Zach, 24, was having a problem with his penis. Rather than head to a doctor where he could have it dealt with in private, he decided to head onto a TV show where you show your troubled penis to a qualified doctor and hundreds of thousands of viewers.
“My willy, it won’t function sometimes,” he explained on British TV show The Sex Clinic. “The foreskin goes above the f—ing bellend.”
He was worried that he’d have to have his foreskin cut back, but that definitely wasn’t the problem.
Zach, from Gloucestershire, England, told the show’s nurse about his difficulties, before being referred to the consultant.
His foreskin had started to feel tight, especially during sex, and there was an unusual smell.
“I’ve been having sex for years, but only more recently my foreskin comes back behind the bell end.”
He had been having the problem for nine months, but “one time I looked down and it alarmed me, I need[ed] to sort this out. It was congealed at the top… it looked grim. It smells foul. I [thought] I can’t have this.”
He described how it meant he sometimes left sex “unfinished”, leaving him feeling like he’d “failed” and “my package has failed me. It’s obviously frustrating because you know, it’s your sex life.”
His recent partner had told him he’d “gotten bigger”, which should probably set off alarm bells, but he thought he might still be growing. The nurse was quick to tell him “How old are you, 24? I think you’ve stopped growing now babe.”
She told him he’d probably gotten “bigger” due to swelling associated with balanoposthitis, inflammation of the penis and foreskin, and he was sent to see the consultant.
The consultant inspected his penis, pulling back the foreskin. He expressed discomfort and explained that “it felt unfamiliar”. After pulling it back himself under her watch, he told Dr Naomi Sutton “I wouldn’t naturally pull it back any further than that.”
Dr Sutton asked him whether he had pulled back his foreskin any further than that when he was younger. From what he remembered he “wouldn’t ever pull it back that far”.
The cause of his discomfort had been found.
“Ok so this stuff underneath is called smegma,” the doctor explained.
Smegma is a build-up of oil, shed skin, and moisture. This build-up is not healthy, and can lead to swelling and infection. It is perfectly treatable by washing, something it appears Zach had not done so far during his life.
The nurse asked him how he washed down there, and how thoroughly he washed underneath his foreskin, to which Zach replied: “I don’t”. As far as he could remember he had never pulled his foreskin back to wash underneath. Now it was too sensitive to approach with a flannel.
The bartender, who says he’s slept with around 40 women, was told that washing properly would cause the discomfort and swelling to go down.
People were a bit grossed out by the segment.
Dr Naomi Sutton, the consultant who saw Zach, defended him on Twitter, explaining that it’s good to get these problems out in the open and talk about them, to inform others.
Which is true, and hopefully, others watching the show will wash better as a result.
However, not everyone was convinced.
If you’re in the UK you can watch The Sex Clinic on E4.