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Adult Circumcision: Clearing Up Common Myths and Misconceptions

  • Circumcision is one of the most common surgical procedures performed on males worldwide. However, the topic remains controversial, with many myths and misconceptions persisting around the risks, benefits, and effects of circumcision. This is especially true regarding adult circumcision, which some view as unnecessary or risky.

    By better understanding the facts around this procedure, men can make a more informed decision. Here we debunk some of the most common myths about Social Male Circumcision using up-to-date medical knowledge.


    Myth: Circumcision removes the most sensitive part of the penis

    Reality: The foreskin itself is not a particularly sensitive part of the penis. The tip of the foreskin and underside of the glans (head) contain the highest concentrations of nerve endings for tactile sensitivity and pleasure stimulation. The frenulum also has many nerve endings. None of these most sensitive areas are removed by circumcision.

    Recent studies measuring sensitivity in circumcised versus intact penises show no significant difference in fine touch or pain sensation. Adult men circumcised later in life also report no noticeable change in sexual pleasure or sensation after the surgery. 

    Myth: Circumcision always causes complications

    Reality: When performed correctly by an experienced doctor, adult circumcision is very safe with extremely low rates of complications. One study found fewer than 2% of boys and men experienced an adverse event after circumcision. Minor bleeding and infection are the most common issues, almost always resolving quickly with proper aftercare.

    Serious complications like excessive adult circumcision scarring, pain, or damage are extremely rare. Avoiding unqualified practitioners greatly reduces any risk. The vast majority of patients heal without any long-term problems. 

    Myth: Circumcision reduces penile sensitivity

    Reality: Most clinical research finds no significant difference in sensitivity between a circumcised and uncircumcised penis. The tip retains the fine touch receptors that provide pleasurable sensations. Any initial decrease in sensitivity after surgery tends to diminish once the penis is completely healed.

    Some men report increased sensitivity after circumcision since abrasion against clothing is reduced. The majority say they notice little if any change in sexual pleasure after the procedure. Enhanced genital hygiene can also make some men's penises more comfortable and responsive. 

    Myth: Adult circumcision is extremely painful

    Reality: There is some pain involved with circumcision, especially during the recovery period. But most men find it far less severe than they anticipated. The surgery itself is performed under anesthesia, so no pain is felt during the procedure.

    Mild to moderate soreness is common while healing, normally subsiding significantly after a week or two. Doctors recommend over-the-counter pain medication to keep any discomfort well under control. Within a month, most patients report a complete absence of pain. 

    Myth: The foreskin has no useful purpose

    Reality: The foreskin does have some protective and sensory functions. However, its specific role and necessity are often overstated by circumcision opponents. Living without a foreskin is generally not detrimental or unhealthy if circumcised properly.

    Millions of circumcised men lead perfectly normal, full lives without their foreskins. But the choice remains personal based on social, cultural, medical, and religious factors. There are pros and cons to both circumcised and uncircumcised penises. 

    Myth: Circumcision prevents masturbation or limits sexual pleasure

    Reality: Circumcision does not curb sexual pleasure or function. Some advocate it to discourage masturbation, but there is no evidence it prevents masturbation or reduces ability to enjoy sex fully. Men and their partners typically rate sex as more pleasurable after circumcision due to factors like increased endurance and reduced premature ejaculation.

    Myth: Circumcision is just done for religious/cultural reasons

    Reality: While some faiths require it ritually, or socially, male circumcision remains very common for medical benefits as well. Circumcision reduces risk of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, HPV, HIV, balanitis, and other conditions. Many men undergo circumcision primarily for improved genital health and hygiene or to resolve a specific problem like phimosis. 

    Myth: Circumcised penises are less sensitive during sex

    Reality: In most cases, adult circumcision does not affect a man’s sexual experience. The majority say sensitivity during sex remains the same or even increases slightly post-surgery. Since the most sensitive areas of the penis remain intact, pleasure during intercourse is rarely reduced when properly circumcised. 

    Myth: Circumcision is just done for aesthetic reasons

    Reality: Along with medical and cultural motivations, aesthetics do play a role in some men’s decision to get circumcised. But rarely is appearance the sole factor. Most also consider improved hygiene, function, sensation, or conformity to social norms. Male circumcision, if done professionally, results beyond minimal scarring. 

    Myth: Circumcised men don't need to use condoms

    Reality: Circumcised men absolutely should still use condoms for safe sex. Circumcision only reduces risk of certain conditions like HIV or HPV. But condoms remain essential for preventing other STDs and unintended pregnancy regardless of circumcision status. Responsible use of condoms remains imperative for all sexually active males.

    Questions Related To Medical, Cultural, & Social Male Circumcision Myths

    Does adult circumcision remove sensitivity?

    No, most men report no noticeable loss of sensitivity from circumcision, especially after the penis fully heals. The tip and underside of the glans retain fine-touch receptors for stimulation.

    Is adult circumcision very painful?

    There is some discomfort during the healing process but rarely extreme pain with proper pain management. The surgery itself is done under anesthesia. Discomfort decreases significantly within 1-2 weeks post-op. Also, the Adult Circumcision Scar also lightens after 2 weeks of the procedure.

    Are complications common with adult circumcision?

    Serious complications are very rare when performed correctly. Minor bleeding or infection occurs in less than 2% of men. Choosing an experienced doctor greatly minimizes any risks or problems.

    Is circumcision performed only for religious reasons?

    While some faiths require it, many men also choose circumcision for improved hygiene, sexual function, aesthetics, or to reduce infection risks. The reasons are often a personal combination of medical, religious, and social factors for male circumcision.

    Does circumcision affect sexual pleasure or performance?

    Most men report no detrimental effects on sexual pleasure or function after circumcision. Some men find sex improves post-surgery due to increased endurance, sensation, or confidence. 

    Know the Facts and Decide for Yourself

    Many unfounded myths persist around circumcision, often perpetuated online by anti-circumcision advocacy groups. But looking at unbiased, factual information from credible medical sources helps men make their own best decision. There are pros and cons either way that must be weighed individually.

    If considering circumcision, consult trusted medical providers to separate myths from reality. Make sure to select an experienced doctor to perform any procedure to minimize complications and adult circumcision scarring. Approaching the choice with accurate expectations allows determining if circumcision is right for you based on your priorities and needs.

    Any man considering circumcision deserves unbiased facts to make this personal decision. Be wary of misleading propaganda you may encounter online either for or against circumcision. Combining insight from medical experts with your own considerations allows determining the best choice for your situation.

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