9).
The Kinsey New Report say that such incidents are "not unusual" (10).
Sometimes it rips on the first sexual encounter often later. When
the frenulum rips, this may save years of adult problems.
Subsequently the bleeding will often congeal and the frenulum will
rejoin which may make it even tighter and then it will subsequently
rip again, so that the process continues ad infinitum. To add to the
general frustration, occasionally an ulcer like scab can develop on
the rip scar, and this may even break off when engaging in sex.
Whether it rips or not and if it rejoins certainly depends more
on the thickness of the frenulum than its shortness. Some men have
a thin frenulum breve which is typically topped with a string of skin
like a hem while others have a thick sturdy frenulum. It appears that
when a thick frenulum breve rips, it can rejoin, whereas a thin frenulum
breve leaves such tiny flaps of skin that they can recede into the
shaft skin beneath the glans. With a thin frenulum breve, once the
string which forms the hem on the frenulum rips, the remaining frenulum
will rip easily and naturally.
In addition, it is recognised that in old age as the skin tightens,
often a frenulum which had previously caused no apparent problem
can start to cause tension, and sometimes it may rip, or require
The ripping of the frenulum is a far more common fate of the frenulum
breve than an operation. - My personal interviews among 300 people
showed from around eight cases of ripping, that only two had informed
their doctors - (largely because it healed almost straight away)
There is therefore good reason to believe that frenular rips are
occurring at a far greater frequency than the medical profession
One woman described a man who was always soft inside her until ejaculation
when it hurt him, he was aware that the frenulum caused this pain,
he was apparently not aware of the weakness of his erection. One
man who was aware of the frenulum being too tight, advised his girlfriends
not to touch him there, a simple practical idea, except that it
made him to some extent untouchable. Neither of these men had realised
that there was a cure.
Because of the overall impression that the foreskin remains forward,
there is a tendency similar to phimosis for the adolescent to forget
to wash the area.
Incidentally because of the antagonistic pulls involved this condition
is especially problematic when trying to use a condom