The Royal Australasian College of Physicians states that the foreskin protects the glans, and that "the foreskin is a primary sensory part of the penis, containing some of the most sensitive areas of the penis. The effects of circumcision on sexual sensation however are not clear, with reports of both enhanced and diminished sexual pleasure following the procedure in adults and little awareness of advantage or disadvantage in those circumcised in infancy." The Royal Dutch Medical Association states that many sexologists view the foreskin as "a complex, erotogenic structure that plays an important role ‘in the mechanical function of the penis during sexual acts, such as penetrative intercourse and masturbation’."
Taylor et al. (1996) described the foreskin in detail, documenting a ridged band of mucosal tissue. They stated: "This ridged band contains more Meissner's corpuscles than does the smooth mucosa and exhibits features of specialized sensory mucosa." In 1999, Cold and Taylor stated: "The prepuce is primary, erogenous tissue necessary for normal sexual function." Boyle et al. (2002) state that "the complex innervation of the foreskin and frenulum has been well documented, and the genitally intact male has thousands of fine touch receptors and other highly erogenous nerve endings." The AAP noted that the work of Taylor et al. (1996) "suggests that there may be a concentration of specialized sensory cells in specific ridged areas of the foreskin."
Moses and Bailey (1998) describe the evidence of sensory function as "indirect," and state that, "aside from anecdotal reports, it has not been demonstrated that this is associated with increased male sexual pleasure." The World Health Organization (2007) states that "Although it has been argued that sexual function may diminish following circumcision due to the removal of the nerve endings in the foreskin and subsequent thickening of the epithelia of the glans, there is little evidence for this and studies are inconsistent." Fink et al. (2002) reported "although many have speculated about the effect of a foreskin on sexual function, the current state of knowledge is based on anecdote rather than scientific evidence." Masood et al. (2005) state that "currently no consensus exists about the role of the foreskin." Schoen (2007) states that "anecdotally, some have claimed that the foreskin is important for normal sexual activity and improves sexual sensitivity. Objective published studies over the past decade have shown no substantial difference in sexual function between circumcised and uncircumcised men."
The term 'gliding action' is used in some papers to describe the way the foreskin moves during sexual intercourse. This mechanism was described by Lakshamanan & Prakash in 1980, stating that "[t]he outer layer of the prepuce in common with the skin of the shaft of the penis glides freely in a to and fro fashion..." Several people have argued that the gliding movement of the foreskin is important during sexual intercourse. Warren & Bigelow (1994) state that gliding action would help to reduce the effects of vaginal dryness and that restoration of the gliding action is an important advantage of foreskin restoration. O'Hara (2002) describes the gliding action, stating that it reduces friction during sexual intercourse, and suggesting that it adds "immeasurably to the comfort and pleasure of both parties". Taylor (2000) suggests that the gliding action, where it occurs, may stimulate the nerves of the ridged band, and speculates (2003) that the stretching of the frenulum by the rearward gliding action during penetration triggers ejaculation.
Whiddon (1953), Foley (1966), and Morgan (1967) all believed that the presence of the foreskin made sexual penetration easier.