Friday, January 11, 2008

More Circumcision Nonsense

File this one under "What About the Fucking?"

From BBC News:
Circumcision Does Not Curb Sex

Besides the hilarious and awkward translation of "curb" from British English to American English, this article is about the leaders of the Ugandan circumcision-as-HIV-prevention-method study (who are people I know, by the way) attempting to assuage fears that circumcision, even if it is an effective HIV prevention method, will significantly effect sexual experiences of adult (!) men who undergo the procedure.

"Our study clearly shows that being circumcised did not have an adverse effect on the men who underwent the procedure when we compared them with the men who had not yet received surgery," said Professor Ronald Gray, who led the study.

One thing to remember here, though: the head of the uncircumcised penis is super sensitive because it is covered by foreskin almost all of the time. The loss of sensation due to removal of the foreskin would increase over time as the nerve endings are more and more exposed to fabric of clothes, the elements, whatever. So they should really ask them a few years out about sexual pleasure changes--most males who undergo circumcision as infants have about 15 years to dull the head of the penis before they use it for sex.

Some 98.4% of the circumcised men reported satisfaction, compared to 99.9% in the control group.

In terms of ability to penetrate, 98.6% of the circumcised group reported no problem, compared with 99.4 of the non-circumcised group.

However marginally more circumcised men - 99.4% - reported that they had no pain during intercourse, compared with 98.8% of the other group.

Again--the above questions are about overall pleasure; none of them specifically ask if they experience more or less sensation in the penis, which is the risk you face with circumcision. As much as I respect these scholars and trust their judgment, when it comes to actually talking to people about the sex that they're actually having, doctors usually miss the mark. Sigh.

Important disclaimer for Amurrica: Circumcision is not an effective HIV prevention method in developed country contexts (i.e., the U.S. and Europe). Don't go thinking that if you're circumcised you're not at risk for HIV and if you're uncut, don't go getting circumcised. Please.

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