How Circumcision Affects Your Sex Life
Two patients reveal what it was really like.
Ever wondered if sex feels better for men who have their foreskin than those who don’t? If you were circumcised at birth, it’s impossible to tell how the procedure shaped your sex life—you don’t know your penis any other way. But the sexual experiences of men who were circumcised as adults could shed light on the ongoing debate around circumcision.
The heated debate around whether or not circumcision is necessary hinges on two arguments. There’s the case for health, which says that circumcision appears to slightly reduce the very low risk of penile cancer, as well as HIV and sexually transmitted infections. (Ultimately, the American Academy of Pediatrics says these health benefits outweigh the risks, but they’re not great enough to recommend circumcision for all baby boys.)
Then there’s the case for sexual pleasure, which says that removing the foreskin might compromise penile function and sensation. Pro-circumcision groups also argue that the surgery is painful and risky, and boys should be able to make their own choice later in life.
But how does circumcision really affect your sex life?
Circumcision and Sexual Sensation
The foreskin has the most nerve endings of any part of the penis, says Amin Herati, M.D., a urologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine who specializes in adult circumcision. And the skin on the head of the penis does become thicker after circumcision due to increased friction. That’s made some men concerned that the procedure might decrease sensitivity and pleasure in their penis.
Extensive studies, however, have found that circumcision has no effect on the sensation or function of the penis, says Herati. He notes that research has shown circumcision can’t fix premature ejaculation by making men’s hypersensitive penises less sensitive. “The larger nerve fibers responsible for sexual function are at a deeper level” than the skin that’s cut during circumcision, he says.
To date, Herati says no patient has ever told him that circumcision affected his sex life. Men who’ve had the procedure later in life agree.
James* chose to get circumcised last fall at the age of 28 because his frenulum(the skin connecting the foreskin to the penis) was sometimes sore after sex. He was awake during the procedure, which he had at The Urology Place.
“I have had migraines that hurt worse,” says James, who took over-the-counter meds to relieve the pain. Within two weeks, he was healed and ready for sex. Neither James nor his wife noticed any differences in their sex life after the procedure. He says his circumcised penis feels more sensitive. “Now there’s more feeling of the vagina during intercourse, instead of the foreskin sliding back and forth over the head,” says James.