Contrary to previous claims, getting circumcised does not diminish penile sensitivity and reduce sexual abilities among males, a new study revealed.
Led by human sexuality expert Jennifer Bossio, a team of researchers examined the sensitivity of male organs — including tactile detection, warmth detection, and pain threshold — among men who have been circumcised and men who have never had the procedure.
Participants in the study were between 18 and 37 years old. Thirty-two participants have never been circumcised and 30 were circumcised. Sensitivity tests revealed that there was no difference between the two groups.
Next, researchers tested the participant's sexual abilities, taking into account intercourse satisfaction, desire, and overall satisfaction through a 15-item measure of men's functioning over a four week-period. In the end, they found no difference.
"This study indicates that neonatal circumcision is not associated with changes in penile sensitivity," said Bossio, who is from Queen's University in Ontario. She added that the foreskin is not the most sensitive part of the male organ.
Circumcision is opposed by many because they deem it as an unnecessary medical procedure, but proponents say it is a "religious right" and actually has several health benefits.
In the United States, about 75 percent of American males have been circumcised. But today, only about 55 percent of newborn babies in the country undergo this procedure, the BBC said. The rate is dropping by 1 percent annually.
According to The Independent, circumcision is historically promoted as a way to prevent boys from stimulating their genitalia. Catholic, Jewish and Islamic communities also practice circumcision among males.
In the United Kingdom, circumcision was common among one in every three men prior to the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948. But as soon as the NHS was at work, it concluded that the procedure was not medically essential.
Operation costs were not covered for males. As a result, rates plummeted and it is estimated that only 8.5 percent of men in the country are circumcised.
On the other hand, proponents of the procedure say that circumcision has reduced rates of urinary tract infections among men and lowered HIV transmission by 50 to 60 percent. Circumcision is also used to remove cancerous cells that may lead to penile cancer.
"The scientific evidence is clear that the benefits outweigh the risks," said Jonathan Mermin, an expert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the end, the decision to undergo circumcision rests in the family of youngsters and the person himself.
The findings of the study are featured in the Journal of Urology.
Photo : Frankie Leon | Flickr