Circumcised or not, does it matter?

Circumcision

Circumcised or not, does it matter?

Men are born with a foreskin a skin that covers and protects the penis head. When a boy or a man is circumcised, his foreskin is removed and the head of the penis is exposed and bare.

Circumcision is done for a variety of reasons. In some places, it shows that men belong to a certain religion, ethnic group, or tribe. In other situations, parents have their sons circumcised for hygiene or health reasons.

In the African culture and especially amongst the Kikuyu, circumcision was a rite of passage into adulthood.

The World Health Organization estimates that 30 per cent of males around the world are circumcised. Among some groups, such as Jews and Muslims, nearly all men are circumcised.

What are the advantages of being circumcised?

According to some research, circumcised men have a lower risk of:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • HIV
  • Syphilis
  • Chancroid disease

Research in Africa found that heterosexual circumcised men are 38-66% less likely to contract HIV than uncircumcised men.

It is thought that the foreskin contains special cells that attract the cells of the HIV virus. This means that uncircumcised men who have vaginal sex with an HIV positive woman are more likely to develop the infection.

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This may be because a foreskin provides a moist environment where germs are more likely to grow.

With a circumcised penis, the head may be less sensitive, so the man can go on longer during intercourse before ejaculating. For some men, this can be a bonus.

It is estimated that uncircumcised men are twice as likely to get syphilis, and 10 times as likely to get chancroid.

However, it should be stressed that circumcision is nowhere near as effective as condoms in preventing STIs. If used correctly, condoms are 98% effective in preventing STIs.

What are the disadvantages of being circumcised?

Research suggests that circumcised men may find it much harder to reach an orgasm as they get older. This can also make sex less pleasurable for their partners.

Some people feel that circumcision is a violent act and harmful to a boy’s or man’s body. For example, the Royal Dutch Medical Society (KNMG) calls circumcision for non-medical reasons ‘an infringement of a child’s right to autonomy and the right to bodily integrity’. The society says the operation brings unnecessary risks of complications.

Some uncircumcised men are very happy to have their foreskin.

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