Circumcision may not impact sexual sensation

July 26, 2007

Montreal - July 26, 2007 - According to a new study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, sexual sensation in circumcised and uncircumcised men may not be so different after all. The research, performed in the Department of Psychology of McGill University in Montreal, consisted of genital sensory testing conducted on circumcised and uncircumcised men during states of sexual arousal and non-arousal. Results showed that no difference between the two groups was found in sensitivity to touch or pain.

"This study suggests that preconceptions of penile sensory differences between circumcised and uncircumcised men may be unfounded," says Kimberley Payne, Ph.D, principal author of the study.

"People have been arguing about the sexual effects of circumcision for at least 1,000 years and I hope these data will encourage more research," says Dr. Yitzchak M. Binik, co-author of the research and Professor of Psychology at McGill and Director of the Sex and Couple Therapy Service of the McGill University Health Center.

The authors note that the presence of scar tissue formation from circumcision, as well as functional and mechanical changes related to sexual activity, are factors that may have secondary effects on genital sensitivity and should be considered in future research.

Irwin Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine observed, "In this fascinating study performed by renowned sexual medicine researchers, not only do they dispel the myth that the glans penis is more sensitive in the uncircumcised male due to the protective function of the foreskin, but they show that both circumcised and uncircumcised participants were less sensitive to touch overall during sexual arousal. This appears to be an important factor in the normal sexual response and pleasure." This is the second manuscript in The Journal of Sexual Medicine this year (1) examining the effects of sexual arousal on genital sensitivity. "While more research is needed, diminishing genital sensitivity during sexual arousal may be an important factor helping protect against pain during sexual activity."
1. Gruenwald, I et al Physiological Changes in Female Genital Sensation During Sexual Stimulation, J Sex Med 2007;4:390-394

This study is published in Vol. 4 Issue 3 of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact

Dr. Kimberley Payne currently specializes in the treatment of sexual dysfunction and chronic pain as a clinical psychologist practicing in Ottawa.

Dr. Yitzchak Binik is Professor of Psychology, McGill University and Director of the Sex and Couple Therapy Service, McGill University Health Center.

Dr. Irwin Goldstein is Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Director of Sexual Medicine at Alvarado Hospital, Director of San Diego Sexual Medicine in San Diego, California, and Clinical Professor of Surgery at University of California in San Diego.

Drs. Payne, Binik and Goldstein are available for questions and interviews. To arrange for a telephone interview, please contact

The Journal of Sexual Medicine publishes multidisciplinary basic science and clinical research to define and understand the scientific basis of male and female sexual function and dysfunction. As the official journal of the International Society for Sexual Medicine and the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health, it provides healthcare professionals in sexual medicine with essential educational content and promotes the exchange of scientific information generated from basic science and clinical research. For more information please visit

The International Society for Sexual Medicine (ISSM) was founded in 1982 for the purpose of promoting, throughout the international scientific community, research and knowledge in sexual medicine, considered as the subspeciality area of medicine that embraces the study, diagnosis and treatment of the sexual health concerns of men and women. The society has over 3000 members worldwide, with five regional societies that are affiliated with ISSM: the Africa Gulf Society for Sexual Medicine, Asia Pacific Society for Sexual Medicine, European Society for Sexual Medicine, Latin American Society for Sexual Medicine, and Sexual Medicine Society of North America

Wiley-Blackwell was formed in February 2007 as a result of the merger between Blackwell Publishing Ltd. and John Wiley & Sons, Inc.'s Scientific, Technical, and Medical business. Together, the companies have created a global publishing business with deep strength in every major academic and professional field. Wiley-Blackwell publishes approximately 1,250 scholarly peer-reviewed journals and an extensive collection of books with global appeal. For more information on Wiley-Blackwell, please visit or

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