How do men and women feel about circumcision?

Circumcised men     Natural men     Women's views

  Most men had strong views on circumcision, either for it or against it. Only one man in 10 said he didn't care either way. The vast majority of men (71%) were happy to be the way they were, but there were marked differences in satisfaction levels between natural and circumcised men.

Circumcised men

  Over three quarters were happy to be circumcised, and most were very positive about it. On the negative side, while only a few circumcised men wished they weren't, most of these felt very strongly about it. Comments from men in the group included: "I have always deeply resented being circumcised ... nothing I have read, or found out for myself, has removed that resentment" and "I would do anything not to be circumcised."

Feelings about being circumcised

How do 'roundheads' feel about being circumcised?

Natural men

 Natural men were less enthusiastic about their state - the majority were happy to be the way they were but nearly a quarter wished they had been circumcised, and half of these (13% of the total) said that they intended to get circumcised. Here, too, feelings ran deep: "It has been a life-long wish of mine to be circumcised, and it has caused me tremendous anxiety, personally and with all the women I have slept with."

Having a foreskin

How do natural men feel about having a foreskin?
(Men who are still uncircumcised)

 One third of men who had reached puberty with a foreskin had already chosen to get themselves circumcised. All were glad that they made this decision. Many of these also filled in the details relating to their uncircumcised state, (chart below), which shows us that that quite a lot of men don't like having a foreskin.

Feelings - all men who answered

How do natural men feel about having a foreskin?
(All men who answered, including those later circumcised)

 Allowing for men who got circumcised but did not answer this question, we can estimate that almost half of those who had not been circumcised by age 15 wished that they had been done. Circumcision definitely has a higher overall approval rating among Australian males, and many therefore choose to get circumcised as adults.

At least it is relatively easy for them to make this choice - things are more difficult for the circumcised male who is unhappy with his lot.

The female viewpoint

  Both circumcised and natural men believed that women prefer their partners to be circumcised - is there any basis for this idea, or is it just a myth?

  An American study a few years ago (Williamson and Williamson) did indeed come to this conclusion. But our survey showed that it's not really as simple as that.

     - Almost a quarter of the women (23%) strongly favoured circumcision

     - A much smaller number (9%) vehemently opposed it

     - Another small group (7%) were very determinedly neutral, and made it clear that circumcision status made absolutely no difference to them.

     - The remainder, the large majority (60%), had opinions which were much more mixed, liking some things about circumcised penises, while preferring the natural style in other ways.

  The message for men is that whichever sort you have, there are some women out there who believe passionately that it is the best, but there are very many more who are quite happy with both types.

That doesn't mean that all penises get treated alike. The natural penis got a very strong vote for a 'hand job' - masturbating a man:

     Do you find it easier to masturbate ... ?
     19% a circumcised man
     43% a natural man
     26% no difference
     12% don't know

While the circumcised sort was favoured for oral sex.

     Which do you prefer for oral sex?
     45% a circumcised man
     11% a natural man
     42% no difference
     1% don't know

  Our survey showed that most men have strong views on circumcision, but contrary to popular belief most women don't. Overall circumcision was favoured by both sexes, but also had strong opponents of both sexes.

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This page updated on October 4th, 2001