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Circumcision Really Does Make Sex Less Pleasurable for Men

Update Date: Feb 15, 2013 03:18 PM EST

Circumcision really does take away bedroom pleasure, according to a new Belgium study.

Researchers found that men circumcised or had their foreskin removed either as children or adults experienced significantly less intense sexual pleasure and orgasm than their peers, according to a new study published in the BJU International.

'We're not saying less sexual activity or satisfaction, but sensitivity,' senior author Dr. Piet Hoebeke, from Ghent University Hospital, told Reuters.

The World Health Organization reports that nearly three in four men in the U.S. are circumcised for non-religious reasons. While some religions like Judaism and Islam consider circumcision as part of religious practice, other people choose circumcision for possible health benefits like reducing certain types of infections.

Researchers surveyed 1,369 men over the age of 18 who responded to flyers handed out in train stations across Belgium. Overall, 310 men were circumcised and 1,059 were not.

Researchers asked the men whether they were circumcised. The men were also asked to rate how sensitive there penis was from zero to five, with five being the most sensitive.  The men were also asked to rate how intense their orgasms and whether they experience any pain or numbness when they are sexually aroused.

The results showed that uncircumcised men reported an average sensitivity score of 3.72 when their partner stroked their glans, or the head of the penis, compared to 3.31 amongst circumcised men. The findings also revealed that uncircumcised men also reported more intense orgasm.

"It's not a very big difference in sensitivity, but it's a significant difference," Hoebeke said, according to Reuters.

Researchers explain that one possible reason for the difference in sensitivity is that a man's foreskin may protect the head of his penis from rubbing against underwear and clothing.  Researchers said that the friction exposed to the penis head of men who are circumcised could make it thicker, drier and less sensitive.

The study also revealed that circumcised men were also more likely to report more pain and numbness during arousal compared to uncircumcised men.  Researchers said that the pain is likely cause by scar tissue.

"I'm amazed that people report pain during sexual pleasure... That's very amazing and that was unexpected," Hoebeke told Reuters.

However, other experts not involved with the study stress that the study findings are missing important context.

"The medical evidence and the benefits of male circumcision are abundantly clear," Dr. Aaron Tobin of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who was not involved with the study, told Reuters.

"If there was a vaccine out there that reduces the risk of HIV by 60 percent, herpes by 30 percent and the penile cancer causing HPV by 35 percent, the medical community would rally behind it," he added.

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