How to Identify Circumcision Damage
in the Adult Male
NOTE: Links with a right-facing blue arrow will take you off this site.
The risks of newborn circumcision are
an underreported and ignored factor in this argument.
Most often a poor surgical result isn’t recognized until years after the event.
The adverse long term consequences of infant circumcision
on the sexual health of American men must be recognized
by physicians, parents, and legislators.
James L. Snyder, M.D. Past President, Virginia Urologic Society
The Problem of Circumcision in America
Many circumcised men are unaware that they have been harmed by circumcision because they do not understand how the intact (non-circumcised) penis functions and/or they do not know how to identify their circumcision damage. Many circumcised men fail to recognize their own circumcision damage and assume that peculiar things about their penis are ‘normal’ or ‘a birth defect.’
NOHARMM documents evidence of how males have been harmed by circumcision. After reading this page, we encourage you to complete a confidential Harm Documentation Form and submit it to NOHARMM. Some individuals may be able to take legal action against their circumciser, especially those who initiate action within one year after first realizing their damage or, in the case of minors, within one year of turning age 18. We can refer you to an appropriate attorney .
This page illustrates some of the physical consequences of infant circumcision, as they appear in the adult male:
For a discussion of circumcision’s sexual and psychological consequences affecting men,
please read Long-Term Consequences of Neonatal Circumcision .
Below: This photograph shows the lack of skin mobility during erection of a circumcised penis. Note the dark scar where the foreskin was amputated.
This tightness and the unnatural dryness of the penile shaft and head causes some men (and their partners) pain, abrasion, and bleeding during sex. Breaks in the skin are an effective way to transmit and contract sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
Below: These five photographs show how the shaft skin of
an intact (non-circumcised) penis moves during sexual activity.
Range of skin movement marked by point A is several inches back and forth.
Note how point B moves and the end of the foreskin widens to accommodate
the head of the penis. Notice the smooth texture of the head of the penis.
The moist mucosal surface of the foreskin and glans is similar to that
of the female labia and vagina.
NOTE:Retraction is normally not possible or desirable in infants and young children.
Explore the severity of your circumcision or the amount of foreskin you have using the Coverage Index
The glans (penile head) is normally an internal organ protected by the moist mucosal tissue of the prepuce (foreskin). Without the foreskin, the glans is exposed to the outer environment (air, soap, clothing, sun, etc.). The glans dries out and develops several extra layers of skin (keratinization). 1 Compare the dry, cracked appearance of the glans of a circumcised penis (upper right) with the moist mucosal end of the glans of an intact penis (lower right). The unnatural dryness of the circumcised penis can cause abrasion and bleeding during sex, whereas the moistness of the intact penis makes sex more comfortable, especially during penetration. For women with circumcised male partners, the problem of ‘vaginal dryness’ during sex may also be partly attributable to the unnatural dryness of the circumcised penis.
Besides removing the densely nerve-laden foreskin, circumcision removes 50% of the penile shaft skin and associated nerve endings. 2 The exposed glans then keratinizes, causing further loss of sensation. Many circumcised men in the Awakenings survey 3 reported that desensitization caused them to abandon or bypass the subtler pleasures of genital foreplay in favor of immediate intercourse, which would offer them greater stimulation. They often hurried through intercourse, however often needing extraordinary and sometimes violent thrusting to obtain sufficient stimulation for both pleasure and orgasm. Other men reported frequent reliance on behaviors offering more stimulation than vaginal sex (e.g. oral sex, anal sex or masturbation) or compensating for diminished quality of sexual response with quantity (sexual compulsivity).
Eventually, keratinization occurs even after adult circumcision. It can also occur in intact men with short foreskins or those who habitually wear their foreskin in the retracted position.
Imagine how different female sexual response would be if the clitoral hood (female foreskin) and the labia were removed. Exposure of the clitoris to the constant effects of the outer environment would approximate the effects of male circumcision.
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