Circumcision causes sexual and psychological harm

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Circumcision removes a natural, healthy, functioning body part.

The foreskin area varies widely with a mean of 46.7cm² of erogenous tissue on the penile shaft. Five locations on the natural penis that are typically removed during circumcision are more sensitive than the most sensitive location on the circumcised penis. This means circumcision removes the most sensitive parts of the penis.

A survey of men who were circumcised after they became sexually active reported decreased sexual enjoyment after circumcision. One man circumcised as an adult described the sensitivity change as the difference between seeing in black and white compared to seeing in colour.

Cutting off the foreskin removes many thousands of specialised nerves and results in thickening and progressive desensitisation of the outer layer of the penile head, particularly in older men. Studies show that foreskin protects the penile head, enhances sexual pleasure, and facilitates intercourse. In a survey of those with comparative sexual experience, women preferred the natural penis over the circumcised penis by 6 to 1.

Surveys of circumcised men and clinical reports show that when men recognise their circumcision loss and experience associated decreased sexual sensitivity, they report wide-ranging psychological consequences. Long-term effects may include reduced emotional expression, low self-esteem, excessive or inappropriate anger, recurrent thoughts and distress, and sexual anxieties and dysfunctions. A survey showed that circumcised men were 4.5 times more likely to use an erectile dysfunction drug.

In addition, men circumcised in Africa could be subject to a complication rate of 35 percent for a traditional circumcision or 18 percent for a clinical circumcision.

*Dr Ronald Goldman PhD is a psychological researcher, educator, and executive director of the Circumcision Resource Center in Boston, MA USA, a non-profit educational organisation. He is the author of Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma and Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective. Goldman has participated in more than 200 media interviews, gives lectures and seminars on circumcision, and counsels parents and circumcised men.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion or position of Caxton & CTP Publishers and Printers or its staff.

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