Circumcision is an old practice that has been the centre of many debates, this has led to the facts behind circumcision become muddled. We are experts in circumcision and perform many of these procedures every day, so if you’re looking for the facts, you’ve come to the right place.
Circumcision is Only a Religious or Cultural Practice | MYTH
It’s true that circumcision is a common practice in many cultures and religions across the world. Examples of this include Muslim and Jewish men, who often get circumcised as infants. Circumcision is also practiced as a rite-of-passage into manhood by various ethnic groups like sub-Saharan Africans, Filipinos, Central Americans, and Pacific Islanders.
While these religious and cultural circumcisions make up a large portion of the circumcisions performed around the world, not all circumcisions are performed for these reasons.
FACT – There are many non-religious reasons to get circumcised
People choose to circumcise themselves and their children for multiple reasons that aren’t cultural or religious! These reasons can be medical including:
- Phimosis (tight foreskin),
- Balanitis xerotica obliterans (autoimmune condition),
- Balanitis (recurrent inflammation of the foreskin),
- Cosmetic (they prefer the aesthetic of a circumcised penis)
Circumcision Has No Health Benefits | MYTH
While it’s understandable for people to be sceptical about the health benefits of circumcision given the conflicting reports on the matter, it’s important to understand that most studies have concluded that there are health benefits. This includes the Worl Health Organisation, the Urological society of Australia and New Zealand and the Mayo Clinc in USA.
FACT – Circumcision does have health benefits
Circumcision has been found to reduce a man’s risk of STIs, inflammation/infection of foreskin, and reduce the chances of penile cancers and urinary tract infections. In addition to this, circumcision reduces a heterosexual male’s risk of acquiring HIV by up to 60%.
Circumcision Improves Hygiene | MYTH
It’s true that circumcised penises are easier to wash, but this does not make them inherently more hygienic than uncircumcised penises.
The idea that circumcised penises are more hygienic than uncircumcised penises stems from European doctors in the 1800s. These doctors noted that removing the foreskin would also remove a very sensitive part of the penis that they linked to male sexual pleasure. Thus, they claimed that removing the foreskin would make the child more morally hygienic as it would discourage masturbation and premarital sex. Much like many medical claims from 1800s Europe, this claim was both rooted in Christian belief and inaccurate.
FACT – Proper hygiene is all about washing
While uncircumcised penises can be more hygienic as they’re easier to clean, the problem isn’t the foreskin, it’s poor washing practice. Boys should be taught how to correctly clean their penises from a young age, this way there won’t be any hygiene issues regardless of whether they’ve been circumcised. Correctly washing a penis means:
- Washing it daily
- Using only water and a gentle, non-fragrant soap
- Pulling back the foreskin to clean the skin underneath
- Ensuring you clean the tip of the penis (the glans)
Circumcision is Only Performed on Infants | MYTH
While most circumcisions in Australia are performed on children in the first few weeks of their lives, these circumcisions aren’t the entirety of circumcisions. Many people get circumcised as teenagers and adults, and circumcision techniques have been developed to get the best results for teenagers and adults who choose to get circumcised. At Circumcision Vasectomy Australia, 40% of our circumcision patients are males older than 16 years.
FACT – Adults choose to get circumcised for many reasons
The truth is, many adults choose to get circumcised for many reasons. These reasons can be medical, religious, cultural, sexual, or cosmetic. The procedure that an adult will undergo is different to the normal procedure for infants to reduce the possibility of complications – you can find out more about the differences by talking to a circumcision doctor.
Circumcised adults experience less sexual pleasure | MYTH
The foreskin is very sensitive, which is why it’s an erogenous zone for some men who are uncircumcised. People may believe that removing the foreskin impacts sexual pleasure because it’s an erogenous zone, however, there is no conclusive evidence that circumcised men experience less sexual pleasure than uncircumcised men. People who report feeling less sexual pleasure are more likely being influenced by their values and preferences than by any real difference in pleasure.
FACT – Circumcised men still experience sexual pleasure
Regardless of where the science eventually falls on how circumcision affects the sensitivity of the penis, ultimately, men who are circumcised are still able to experience sexual pleasure to a high degree. Circumcision does not impact a person’s ability to enjoy sex.
Finding the Right Circumcision Clinic
Thinking about getting yourself or your child circumcised? You need to find the right provider for you. At Circumcision Vasectomy Australia, we provide circumcisions for infants, children, and adults – the procedure involves minimal discomfort, is complete in 10 minutes, and comes with access to 24 hours aftercare. Organise a consult with one of our circumcision doctors to find out more or book a procedure for you or your child.
About The Author
Dr. Shehab Abdalla is the Director of Circumcision Vasectomy Australia. He has completed a fellowship through the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and now specialises in circumcisions and vasectomies.
Connect with Dr. Shehab Abdalla on LinkedIn