I have questions about cleanliness

Last updated on July 1, 2023


Dear Pastor,

I have a few questions for you, after reading parts of your website about boys growing up in the Lord.

I am 19 years old. I am at stage 5 of the Tanner Scale. I am wondering about the cleanliness of a full-grown man.

  1. Can I touch my genitals without washing my hands? If I have an itch near my balls or something, can I scratch and then just move on with whatever I’m doing? (Obviously not scratching in public.)
  2. Beyond this, do things get dirty if they come in contact with my penis/scrotum/pubic hair? Like sitting naked on a chair, bed, or floor or using the fly of my pants?
  3. I sleep naked sometimes, and I am wondering whether I have to shower every day. Can I just dress even if I haven’t showered the night before? Does my body become dirty from contact with the sheets?
  4. This is on a different topic, but I try to get to the gym and I was wondering if you have any guidelines for the locker room. I usually walk to and from the shower without clothes, and I have used the sauna without them too, just sitting on a towel. Is this okay, since it is an all-male locker room?

I know we should obviously shower regularly and keep clean, but sometimes it seems that our modern age is a little too wary of contact with our bodies.

Thank you for reading my email, I am very grateful. God bless you!


The reason for showering is that our skin sheds dead cells constantly and men tend to sweat because our muscles put off a good bit of heat. Bacteria love warm, moist environments and dead skin cells provide them with ample food. It is these bacteria that give off gases that stink as they eat and multiply. Bathing removes the bacteria (cutting down their number), soap tends to kill off a large number of them, and washing removes the dead skin cells and sweat. Less production of smelly gasses — less smells when you walk by.

A side issue is that there are some fungi that also love warm, moist places and can grow there. Washing also keeps these down. I mention this because itching can be a sign of fungal growth.

How often you should bathe depends on how much you sweat, how dirty the work is that you do, and how bad your acne is. Typically adult males in modern society wash once a day. In older times it often was once a week because preparing a bath was a major chore. But then, in older times, buildings were well-ventilated, so odors were not as noticeable. If others (especially females) notice your odor, then you are not bathing often enough.

Thus, if you are keeping yourself clean, touching your genitals is no different than touching other areas of your skin. Your backside would be an exception since it is exposed to fecal matter. Wiping helps, but it doesn’t remove all the germs. Women have different rules because their genitals get exposed to urine, blood, and vaginal fluids. But men are built differently.

Obviously, you need to wash before meal preparations, but that should be standard practice anyway. Keep in mind that public restrooms are often not very sanitary and you should wash your hands, not because you touched your penis but because you touched handles and the like in the public restroom.

For this same reason, your bedsheets are not polluted just because you sleep on them. You should wash your sheets regularly, just as you wash your clothes regularly, but typically once a week is adequate.

While you are not bothered walking around naked in the locker room, there are others who might be bothered seeing you naked. It would be better to keep a towel around your waist in more public places.


Dear Minister,

Thank you for your reply, I really appreciate your answers! If it is alright, I have three more questions.

  1. Sometimes a musky scent comes from my pubic area; it doesn’t seem to result from not bathing but seems almost like a hormonal thing. Do you know what this may be?
  2. I have a question about the testicles. How low are they supposed to hang when they are fully grown? I think mine are hanging, but they don’t seem to hang as low as other guys’.
  3. Is it okay to work out naked when I am alone, in my room for example? I feel like it saves clothes and helps me to be comfortable in my own skin.

Thank you once again for your help.
God bless you.


The most common cause of pubic area smells can be from not cleaning properly under your foreskin. The smegma that accumulates can smell. You can also pick up odors by putting on clothing that you’ve already worn and have not washed, especially gym clothes or protective equipment. In this case, the odor is coming from the clothing, but your skin and hair pick it up. A third possible cause is a yeast infection that has gotten severe enough to cause additional symptoms, such as redness and itching.

How low your testicles hang varies from person to person. One aspect is how long your testicle cords are. A second aspect is what your body temperature is. If you are naturally warm, your testicles will hang lower to provide more cooling. If you are in a cool environment or your natural body temperature is on the cooler side, then your testicles won’t hang as low to conserve heat.

What you do in the privacy of your own room when no one else is around is up to you.


Thank you, sir! I appreciate your help.

God keep you.