Think Circumcised Penises Are Less Sensitive? Think Again

Scientists put the myth to the test, find 'no significant differences'
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2016 9:07 AM CDT
Think Circumcised Penises Are Less Sensitive? Think Again
A baby rests on a pillow surrounded by family, immediately following his bris, a Jewish circumcision ceremony, in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Men who are circumcised as infants are no less sensitive than those who keep their foreskin. At least this is what Queen's University scientists are reporting in the Journal of Urology after testing 62 men between the ages of 18 and 37, half of whom had been circumcised as babies and half of whom hadn't. They performed both tactile and heat sensitivity tests on each participant at four different locations of the penis: per the New York Times, "the midline shaft, the area next to the midline, the glans and, for the uncircumcised, the foreskin." The researchers tested the inside of the forearm to serve as the control. Turns out the men didn't differ in sensitivity to either touch or heat at any place tested, and for both groups the forearm was less sensitive than any part of the penis. "We can conclude that there are no significant differences in sensitivity between the circumcised and uncircumcised groups," says a study co-author.

"One researcher who only used fine touch to measure penile sensitivity claimed the foreskin is the most sensitive part of the penis, so removing it via circumcision is detrimental to men's sex lives," the lead researcher says in a Queen's University statement. "We found that while the foreskin was more sensitive to fine touch, it was not more sensitive to the other stimuli we used, and those stimuli are likely more important in sexual pleasure." One-third of males in the world are circumcised, per the release, a number that could climb with both the US in favor of neonatal circumcision and a push for it in African countries to reduce HIV transmission. The Independent reports that only 8.5% of men in the UK have been circumcised since the NHS stopped covering the procedure in 1948, while more than 75% of men in the US have been circumcised. (Here's why the CDC is in favor of neonatal circumcision.)

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