Friday, 30 October 2009

Acceptability of circumcision

Back in 2007, Westercamp and Bailey published an interesting review of studies of the acceptability of circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa. Among thirteen studies, they found that "the median proportion of uncircumcised men willing to become circumcised was 65% (range 29-87%)".

Interestingly, data from newer studies suggest that these results are not limited to African settings. Begley et al., for example, studied men who have sex with men (MSM) in the US, reporting that 53% were willing to be circumcised. Interestingly, this was especially true among black men. Another paper, by Ruan et al., studied MSM in China. The results were that "16.9% said they were absolutely willing to participate, 26.4% were probably, 28.9% were probably not, and 27.8% were absolutely not". To put that another way, 43.3% were likely to participate in such a scheme - a figure comparable to those mentioned above.

In both studies, concerns were noted, these were primarily about surgical pain and complications of the procedure. In the Chinese study, 5.3% of men were concerned about a loss of sexual pleasure. In contrast, in the US study, some men were willing to consider circumcision in part because it might increase sexual pleasure. This must be quite a shock to the anti-circumcision lobbyists who seem to believe that the foreskin is such an amazing thing that nobody could ever part with it!

1 comment:

John said...

Great: informed adults can and should make their own decisions regarding circumcision, just as Jake decided to get cut as an adult.

But the significant percentage of intact men who would never get cut might explain the anti-neonatal circumcision movement.

I resent the large amount of scar tissue on my penis - a reminder that I was held down by force while a part of my body was lopped off. It should have been my decision.