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Experts Divided Over Repercussions Of Circumcision

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From The Australian

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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 Organisation's (WHO) 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 in tests on 163 circumcised and uncircumcised men.

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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, Mr Van Howe believes.

Tango’s Take

Today’s dish begins with the male reproductive organ, the most utilitarian of appendages. There seems to be an awful lot of fuss over this life-saving/ cosmetic surgery called circumcision. The WHO says that circumcision may help reduce the risk of AIDS, but a number of cultures are completely opposed to the practice. And with good reason—what adult man would allow a scalpel near his sensitive bits? We wonder if the two experiments were conducted identically with the exception of the sample size and number of data collection, uh, points. If they were, then the Michigan State study probably holds the most water. Our guess, though, is that sex is still probably fairly pleasurable, circumcised or not, but do the health improvements outweigh the modest reduction in sensitivity?

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