List of Pros and Cons of Circumcision in Adults

We live in a world where the majority of men are circumcised compared to years ago when they were the minority.

What is Circumcision?

The subject is only lightly touched on and a lot of people are still unclear of what it entails despite it becoming more popular. For adult men it is often an uncomfortable topic – circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis.

Reasons for Circumcision

While a lot of people associate circumcision with religious reasons there are also medical and personal reasons to have it done.

  • Religious Reasons – There is no medical reason to circumcise a new born child though the majority are done for religious reasons for example in Judaism it is called Brit Milah and marks the covenant between God and Abraham. Many will circumcise their sons for preparation of their life when they are older and argue it is safer and healthier to do so, helping protect them in the process.
  • Disease – Medical reasons for circumcision may be due to diseases or issues with the foreskin such as Paraphimosis (where the foreskin is retracted beyond the tip of the penis but cannot go back to it’s original position) or Balanitis, where the tip of the penis is inflamed.
  • Prevent STD’s – It is noted that removing the foreskin can decrease the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and provides a better environment for genital hygiene.
  • Personal Reasons – Such as sexual performance, some men find their foreskin can get in the way during intercourse and climax is difficult for both partners.

What are the Pros and Cons of circumcision for infants and adults?

The Pros of Circumcision

1. It can prevent diseases or medical problems such as Phimosis, Paraphimosis and Balanoposthitis. Circumcision removes the possibility of the foreskin retraction problem and can help prevent swelling of the glans. It should be noted that in infants their foreskin is not able to retract from the glans, this isn’t medical grounds for a circumcision as their skin doesn’t form and separate until they are into their older toddling years. So it is not a problem, it is more an indication of the foreskin development.

2. Decrease incidence of urinary tract infections – Although men are at less risk of contracting an infection, it is not entirely impossible. It is thought men don’t contract them due to their longer tract (as women have a much shorter tract). Removing the foreskin, means less chance of bacteria transferring during intercourse or travelling back up the tract into the bladder (the bacteria is expelled out of the bladder within the urine, improper wiping or hygiene can mean transmitting the bacteria to a partner or it travelling back). It is also noted that urinating after sex is meant to help get rid of bacteria but many health practitioners advice washing the area, especially if their partner has an infection or suspects one.

3. General genital hygiene – After the foreskin is removed the shaft and glans of the penis are easier to keep clean and overall hygiene is better. Uncircumcised men will harbour more bacteria in their foreskin and often find keeping the area clean harder.

4. Reduces the incidence of STD’s and reduce HIV transmission – For the same reason as above removing the foreskin means less bacteria under the foreskin and STD’s are easier to treat. Although men will still contract them, there are studies that conclude it is less likely if a condom isn’t used or breaks, but is no way an encouragement to stop using condoms. Ever.

5. Sexual performance – Although there is no documented proof, many men have reported a difference in their sex life after having the foreskin removed. For some climaxing was difficult and even affected the climax of their partner. Some men find having too much foreskin can mean it being loose and friction during intercourse is less.

6. Although there is no reason at the time to have a child circumcised, many believe that doing it while they are young will set them up ready for their advanced years. They after experience less problems during recovery and recovery time is considerably lower without complications. The argument is it prepares them for manhood and protects them in the long run. A pretty controversial topic.

7. No foreskin, no getting it caught in your zipper!

The Cons of Circumcision

1. As an adult the recovery time is greater, doctors recommend staying away from strenuous activity for about 4 weeks and refraining from sex for a further 2 weeks. However different healing rates could see recovery lasting longer or shorter.

2. Sexual performance – While the majority of men have said it has helped their performance, there isn’t enough medical research about how circumcision can change the sensitivity of intercourse. The foreskin is often noted for its soft touch sensations and the removal removes the 5 areas that are responsive to light touch. It’s a grey area but something to be considered.

3. It isn’t reversible. Fairly obvious but again, something to be considered. There are men that regret it.

4. Complications – Rare but there are incidences where the skin is cut too long or too short which can result in erectile problems. For example if it is cut too short their won’t be sufficient skin to allow a full erection.

5. Size matters. It can result in an overall size reduction (although probably in the grand scheme, not enough to really matter all being well). Around 30% – 50% of skin is removed which will change the perception of the penis in terms of looks and it is reported that most erect penises are about 8mm shorter.

6. It can be a tricky conversation with your new partner if they haven’t sleep with a circumcised man which can lead to emotional or mental strain. It can be embarrassing for both but it is important to talk about it and shouldn’t be avoided.

7. Infant circumcision could lead to mental health issues later in life (there is a debate regarding a link to developing autism in those who are circumcised as newborns) or rarely sexual health issues.

Circumcision is often a topic of debate, often becoming heated and there are many things to consider. Many countries are called for the banning of religious circumcising in infants or for infants in general.