Updated: JULY 7, 2022
Reviewed by Dr. Sunny Rodgers
on May 12, 2022

The frenulum is the V-shaped elastic piece of skin that connects the foreskin to the glans on the underside of the penis. Its full title is the frenulum of prepuce of penis. The frenulum is also sometimes called the frenum. Banjo string is a colloquial term for frenulum.

Frenulum is a Latin word meaning "little bridle." There are many different frenula in the body, including in the brain, mouth and digestive tract. However, the frenulum in the penis is the only one commonly called the frenulum.

The frenulum in the penis helps the foreskin contract over the head of the penis. It is also the most sensitive part of the circumcised and uncircumcised penis. People can ejaculate through prolonged stimulation of the frenulum. This is true even for people with spinal cord injuries who are unresponsive to many other types of sexual stimulation.

Sometimes the penis develops without a frenulum, as with first-degree hypospadias. As the frenulum can greatly enhance sex, scientists are pioneering technology to restore the frenula of people who’ve lost or never developed this body part.

More About Frenulum

Stimulating the frenulum through all kinds of touch and sex can be incredibly pleasurable. However, since it’s so sensitive, it’s a good idea to go slow and be gentle. Some gentle foreplay, such as kissing and caressing other parts of the body, can help someone warm up and feel ready for stimulation of the frenulum. This is similar to the way foreplay helps prepare the clitoris for direct touch.

Some people suggest holding the penis’ shaft like a cell phone and using the thumb to gently stimulate the frenulum by mimicking the movement of sending a text message. Using short strokes during a hand job can also feel good. Licking the frenulum with a broad tongue, as if you’re licking an ice-cream cone, is a great oral sex technique. Vibrating toys can also be arousing, although as with all frenulum stimulation it’s better to start on a low, gentle setting first.

A frenulum piercing can enhance sex for the wearer and their sexual partners. During penetration, the piercing can stimulate the vagina or anus of the receiving partner. The piercing moves slightly, stimulating the frenulum of the pierced giving partner with each thrust. Some chastity devices used in fetish and BDSM circles also use frenulum piercings as anchor points.

The frenulum can tear during rough foreplay, masturbation or sex. It can also tear during non-sexual activities, such as bike riding and playing sports. If the tearing severs the frenular artery, it may cause substantial bleeding. In most cases though, tears are minor and can heal without treatment. It’s best to abstain from penetrative sex until the tear heals, as sex could reopen the wound. Lubricant can reduce the risk of tearing. If your frenulum tears often, you may have frenulum breve. A doctor can discuss the treatment options outlined above with you.


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