(Photo: Jason Hutchens)
Routine infant circumcision used to be the norm in the United States. In the 1960s, about 83% of newborn boys were circumcised. That's fallen to about 24% as of two years ago.
One of the arguments against infant circumcision (and the practice in general) is that removing the foreskin reduces the sexual sensitivity of the penis. It thus directly impacts the pleasure of sex for men.
But now a study of men who were circumcised as babies finds that circumcision does not lead to significantly reduced penile sensitivity. Nicholas Bakalar writes for the New York Times:
The scientists tested the men for tactile and heat sensitivity of the penis at four points: the midline shaft, the area next to the midline, the glans and, for the uncircumcised, the foreskin. As a control, they also tested a site on the inside of the forearm.
Uncircumcised and circumcised men did not differ in sensitivity to touch or temperature at any of the four sites tested, and sensitivity at the forearm was lower than any penile site for both groups. [...]
“Neonatal circumcision doesn’t make the penis less sensitive,” said a co-author of the study, Caroline F. Pukall, a professor of psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario. “We can conclude that there are no significant differences in sensitivity between the circumcised and uncircumcised groups.”
-via Glenn Reynolds