Practicing proper penis health gives a man (and his partners) peace of mind. Men need to take steps to ensure safe sex in order to keep that penis healthy, and when dealing with normal penetrative sex, it’s relatively easy to do so: use a condom, be sure to be tested, know if the partner has been tested, etc. But what about sexual activities which are not about vaginal intercourse - such as docking? Does docking carry any penis health risks that a man should know about?

What it is

Docking is not as common a practice in the United States as it is in some other parts of the world, one reason being that it requires a foreskin, but circumcision is the prevalent practice in America. According to the CDC, about 81% of men between 14 and 59 are circumcised. However, that remaining 19% represents a fairly large pool of people, so many men are capable of practicing docking.

Docking involves two men, both of whom are usually erect and standing facing each other. They bring their penises together at the tips, and one of them stretches his foreskin so that it extends past his glans and stretches around the tip of the other man’s penis. Depending upon the length and pliability of the foreskin, it may stretch several inches around the partner’s penis. A form of mutual masturbation usually ensues, with the intention to keep both penises inside the foreskin.

Although docking is more commonly practiced among men who are homosexual or bisexual, some heterosexual men engage in the practice as well.

Penis health issues

Many men find docking to be an especially enjoyable activity. The "sharing" of the foreskin creates an intimate bonding experience for many participants. But are there any penis health issues that participants should be aware of?

The answer, as is the case with many sexual activities, is yes. Among the penis health issues that docking men should be aware of are:

- Foreskin tear. Clearly, the foreskin of one man is not naturally designed to accommodate a second penis. Therefore, men who engage in docking need to be careful that they don’t stretch the foreskin so far as to cause tearing. Both penises should be well lubricated, and the foreskin should be slowly stretched out over time before attempting the docking procedure.

- Smegma. It is absolutely imperative that both participants practice decent penis hygiene. In uncircumcised men, lack of hygiene can lead to the build-up of smegma, a combination of dead skin cells, oils and moisture. While smegma is not dangerous, it is unappealing and can cause itching or rashing in some men.

- Yeast infections. Similarly, yeast infections can be passed from one penis to the next - so participants should refrain from the activity if either party is currently infected.

- STIs. Some STIs can be spread from docking, although the risk is lower than during penetrative sex. Still, there is the possibility of such STIs as syphilis, herpes, etc.

- Scabies and pubic lice. These itch-inducing menaces can be a problem if one (or both) participants are infected with them.

- Pain and soreness. And, of course, over-stretching the foreskin can result in some pain, as can the tightness of the foreskin on the participating penises.

Docking is less risky if both participants know they are clear of any diseases and infections, although soreness and tearing are still possible problems.

Docking will be more enjoyable if the penis health of both parties is top notch, so regular use of a first class penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) is advised. Supple, pliable skin is needed, so choose a crème that includes both a high-end emollient (look for Shea butter) and a natural hydrator (such as vitamin E), which together can keep the skin moisturized and more accommodating to stretching. In addition, find a crème that includes vitamin D, the so-called "miracle vitamin" to support healthy cellular function.