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Does circumcision affect sexual sensation?

Besides the uncomfortable idea of a steel blade in a highly sensitive region, many uncircumcised brothers are concerned with the effect circumcision would have on their sensation of sexual intercourse. Does circumcision really affect how the cock feels and derives gratification from the act of sex?

Male circumcision is probably the most widely performed form of ‘bodily mutilation’ on the planet. Its sacrifice, the foreskin, carries with it symbolic detestation that has survived millennia through ritual, religion, superstition, aesthetics and medicine. In addition to this, healthcare sectors and providers worldwide have promoted it as a method of reducing the risk of sexually-transmitted infections like HIV.

Apart from the disconcerting idea of cutting in a highly sensitive region, many uncircumcised brothers are concerned with the effect circumcision would have on their sensation of sexual intercourse. Does circumcision really affect how the cock feels and derives gratification from the act of sex? Well, the answer isn’t as clear-cut.

According to a PubMed study, research on the practice’s effects on the male organ’s pursuit of pleasure has been published somewhat extensively on over 2600 sites, pseudo-scientific and scientific journals. Much of what was publicised dangerously ascertained that circumcision negatively affected it. This information, it has has been found, can be perilously misleading as many of the studies were flawed in numerous respects.

Towards the end of 2013, Australia’s University of Sydney published an analysis of 40 studies that researched the subject. These studies were graded in terms of their quality and the university’s conclusion was that the highest quality studies showed no negative effect on sexual function. Their conclusion was based on the technical validity of the research conducted on these publications. This data totalled over 40,000 men – half circumcised and half uncircumcised.

In an interview, Professor Brian J. Morris, a renowned expert molecular biologist, said “The health benefits of male circumcision have been well documented, including substantially lowering the risks of HIV and other viral and some bacterial STIs

“It also lowers rates of penile cancer and possibly prostate cancer – and women whose partners are circumcised have lower rates of cervical cancer and infections such as HPV and chlamydia”. Thus the publication of ‘facts’ that mean to deter adult men from circumcision is dangerous in the sense that it could expose men to infections.

Similarly, between 2002 and 2005, a study was conducted in Kenya where over 2,784 men participated. Of these, 64% reported an increase in penile sensitivity and 54% attested that achieving climax was significantly easier.

In spite of these findings, a significant portion of people still have their doubts. They believe that circumcision does not prevent STI’s, decreases sexual sensitivity and is an act of violence on the body – deprives the owner of the penis the choice, especially when it comes to infant circumcision.

Intactivists, for example, consider infant circumcision as a violation of the baby boy’s basic human rights to freedom and choice. With a growing number of followers on social networks, groups like Intact America express disagreement to Prof. Morris’s findings. Interestingly, intactivists are few and far between in areas with high STI infection rates like South Africa.

In some parts of Europe, it’s been condemned for its supposedly harmful effects on an infant’s body. Anne Lindboe, Norway’s Children’s Ombudsman, called it “violence against children”.

“With good information about risk, pain and lack of health benefits of the intervention, I think parents from minorities would voluntarily abstain from circumcising children,” she said. Her counterparts in Sweden, Finland and Denmark seemed to echo the sentiment.

Circumcision may have little effect on heterosexual sex but maybe not so much in homosexual sex. The removal of the foreskin would negatively affect docking. ‘Docking’ is when two erect men sheath the one penis head in the foreskin of the other man. In this scenario, the foreskin is an important participant but it may be too early to assume some parents would make allowances to achieve those ends.

The world is generally still divided about circumcision.

In Africa, circumcision is fairly widespread. According to the World Health Organization, most of the content falls within the 80-100 percent bracket. As to how long this has been the case, is unclear. In South Africa, various indigenous peoples still practice traditional circumcision. Aberrations of this form, however, have often publicised in local media for their mortality rates and penile injuries. But what is clear is that these customs have been in existence for a long time and were there for a reason.

In many parts of other African countries, traditional circumcision is still practised. These practices have been around for centuries, in most cases. It makes one wonder what significance the foreskin may have held for them. Could the ancients have known of some health benefits before the emergence of Western medicine?

Now many African countries are rolling out medical circumcision programmes as a preventative tool for HIV transmission. In Uganda, an innovative rubber device has been introduced which removes the foreskin without a blade, a means to encourage men to go for the snip.

Prof. Morris’s findings have created some discontent in cyberspace as the matter remains contentious. Though, most men who were circumcised from birth are likely to not remember or care too much on what the difference is. What is well-known is that the snip does appear to decrease the chances of STIs, coupled with other preventative measure such as condoms. If circumcision was really proven to cause a slight decrease in sexual sensation, it would be interesting to see the number of men willing to pay this cost to lessen their risk of contracting infections.

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