Snipped or unsnipped: the circumcision debate



In a recent study of 445 Ugandan women whose sexual partners were recently circumcised, 40% reported improvements in their sex lives, 57% claimed no change, and 3% said their sex lives suffered. The reasons these women gave for how sex improved may surprise you: better hygiene, it took longer for men to climax, and their partners wanted more frequent sex.

The belief that circumcision desensitizes men has died hard. Circumcision was once promoted as a way of reducing masturbation due to desensitization. However, more and more studies, including one published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, have proven that circumcision has little if no impact on a man's pleasure during sex.  This Ugandan study backs up this claim with 97% percent of men stating their sexual satisfaction was the same or better after the procedure.

Until now, relatively few studies have examined the impact of male circumcision on sexual gratification in women. This study was undertaken by Godfrey Kigozi, MD in response to the fear that circumcision will negatively impact a couple's sex life. It was important to combat this mentality because a number of studies have confirmed that circumcision reduces HIV infection rates among heterosexual males.

Three studies of 11,054 men in South Africa, Uganda, and Kenya between 2002 and 2006 found that circumcision reduced the risk of acquiring HIV in heterosexual men by 54% over a two year period. The procedure helps prevent transmissions by removing Langerhans cells in the foreskin, which are particularly receptive to the virus. Others believe that removing the foreskin reduces friction, and thus creates fewer abrasions along the shaft of the penis.

Another study of 285 men discovered that of those infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV), the immune systems of circumcised men were three times more likely to clear HPV infections, and six times more likely to clear cancer-linked HPV strains, by the end of the test period.


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