Different cuts

  Circumcised penises aren't all alike!
Sometimes there's no sign he ever had a foreskin -
other times you might not be sure if he's circumcised or not.

The flaccid penis           The erect penis

  My surveys showed a wide range of variation in the appearance of the circumcised penis. Individual penises vary, and the operation of circumcision can be carried out in different ways. This applied equally to Australians surveyed in 1989 and multinational groups (including a lot of North Americans) surveyed via the Internet. In other words, wherever you are, circumcised penises show just as much variation as natural ones.

Circumcised adult penis Circumcised penis of an adult
The outer foreskin and most of the inner foreskin have been removed, resulting in a complete circumcision with the scar a short distance below the glans.

Details of 207 circumcised men were used for the tables shown here, so we have a pretty good profile of what the circumcised penis looks like. We need to bear in mind that erect penises are all fairly close in size, but the amount a penis shrinks when soft is a very variable thing. Even though the flaccid variety are what we normally see in the changing room or showers, in some respects the erect state is a more accurate measure. It is certainly that measure that counts with wives and girlfriends!

The flaccid penis

     The circumcised penis when it's soft
     18% have skin partly covering the glans
          40% of these were circumcised in infancy
     27% have loose skin which bunches up below the glans
          50% of these were circumcised in infancy
     43% have some mobile skin on the shaft
          54% of these were circumcised in infancy
     9% have no free skin on the shaft
          56% of these were circumcised in infancy

We can deduce several things from this data. Just as some natural men have a bare glans even when soft, quite a few circumcised men have a partially covered one. This was not popular with the owners, though - men with partial circumcisions like this were twice as likely to be unhappy with the way their circumcision had been done compared to fully circumcised men.

There is also a noticeable tendency for circumcisions done in infancy to be more complete than those done later. There are two likely explanations for this. One is that as the penis grows at puberty any free skin will tend to decrease as the shaft grows. The second is that doctors operating on older boys and adults may be concerned about erections pulling out sutures, and so leave more free skin.

Overall a large majority - 70% - of circumcised men have a bare glans but some mobile skin on the shaft when they are soft, so this can be regarded as 'typical' for a circumcised penis.

The erect penis

Erection is the great leveller. The majority of erect penises are within an inch or so of each other in size, but when they are soft some subside almost to nothing while others just flop down and stay almost the same length. So in many respects the erect figures give us a more accurate measure of circumcision types.

     And when the circumcised penis gets hard
     1% have skin partly covering the glans
     2% have loose skin which bunches up below the glans
     43% have some mobile skin on the shaft
     54% have no free skin on the shaft

In general, then, the skin is stretched fairly tight on the shaft of a circumcised penis when it is erect, but a lot of circumcised men do still have some mobile skin.

The position of the circumcision scar is a very variable factor. Only a subset of men were asked about this, but their answers showed just how many possibilities there were. About a third had the scar close to the corona of the glans, with little or none of the original inner foreskin remaining. At the other end of the scale, over a quarter had the scar more than one inch down the shaft when erect, so that quite a bit of the shaft was covered with what was originally inner foreskin. The remainder, around 40%, had something in between these extremes, with the scar around half an inch from the glans.

  Circumcisions vary widely in both style and extent. Partly this is just a difference in how much they shrink when soft, but there is also a wide difference in the way doctors perform the operation.

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