Circumcision in Adults: Effect on Sexual Function

Urology, Volume 64, Issue 6: Pages 1167-1168, December 2004.


Senkul et al1 reported no adverse effect of male circumcision upon male sexual response. Our survey of the empirical literature reached a different conclusion.2 We documented substantial adverse sexual effects of male circumcision, including significantly reduced penile sensitivity and significantly increased ejaculatory problems.3 As compared with genitally intact men, circumcised men reported significantly elevated levels of negative feelings and emotions related to being circumcised.3 Circumcised men also expressed significantly greater dissatisfaction with their sex lives than did genitally intact men.3

In addition, since heterosexual intercourse requires a female partner, Senkul et al.1 have only considered one-half of the equation. There are significant adverse effects of male circumcision upon female sexual satisfaction.4 Surveys have found that women tend to experience vaginal dryness similar to female arousal disorder significantly more often when the male partner is circumcised.3-5 Women with a genitally intact male partner were significantly more likely to experience orgasm than women whose partner was circumcised.5

Clearly, Senkul’s findings in Turkey should not be extrapolated to Western nations where there is documented empirical evidence of sexual and psychological harm resulting from male circumcision.


  1. Senkul T, Iseri C, Sen B, et al: Circumcision in adults: effect on sexual function. Urology 63: 155-158, 2004.
  2. Boyle GJ, Goldman R, Svoboda JS, et al: Male circumcision: pain, trauma and psychosexual sequelae. J Health Psychol 7: 329-343, 2002.
  3. Bensley GA, and Boyle GJ: Physical, sexual, and psychological effects of male infant circumcision: an exploratory survey, in Denniston GC, Hodges FM, and Milos MF (Eds): Understanding Circumcision: a Multi-disciplinary Approach to a Multi-dimensional Problem. New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2001, pp 207-239.
  4. Bensley GA, and Boyle GJ: Effect of male circumcision on female arousal and orgasm. N Z Med J 116: 595-596, 2003.
  5. O’Hara K, and O’Hara J: The effect of male circumcision on the sexual enjoyment of the female partner. BJU Int 83 (suppl 1): 79-84, 1999.

Gregory J. Boyle, Ph.D.
Bond University
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia


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