There’s been a lot on my mind this year, but at the top of it is this: foreskin.

I enjoy reading about sex both in romance novels and in non-fiction. The other day I was flipping through a tome entitled The Guide to Getting It On that devoted an entire chapter to the foreskin—discussing what it is, how men and their partners feel about it, and how they make it a pleasurable part of their sensual/sexual lives. It then occurred to me that not only have I never encountered a chapter in a romance novel about the foreskin and sex, but I’ve never seen the word ‘foreskin’ printed on a single page in one!

In all the detailed descriptions I’ve read of the penis in romance, the writing has never suggested that I and the hero’s partner are encountering anything other than a ‘cut’ member. And I’ve read about a lot of different penises—contemporary American surgeon penises, thirteenth-century Scottish warrior penises, and human-lion hybrid paranormal penises which have many—ahem—special features. I read m/f and m/m romances, and one would think since there are twice the number of penises in m/m romances, maybe the math would work in favor of the occasional foreskin appearance in those, but nope. Not one.

From my layman’s research, I’ve gleaned that circumcision is not the global default for men—I’ve seen stats that suggest about 70% of the world’s male population is actually uncircumcised (but also over half the male population in the US, where I live, is circumcised). So why is romance, with all its diverse depictions of sex, so shy about fictional foreskins? Where are the puzzled virgins in the Scottish castles going ‘woah, woah, what just came out of there?’ Where are the experienced heroes and heroines getting naked with their partners and crowing ‘My favorite! Foreskin play!’

I’m wondering why and I’m asking if you wonder this too. Have you ever read a romance that features a hero with a foreskin? Do you read romance written/published in parts of the world where not circumcising is the common practice and you’re surprised when you read a romance in which the hero isn’t packing a foreskin?

Please, do tell. I’d love to solve this mystery.