Two studies have thrown up conflicting evidence as to whether
circumcision could harm a man's sex life, New Scientist reports in
its next issue.
The question is especially important, given the World Health
Organization's (WHO's) recent endorsement of circumcision in the
panoply of weapons to tackle the spread of Aids.
In a study led by Kimberley Payne of the Riverside Professional
Centre in Ottawa, 20 circumcised and 20 uncircumcised men watched
erotic movies while their penises were measured for sensitivity at
two points, using filaments that pressed down with predetermined
amounts of pressure.
There was no difference in penile sensation between the two
groups, according to their research.
However, a team led by Robert Van Howe of Michigan State
University used a similar method, but measuring penile sensitivity
at 19 points among 163 circumcised and uncircumcised men.
Most sensitive points removed?
The five most sensitive points are all in portions of the penis
removed by circumcision, especially those in folds exposed as the
penis becomes erect, Van Howe believes.
"The glans of the circumcised penis is less sensitive to fine
touch than the glans of the uncircumcised penis," his paper says.
"(...) Circumcision ablates the most sensitive parts of the penis."
The report appears in next Saturday's issue of the British
weekly. Payne's research appears in The Journal of Sexual Medicine,
while Van Howe's is published by the British Journal of Urology
On March 28, the WHO and other agencies in the fight against
Aids gave the stamp of approval to promoting circumcision to help
prevent the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Three studies carried out in southern and eastern Africa found
that circumcised men were more than half less likely to be infected
by HIV compared to uncircumcised counterparts. – (Sapa-AFP)
Circumcision helps against HIV