January 22nd, 2016
Although the CDC notes that circumcision is a procedure with more benefits than risks, particularly associated with the reduction of sexually transmitted infections, there are conflicting reports about the sexual benefits of circumcision. Although the evidence is not conclusive, there are several facts that are clear.
The foreskin has sensory nerve receptors. However, there is no evidence that these additional nerve receptors add sexual pleasure to the experience of uncircumcised men when compared to circumcised men. In fact, some men seek circumcision because they feel they have too much sensitivity in the penis, which leads to early ejaculation in some cases. Other men who are not circumcised complain of pain during sexual intercourse. Masters and Johnson, the well-know sex researchers, tested both circumcised and uncircumcised men in 1966 and they found no difference. There have been several studies in the United States, including two that were published in 2002 that demonstrated equivalent or greater sexual satisfaction in men after undergoing adult circumcision. One study found no difference in penile sensitivity. 50% of the men in one study reported by Fink said they had increased sexual satisfaction. Another study performed in Turkey showed an increase in ejaculatory latency time, which resulted in prolonged erections and was considered by men to be an advantage when having sexual intercourse. There have been a number of similar studies published with similar results.
An objective way to measure sexual satisfaction is by measurement of nerve conduction “evoked potentials” at the pudendal nerve, which carries stimulation from the glans penis and penis. One study measured pudendal evoked potentials and the researchers concluded that circumcision contributed to sexual satisfaction by prolonging latency of nerve impulses, thus increasing the time of intercourse. Another study of arousal used thermal imaging to measure sensation and found no difference in sensation during arousal between circumcised and uncircumcised penises. There does not appear to be a consistent difference in sensation during arousal between circumcised and uncircumcised men. The sensitivity of the flaccid penis is also very similar, with no significant differences seen in most studies. However, it is also clear that circumcision does not impair sexual enjoyment in any way and may contribute to longer erections.