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Gary Bellman, M.D., F.R.C.S.
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Circumcision: Does It Affect Men's Sexual Health?

By: Dr. Gary Bellman on November 18, 2016, 8:55 pm

Male circumcision can be an important religious right, a life-saving preventative health service to others, and a controversial practice to some in today’s multi-cultural world.

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the skin covering the tip of the penis.  Circumcision is fairly common for newborn boys in certain parts of the world, including the United States.  For some families, circumcision is a religious ritual.  The procedure can also be a matter of family tradition, personal hygiene or preventive health care.  While for others, circumcision may seem unnecessary or disfiguring.  

Despite rumors to the contrary, circumcision has no effect on a man’s fertility, nor does it negatively affect sexual pleasure for either partner.
 

Pros of Circumcision
  • decreased risk of urinary tract infections
  • decreased risk of penile cancer
  • decreased risk of sexually transmitted diseases
  • easier genital hygiene
 
Circumcision and sexual health
It's common to question the affects of circumcision on sexual performance and other aspects of a man’s life; The man who hasn’t been circumcised may be more sensitive than that of a circumcised man.  The reason for this is that the glans, or head, of a circumcised penis may get desensitized by coming into contact with one’s undergarments all day without the protection of the foreskin.  As such, men may wonder whether circumcision affects sexual performance.

Also, some men who aren’t circumcised erroneously believe that, because their skin is more sensitive, they are more likely to have premature ejaculation.  Adult men may ask if they should be circumcised to cure them of this problem. There is no scientific study suggesting that circumcision makes a significant difference.  Despite being such a controversial subject (or perhaps it is because of this), the academic literature on the subject of male circumcision is limited and often conflicting.  Previous studies examining the impact of male circumcision on female sexual function have also frequently been unreliable and subject to strong bias.

It is widely believed that circumcision can prevent urinary tract infections, phimosis and paraphimosis (conditions in which the foreskin becomes trapped over or behind the glans), balanoposthitis (swelling of the foreskin and glans), STI’s, and cancer.

Further research must be conducted in countries with differing socio-cultural norms surrounding the practice of circumcision.  It is important to note here that whether or not circumcision results in reduced penile sensitivity is a hotly debated topic, with numerous studies supporting either side of the argument.  More research may be needed in order to establish stronger statistical trends.



 
 


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