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Sex and Circumcision

The Impact of Circumcision on Sexual Behavior, Pleasure, and Research

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Updated January 19, 2012

Everyone has an opinion about circumcision. It seems to come up cyclically in politics and popular culture. Every few years there's a debate sparked by a new study or one group's attempt to tell another group what to do. It's less frequent that we get a good public discussion going about the sexual implications of circumcision.

Since most men who are circumcised have been that way their whole lives (or almost their whole lives) the penis they have is the only penis they know. They, or others who have sex with men may have opportunities for comparison on the receiving end. But beware this folly! For you need to ask yourself, what exactly are you comparing? The pros and cons of being on the receiving end (so to speak) of a circumcised or uncircumcised penis has to do with a lot more than just circumcision. What makes a lover good or bad will always be more than the shape and size of one body part.

As with any question about sex, trying to figure out the sexual impact of circumcision is more complicated than a single question or the results of a single study. Here are some common questions and answers about sex and circumcision.

Does Circumcision Impact Sexual Sensitivity?
The idea of cutting off a piece of flesh doesn't sound like something that would feel good, or lead to more pleasure. But what does research say about the changes in physical sensation that result from male circumcision?

Does Circumcision Reduce Sexual Pleasure or Satisfaction?
Sexual pleasure and sexual satisfaction may be related, but they are not the same thing, and neither pleasure nor satisfaction is exactly the same thing as sensitivity. What do we know about how men who are circumcised (and their partners) experience sexual pleasure and satisfaction?

Can Being Circumcised Change How You Have Sex?
Circumcision isn't just about nerve endings, your anatomy has changed. This raises the question of whether our bodies influence our behavior, and does being circumcised change the way you engage in sexual activities?

Expert Opinions on Circumcision and Sex
One of the reasons getting information on sex and circumcision can be confusing is that the research itself is contradictory. Most studies suffer from one bias or another, and no findings have been replicated enough to allow us to make any definitive statements on the subject. But research offers a place to start a conversation, and knowing the limits of the research can help make informed personal decisions.

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