Bad Science: Circumcision Doesn’t Reduce Sensitivity?
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Male infant circumcision continues to be a hot topic here in the United States, with people on one side of the divide arguing that we shouldn’t perform unnecessary surgical procedures on infants who cannot consent for purely cultural reasons, and the other side trying desperately to come up with reasons why we should.
A new study seems to support the latter group, as outlets like the New York Times declare that “a controlled experiment has found no evidence for the belief” that circumcision reduces sensitivity in the penis.
I’d like to note that if that were true, it would still not be a reason to cut a baby’s genitals. If a study found that slapping a baby in the face doesn’t make them uglier, that’s not an all-clear to start slapping babies in the face. Unless that baby is a real asshole, at which point….no, just kidding. Never slap a baby!
But the infuriating thing is that it’s not even true. The New York Times article is referring to a recent study of only 62 men, who were about half circumcised and half intact. I mean, the group was half and half, not each man. Already, you know that’s not enough people to offer any conclusive result about anything. The researchers themselves admit in the paper that they need at least twice that number to get a statistically significant result. And yet they soldiered on.
They tested penis sensitivity in the men in several places, including on the foreskin of the intact men. “But wait,” you probably are asking, “how can they compare the sensitivity of the foreskin when half the men didn’t have a foreskin?” Exactly! By definition, if there was any sensitivity measured on the foreskin, those men experienced more sensitivity than the men without a foreskin. And there was sensitivity measured in the foreskin, and the foreskin was found to be the most sensitive area on the penis. That’s even going by the outside of the foreskin, where the researchers measured, and not on the reportedly much more sensitive inside.
So to conclude, this research found that being circumcised maybe doesn’t make the rest of your penis less sensitive, though they can’t say for sure because they didn’t use enough subjects to actually get a significant result. But circumcision does maybe get rid of the most sensitive part of your penis, and I only say “maybe” because again, they didn’t have enough subjects to reach significance. But that result does line up with pretty much every other objective study done on the penis. It also lines up with extensive research I’ve conducted on my own, but until I get around to publishing it you’ll have to take my word for it. And the word of pretty much every dude with a foreskin.