Should a man be circumcised and at what age is it better?

Circumcision is the oldest surgical practice, historians claim to have resorted to it as early as two millennia BC. However, even now, not every progressive person is ready to answer whether a man needs to be circumcised. Some consider this procedure a relic of the past and insist that the modern man no longer needs it. To understand this issue, you need to understand what the foreskin is for, what function it performs. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of medical circumcision and the risks that may be associated with this intervention.

It’s worth starting with an excursion into history, let’s figure out why guys were circumcised millennia ago.

Historical facts

Should a man be circumcised: all the pros and cons

Different peoples have done this procedure for different purposes. For example, the Jews did this to all the boys in accordance with the scriptures. Nowadays, nothing has changed, almost all newborns from Jewish families are circumcised: in Israel and Great Britain up to 99% of boys, in the USA – up to 98%.

Christianity also welcomes circumcision, but the rite is not so fundamental. For many centuries there was a debate about whether it should be carried out for those who came to faith in adulthood, but this did not lead to anything. In simple terms, the practice did not take root.

Muslims have their own opinion why men need circumcision. For them, this is a confirmation of the correct attitude towards religion. An uncircumcised guy cannot perform the sacred Hajj to Mecca. At the same time, the Quran does not explicitly state that this is mandatory.

For the Mayans, Aztecs, native Africans and Australians, this is something of a rite of passage. Historically, it was held to test the boy’s stamina and courage. The period for surgery depends on nationality and attitudes, most often during infancy or adolescence, when a boy becomes a man. In some ethnic groups, the foreskin is considered a feminine element, and only after its removal is the boy ready to become a real man. Often, the intervention takes place without anesthesia, and the child must endure pain to prove his courage.


Should a man be circumcised: all the pros and cons

In our progressive times, the views on the question of whether to do penis circumcision have not changed much. Of all circumcised guys, more than 62% do it for religious reasons, the rest for medical, cultural or family reasons. In total, 39% of circumcised men in the world, in our country the percentage is lower – slightly more than 11%, that is, almost eight million people. In the United States, the percentage is much higher – over 71%, this is the second most popular medical procedure after vaccination. The American Academy of Pediatrics speaks out favorably and recommends that parents circumcise their children. However, everything is not so simple.

Why is foreskin needed?

Should a man be circumcised: all the pros and cons

There are many arguments for and against medically indicated adult circumcision. The peoples of hot countries did this for hygienic reasons. In hot weather, in the absence of water, it is easier to get rid of the foreskin than to keep it clean. Now, for most people, this is not relevant. In addition, medicine has studied this issue and gave the answer: the foreskin is not just unnecessary skin, it performs its functions.

There are three main functions: erogenous, immune and protective. A lot of nerve endings are concentrated in this area of ​​the skin, so the zone is especially erogenous. Due to the developed innervation, this area is more sensitive to the open head of the penis.

The fact is that the receptors are located almost on the surface, any impact will be felt intensely.

The structure involves two layers, due to which the penis glides smoothly under the head. Another function is associated with this – ease of movement when the mucous membranes touch during intercourse. It turns out that the penis slides along the inside of its own skin. After circumcision, the sensitivity is significantly reduced, the remaining skin becomes immobilized. The movable fold disappears, leading to injury. To achieve orgasm, a circumcised man needs more stimulation, and he also has a greater chance of injuring the mucous membrane of his sexual partner.

Any microtrauma on the genitals is undesirable, as they increase the risk of getting an infection through the blood. On the foreskin there are glands that produce lubrication, thus producing a natural antibacterial treatment. The role of an antiseptic is played by the enzyme lysozyme, it destroys harmful organisms. Opponents of circumcision often draw an analogy with the eye, pointing out that an eye cannot be clean without an eyelid. The proponents of the procedure give their arguments.


There are several medical reasons for circumcision.

Reducing the risk of urinary tract infections

Should a man be circumcised: all the pros and cons

This plus is relevant for those who underwent the procedure in infancy. It brings a significant reduction in risk, up to the age of one year – by as much as 90%. At the same time, urologists themselves emphasize that the number of infections that boys are exposed to is very small. At the same time, the fact remains that the risks are reduced.

Protection against phimosis

Should a man be circumcised: all the pros and cons

Phimosis is a pathological narrowing of the skin around the head. The extreme degree of phimosis is called paraphimosis. It is logical that in the absence of a foreskin, all problems associated with it are completely excluded. Also, after circumcision, they are much less likely to encounter balanoposthitis. However, the presence of a foreskin does not mean that these problems will inevitably arise. If you maintain good hygiene and always keep your genitals clean, the risk of disease is also significantly reduced.

Previously, with phimosis, circumcision was always carried out, now science has decided that this is not always necessary. A tight fit of the foreskin is considered the norm for children and adolescents, and it also occurs in most adults and does not cause them discomfort. Surgery is necessary only in 2% of cases.

Reducing the likelihood of cancer

Should a man be circumcised: all the pros and cons

One of the most powerful arguments on whether or not circumcision is worth doing. One of the types of penile cancer develops in it, when getting rid of it, the risk is reduced by 70%. But you need to understand that this subspecies is not very common. According to the approximate calculation of urologists, in order to prevent a single case, you just need to circumcise at least a thousand boys.

Decreased likelihood of transmitting HPV

Should a man be circumcised: all the pros and cons

As a rule, men carry HPV; circumcised are much less likely to do so. This group of viruses causes papillomas, warts, and cervical cancer in women. But this is not the only factor, much depends on the number of sexual partners.

Reducing the risk of herpes and HIV

Should a man be circumcised: all the pros and cons

It has been established that microorganisms develop under the foreskin, increasing the likelihood of infection. There is another negative factor: viruses are transmitted through biological fluids, and in the presence of uncircumcised skin, contact with these fluids becomes longer, which increases the risk of infection. Together, these factors reinforce each other. At the same time, circumcision is not a guarantee of safety and does not replace the need to use contraceptives for STDs.

To do it or not?

Should a man be circumcised: all the pros and cons

If we are talking about religious beliefs, then this is a personal matter for everyone. As for hygiene and disease prevention, it makes sense to visit a doctor to assess personal risks in accordance with age, test results, and other features. It is worth deciding whether a man needs to be circumcised together with a specialist. In some cases, this really reduces dangerous risks, in others, the risks are minimal, and the procedure will only bring loss of sensitivity.

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