Being circumcised as an adult could frighten even the bravest and most optimistic men, but there is nothing sinister about it, since the procedure comes with no significant danger and there are benefits of circumcision. There are many myths and misinformation that people should not be circumcised as they age, but most of them are not true. If you think about adult circumcision, you are heading towards a very good decision, one of the best you will make in your adult life.
What is circumcision?
Circumcision is a surgical procedure which consists of removing all or part of the foreskin, “that is to say the skin which covers the glans of the penis”, explains the surgeon. Male circumcision is one of the oldest and most common surgical procedures known; it is usually undertaken to mark one’s cultural identity or religious affiliation.
Historically, male circumcision was practiced among the ancient Semitic populations, especially among the Egyptians and people of the Jewish faith, the oldest paintings mentioning circumcision in a temple and on Egyptian wall paintings dating back to about 2300 BC.
With the progress of surgery in the 19th century and the increasing mobility of the 20th century, the intervention was introduced into some cultures that did not practice it before, for both health and social reasons.
A virtually painless procedure
The procedure consists of a removal of the foreskin, which leaves the glans uncovered, more or less completely. Absorbable stitches are put in place.
The procedure is performed under local anesthesia. The use of anesthetic cream, 10 minutes before the procedure, provides the patient with greater comfort during surgery. In more complex cases, general anesthesia may be recommended. Surgery lasts on average half an hour.
The main medical benefits of circumcision would be:
- An American study has shown that circumcision would reduce the likelihood of men becoming infected with HPV by almost 60% and protect men from herpes.
- An African study has shown that circumcision will reduce the risk of contracting AIDS. The cells in the foreskin would indeed be sensitive to HIV. This study was carried out on a large sample of the population in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa. The conclusive results have led the WHO to include male adult circumcision in its programmed to prevent the spread of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. However, be careful, circumcision is by no means a valid protection against AIDS.
- Circumcision would reduce the risk of urinary tract infections in infants by about 12 times. However, 0.7% of babies are hospitalized in their first year because of a urinary tract infection.
- Circumcision slightly reduces the risk of cancer of the penis, a form of cancer however extremely rare.
- Thickening of the skin lining of the glans gland as a result of circumcision would reduce premature ejaculation problems, even if this disorder is more a result of psychological than physiological causes.
Circumcision and sensitivity of the penis
Circumcision in adulthood can change the sensitivity of the glans gland. The operation does not reduce the pleasure but the sensations are felt differently, according to testimonies of circumcised men. The difference is perceived during masturbation, penetration and oral sex.
Before circumcision, the moment when the foreskin moves backwards to discover the glans under the effect of erection is a step that provides pleasant sensations because the area is hypersensitive. On the other hand, after the operation, this hypersensitivity will decrease over time because the glans is less and less humid and gets bigger because it is no longer covered by the foreskin. By being in the open air, it becomes less sensitive. It would be wrong to say that this is a loss of sensitivity (unless nerves were affected during the operation, which is very rare). It is rather the hypersensitivity of the onset of erection that is lost.
Does circumcision have an effect on sexuality?
When this small procedure is performed in adulthood, it is possible that it is felt during penetration. If a slight difference in sensitivity is felt in the glans during intercourse, it is possible to increase the pressure on this area by asking the partner to contract the muscles surrounding the vagina.
On the positive side, the glans being a little less sensitive at the beginning of erection, it allows to delay ejaculation and therefore to make the frolics last.
In fact, a circumcised man has a sex life as fulfilling as that of an uncircumcised man. It should be noted that nearly 98.6% of circumcised men report having a very satisfactory sex life.
In the Jewish religion, male babies are traditionally circumcised on the eighth day after birth, provided there are no medical contraindications. Circumcision is justified, in the Jewish holy book Torah, by the covenant between Abraham and God, whose external sign is the circumcision of all male Jews. The Torah specifies: «This is the covenant which you have to keep, a covenant established between me and you, and your descendants after you: every male among you must be circumcised» (Genesis 17:10). Male circumcision remains virtually universal among Jewish populations.
Islam is the largest religious group to practice male circumcision. As in Abraham’s faith, Muslim populations practice circumcision to confirm their relationship with God, and the practice is also known as ‘tahera’, which means purification. With the worldwide spread of Islam as early as the seventh century AD, male circumcision was widely adopted in peoples who had not previously practiced it. The age of circumcision is not clearly defined in Islam, but the prophet Muhammad recommended that it be practiced at an early age and he would have circumcised his own sons seven days after they were born. Many Muslims practice it at this time, but a Muslim can be circumcised at any age between birth and puberty.