Circumcision Sensitivity

Does circumcision remove the most pleasurably sensitive part of the penis (prepuce)? It’s common sense that circumcision changes sensitivity. Scientific method has already proven that the foreskin is highly erogenous tissue – removing it changes sexual sensitivity and function:

Circumcision and Sex

The human foreskin is highly innervated,5 21 29 and vascularized29 sensitive erogenous tissue.6 29 It plays an important role in normal human sexual response and is necessary for normal copulatory behavior.40 An understanding of this role is now emerging in the scientific literature. Removal of the foreskin (circumcision) interferes with normal sexual function.

A Brief Overview of the Human Prepuce

The genital prepuce is a shared anatomical feature of both male and female members of all human and non-human primate species (Cold and Taylor, 1999). In humans, the penile and clitoral prepuces are undifferentiated in early foetal development, emerging from an ambisexual genital tubercle that is capable either of penile or clitoral development regardless of genotype (Baskin et al, 2018). Even at birth – and thereafter – the clitoral and penile prepuces may remain effectively indistinguishable in people with certain intersex traits or differences of sex development (Pippi Salle et al, 2007; Fahmy, 2015; Hodson et al, 2019). The prepuce is an integrated feature of the external genitalia, having evolved to function in concert with other genital structures; for example, it forms the anatomical covering of the glans penis or clitoris, thereby internalising each and ‘decreasing external irritation and contamination’ (Cold and Taylor, 1999: 34). In the case of the penile prepuce, an additional function – alongside its biomechanical role in sexual intercourse (Purpura et al, 2018) – is to protect the urinary opening from abrasion, as this runs through the penile but not the clitoral glans (Fahmy, 2020). The penile prepuce has a mean reported surface area of between 30 and 50 square centimetres in adults (Werker et al, 1998; Kigozi et al, 2009) and is the most sensitive part of the penis, both to light touch stimulation and sensations of warmth (Sorrells et al, 2007; Bossio et al, 2016). The clitoral prepuce, while smaller in absolute terms, is continuous with the sexually sensitive labia minora; it is also an important sensory platform in its own right, and one through which the clitoral glans can be stimulated without direct contact (which can be unpleasant or even painful) (O’Connell et al, 2008). In both sexes, the human prepuce is ‘a specialized, junctional mucocutaneous tissue which marks the boundary between mucosa and skin [similar to] the eyelids, labia minora, anus and lips.… The unique innervation of the prepuce establishes its function as an erogenous tissue’ (Cold and Taylor, 1999: 34).

Source: Adapted and expanded from Myers and Earp (2020).

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