Male circumcision: Could it lead to a bad sex life?
Kampala, Uganda | NIELS EBDRUP | Circumcised men have more difficulties reaching orgasm, and their female partners experience more vaginal pains and an inferior sex life, a new study shows.
If a man is circumcised, he faces an increased risk of experiencing delayed orgasm, and his female partner has an increased risk of not feeling sexually fulfilled.
This is the clear-cut conclusion of a new Danish research article, which has received international attention.
Some 5,000 sexually active men and women were surveyed about their experiences and possible problems with their sex lives. With a specific focus on circumcised men and their women, the results are startling.
“Circumcised men are three times as likely to experience a frequent inability to reach an orgasm,” says one of the researchers, Associate Professor Morten Frisch from Danish research enterprise SSI.
Research into the effects on women is unique
This is one of only a few studies of the sexual consequences of male circumcision, and in one area in particular it is groundbreaking:
“Previous studies into male circumcision have looked at the effects it has on the men. But scientists have never really studied the effects this has on the women’s sex lives,” says Frisch.
“It appears that women with circumcised men are twice as likely to be sexually frustrated. They experience a three-fold risk of frequent difficulties in achieving orgasm, and an eight-fold risk of feeling pain during intercourse – also known as dyspareunia.”
Circumcised men prefer it rough
There appears to be a very simple reason why circumcised men and their partners are having problems with their sex lives.
The circumcised man develops a thin layer of hard skin on his penis head, which decreases the sensitivity. This means that in order to reach an orgasm, he needs to work harder at it, and that can lead to a painful experience for the woman.
“We conducted a survey, but the data does not explain why these problems occur. There are, however, some good suggestions in the scientific literature,” he explains.
When the penis enters the vagina, the foreskin is pulled back. And on its way out again, the foreskin goes back to cover the penis head. This way the foreskin stimulates both the man and the woman.
The gliding in-and-out movement of the foreskin, combined with the in-and-out movement inside the vagina, constitutes what is known as ‘the gliding movement’.
“When a circumcised man moves in and out of a woman without ‘the gliding movement’ caused by the foreskin, it can have a painful effect on the woman’s mucous membrane. This could explain the pain and the tendency towards dryness that some women with circumcised men experience.”
Sources of error were filtered out
A vast majority of the circumcised men in the study were circumcised based on a doctor’s estimate.
“Only five percent of all Danish men are circumcised, yet we have statistically valid evidence that male circumcision can be associated with sexual problems.