Fact No. 1
Fact No. 2
Fact No. 3
Fact No. 4
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Circumcision (of the penis) is the surgical removal of the hood of skin—called the foreskin—which covers the head of the penis. During the procedure, the foreskin is separated from the head of the penis and the excess skin is removed.

While circumcision is a commonly accepted procedure in the United States, Canada, Africa, and the Middle East, it is much less common in other parts of the world. Circumcision has been performed for centuries, for a variety of motives including religious, cultural, and medical reasons.  

Why Do People Get Circumcised?

If done for medical purposes, circumcision will generally be performed by a medical professional soon after birth. Some religious customs include performing the procedure at home by a religious leader in the newborn stage, whereas others are performed by medical professionals during puberty.

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin, which covers the head of the penis.

Cultural circumcision traditions vary, but may be performed on babies or during adolescence or young adulthood. Circumcision is sometimes regarded as a rite of passage, and may be accompanied by festive celebration and gathering.  

Benefits Of Circumcision

Like any surgical procedure, circumcision boasts several benefits, but also carries risks. Some of the believed benefits of religious and cultural circumcision include abiding by and demonstrating religious faith, and it is often culturally perceived as an initiation into manhood.

Medical benefits of circumcision include reducing the risk of infection like Urinary Tract Infections, yeast infections and Sexually Transmitted Diseases; reduced risk of certain cancers; and making it easier to keep the penis clean. For uncircumcised penises, it is often recommended to pull back the foreskin while bathing to clean underneath the foreskin.

Risks Of Circumcision

The risks of circumcision vary depending on the specific procedure being performed, which depends on the culture and age of the person being circumcised. Some of the potential risks include potential surgical complications such as local infection and bleeding, pain associated with the procedure (which is reported to increase substantially with age), and potentially less sensitivity in the tip of the penis.   

Circumcised vs. Uncircumcised Penises: How Are They Different?

In terms of physiology, there is not much difference between circumcised and uncircumcised penises. Both circumcised and uncircumcised penises are sensitive to stimulation and can feel pleasurable when touched, can get erect when aroused, and can ejaculate.

In terms of physiology, there is not much difference between circumcised and uncircumcised penises. Both circumcised and uncircumcised penises are sensitive to stimulation and can feel pleasurable when touched, can get erect when aroused, and can ejaculate.

Aesthetically, it is often difficult to tell the difference between a circumcised and uncircumcised penis when erect. When flaccid, the head of a circumcised penis appears more pronounced than that of an uncircumcised penis. During erection, the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis retracts naturally, exposing the glans (another name for the head of the penis).  

Either Is Fine!

Just like all body parts - including the face, vulva, breasts, and legs - there is great variation and diversity in how penises look. Whether circumcised or not, all penises have the ability to provide and receive pleasure, and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Rather than shame bodies - or their owners - for looking a certain way, we should celebrate the beauty in their diversity.

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Circumcision Myths And Facts

Is circumcision medically necessary? Is it cleaner? Find out more about circumcision and sort the facts from fiction.

Fact No. 1
Fact No. 2
Fact No. 3
Fact No. 4
The Quickie
3 minute read
read

While circumcision of the penis is a commonly accepted practice in many geographical areas, a lot of misunderstanding still exists around the procedure, and the differences between cut and uncut penises.

Read on to explore some of the most common myths about circumcision, and clear up some potentially confusing misinformation.  

Myth: Most Penises Are Circumcised

Circumcision is more common in areas such as the United States, Canada, Africa and the Middle East. Folks who live in these areas may perceive circumcision to be fairly common, because many or most of the penises they’ve encountered have been cut. However, only approximately 30% of penises worldwide are circumcised.

Myth: Foreskin Is Unnecessary

Since so many people are circumcised, clearly people with penises are able to function and survive without foreskin! However, there are some functional purposes of the foreskin.

Intact foreskin can provide protection for the head of the penis (or glans). Similar to the clitoral hood on a vulva, foreskin on a penis can help maintain the sensitivity of the glans by protecting it. The foreskin can also minimize friction and chafing during penetrative sex, as it moves in a gliding motion.

Myth: People Who Are Circumcised Are Cleaner

It is commonly recommended that the foreskin of uncircumcised penises be pulled back during bathing to be cleaned. While this is a step that those with an circumcised penis do not have to consider, it is a relatively simple task that folks with uncircumcised penises get accustomed to performing during their regular bathing routine.

Myth: Circumcision Prevents HIV

This myth is kind of a myth. There has been some compelling research that circumcision can sometimes help prevent the penetrating partner from contracting HIV in some situations and populations, but those results are not necessarily generalizable to everyone everywhere.

Intact foreskin can provide protection for the head of the penis

It may be something to consider for those living in areas with epidemic levels of HIV, but would not be the most effective prevention method for people living elsewhere. Other risk reduction strategies such as using condoms properly and routine HIV testing provide significantly more protection than circumcision.

Myth: Uncircumcised People Are More Likely To Have A Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)

The connection between circumcision and sexually transmitted infections has been studied for decades, with mixed results. There are no clear and consistent findings that circumcision has any impact on the general population’s risk of acquiring an STI.  

Myth: Circumcision Is Medically Necessary

As previously noted, approximately 70% of penises around the world aren’t circumcised and are nonetheless able to function and survive… so that would indicate that removing the foreskin is not a medical necessity.

In a minority of cases - if there are problems with a tight foreskin for example - circumcision may be medically recommended. However, circumcision is most often practiced for cultural or religious reasons, or just because it is the norm in a given community.

Myth: Uncircumcised Penises Are Prone To Smelly Buildup

Just like any moist area of the body (such as the skin flaps of the vulva, behind the ears, the armpits, between rolls of skin), the foreskin can breed bacteria and buildup that can produce an odor if not cleaned. Regular washing can easily prevent this from happening.

Is Circumcised Or Uncircumcised Better? Either Is Fine!

The truth is that circumcised and uncircumcised penises have more similarities than they do differences. Both cut and uncut penises can be of various shapes and sizes, can get erect when turned on, can ejaculate, and can provide and experience pleasure.  

When learning about circumcision (or any sexuality topic!) it’s important to think about whether what we hear are true facts or just myths. So much of our sexuality education is rooted in generalities, shame, and misinformation. The truth is, sexuality is diverse! Different choices are going to work for different people, and circumcision is no different!

Related Articles:

What Is Circumcision?

Penis Parts And Pleasure

Circumcised And Uncircumcised Penis Anatomy

How To Give The Best Blowjob Ever!

Penis Toys

References

Video transcript

So, imagine like, this is my, this is a penis, a very large one that is gray and made of yarn. So, at the head of the penis, the foreskin can kind of be like that, like hanging off a bit, it can be pretty tight down, it can look all sorts of different ways, and this is probably a lot like more scrunched up. But this looks all different for anyone who has a penis. So, the foreskin though, it can retract, and then, the head of the penis, which is where a lot of the pleasure centers are, they're very concentrated, so that just means that when is touched or stimulated, it sends signals to the brain, that's like: "Hey, something fun's happening, "so, wanna just put some blood down there "so it's a little more sensitive, that would be great." So, it's just their brain being like, "Oh yeah, do that more, please."

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