Whether for religious, cultural or health reasons, circumcision concerns more than 30% of men throughout the world. For the remaining 70% of uncircumcised penises, this practice is intriguing. Should you keep your foreskin? How does the ablation take place? What are the benefits of getting circumcised? What are the impacts on sexuality and hygiene? So many questions that we will try to answer in this article.
Circumcision is a millennial practice often associated with religious rituals practiced by Jews, Muslims and some Christian communities. But it is also a surgical procedure recommended to treat or prevent infections of the penis.
Good to know: the word “circumcision” comes from the Latin “circumcisio” which means: to cut around.
1 What is circumcision?
2 Uncircumcised penis: what is my foreskin for?
3 Is the uncircumcised penis more exposed to disease?
4 Circumcised penis: what are the impacts on sex life?
What is circumcision?
Circumcision is not insignificant since it involves the removal of the foreskin. This practice is common in the United States and parts of Africa and the Middle East, but less common in Europe and some countries, according to estimates.
The foreskin is the thin skin that covers the glans. To remove it, the surgeon will first recap the uncircumcised penis to be able to cut the frenulum. The frenulum being the fold of skin that connects the foreskin to the penis. Then, he cuts the skin all around the glans. Finally, the surgeon will suture and coat the penis with a fatty ointment. Healing should be painless after a month and the patient should not feel any discomfort.
When circumcision is performed in a medical setting, it is usually performed on children over the age of 5. Or in certain cases of infections of an uncircumcised penis, in adulthood. In the vast majority of cases, removal is recommended when the foreskin of a young child does not relax as it should, from the age of 2 years. This is called phimosis.
Good to know: the three main methods of circumcision are the Gomco clamp (source), the Plastibell device (source) and the Mogen clamp (source). Each of these techniques works by cutting off circulation to the foreskin to prevent bleeding when the doctor cuts it. The procedure takes about 15 to 30 minutes.
The problem when the foreskin sticks to the glans is that it becomes difficult to clean and can become a real nest of bacteria. It can also cause discomfort and pain when urinating. And if it is not taken care of, once in adulthood the phimosis evolves into paraphimosis, which results in a strangulation of the glans.
Uncircumcised penis: what is my foreskin for?
Circumcision is performed for health reasons. If you have an uncircumcised penis, are you wondering why keep the foreskin? What is it used for?
The foreskin serves to protect the glans from friction when the penis is in a flaccid state. It is an embryonic skin residue resulting from the formation of the penis and which persists at birth. Indeed, when the genital organ is formed in the uterus, it is first closed. Normally, little by little, this skin relaxes and thus reveals the glans during erection.
The foreskin therefore has no particular function. This is why many studies have looked into the usefulness of its removal. We especially wondered if an uncircumcised penis was more exposed to infections, diseases and cancers.
Is the uncircumcised penis more exposed to diseases?
The results of studies are not always unanimous and it is difficult to decide in an intransigent way. However, researchers agree that overall, an uncircumcised penis is more likely to contract a disease.
As such, a study has shown that circumcision could reduce the risk of HIV infection (source). Indeed the foreskin hosts a very sensitive area, which, when it is in contact with the virus, is easily contaminated. On the other hand, with regard to cancers and in particular penile cancer, circumcision probably reduces the risk of penile cancer, although this is becoming rarer for reasons that do not seem to be linked to circumcision (source).
For other infections:
– Many studies show that not being circumcised increases the risk of developing a urinary tract infection, especially during the first year of life (source). – Circumcised men have a reduced risk of contracting certain sexually transmitted infections such as genital herpes (source).
Either way, an uncircumcised penis requires special attention when grooming. Care must be taken to properly wash the part covered by the foreskin. A circumcised penis, on the other hand, will require less precaution.
Circumcised penis: what are the impacts on sex life?
From a medical and hygienic point of view, circumcision seems to be the best alternative. But many men keep their penises uncircumcised for fear of the impact the removal will have on their sexuality.
In reality, if the operation is correctly carried out, there is no reason for sexual pleasure to be affected:
– A 2016 study showed that for uncircumcised penises, the foreskin was the most sensitive part to touch stimulation. However, the study clarifies that your experience of pleasure during sex is different depending on whether you are circumcised or not (source). – According to a 2011 study, men with circumcised penises reported having more "difficulty achieving orgasm." But a 2012 study challenges this claim (source).
Circumcision and penile tenderness
In adulthood, circumcision can affect penile sensitivity. The pleasure is always there, but the sensitivity can vary. These differences are felt during masturbation, oral sex and penetration.
Before circumcision, when the foreskin moves back to uncover the glans during erection, this provides pleasant sensations, because this part is very sensitive. Once circumcised, the glans is no longer covered by the foreskin. Results: this hypersensitivity diminishes little by little, because the glans enlarges and is less humid. Attention! It is not a loss of sensitivity, but it is the hypersensitivity of the beginning of the erection which is lost.
When it comes to fertility, circumcision has no effect, and studies of how circumcision affects sexual pleasure show mixed results. Indeed, some sources found no effect (source), while others found increased sensitivity (source).
But beware: for some, hypersensitivity is the cause of premature erections. The glans being strongly stimulated, the man quickly reaches the peak of his excitement and cannot help but ejaculate. In this sense, some men access circumcision with the aim of desensitizing their penis and thus being able to enjoy longer erections.
Another problem encountered by some men: small pimples on the glans, how to get rid of them?
Even though 98% of circumcised men claim to enjoy a fulfilling sexuality, if you have erection problems, know that there are solutions that are a little less definitive. For example, there are suitable food supplements, such as Vitaperf.
Finally, a man may consider circumcision in hopes of enlarging his penis. Know that it is a received idea and that uncircumcised penises are not shorter than penises without a foreskin. Circumcision can, at most, give the visual impression of a larger penis, as is the case with a shaved pubis. If you are interested in this step, here is how to shave your penis.