Circumcision is a common procedure for infants, but people all over the world are unsure of the procedure’s benefits for adults and receive contradictory answers to their questions. Does circumcision hurt? Will it affect my sex life? Am I paying a fortune for cosmetic surgery?
Studies show that these myths are untrue for children and adults, and the medical benefits of circumcision can start from an early age. If you are considering this for your family, Dr. Andrew Krinsky offers the service for newborns.
1. Circumcision Pain Increases for an Adult
One of the first questions asked is, “Does circumcision hurt?” The post-surgery pain is short and limited to soreness for most people, which is easily relieved by OTC painkillers. Complications tend to be minor if any. During the procedure, the patient is given local anesthesia for pain. The issue of anesthesia is an entire myth on its own.
2. General Anesthesia Is Required for Circumcision Pain
Unless general anesthesia is requested, most clinics use local anesthesia during the procedure. The patient only needs a small amount of anesthesia for the genitalia during the process. This is often an injection, cream, or spray, like what is administered during dental surgery. It is an easy process that usually allows the patient to stay awake. This also helps to keep the price low, as you do not need to pay for the higher cost of general anesthesia.
3. Circumcision is Mutilation
For both infants and adults, it is a minimally invasive procedure despite common myths. A popular medical circumcision technique, the Mogen Clamp, is a rapid process where the foreskin is separated from the head of the penis and safely removed while being held in a clamp. It is rare for severe complications to occur, even during adult male circumcision.
4. Adult Circumcision Is an Unnecessary Surgery
Even if you are circumcised as an adult, it is not merely cosmetic surgery. The medical benefits of circumcision apply to adults as well as children. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) includes circumcision in its list of ways to help to protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. This can be invaluable in the modern world. It can also help prevent penile cancer and its risk factors. Safe to say, the choice of circumcision as an adult is not merely a cosmetic one.
5. Adult Circumcision is Too Expensive
Actually, circumcision as an adult is inexpensive even without insurance. The surgery can cost around $1,500 for an adult in the U.S., although opting for general anesthesia can raise the price. In a time where medical bills are higher than ever, this is a reasonable price and insurance may cover the procedure if a doctor recommends the health benefits to be a necessity.
6. Adult Male Circumcision Will Decrease the Size of My Penis
This is untrue. Medical circumcision targets the foreskin, not the head of the penis. It does not alter the head or shaft, and the removal of the foreskin does not significantly impact penile length. Unless severe complications occur during surgery, it is unlikely your penis will shorten afterward.
7. Adult Circumcision Will Ruin My Sex Life
While it is commonly thought that men who have been circumcised as an adult or a child will experience less sensation during sex, research suggests otherwise. Throughout history, scientific publications on the penis, circumcision, and sexual pleasure have found no correlation between circumcision and sexual performance or pleasure. After the recovery period has ended and a doctor has recommended returning to sexual activities, there will rarely be competency issues related to the medical procedure.
8. Circumcision Causes Erectile Dysfunction
Like with the potential loss of sexual sensation, there is no concrete evidence suggesting medical circumcision to cause erectile dysfunction. While sex may have to wait until after the recovery period, it is unlikely to have lasting effects on an adult male’s sexual performance. Any sudden erectile dysfunction could be caused by age or underlying issues.
9. Adult Circumcision Has a Long Recovery Period
The recovery period for an adult is an average of three weeks, and for most people, pain is minimal during this period. Aftercare is also not an extended process and tends to be limited to keeping the penis in a comfortable position, reducing swelling through a cold compress or OTC painkiller, and following a doctor’s directions for when to remove any wrappings. Whatever you choose, any modern medical circumcision technique will also have you return home the same day as your operation. Compared to many hospital visits, this is a simple process and you may even experience no interruptions in your work and leisure activities.
10. Bad Circumcisions Can’t Be Fixed as an Adult
In the rare cases where a circumcision surgery goes wrong, revisions are successful in most adults. Scars, wrinkling, leftover foreskin, and other complications can be fixed by a skilled doctor. Even minor cosmetic flaws can be repaired by a second procedure. Whether one is circumcised as an adult or an infant, almost any defect can be resolved.
One study found 96% of adult men to be satisfied with revisions to their circumcision. The second surgery aided with both the visual appearance and function of the penis. This test group underwent various types of revisions, from scarring to paraphimosis, at ages 15-51. Out of the entire group, only two men experienced complications, which healed on their own during aftercare without need for further operations.
Circumcision for Adults: The Facts
Have you or a loved one received circumcision as an adult? With so many myths circulating on the topic, remember to add your voice to the conversation. You have the insight to sit down with a friend or family member and share your experience. The opinion of a close peer can be invaluable if someone is unsure about circumcision.
Being circumcised as an adult is linked from everything to sexual incompetence to horrific mutilation, but as you can see, this is simply not true. It can hold the same benefits for an adult man as it did for a child. If you are considering obtaining a circumcision as an adult, remember that it is a relatively safe procedure with low pain and quick recovery.
Of course, it is still best to have your child circumcised early. This will help their hygiene, protect them against several conditions and diseases, and save them from the trouble of pursuing surgery later in life. An infant will recover quickly and is unlikely to suffer any long-term distress over the procedure.
If you are considering circumcision for your child, remember to contact us with any questions. We’re happy to help guide you in making the best decision for your family.
CDC. “What Can Decrease HIV Risk?” HIV Risk Reduction Tool, US Department of Health and Human Services, 26 May 2020, hivrisk.cdc.gov/can-decrease-hiv-risk/.
Collins, S et al. “Effects of circumcision on male sexual function: debunking a myth?.” The Journal of urology vol. 167,5 (2002): 2111-2.
Cox, Guy et al. “Histological Correlates of Penile Sexual Sensation: Does Circumcision Make a Difference?.” Sexual medicine vol. 3,2 (2015): 76-85. doi:10.1002/sm2.67.
CostHelper. “How Much Does Circumcision Cost?” CostHelper, health.costhelper.com/circumcision.html.
Fekete, Ferenc et al. “Revisions after unsatisfactory adult circumcisions.” International urology and nephrology vol. 43,2 (2011): 431-5. doi:10.1007/s11255-010-9820-x.
Healthwise Staff. “Adult Circumcision: What to Expect at Home.” MyHealth.Alberta.ca Government of Alberta Personal Health Portal, 11 Feb. 2020, myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=ug3919.
Krill, Aaron J et al. “Complications of circumcision.” TheScientificWorldJournal vol. 11 (2011): 2458-68. doi:10.1100/2011/373829.
Tian, Ye et al. “Effects of circumcision on male sexual functions: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Asian journal of andrology vol. 15,5 (2013): 662-6. doi:10.1038/aja.2013.47.