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Circumcised Men Report Less Sexual Pleasure

Here's another consideration for parents-to-be trying to make the circumcision decision: Men who have been circumcised say they have less sexual sensitivity than their non-circumcized counterparts, according to a new study. 

Researchers surveyed surveyed 1,369 men over the age of 18 who responded to leaflets handed out in train stations around the country. Men were asked how intense their orgasms are and to rate the sensitivity of their penis on a scale of 0 to 5. Out of the respondents, 310 men were circumcised, and 1,059 were not. In the United States, roughly half of all men are circmcised. 

Overall, uncircumcised men reported between 0.2 points and 0.4 points higher sensitivity and sexual pleasure, compared to circumcised men. Uncircumcised men also reported more intense orgasms. 

Plus: Health Benefits of Circumcision Outweigh the Risks, Says AAP

"It's not a very big difference in sensitivity, but it's a significant difference," the study's senior researcher, Dr. Piet Hoebeke from Ghent University Hospital, told Reuters. "We're not saying less sexual activity or satisfaction, but sensitivity."

Researchers speculate that a possible explanation for any potential difference in sensitivity is that a man's foreskin may shield the head of his penis from rubbing against underwear and clothing -- the resulting friction on an uncircumcized penis may make the head thicker, drier and ultimately less sensitive.

Plus: Why I Decided to Circumcise My Sons

Previous randomized controlled trials that looked at sexual performance and satisfaction, however, did not find a difference.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the benefits of male circumcision – which has been shown to reduce the risk risk of HIV, herpes and HPV -- outweigh the risks.