Men circumcised either as children or adults report less intense sexual pleasure and orgasm than their uncircumcised counterparts, according to a new study from Belgium.
There’s bad news for circumcised men! A new study reveals that men who have had their foreskins removed in their early childhood or adult hood tend to experience less intense sexual pleasure and orgasms than their peers. “We’re not saying less sexual activity or satisfaction, but sensitivity,” said the study’s senior researcher Dr. Piet Hoebeke, from Ghent University Hospital.
The new study published in the British Journal of Urology International (BJUI), surveyed 1,369 men over the age of 18, who responded to leaflets handed out in train stations across Belgium.
Circumcision and Sensitivity
The men were asked whether they were circumcised, and were then asked to rate how sensitive their penis was, how intense their orgasms were and whether they experience any pain or numbness when they are aroused.
Overall, 310 men who took the survey were circumcised, and 1,059 were not. Each rated how sensitive their penis was on a scale from 0 to 5, with higher numbers being the most sensitive.
Overall, uncircumcised men reported between 0.2 points and 0.4 points higher sensitivity and sexual pleasure when their penis’s head – known as the glans – was stroked during arousal, compared to circumcised men.
For example, uncircumcised men reported an average sensitivity score of 3.72 when they or their partner stroked the top part of their penis’s glans, compared to 3.31 amongst circumcised men.
Uncircumcised men also reported more intense orgasms.
“It’s not a very big difference in sensitivity, but it’s a significant difference,” Hoebeke said in the British Journal of Urology International (BJUI).
Currently, about half of U.S. baby boys have their foreskin surgically removed at birth, and about 30 percent of men around the world are circumcised.
Some religions, such as Judaism and Islam, consider circumcision part of religious practice, while other people blindly choose circumcision for dubious health benefits.
Hoebeke and his colleagues write in British Journal of Urology International (BJUI) that there are few studies researching whether foreskin plays a role in sexual pleasure.
One possible explanation for any potential difference in sensitivity is that a man’s foreskin may protect his penis’s head from rubbing against underwear and clothing. It’s possible, the researchers write, that friction makes the head of the penis thicker, drier and ultimately less sensitive.
The researchers also found circumcised men were more likely to report more pain and numbness during arousal than uncircumcised men, which Hoebeke said is likely due to scar tissue.
“I’m amazed that people report pain during sexual pleasure… That’s very amazing and that was unexpected,” he said.
British doctors said that although it can slightly reduce the risk of some types of infection, the risks associated with routine circumcision outweigh any potential benefits.