Male Circumcision ‘Does not Reduce Sexual Pleasure’


A study officially declared that circumcision does not reduce sexual pleasure. This study was conducted to find out any difference in sexual satisfaction and performance between circumcised and uncircumcised men.
A systematic review concluded that the controversial practice has no adverse effect on sensitivity or sexual function. Total 36 studies were identified and most of them were based on observations. Two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) from African countries were identified. All in all the reviews found no evidence for any variations between circumcised and uncircumcised men on basis of sexual pleasure or sexual function.

Even though the review considered large body of evidence there were some factors which influenced these findings.

Most studies were surveys and the recruitment process is not described. There could be possibility that men having satisfying sexual life might be willing to participate and answer questions on sexual satisfaction and performance than those who were least interested.

Most response in this study was subjective and what seems a sexual problem or satisfaction for one person might not be the same for another. There may be ethnic and cultural differences in the participants and so these findings can’t be easily transferrable.

In general, this is useful review which combines the results of global literature which inspects on how the sexual pleasure and function differs in circumcised and uncircumcised men.

Details of The Study

The study was conducted out by two researchers from the University Of Washington School Of Medicine, Seattle, US and The University of Sydney, Australia. It was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. The financial support sources are not reported.

This was a systematic review which aims to find out the effects on function or pleasure which are known in global literature of circumcision. Male circumcision is a common procedure carried out for different reasons of health, tradition, aesthetics and religion.

Various studies have suggested that circumcision have several benefits on health. This reduces the risk of infectious cancer of the genitourinary system. On the other hand, there is a debate on whether circumcision has any effect on male sexual pleasure or function.

This reporting represents the findings of research but its claim of being official is unsupported. In general, quite a few things are official in medicine and most of the issues are still involved in debate thereby requires further research.

What did The Research Comprise of?

Initially, the researchers searched the keywords related to sexual function which include erectile dysfunction, performance, orgasm difficulties, premature ejaculation or pain during sex. The key words included sensation of the penis, sensitivity and sensation of pleasure, self-reported satisfaction and orgasm intensity. Then they also conducted the search in combination with keyword circumcision.
Some of the observational studies included case control, cohort or cross sectional which were used to rate recognized quality grading system. It includes discussion, case reports and opinions however; it excluded studies linked with procedural aspects of circumcision.

What were the Basic Results?

The inclusion standards met 36 studies which reported the data for 40,473 men. Out of this 20,931 men were circumcised while 19,542 were not circumcised. Under half of the circumcised had undergone the procedure when they were infants. Over half the studies collected data on sexual pleasure, erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. Around a quarter had collective information on pain during sex, time to ejaculate, sensitivity or orgasm difficulties.

Most adult men would not volunteer to be randomly assigned for circumcision until there was health reason to do so. Out of the 36 studies only two RCTs were conducted.

The first RCT from Kenya included 2784 men, who were questioned to examine their sexual satisfaction or performance between circumcised males and those who weren’t. The results found no significant difference between the groups.

The second RCT from Uganda comprised of 4500 men and no difference was found between both the groups.

US Health and Social Life Survey conducted on 1500 men found that erectile dysfunction was common among the uncircumcised men. On the other hand, the Australian telephone survey found reports with few sexual difficulties amongst the circumcised men.

Some other surveys were conducted which looked solely at men having sex with men. These surveys found no differences in libido or sexual problems between circumcised and uncircumcised men. Most erectile problems among both groups become common with aging.

Other surveys found that the circumcised men were happier with their bodies and so they frequently masturbate. In contrast to this, another survey found that circumcised males find masturbation difficult as it gives less pleasure.

Another study was conducted on 500 couples found no difference in average time for ejaculation during sex in both groups. A survey in Sydney found that premature ejaculation was less common in men who were circumcised later in their life.

Other reviews combined the results of these individual studies and didn’t find any difference with pain during sex, orgasm or sexual desire.

Interpretation of the Results

The researchers concluded that the highest quality studies suggest circumcised men have no adverse effect on sensitivity, sexual function or satisfaction. Routine male circumcision performed for health related reasons after birth remains a controversy. Supporters make the case that it reduces the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections like HIV. Opponents argue that circumcision should be only performed when a boy is old enough to make decision if he wishes to be circumcised or not.
Finally, the decision of whether to undergo circumcision or not is a personal issue which will be influenced by cultural or health-related factors.

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